Isla de Tabarca is the only populated island in the Alicante / Valencia region with about 100 people living on this tiny island. However numbers can swell to some 3000 plus during the summer months, as visitors pour in to this extremely popular tourist spot.
The island is found just off the Alicante coast, is only 1800m long by 300m wide and is extremely flat. It has a port where fishing boats and visitors alike arrive, a small beach and plenty of coves with calm waters for great swimming.
Isla de Tabarca was named after a small Tunisian island. The King of Tunisia invaded the island and made all of the inhabitants his prisoners but they were eventually freed by King Carlos III of Spain, who paid to have them released. The island was then used by the Spanish army as a look-out post for marauding pirates that blighted the Spanish coast at the time.
Tabarca Island now relies on fishing and tourism alone, and the waters have been protected by law, being declared a Marine Reserve in 1986. There is an incredible amount of sealife and fauna and although there are strict guidelines, some sports fishing is allowed as well as scuba diving and snorkelling.
There are some great seafood restaurants making local dishes but they can be pricey as they have a captive audience so to speak. There are also a couple of hotels, should you wish to stay overnight and there are a number of excursion companies and ferries bringing visitors in. You can leave from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar and Torrevieja, taking between 30 and 75 minutes. This is an essential day out during your stay in Alicante but make sure you travel prepared.