A 15 minute boat-ride from Santo Pola, south of Alicante, brings you to Tabarca, a flat island with a permanent population of maybe fifty souls in the off-season, and considerably more when the tourists invade during the summer months. It has a very calming atmosphere, as indeed many Islands do, and an interesting history.
Berber pirates found refuge on these shores, and in the 18th Century King Carlos 111 ordered the island to be fortified and a town built to house families of Genoese fishermen held prisoner in the Tunisian city of Tabarka.
Some of their names remain to this day.
Walking around the streets is a most relaxing experience, considering how close the bustling coast of the Costa Blanca is across the water.
The waters surrounding Tabarca are so pristine that since 1986 it has been declared a Marine Reserve, the first of its kind in Spain. Even the harbour is gin-clear to the bottom, with shoals of fish much in evidence. Bottle nose Dolphins are regularly seen off-shore, though sadly not today.
A most rewarding day, and a beautiful place, so close to mainland Spain. Even the animals seem adapted to it: Ralph was a sweety, and took a shine to my cycling jacket.