Tabarca: A timeless tale of history, pirates, and coastal charm

Tabarca: A timeless tale of history, pirates, and coastal charm.

Tabarca: A timeless tale of history, pirates, and coastal charm. Image: Comunitat Valenciana /Turismo.

Tabarca, the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community, lies eleven nautical miles off the coast of Alicante, near Cape Santa Pola.

In reality, it is more of a small archipelago, including the islets of La Cantera, La Galera, and La Nao in addition to Tabarca itself.

The island spans approximately 1,800 metres in length and has a maximum width of about 400 metres.

While it is known as Tabarca today, it was called Planesia by the Greeks and Planaria by the Romans.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, it was referred to as the Flat Island of San Pablo, due to the legend that the apostle Paul landed there.

The colonisation of Tabarca began in the late 18th century and was renamed Nueva Tabarca.

During this period, several Genoese families from the island of Tabarka, located off the coast of Tunisia, settled there.

These settlers built the town and its defences.

Pirate Attacks

The defences were constructed to protect against pirate attacks from North Africa.

These pirates, of Arab origin, targeted Christian ships and plundered coastal areas.

In the early 19th century, Tabarca began to experience depopulation, primarily due to water scarcity and infertile land.

However, fishing activities later revitalised the island and today, approximately 60 Tabarquinos live on the island.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, UK, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 20 years.