Exploring Tabarca

You’ve made the journey on a flight to Alicante. You’ve spent a few days lounging about on beaches and exploring the local area. Now, you’re starting to feel restless. It’s a perfectly normal phenomenon that, when you’re taking time off from your busy life, you suddenly find yourself missing all the things that made life exciting.

A visit to Tabarca could be the perfect antidote to this. The so-called ‘flat island’ is easily accessible from Alicante, with the boat ride lasting just 60 minutes. For this reason, it has become immensely popular with tourists who have a spot of cabin fever. The fact that journeys are on a frequent timetable depending on the season has only enhanced the island’s popularity to the extent that some holidaymakers choose to base themselves on Tabarca rather than Alicante itself.

Tabarca, Alicante at night - Flickr CC Jesus Alenda

Untouched beauty

Even if Tabarca happened to be a world away from anywhere, you’d be hard pressed to stop tourists flocking to the island. Exploration is the name of the game here. Make sure you wander through the old square and get plenty of photos of the church and graveyard as you won’t find anything this picturesque back in the modern world. The ruined walls of the fort look like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s not difficult to imagine Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom engaging in a swashbuckling sword fight on the beach.

Pirate history

In fact, Tabarca’s own history has something of a piratey theme, as it is said that the island became a refuge for Barbary buccaneers during the 18th century. Head to the museum and discover how the landmass was originally fortified by King Charles III of Spain, before a group of shipwrecked Genoese sailors from Tunisia settled there.

As a result, the language used on the island is somewhat mixed, although Valencian and Spanish are the main ones spoken today. The permanent population of the island stands at about 50, although there are up to 500 tourists residing in the island’s bed and breakfasts at any time. Fishing is the main activity of the locals – get over to Santa Pola’s fish market if you fancy purchasing any of the catch.

After the history lesson

Once you’re done exploring the island and visiting the museum, bring yourself back to the modern world with a visit to one of the many bars and restaurants. This is the other side of Tabarca’s personality, where you can sip cold cocktails or purchase something for loved ones at home via a souvenir shop. If it’s still warm enough to get into the sea, buy a snorkel and make your way down to one of the coves for a dip. The crystal clear waters mean you won’t be disappointed by the abundance of marine life you can spot.

The lowdown

A visit to Tabarca is an ideal way to break up the beach activities you’ve probably come to Alicante to enjoy. There are many old treasures to be explored as well as a bustling town centre. But more than that – the island possesses a strange untouched beauty unlike anywhere else in Spain. So don’t miss your chance to visit.

 

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