llegando a tabarca

Tabarca is one island yet many at the same time. It is both bustling and quiet, with beaches and coves in which to lose yourself. It is just a stone’s throw from Alicante, yet comfortably cut off from the outside world. And it attracts both those who savour ancient history and a younger generation who are wowed by what the island has to offer. You go to Tabarca yearning for the sea, and leave with a hundred reasons to return. The island’s greatest attractions are its beaches and coves and those tucked-away places that its lovers know so well. Visitors come to soak up the sea in all its glory, to bask in the sunshine, explore the rocky shore and wallow in clear and bountiful waters. To buy a t-shirt proclaiming you were there. To try the typical dishes rustled up in its restaurants. To explore its fortified walls, which whisper of pirates and make us smile today yet made us tremble in days of yore. To rest and relax, far from the madding crowd. To hear the seagulls and watch them fly.

calles de tabarcaAlso known as Isla Plana or “Flat Island”, as it is flat and long, the island of Tabarca comes alive in high season, its small harbour welcoming boatloads of sea-loving visitors every half hour, from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar, Torrevieja and even Benidorm. Just the arrival is quite a show in itself, with the sea stretching out all turquoise and transparent, suggestive of what awaits visitors to this magical place. Fish teem alongside the boats, free from the fear of fishermen, as fishing is prohibited on the island.

tabarcaplayaFirst thought upon arrival: where to swim? If beach and only beach is your thing, then head for the central stretch of coastline, just along from the jetty. Here, your maritime experience, which began when you stepped on the boat, will continue until you head home, with the scheduled passenger transport boats often joined by visiting yachts, many of which drop anchor opposite the beach.

museo tabarcaOn terra firma, parasols and sun loungers, beach bars and restaurants are all at your service, catering to your every need. The water is calm, and so limpid that you can see your feet clearly beneath the surface. Overlooking the beach is the Tabarca Museum. Take a moment to drop in and learn about the island: its geography, flora and fauna, culture and history. Then step back into the present, as embodied in its streets and its souvenir and craft shops.

Tabarca, buceoTabarca became Spain’s first National Marine Reserve in 1986. Thanks to this official status, created for the protection, regeneration and development of fishing resources and to protect the underwater flora and fauna, it enjoys a rich marine life, with popular diving spots hinting at the sub-aquatic paradise that lies hidden within its depths.

tabarcacalaVisitors to the island fall into two camps: those who stay on the beach and those who seek out the best cove in which to settle down and swim to their heart’s content. Throughout practically the entire island, you can find a spot to lay down your towel and head for the water. Suitable footwear is, however, highly advisable, as the entrances to the coves are rocky. If you fancy a stroll around the town, you will find it to your right as you arrive. The gateway to the town is a portico, which welcomes you into the inhabited part of the island and onto Calle d’Enmig or Middle Street. Tabarca has very recently undergone a process of paving, which has greatly improved the appearance of its streets and made them very comfortable to walk on. Calle d’Enmig is festooned with gift shops and souvenir shops, with a sprinkling of bars and restaurants. Keep walking and you will reach the town square, where a festival in honour of the local patron saints is heartily celebrated towards the end of June, and where the patron saint of sailors, the Virgin del Carmen, is honoured with music into the wee small hours and with a curious maritime procession.


The island also has a lighthouse, a watchtower and an 18th-century Governor’s House – La Casa del Gobernador – which is now a charming hotel. The entire island enjoys sea views, is peppered with coves – some of which are hard to reach – and is bathed by remarkable emerald-green waters.

