TAKE A DAY TRIP TO the gorgeous island of Tabarca, one of the Costa Blanca’s top tourist attractions and summer destinations.
The historic island of Tabarca is a 50-minute boat trip from Torrevieja and after the cosmopolitan and vibrant modern ambience of Torrevieja city, you will feel like you have stepped back in time.
Enjoy your journey over to the island from Torrevieja’s port on a glass-bottomed boat allowing you to view the amazing creatures and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea, including a chance to view dolphins in their natural Mediterranean environment.
In 1986 the Island of Tabarca and the surrounding inshore seawater’s were declared a protected marina and bird reserve, the first of its kind in Spain.
The popular island boat service from Torrevieja to Tabarca
Just 4 km’s away from Santa Pola’s bleached white sandy beaches, the island of Tabarca has an interesting history which is today reflected in the historic and weathered architecture.
During the 18th century, the island became a refuge for Barbary pirates until the Spanish king, King Charles III, decreed the fortification of Tabarca to protect against the pirates.
The remains of the wall and the fortress are still visible, and they are one of the first sights you will see as you arrive at the island.
In the heat of a Spanish summer, the milder climate of Tabarca will be a welcome relief for the day. The island is renowned for its fabulous clear waters, the sandy beaches, and its coves and cliffs which surround the island.
But it´s the autumn and spring seasons when the island really shines, and visitors will find an oasis of Mediterranean tranquillity and a much slower, more authentic, pace of life than you´re likely to experience during the summer months.
Spanish culture, history, nature, and beautiful clear warm waters
Remember to pack your swimwear and beach gear, as Tabarca is just perfect for water sports, snorkelling, and swimming in the beautiful clear Mediterranean seawater.
The village, which occupies the westernmost tip of the island, is laid out in a square pattern, with narrow streets lined with old fishing houses.
Take a visit to the lighthouse, observe the many rare species of birds that inhabit the island of Tabarca, and look at the amazing natural panoramic views on offer.
Find the historic buildings: the Baroque church of St Peter and Paul, the Casa del Gobernador (the old Governor’s house), and explore the old fort and gatehouses. The museum is well worth a visit.
The Island of Tabarca: great restaurants or take a picnic
Whilst wandering around the village stop at one of the many Barbary pirate-themed cafes, bars and restaurants to sample the traditional Spanish seafood on offer.
Local specialities include paellas and caldero (a type of Spanish fish stew). The cost of an average Menu del Dia is around €20.00 per person, slightly more expensive than you´ll find on the mainland.
Another option is to take a picnic and enjoy al-fresco dining alongside nature. The island is nearly 2 km’s long, and you’ll always find a quiet location to lay down a blanket and open the cool box.
For those looking for a unique overnight stay, the Tabarca Boutique Hotel offers a memorable stay on the island. The 3-star hotel offers rooms with idyllic sea views, free WiFi, and private facilities. A complimentary buffet breakfast is included in the room price.
Rooms are bright and clean, and the hotel’s restaurant features stone floors and details of the original structure of the 18th-century building. There´s a bar, a courtyard-terrace, landscaped gardens and a reading room too.
Where does the boat from Torrevieja to Tabarca depart from?
Boats depart from Torrevieja’s port adjacent to the old casino. Car parking is available at the port for around €1.00 per hour, and vessels are adapted to meet the needs of persons with limited mobility.
Tickets can be purchased from the port 30-minutes prior to the boat’s departure, and cost €24.00 per adult, €17.00 for children aged 3-10 years, and children 2 years old and under are free. Pets are accepted on board.
Sailings take place daily during the spring, summer and autumn months, with boats departing Torrevieja port at 10:45 every morning and returning to the port at 19:00. Get more information by calling (+34) 966.702.122 or (+34) 669.412.233, or visit the official Torrevieja tourist information website by clicking here.
Looking for holiday ideas and travel inspiration? Find out more about our favourite recommended things to do on the Orihuela Costa or join the La Zenia community Facebook group and find out what´s going on in the local area.
Editorial note: This page was first published on 30th August 2019 and updated on Thursday 23rd September 2021 with information for the current summer season.
Photo credit: LaZenia.com