The island of Tabarca it's in the Mediterranean Sea about 20 km off the coast of Alicante. It has an area of 20ha and is currently a district of the municipality of Alicante. The closest point on the peninsula is Cape Santa Pola which is 2.4 miles away.
The name of the island It is really Isla Plana but since the settlement, in 1770, of sixty-nine Genoese families from the island of Tabarka, located off the coast of Tunisia, when they were freed from the slavery to which they had been subjected by The Tunisian sovereign in 1741, was renamed Nueva Tabarca and later, for short, everyone calls it Tabarca.
It can access the island from the port of Alicante in which, especially in summer, there are several tour boats and catamarans that make excursions every day. But the shortest journey in distance and time is from the port of Santa Pola. Throughout the year, a catamaran service makes the journey in just over twenty-five minutes, and there is also the possibility of being able to rent boat-taxis that take you to the island in no time.
The island is elongated, with two well differentiated areas separated by an isthmus on whose north face, more sheltered, is the port and on the other, facing the open sea, is its longest and busiest beach. To the east is the most extensive, barren and rugged area, with only two buildings, the lighthouse and a tower that was once used as a prison, and the cemetery. In the west are the church and the town, which still conserves a beautiful entrance door and remains of its defensive wall.
In winter there are very few inhabitants, most of them descendants of the first Genoese families, but in summer their activity grows frantically as many houses are rented to vacationers and there are also two or three pensions and a hotel set up in a mansion that was once the house of the governor of the island. The hotel has few rooms but is open all year.
The most interesting thing on the island is the "Tabarquino cauldron". Just to taste such a splendid delicacy it is worth going on an excursion, even if it is only to go to eat and return at sunset after lunch. There are many restaurants on the island, some that only open in summer and are, as soon as you disembark in the port, on a small stop from where you can contemplate the beach and others, already in the town, that are open all year or at least during the weekends. In any of them you can taste a good "cauldron". The secret of the cauldron is to make a good broth with fish such as chicken and / or milk, part of which is used to cook potatoes and another part to make rice. First, the chopped fish and the potatoes are served in a platter, all bathed in the tasty broth and then, in case you've been wanting, you have the rice that you can add to make some of the remaining broth juicier.
Every year at the end of September, my friend Agapito invites me to have a cauldron. Not only me, but a lot of friends and the cauldron is prepared in the Los Pescadores restaurant with the fish that he together with Paco and Andrés, and I believe that with the help of an old local fisherman, they have been in charge of fishing previously. This year it has been an exquisite cauldron of lechola and it has also delighted us with an aperitif made with jig squid, dropped on the grill and tasty fried denton slices. Delicious.