The cuisine on Tabarca has a capital C for caldero tabarquino, the local stew. Expert hands have spent entire lifetimes preparing this dish and have handed the recipe down through the generations. A leading figure among the islanders is 82-year-old Gloria Ruso, who is a veritable repository of stories about Tabarca and who remembers when all of the neighbours were fishermen and the island lived off fishing.

como hacer un caldero

The main ingredients of caldero tabarquino are fish: scorpion fish plus smaller fish known as fry, which are cooked with ñora peppers, garlic, pepper and salt to make the stock. The scorpion fish is served first, alongside potatoes daubed with a little aioli, followed by rice. calderotabarcaAnd there are many more dishes for you to try on the island:fideuà noodles, all  types of rice dishes (arroces), particularly those with shellfish, squid, octopus, troll-caught lechola fish, fried whitebait… On the island of Tabarca you will find set menus ranging from some 12 to 30 euros or, if you don’t want to lose any time away from the sea and sun, you can always grab some finger food for a quick snack.

The soundtrack of Tabarca is that of waves breaking softly upon the beach, the cry of gulls and the music that drifts out of some establishments. In the evening, we came across a family from Lithuania who had spent the day on the island and were about to get the boat back to the mainland. The eldest son, 20-year-old Rokas, told us of the good impression he had of Tabarca, particularly the small-town tranquillity that pervades the island. He had also done some diving and admired the marvellous marine reserves harboured by the island.

Helen is from Manchester, in the United Kingdom. She considers herself privileged to be staying at the old governor’s house, and she recounts how, when the last boat has left for the mainland and Tabarca is “alone”, there is a very special atmosphere on the island. Those who spend several days on Tabarca, either because they have a house there or they are staying in lodgings, tend to gather to watch the sunset. A stunning and rather special sunset, looking out across the water towards the mainland, waves lapping at the rocks, gulls perched and wheeling. An experience that every visitor  to Tabarca should enjoy at least once.

isla de Tabarca

On a stretch of fortified wall facing the mainland, on an evening in which the sea is as smooth as a mirror, Victoria plays her guitar and composes melodies. She is young, and she describes Tabarca as “a perfect place”. She goes on to explain that at night a group of youngsters often gathers to play string instruments, and she loves the romantic atmosphere this creates. Wistfully conjuring up images of this, how we yearn to spend just a few more days on the island!

Later, we speak to someone with in-depth knowledge of the island, its history, legends, fauna and, above all, its flora. Someone who knows every cove and corner of the island like the back of their hand. And they tell us something surprising: they tell us that, every winter, the “perfect wave” is created in Tabarca – something surf lovers know well. But that’s another story, for another day. Because the island of Tabarca has so much to see and so much still to discover.


Estación marítima de Alicante

Getting there from Alicante

The boat trip to theTabarcaIslandcan be comfortably made from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar and Benidorm.

From Alicante Marina

Crosiers  Kontiki

  • Phone: +34 686 994 538
  • Phone: +34 686 994 539


At Easter and over the summer season, there are several departures every day. Outside of the summer season, confirm timetables beforehand: www.cruceroskontiki.com



Until 17 June/ Jusqu'au 17 juin/ Bis 17. Juni / Fins el 17 de juny

Alicante- Tabarca
- De lunes a viernes
- From Monday to friday
- Du lundi au vendredi
- Von Montag bis Freitag
- De dilluns a divendres
11:00 h
- Sábado y Domingo
- Saturday and Sunday
- Samedi et dimanche
- Samstag und Sonntag
- Dissabte i diumenge
11:00h/ 13:30h

Tabarca- Alicante
- De lunes a viernes
- From monday to friday
- Du lundi au vendredi
- Montag bis Freitag
- De dilluns a divendres
16:30 h
- Sábado y domingo
- Saturday and sunday
- Samedi et dimanche
- Samstag und Sonntag
- Dissabte i diumenge
16:00h/ 18:15h


Desde el 18 de junio/ From 18 June/ A partir du 18 juin/ Ab 18. Juni/ Des del 18 de juny

​​Alicante- Tabarca:​
- De lunes a domingo
-Monday to Sunday
- Du lundi au dimanche
- Montag bis Sonntag
- De dilluns a divendres​
11:00 h /12:15 h / 13:30 h

Tabarca- Alicante
- De lunes a domingo
- Monday to Sunday:
-Du lundi au dimanche
- Montag bis Sonntag
- De dilluns a divendres
16:00 h /18:15 h

Venta de billetes: AQUÍ
Buy tickets HERE
Acheter des tickets: ICÍ
Venda de bitllets ACÍ

Approximate journey time: 1 hour.

