Amazing Day Trips to Take from Torrevieja by Boat

With some of the oldest ports in the Mediterranean to explore, boat trips around Torrevieja are exceptional
With some of the oldest ports in the Mediterranean to explore, boat trips around Torrevieja are exceptional | © Karina Knyspel / Alamy
Mark Nayler

Named after the 18th-century watchtower that was once its only building, Torrevieja – or Old Tower – is perfectly located for explorations of the Valencian coast to its north and the wilder shores of Murcia of its south. Here’s our rundown of the best day trips by boat while you’re based in this major Costa Blanca resort – from an uninhabited island once roamed by pirates to one of the oldest and most important ports in the Mediterranean.

Navigate your way from Torrevieja along the coast at your own pace.

Isla de Tabarca

Once a refuge for pirates, the largest inhabited island of Valencia is protected by a Unesco-registered defensive wall, built on the command of Charles III in the 1700s. The lived-in western extremity consists of a lively cluster of bars, hotels, shops and restaurants flanked by a small pebble beach. Don’t sail off without trying the island’s signature dish, Caldero – a fish stew slow-cooked in a deep metal saucepan. There are also two smaller neighbouring islands to sail around here: La Galera and La Cantera.

Alicante

After mooring in the major resort town of Alicante, you’ll step onto a colourful promenade paved with over 6.5 million marble tiles, which create a hypnotic wave effect as you walk. Not far from the marina is the Contemporary Art Museum – where works by Picasso, Miro and Dali are showcased, alongside exhibitions by two celebrated artists from Alicante. Continuing on the cultural theme, hit the 9th-century hilltop Santa Barbara Castle followed by the Central Market, where you’ll find a photogenic selection of meat, fruit, vegetable and fish stalls.

Cartagena

The well-protected port of Cartagena has been one of the most important in the Mediterranean for centuries and remains the Spanish military’s main base. Trace the city’s two millennia of history at the Military, Archaeological and Naval Museums and its two major architectural attractions, the impressively well-preserved Roman Amphitheatre – built between the 5th and 1st centuries BC – and the medieval hilltop Castillo de la Concepción. A leisurely stroll along a blue path connects the marina with Cala Cortina: the city’s only beach.

Playas de Calblanque

If you’re looking to beat the crowds and find a secluded spot, drop anchor on the sandy seabed of Playas de Calblanque. Situated 35km (21.7mi) east of Cartagena, these chiringuito-free coves and playas are part of a protected nature reserve comprising salt flats, fossil dunes and mountain massifs. As you wander the dunes or recline on the virgin sands, keep an eye out for resident bird species such as Bonelli Eagles, Eagle Owls and Warblers.

Santa Pola

The coastal town of Santa Pola is a short punt north from Torrevieja and it remains one of the busiest fishing spots in Valencia. Known to the Romans as “Portus Illicitanus”, this working harbour is at the centre of local life. There’s a daily fish auction and a quayside market – Lonja de Pescado – where you can stock up on ingredients to cook up a Mediterranean feast back on board. If sunbathing is more your thing, there are three fine sand beaches to skip between.

Cabo Roig

If you’re after something a bit different from paella and grilled fish, cruise into Cabo Roig – a resort that caters to all culinary tastes. The Strip – as the central thoroughfare is known – is lined with everything from Argentinian steakhouses and Thai joints to Italian restaurants and Australian-themed live music venues. After a long lunch, take to one of the two city beaches – Playa Cala Capitan or Playa Caleta – to swim it off or simply sit back and relax. Come the weekend, there’s also the opportunity to dance on Playa Caleta with live music setting the holiday mood.

Salt Lagoons of La Mata

Tack left out of Torrevieja port and you’ll soon be parallel with the 2.3km (1.4mi)-long shore of Playa de la Mata. Behind the stretch of sand, you’ll find the Lagunas de la Mata y Torrevieja Natural Park, where you can paddle on salt-encrusted shores and hunt for salt crystals in the vast pink lagoon. If you have a pair of sandals, be sure to pack them as the lake floor can be tough on the feet. After a spot of exploration, refuel at Queen Mississippi – a Mediterranean eatery modelled on the legendary steamboat of the same name.

Parque Regional de Salinas y Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar

Dock at the Puerto de San Pedro marina to access the wetlands and beaches of this natural park. Best explored on foot or by bike, it’s a protected area of pink salt marshes populated by similarly-coloured flamingos and a coastline of fine grey sand – known as Playas de la Llana – backed by dunes. The southern tip is crisscrossed with well-maintained trails for both hiking and biking, with one leading to the sweeping beach of Punta de Algas.

Point your compass in the direction of Torrevieja and explore the coastline.

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