A day trip to Isla Tabarca

Especially during the summer months, it can get quite hot in Torrevieja. You might not want to spend all day lounging around on one of the lovely beaches.Why not cool down and let a bit of sea breeze whizz past your nose by taking a boat trip to the island of Tabarca?

The  approx.40 minute ride on a glass bottomed Catamaran which leaves daily from the Marina in Torrevieja during the months from May to October, is entertaining and therefore belongs on the list of the five best day trips from Torrevieja.

Ferry to Isla Tabarca,Torrevieja

Don´t forget your swimsuit, snorkelling equipment and perhaps pack a light lunch and you´ll have a great day out.

All about Isla Tabarca

Located at approx. 9km south east from Santa Pola,Tabarca is the smallest permanently inhabited island in Spain. The population count is about 80, but that changes dramatically during the summer months because tourism is the main source of income for the island.

Tabarca has a quite interesting history. All of 2km long and 300m wide, the island was a refuge for the Barbary pirates up to the end of the 18th century. Around 1760, a group of sailors from the Tunesian town of the same name, which, at the time, was under the reign of the Republic of Genoa, shipwrecked near the island, were rescued and finally settled there together with a deployment of Spanish soldiers.

King Charles III of Spain decreed the fortification of Tabarca to protect against the pirates. As the boat approaches the harbour, the first thing you see are the remains of the wall, the fortress and the church.

Isla Tabarca,Torrevieja

A lighthouse at the far end of the island and a church in the middle of town date from the same time.

Church of St.Peter and Paul,Tabarca

Once onshore, you will notice, that the vegetation is quite harsh. It feels more like a desert, with thorns, low brushes and cacti, a striking difference to the orchards, orange groves and vegetable fields around the province of Alicante on the mainland.

The island of Tabarca forms part of a Maritime Nature Reserves called Reserva Marina de la Isla de Tabarca and is also a sanctuary for the protection of birds. Hence the water is crystal clear and the glass bottom boat allows you a view of maritime fauna.

Rare birds,Tabarca

Small, pebbled beaches and coves invite to snorkelling.

The town is laid out in a square pattern which shows the military origin, with only a few streets bordered by old fishing houses and one quite upscale modern hotel which once was the Governer´s residence, as well as a few restaurants which mostly serve seafood.

Boutique Hotel,Tabarca

What to do on Isla Tabarca

You have about six hours before the boat leaves for the return trip, but although the island is small, there is plenty to do.

You may want to start with a walk to the lighthouse, observing some rare birds perched on the rocky shoreline along the way. Enjoy the view over the Mediterranean from the lighthouse and the odd rough vegetation.


Turn back and walk in the opposite direction towards the town proper. Pay a visit to the Baroque Church of St Peter and Paul, then walk along the wall to the other end.

Meander through the narrow streets and stop at one of the pirate themed bars or restaurants to sample the local speciality: caldero, which is a delicious fish stew.

Fish stew,Tabarca

Return to your starting point, take out your swim wear and snorkelling gear and spend the rest of your stay enjoying a much cooler beach life than in Torrevieja because of a steady breeze.


How to get there

The company maritimas torrevieja operates the ferries starting from the Marina in Torrevieja at 11am.


Ticket kiosk,Torrevieja

You can simply turn up in good time at the ticket office and buy your passage. Prices are changing, the latest was €22 per adult and €10 for kids for the return tip. You my want to check the day before you plan your trip and make the reservation in situ. There is a phone number 965 717 447 but it doesn´t always work. Also, the website www.maritimastorrevieja.com  as announced on the kiosk, seems to be out of service but that might change.