The Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza may be the largest and most famous of Spain’s Mediterranean islands, but they aren’t the only ones. Indeed, the Costa Blanca is host to three beautiful island treasures of its own that are well worth a visit. Here is Sonneil’s guide to the islands of the Costa Blanca.
Peacock Island, journalists’ island, the island of Benidorm, or simply L’Illa to locals, the small triangular rock off the coast of Benidorm is a must visit for nature lovers. Measuring just 350m in length by 260m in width, its stand out feature is a 70m high cliff on its southside. The islet forms part of the Sierra Helada Nature Park, owing to its rich flora and fauna both on land and in its surrounding waters.
Situated just two and a half nautical miles from the coast, facing the Canfali headland that divides Levant and Poniente beaches in Benidorm, the uninhabited island has a bar and restaurant to attend to the needs of many daily visitors.
It can be reached by ferry from Levante Beach, with boats leaving every hour and take about 20 minutes to reach the island. The ticket price includes a trip on the
AQUASCOPE, a specialised boat with an underwater viewing deck that allows to take in the view beneath the waves. The Aquascope takes you on a short ride around the island, lasting about fifteen minutes during which you can see starfish, squid and huge shoals of fish, all at eye level.
Back on dry land, Benidorm island can be explored on foot along a guided path to the summit where you can take in the impressive views of the Benidorm coastline.
Tabarca Island is a 2km long, 400m wide marine reserve situated 16km off the coast of Alicante. The island was once a refuge for Barbary pirates, before King Carlos III ordered it to be confiscated and fortified on behalf of the Crown in the 18th Century. He repopulated it with fishermen from Genoa whom he had rescued from the hands of the pirates and were being held captive in the Tunisian city of “Tabarka”.
The only inhabited island in Valencian Community, its population fluctuates between a few dozen in winter and a few hundred in summer, when about 3,000 visitors a day arrive on the island. The annual influx of visitors is largely thanks to its main beach which is one of the most beautiful in the Alicante area. Other sites of interest include the walled old town and picturesque port area.
The island of Tabarca can be accessed from Alicante, Santa Pola, Guardamar, Torrevieja and Benidorm by boat. From Alicante the journey usually lasts about 45min and costs around 18 Euros.
The Island of Portichol is located in the municipality of Javea in the Marina Alta region of Alicante province.
A peculiarly round and hilly island, Portichol is located just off the Javea coast, to which it is connected by a strip of land submerged about 3 m beneath the water, called an isthmus. It only takes five minutes to reach from Javea port and the surrounding waters are highly rated by divers thanks to their pristine quality.