Located just 22 kilometers off the coast of Alicante, Tabarca Island is a picturesque haven that offers a unique blend of history, nature, and crystal-clear waters. Recognized as Spain’s smallest permanently inhabited island, Tabarca has become a popular destination for day-trippers seeking a tranquil escape from the bustling mainland. This article provides an overview of Tabarca Island, its history, and what to expect during your visit.
Also read: 16 Things to do in Javea
Tabarca Island, also known as Nueva Tabarca, has a rich and colorful history. Originally named “Isla de San Pablo,” the island served as a refuge for Barbary pirates until the 18th century. In 1768, King Carlos III of Spain ordered the construction of a fortified town on the island to protect the mainland from pirate attacks. The island was then renamed “Nueva Tabarca” in honor of the Tabarcan settlers who were brought from Tunisia to populate the island and strengthen its defenses. Today, the remnants of the old fortified walls and the ancient town still stand, offering visitors a glimpse into the island’s fascinating past.
Things to Do on Tabarca Island
Tabarca Island offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Here are some highlights:
- Explore the Old Town: Stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town and admire the well-preserved 18th-century architecture, including the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Governor’s House, and the ancient fortified walls.
- Visit the Tabarca Marine Reserve: Established in 1986, the Tabarca Marine Reserve is the first marine reserve in Spain. The protected area boasts an incredible variety of marine life, making it a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts.
- Relax on the Beaches: Tabarca Island is home to several beautiful beaches and coves with crystal-clear waters. Cala del Francés and Playa de Levante are two of the most popular beaches on the island, offering visitors a chance to swim, sunbathe, and unwind in the pristine Mediterranean environment.
- Taste Local Cuisine: Tabarca Island is known for its delicious seafood, particularly the traditional “caldero,” a fish and rice dish prepared with locally caught fish. Numerous restaurants on the island offer visitors the opportunity to sample this local specialty.
Getting to Tabarca Island: Tabarca Island can be easily reached from Alicante and other nearby coastal towns, such as Santa Pola and Torrevieja, via regular boat services. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the departure point. It is advisable to check the schedules and book tickets in advance, especially during the busy summer season.
How to get to Tabarca Island from Javea
If you’re planning to visit Tabarca Island from Jávea, you have a few options to reach your destination. The journey typically takes around 2 to 3 hours, depending on your chosen mode of transportation. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to reach Tabarca Island from Jávea:
- By Car and Boat: The most convenient way to reach Tabarca Island from Jávea is to drive to one of the coastal towns that offer boat services to the island and then take a boat to Tabarca Island. Follow these directions:
- Drive from Jávea to either Alicante, Santa Pola, or Torrevieja, which are approximately 90 km, 65 km, and 105 km away, respectively.
- Once you arrive at your chosen coastal town, park your car and head to the harbor, where you will find several boat companies offering regular services to Tabarca Island. The journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the departure point.
- It is advisable to check the boat schedules and book tickets in advance, especially during the busy summer season.
- By Bus and Boat: While there is no direct bus route between Jávea and Tabarca Island, you can take a bus to one of the nearby coastal towns and then transfer to a boat service. Follow these steps:
- Take the ALSA bus from Jávea to Alicante, Santa Pola, or Torrevieja. Bus schedules and ticket prices can be found on the ALSA website (https://www.alsa.com/en/web/bus/home).
- Once you arrive at your chosen coastal town, head to the harbor and find a boat service to Tabarca Island. The boat journey takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the departure point.
- As with driving, it’s a good idea to check boat schedules and book tickets in advance.
Regardless of the mode of transportation you choose, Tabarca Island is a must-visit destination that offers visitors a unique blend of history, nature, and beautiful Mediterranean landscapes. The island is perfect for a day trip or a tranquil getaway from Jávea.
Tabarca Island is a hidden gem off the coast of Alicante, offering visitors a unique blend of history, nature, and beautiful Mediterranean landscapes. With its well-preserved Old Town, stunning beaches, and vibrant marine life, the island is the perfect destination for a day trip or a tranquil getaway. To plan your visit to Tabarca Island, head to https://www.alicanteturismo.com/en/tabarca-island/ for more information.