Tabarca is a tiny island connected to the Spanish mainland by the ferries that travel regularly from Santa Pola and Torrevieja. If you are staying in the Alicante province it is well worth a day trip, but remember to take your snorkel with you.
How and when should you go to Tabarca, Spain?
Glass-bottomed boats leave the main marina in Torrevieja every day for the 40 minute trip to Tabarca, Spain. If you are lucky you might see dolphins as the boat takes you past the fish farms just off the coast. It’s a pleasant journey as you watch the Costa Blanca coastline disappear and is one of the attractions of visiting this pretty little island.
If you want to enjoy Tabarca without having to jostle through too many tourists and, definitely if you want a place on its one sandy beach, then you need to avoid the summer months and don’t go on a Sunday. It’s not only foreigners who enjoy the perfectly clear waters of Tabarca.
There are many Spanish visitors too who come from the mainland for a day out and a break from their Alicante working week.
Even if you do take the risk and venture out on one of its busiest days, Tabarca has the ability to absorb a large number of people when it needs to. There are many restaurants here that are set up to cater for vast numbers and quickly.
Provided you sit down earlier than the Spanish usually do (around 2 – 3pm) then you shouldn’t have a problem finding somewhere to eat. As you might expect from an island in the Mediterranean sea, the restaurants have a wide selection of fish dishes and if you enjoy seafood you can’t go far wrong.
Take the time to explore Tabarca
Whether you explore before or after you’ve eaten, it can only take an hour or so to walk all the way round the island. Even in the summer months you’ll find many coves away from the main port area that aren’t busy and where you can swim and sunbathe in relative seclusion.
The main sandy beach is likely to be head to toe in the summer and best avoided. When the Alicante coastline has so many lovely beaches to enjoy it seems pointless to insist on finding your own patch on this one. Instead, find one of the more deserted coves and brave the pebbles and dried seaweed.
Wherever you choose to put down your towel, the water is incredibly clear. This is one of the main attractions of the island that brings people back again and again. It’s a marine reserve and has played host to different endangered species in the past. It’s perfect for snorkelling and makes you feel that you are somewhere far more exotic than holidaying in Europe.
There isn’t much in the way of buildings to see on your walk around the island. More or less, with the exception of a lighthouse and a cemetery, the only habitation is around the main port. The rest of the island consists of paths across the dry terrain but you won’t get lost as wherever you are you can see the coast line.
The little town
Finally, it is worth having a wander round the little town itself. There isn’t much here in the way of normal services and business. It’s reckoned that only around 70 people live on the island full time and, as you would expect, most of the shops are aimed at tourists.
However, there are buildings dating back to the 18th century including the church of St Peter and St Paul and the Governor’s House that is currently a hotel. It used to be a more heavily populated place with fishing being the main industry but now, it’s tourism that brings in the money.
One feature that is striking is that there are no cars. Cars are forbidden on the island and, of course, are hardly needed. Even when the island is packed with people, the absence of vehicles means that it still feels like some kind of a retreat. You might want to let your mind wander and consider what it might be like to live in a place such as this.
Most of the visitors to Tabarca are day trippers but there are some little hostels and hotels where you could stay if you wanted to extend your visit.
More costal cities in Spain
If you would like information about other coastal cities in Spain, we recommend you downloading our free guide: Top coastal cities in Spain.