A natural miracle, a Mediterranean paradise within reach of any curious, a jewel for lovers of history and nature, both terrestrial and underwater, a place, undoubtedly very beautiful and interesting that we encourage you to visit.
The island of Tabarca or Nueva Tabarca, is an island of the Mediterranean Sea that is about 22 kilometers from the city of Alicante, about 8 km from the port of Santa Pola. It is the largest island of the Valencian Community and the only inhabited one, but it is the smallest of the inhabited islands of the Mediterranean. The coast line is cut, formed by small cliffs of few meters of height, with beaches of pebbles in its base. The only sandy beach is located in the area of the isthmus. Near the main island are the islets of the Nao (Nau), the Galera and the Quarry. Other smaller cliffs surround the island: l’Escull Roig, the Sabata, l’Escull Negre and Cap del Moro. The whole coast is rugged and in the southern part of the island coast is the cave of Llop Marí. The island covers a total area of 30 ha, with a maximum length of 1,800 m from NO to SE and a maximum width of 450 m.
The climate is dry Mediterranean with an average annual temperature of 17 ° C, maximum of 35 ° C in August and minimum of 5 ° C in January. The precipitations are very irregular throughout the year, not exceeding 300 mm / year. The dominant winds in spring-summer are the Levante and the Lebeche; While in autumn-winter the winds of the first and fourth quadrant (north, mistral and west) predominate.
Declared as a Historical-Artistic Complex in 1964, and Marine Reserve in 1986, the Island of Nueva Tabarca has a series of cultural and natural assets that make it become an enigmatic patrimonial enclave of maximum interest. On the one hand, the citadel walled by order of Carlos III to end Berber pirate (Muslim pirates that moved by North Africa and that used to attack Christian ships) whose first settlers, who definitively colonized this island, were people of Genoese origin rescued by the Spanish crown of the Algerian captivity in the last third of the eighteenth century, and whose origin is to be found in the same island of Tabarka, off the coast of Tunisia therefore, it was decided to call it by the same name. On the other hand, it was the first Marine Reserve of Spain, and became a model of declaration, development and management for new national and international projects of marine protected areas. In the same way, and thanks to the intense relationship that this population has maintained from its origins with the natural environment for its survival, in Nueva Tabarca there are numerous traces of an important ethnographic heritage, which must be known and preserved. At present there is a permanent population in winter of about 50 people, multiplying by ten the permanent population in summer season. In these same months the daily population of visitors is of about 3,000 people in the months of maximum affluence. The main activities on the island are fishing and tourism. The fishing fleet consists of fifteen boats, with crew of 2 or 3 people, with its base mainly in Santa Pola or Alicante, although some belong to the Fishermen Guild of Tabarca. The tourist activity occurs, mainly, between the months of April to October.
The whole of the Tabarca archipelago combines a series of conditions that make it worthy of special interest, on the one hand its geological, biological and ecological characteristics, its isolation and its state of conservation, which favor the existence of very interesting terrestrial and marine ecosystems ; And on the other, its status as a fortified urban complex, one of the few current examples of military architecture on the Spanish coast and the existence of abundant archaeological sites. Based on these conditions, the island was declared a historic-artistic complex on August 27, 1964. The materials for the construction of the fortified city were extracted from the islet called La Cantera, which is located on the west side of the island. The urban area is bounded by walls whose layout fits mostly to the coastline. Three gates give entrance to the town: one located to the north of the island, denominated of Earth, of Alicante or of San Miguel; One to the east, the denominated of Levante or of San Rafael; And the Trencada or of San Gabriel, that is to the west, being these last two doors of Doric style with pilasters. On the island, materials from the Roman period have been recovered, evidencing that it must have been populated at that time, although there have been no remains of buildings that attest to a stable settlement. However, there are remains of a necropolis and wrecks with amphorae, as well as perhaps industrial buildings.
FAUNA AND FLORA
There is a great variety of fish in the reserve highlighting the grouper, the dot, the cherne, the dente, the dorado, the red snapper, the salpa or the oblate. Among the invertebrates is the lobster, various molluscs vermétidos, nacras, gorgonias, sea urchin, starfish or sponges. Likewise, it is possible to find examples of loggerhead turtles. In its sandy substratum areas, the presence of the oceanic posidonia meadows, which besides producing large amounts of oxygen and being the basis of the food chain, is able to stabilize the sandy soils, thus avoiding erosion. In addition there are also formations of other plants of the genus posidonia and cymodocea. In the zones of rocky substrate live diverse species of algae adapted according to the depth, being the most superficial the green alga and the deepest the red alga. The crystalline waters and flora and fauna that make it an attractive for diving lovers.
There are several companies that cover the distance by boat on a regular basis. We recommend the catamarans with underwater vision, that allow to see the great variety and quantity of fish that there is in the island. You can reach Tabarca from Santa Pola, Alicante, Benidorm, Guardamar and Torrevieja. The boat trip from Santa Pola is the shortest (about 25 minutes) and economical, as it is the nearest port to the island. In Palaigua we offer special discounts if you travel from Puerto de Santa Pola. Visit our Online Reservations section to get your discount.
How to arrive to Tabarca
Come and discover this wonderful natural paradise!
