The journey from Santa Pola to Tabarca is a unique spectacle, an incredible mosaic of scenery, land and sea. The crossing is a short trip, barely three miles, leaving behind the salt flats and sailing from Santa Pola’s beaches, some rocky, some with fine sand, to the flat island of Tabarca. The island, the only one inhabited in the Region of Valencia, is a genuine natural monument. The human aspect of its single town complements a beautiful, virtually-unknown protected area.
Santa Pola, a perfect example of a Mediterranean fishing town, is the starting point for a journey through nature, history and local tradition, passing peacefully from rocky coves to sandy beaches and from La Sierra to the Albufera area of Las Salinas. Ancient civilisations left their mark on Santa Pola. A walled, Iberian town from the 4th century before Christ is the first example. The town has a fishing port that has boasted its fame since the time of the Romans, who called it Portus Ilicitanus. Remains from that period can also be seen in the luxurious Roman villa of El Palmeral and in the fish-salting factory from the 4th century before Christ, next to the Iberian excavation.
The castle, a magnificent example of 16th-century Renaissance military architecture, was built for King Felipe II as a defence against attacking pirates from the northern coast of Africa. Its purpose nowadays is to exhibit Santa Pola’s history and culture: it houses two Museums, the exhibition hall, the bastion of the Duke of Arcos and the Chapel of La Virgen de Loreto. The aquarium, another highly-recommended visit in Santa Pola, covers an area of 700 square metres and its central hall contains nine large tanks with Mediterranean flora and fauna. Santa Pola’s three watch towers – Tamarit Tower in Las Salinas, Escaletes in La Sierra and Atalayola at the modern, day lighthouse, were built in 1552 to prevent attacks from the Berbers. (más…)