Rates (round trip)

  • Adults: 19 euros
  • Children over 4 years: 19 euros
  • Children under 4 years: free



Estación marítima de Alicante

Catamaran Trips

Magic Excursiones 

Puerto de Alicante, Paseo Marítimo s/n 03002
Alicante (junto a Plaza Canalejas)
Telf.: (+34)966 423 066



Getting there From Santa Pola

Cruceros Baeza Parodi

  • Tel: +34 608 330 422 / +34 609 893 920
  • Further information is available from Tourist Info Santa Pola -Tel: +34 96 669 60 52

Getting there from Guardamar del Segura

La Gola de Guardamar

  • Tel: +34 689 103 623
  • Further information is available from Tourist Info Guardamar-Tel: +34 96 572 44 88

Getting there from Benidorm

Excursiones Marítimas Benidorm

  • Tel: +34 96 585 00 52
  • Further information is available from Tourist Info Benidorm- Tel: +34 96 585 32 24


Where to eat

Playa Central s/n
03138 Isla de Tabarca
Tel/Phone: (+34) 965 970 734
Centro de servicios Tabarca
03138 Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965960734
C/ Bernardo Ruso 19
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 970 584
Plaça Gran,
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965970581
C/ Virgen del Carmen 1-
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 961 283
C/ D'Azorla 27
03138, Isla de Tabarca,
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 970 599
C/ Virgen del Carmen 29
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 970 587
Playa Central s/n
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 970 810
Playa Central s/n
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 960 650
Playa Central, s/n, 03138 Isla de Tabarca, Alicante
Tel/ Phone: (+34)965 960 101
Playa central. Local 5
03138, Isla de Tabarca
Tel/phone: (+34) 965 961 087
Tel/phone: (+34) 649 963 254

Where to sleep

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isla de Tabarca

Más información en oficinas de Información turística


Cruceros Kontiki

Cómo llegar a Tabarca desde Alicante

El trayecto en barco a la isla de Tabarca se puede realizar cómodamente desde Alicante, Marina deportiva. Paseo Tomás y Valiente

Tiempo aproximado de la travesía: 1 h

Cruceros  Kontiki

  • Tel: +34 686 994 538
  • Tel: +34 686 994 539
  • Fax:  +34 96 521 63 96

Av. del Almte. Julio Guillén Tato, 1, 03001 Alicante, Alicante, España


Excursiones a Tabarca en Catamaran

Excursiones en Catamarán desde Alicante

Magic Excursiones

  • Av. del Almte. Julio Guillén Tato,s/n, 03001 Alicante, Alicante, España
  • (junto a Plaza Canalejas)
  • Tel: (+34)966 423 066
  • info@magicalicante.com
  • www.magicalicante.com

Salidas a Tabarca desde Guardamar

Desde Guardamar del Segura

La Gola de Guardamar

  • Tel: +34 689 103 623
  • Más información en Tourist Info Guardamar. Tel: +34 96 572 44 88

Salidas a Tabarca desde Benidorm

Desde Benidorm

Excursiones Marítimas Benidorm

  • Tel: +34 96 585 00 52
  • Más información en Tourist Info Benidorm. Tel: +34 96 585 32 24

Salidas a Tabarca desde Santa Pola

Desde Santa Pola

Cruceros Baeza Parodi

  • Tel: +34 608 330 422
  • Tel: +34 609 893 920
  • Más información en Tourist Info Santa Pola Tel: +34 96 669 60 52

Tourist info offices

  • Phone: +34 96 514 9210
  • Phone: +34 96 512 56 33
  • turismo@alicanteturismo.com