In the following section we collect the main transport companies to reach the island. Tabarca can be reached from Santa Pola, Alicante, Benidorm and Callosa del Segura. Although in this section you can find prices, timetables and departure points of the boats, it is recommended to confirm the schedules by consulting directly the websites of the different companies, since in the summer months the hours are usually extended and these can be subject To changes. We hope that this information is useful to you and, if you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact us and we will gladly help you.
TRAFFIC FROM THE PORT OF SANTA POLA
There are two companies that make the journey from Santa Pola:
TABARKERAS www.tabarqueras.es (+34) 608 962 266
TRANSTABARCA www.islatabarca.com (+34) 965 09 44 76
Type of boat: catamaran with underwater vision or boat. Approximate duration: 20-25 min (distance 4 nautical miles). Departure point: Puerto de Santa Pola. S / n. 03130 Santa Pola – Alicante, Spain. Both companies also have Barco-Taxi (boat), faster, but without underwater vision, and both offer the same rates:
Rates (round trip):
CATAMARAN: 15 € adult, 10 € children (from 4 to 8 years), children up to 4 years free. Groups, consult.
BOAT: 12 € adults, 9 € children (from 4 to 8 years), children up to 4 years free.
From Santa Pola: 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
From Tabarca: 11:30 a.m., 12:45 a.m., 1:45 a.m., 4:45 a.m., a 6:15 a.m. offers
1. DISCOUNT IN THE PRICE OF THE TICKET FOR THE EARLY PURCHASE ONLINE AT CATAMARÁN OR LANCHA (Consult the Tabarkeras and Transtabarca websites)
2. DISCOUNT ON THE PRICE OF TRAVEL IN CATAMARÁN OR LANCHA + AQUATIC ACTIVITY IN TABARCA (paddle surf, kayak or snorkel) FOR ANTICIPATED PACKAGE PACKAGE. More information in RESERVATIONS or on the tel .: +34 675 750 763
3. DISCOUNT AT THE PALAIGUA AQUATIC ACTIVITIES TO THE CLIENTS OF TABARKERAS OR TRANSTABARCA PRESENTING THE TICKET OF THE BOAT ON THE ISLAND.
More information at: www.palaigua.com or tel: +34 675 750 763
TRIP FROM ALICANTE
KONTIKI CRUISES Cruceroskontiki.com (+34) 686 994 538 / (+34) 686 994 539
Type of boat: catamaran Approximate duration of the trip: 1 h Departure point: Marina. Dock of Internal Traffic, Stroll of Tomás and Valiente, s / n, 03002 Alicante, Spain. Rates (round trip): Price per person: € 19 Children 0 to 4 years: free
From Alicante: Winter timetable: from Monday to Sunday: 11h Daylight savings time: Monday to Sunday: 10am, 11am, 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m.
From Tabarca: Winter timetable: from Monday to Sunday: 16:30 Daylight savings time: Monday to Sunday: 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.
TRIP FROM BENIDORM
BENIDORM MARITIME EXCURSIONS Www.excursionesmaritimasbenidorm.es (+34) 96 585 68 87 / (+34) 620 955 182
Type of boat: underwater view catamaran Approximate duration of the trip: 1 h 15min. Departure point: Port of Benidorm. Rates (round trip): Adult price: € 30 Child price: € 20
From Benidorm Monday to Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
From Tabarca Monday to Sunday at 17:00
TRAVEL FROM CALLOSA DEL SEGURA – THE GUARDAMAR GOLA AND FROM TORREVIEJA
CRUISES TABARDO (+34) 966 702 122 Call directly at the phone number to check out departures and prices from Guardamar and Torrevieja.
Routes to snorkel in Tabarca
Snorkel is a sport that only requires a light diving equipment. It is practiced in all types of seas, oceans, coves, even rivers, diving in the first meters of the water column or also at the surface. It is an aquatic activity very accessible and simple to realize, avoiding the complications of the autonomous diving. The Snorkel is a sport especially appreciated by groups with children or families, as it is suitable for all ages and tastes. Believe it or not, it is not necessary to dive deep to find marine life and biodiversity. Choosing the place well, the first meters can be a demonstration of life, movement and color. In addition, at these depths the colors red, orange and yellow are very vivid.
Trails in Tabarca
– The caves of Llop Marí and La Cala del Francés: two caves flooded together underwater by a small tunnel that we can snorkel holding breath, since it is only 4 meters in length.
– The wall to the north of the Island of Tabarca: a shallow area ideal for beginners of the snorkel in which we can get to make foot.
– The Escull Negre: a rock of black rock that hardly protrudes half a meter from the water, intermediate difficulty, ideal if you like to practice apnea, since we will find funds up to 8 meters deep.
The snorkeling in Tabarca is exciting.
The practice of snorkeling in Tabarca is an accessible and natural luxury, because the island of Tabarca is a Marine Reserve with privileged characteristics. The island was the first declared Marine Reserve of Spain and being protected, maintain a natural Mediterranean fauna and a paradisiacal ecosystem. Without doubt, the Island of Tabarca is the ideal place to start in the underwater world. Biodiversity is huge within the boundaries of the Reserve. The species you can see snorkeling on the island of Tabarca are fredys, octopuses, julias, grouper, serranos, gobies, mojarras, salpas and others.