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my torrevieja diary

One year living in Torrevieja. What to do, where to go, what to see, the good and the not so good, a personal Torrevieja guide.

A delightful trip to Isla Tabarca
25 January 2015 @ 08:18

I have a permanent case of itchy feet. Having settled into my new apartment and got my bearings in Torrevieja, I was on the look out for daytrips to the surrounding areas.

I am also a rather spontaneous traveller, as  prone to going off to  Hong Kong the next day if the fancy takes me, as hopping on a bus visiting  a place nearby. Or, as in this case, on a boat.  Admittedly only being a free lance writer and having no family allows me such freedom.

I have read some comments on Tabarca related websites, tripadvisor among them, which said that the island is small, there is nothing to do, it´s dead boring and what few restaurants there are, are a rip off. I beg to differ. A trip, any trip, is only as boring as you make it and if you are afraid of being ripped off-well, nothing prevents you from packing a picnic lunch.

In that case however, you will miss out on a speciality of the island, caldero which is a delicious fish stew and it was no rip off in the Pirate restaurant at all.

But, back to the beginning. I walked to the marina and saw a kiosk offering a boat trip to the island of Tabarca. It´s the smallest permanently inhabited island in all of Spain, located in the middle of a Maritime Reserve and was, until the end of the 18th century, a refuge for the Barbaric pirates. If that isn´t incentive enough, I don´t know what is.

A glass bottom catamaran ferry takes you there in about 40 to 50 minutes. The boat ride alone is already a pleasure with views of the coastline towards Santa Pola and beyond and watching the fish through the glass bottom, all swimming in crystal clear water.

You can only take this trip from May to October and I have to say that it can get a bit choppy. If you get seasick, you better check the weather report before you go.

Approaching the island, you can already see the walls of a fortification which was built in the 18th century to protect against attacks from said pirates. The entire town was basically a military base, the streets are laid out in square pattern, a lighthouse is standing on one end and a quite nice church raises it´s tower above the walls.

The ferry leaves at 11am and returns at 6pm, so you have about 6 hours to spend in Tabarca. The island is approx. 20km long and all of 300m wide and the permanent population count is around 70. It would be very interesting to rent a place there during the winter months when there are no ferries and no tourists to see how they spend their time. An ideal place, I guess, to write a book.

Once off the ferry, I turned left and walked towards the lighthouse. I was amazed to see the rather harsh vegetation, very much in contrast to the orchards, pine trees and orange groves on the mainland. You can also watch rare birds perched on tiny rocks in the middle of the sea and plants and flowers which you don´t find on the mainland.

Then I headed back and walked through the town, past the church and through small streets, tiny, shaded squares, past a first rate hotel which was once the governor´s residence to the rocky and quite slippery other end. Part of the walk leads along the fortification wall with lovely views.

Whilst criss crossing the streets, I came upon the above mentioned Pirate restaurant, a theme in tune with the island´s history and enjoyed my huge bowl of caldero.

The remaining hours I spent on one of the pebbly beaches where you can rent sun beds and umbrellas. I had brought my snorkelling equipment and a book and didn`t have one dull moment! Due to the permanent breeze it isn´t too hot, even in the middle of summer.

All in all, a great daytrip which I can only recommend.







Like 2


Roo said:
31 January 2015 @ 09:43

The Island sounds lovely. If I get the chance, I will definitely visit it. Thanks for telling us about it! I look forward to reading about your future trips.

pompie8 said:
31 January 2015 @ 10:15

One thing to beware of, when we went we bought a ticket at one of the many ticket kiosks and there was a counterfeit €10 note slipped into the change. Very hard to tell the difference, only the silver strip that didn't go right through otherwise perfect.

Poedoe said:
31 January 2015 @ 10:21

I quite agree, a beautiful island and well worth a visit.

Venator said:
31 January 2015 @ 14:27

Hi. Yes lovely place. I think you mean 2Km long, not 20 though!

Henshaw said:
02 February 2015 @ 18:57

How interesting your visit was thank you for sharing it, it seems well worth a visit.

Sten46 said:
24 February 2015 @ 21:12

Top tip - go in the spring and take a small overnight bag. Stay in on of the hostals (we have used Hostal Masin on several occasions, excellent value b+b) and wander round when all the grockles have gone. Then get up before eight in the morning and take a walk through the deserted streets before breakfast. Priceless!!! Ihr peace - the beauty and the spring flowers will stay with you for ever.

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