A haven for Barbary pirates in days of old, Tabarca Island lies off the Santa Pola peninsula and is just over an hour’s journey by boat from Benidorm. Once a fortified village in the 18th century, Tabarca remains the only inhabited island on the Costa Blanca. Approximately 1,800 metres long and 300 metres wide, Tabarca Island offers a combination of small sandy beaches, hidden coves and rocky cliffs. The island was declared a protected marine reserve and bird sanctuary in 1986, and due to this it enjoys clear waters and diverse marine life, making it an ideal destination for snorkelling and scuba diving.
Places of interest on the island include its lighthouse, St Joseph Tower, Governor’s House and the Church of St Paul. Tabarca is renowned for it’s restaurants, and in particular delicious, fresh seafood. Indeed, when on the island you may see people in speedboats arriving from the mainland, just to dine on seafood in one of the excellent restaurants, oh how the other half live 🙂 Unfortunately, with their reputation comes high prices if compared to seafood restaurants in Benidorm, but it’s the quality you are paying for on Tabarca. Most of the 3,000 odd visitors the island receives daily during the peak summer months bring along a picnic, and there are a number of scenic spots to relax and enjoy some refreshments and a bite to eat.
Tabarca Boat Trips
There are boat trips to Tabarca Island from a choice of towns on the Costa Blanca, Santa Pola being the quickest and most frequent. If you wish to visit from Benidorm, there is a boat trip from the port in Benidorm’s Old Town that includes an excursion to the vibrant city of Alicante. This is an ideal trip if you want to make the most of your day, as some find an entire day on Tabarca a bit boring.
Depending on weather conditions, the boat departs from Benidorm every Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 and arrives at Tabarca around 12:15. You then have 2 hours 30 minutes to explore the island before heading off to Alicante which takes about 30 minutes. Here you have a further 2 hours 30 minutes of leisure time before heading back to Benidorm which takes less than an hour.