22 kilometers off the Alicante coast, there is the last inhabited island of the Valencian Community, the Island of Tabarca, which had a population of 55 people in 2015. This is actually an archipelago, namely Tabarca, which is the biggest of them all, the small islands of La Cantera, La Galera and La Nao.
It was baptized as Planesia by the Greeks, Planaria by the Romans and San Pablo in the Middle Age, since legend has it that this is the place where this apostle landed. Also, it has been known as Plana, Alones or small island of Santa Pola; in 1770 got the name by which it is known currently: Nueva Tabarka (New Tabarca).
The coasts of the Island of Tabarca once were a refuge for Berber pirates. In the 18th century, by order of Carlos III, the island was fortified and a village for a few fishermen families from Genoa was established. Those families were captives at the Tunisian city of Tabarka—this is actually how it got its name from.
296 inhabitants from Tabarca were initially installed in the island of Tabarca. It is interesting that, regardless of the Genoese origin of this place, in a matter of two years, the Igur language from Genoa was replaced by the Valencian language.
The population began growing all the way up to its peak in the year 1920, where it slightly exceeded a thousand people. 50 years later, in 1970, the population had reduced down to 242 people. This decrease has been steadily constant up to these days due to the lack of livelihood in the island of Tabarca, where the main, rather the only economic activity is the tourism.
Stemming from the aforementioned defense desire, appeared the walls that surround the city and that are currently Historic Artistic Complex and of Cultural Interest. From late 20th century, various restoration projects have been carried out because there are some much-damaged sections. As a matter of fact its battlements have almost vanished. Three gates of Baroque style connect the fortified core with the exterior.
Due to the continued decrease to its population and the protection plans, the few new constructions have been focused on the center of the walled enclosure, hence allowing the island of Tabarca maintain an appearance similar to the one it had back in the 18th century.
Apart from the aforementioned wall and its three Baroque gates, you can also enjoy the small bays and beaches of crystal-clear waters. Last but not least, there is also a very picturesque port where you have the opportunity to try traditional rice dish–the Caldero of Tabarca–the typical dish of the island. We attach a picture and the recipe of cocina sin problemas (trouble-free cuisine).
Also, we suggest you to stroll around its streets and breathe the atmosphere that inspired to artists and attracted pirates. Other stops could very well be the Casa del Gobernador (The Governor’s House), which was built originally for a “decent and temporary accommodation” of the Governor and converted into a hotel at the present day, the Iglesia de San Pedro (the Saint Peter’s Church) or his Museum, which is focused on the study and dissemination or the relationships that the coastal populations have maintained with its natural environment through the years.
We really cannot miss, also, that in this Mediterranean setting, we find the Marine Reserve, declared in 1986. As you may imagine, the richness of the wildlife of this place is nothing but jaw-dropping.
How to get to the Island of Tabarca
From the cities of Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar del Segura and Benidorm, you can get there with a boat to Tabarca.
If you have ever rent a car with us in Alicante, offers trips to Tabarca from Alicante by boat from Monday through Sunday. The trip, as of today, has a price of 19 € and it takes approximately 50 minutes.
Other options are the excursions to Tabarca from Benidorm with the company Excursiones Marítimas Benidorm, the Santa Pola-Tabarca boat with Cruceros Baeza Parodi or the boat-taxi also from Santa Pola. As you can see, with so many options, getting to the Island of Tabarca is not a problem whatsoever.
Accomidation in Tabarca
If you are looking for a place to stay in Tabarca so that you can extend your visit, there are three very good options to stay in Tabarca. Oh well, to be honest, it is not like there are too many options, taking into account the size of the island.
- Hotel Boutique Isla de Tabarca, located, as we said earlier, within the walls of the old fortress of the Casa del Gobernador.
- Casa La Trancada, located in a fisherman’s house of the 18th century.
- Hostal Masin
This has been our review about the wonderful Mediterranean island of Tabarca. We truly recommend you to visit it, and if you do it, we would appreciate for you to let us know how it was. We are sure it will be awesome!