What to do in SANTA POLA: nature, culture, gastronomy and more

Discover 6 must-do plans with the sea as a guiding thread

Tamarit Tower, in the Santa Pola Salt Flats

Santa Pola is a beautiful and touristic town in the south of the province of Alicante. Bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean, it is certain that the sea is an indissoluble part of the character, essence and history of Santa Pola. Already in Roman times, the town stood out as one of the most important ports of Hispania: the Portus Ilicitanus, the natural exit to the sea of the colony of Ilici -the current Elche-, founded by the emperor Augustus.

In this article we propose fantastic plans in Santa Pola, which you can enjoy whether you come to spend a weekend, as if you live in nearby towns. As it could not be otherwise, the Mediterranean essence of Santa Pola will be palpable in all of them. So… Will you join me to get to know these 6 essential plans? Stay until the end so you don’t miss any of them!

Index of contents

1. Sailing in Santa Pola

Sailing from Santa Pola to Alicante

In a town so linked to the sea could not miss this plan. Sailing in Santa Pola is something you have to do YES or YES. The offer of nautical tourism in Santa Pola is wide and varied. My advice is to rent a boat (with or without skipper) and dedicate a whole day to this plan. You can visit nearby coves such as Cabo de Santa Pola or sail to other towns on the Costa Blanca such as Torrevieja, Alicante or the beautiful Altea.

Although, to tell the truth, if we talk about sailing in Santa Pola, there is a destination that shines with its own light above the others. Would you like to meet him? Continue with plan no. 2 to find out…

2. Visit Tabarca Island

Tabarca Island

Santa Pola has the privilege of having off its coast the only inhabited island of the Valencian Community: the island of Nueva Tabarca. Although this small island, nicknamed “the flat island”, is located within the municipality of Alicante capital, Santa Pola is the best port from which to set sail to get to know Tabarca: only 4 nautical miles separate the mainland from what was once a refuge for pirates and evildoers.

There are several ferry and speedboat companies that connect Tabarca with Santa Pola and Alicante, although if you want to live a much more personal and authentic experience, renting a sailboat for you and your loved ones will allow you, among other things, to enjoy nautical activities such as snorkeling or paddle surfing on the Tabarca Marine Nature Reserve. Declared in 1986, it was the first of its kind in Spain.

Don’t miss the article on what to see and do in Tabarca to learn more.

3. Birdwatching in the Salinas de Santa Pola Natural Park.

Tamarit Tower, in the Santa Pola Salt Flats

The seafaring tradition of Santa Pola gave rise to an important salted fish industry, which was possible thanks to the salt mines of Santa Pola. Today, the salt exploitation of the locality has international prestige and is compatible with the natural aspect of these protected wetlands of international relevance. An ecosystem of high environmental value where countless species of birds have their permanent residence, such as flamingos, or rest here during the winters or their long migrations.

There are several signposted routes that you can follow in the Natural Park of the Salinas de Santa Pola, in addition to visiting the Salt Museum or the old barge next to the pier of the Playa de la Gola. Remember to take your insect repellent for mosquitoes!

4. Enjoy the views from the Santa Pola lighthouse.

Santa Pola Lighthouse viewpoint

The Sierra de Santa Pola is a small mountain formation that millions of years ago was submerged at the bottom of the sea: it was a coral atoll. Today the natural esplanade where the Santa Pola Lighthouse is located is an excellent viewpoint from which to look out over the Mediterranean and Tabarca Island. From here you can take one of the routes that lead to the old watchtower of Escaletes, visiting the bunkers and anti-aircraft batteries of the Spanish Civil War. And if you like strong emotions, here you can take to the skies practicing a tandem paragliding flight.

5. To know its rich cultural heritage

Castle-Fortress of Santa Pola

From prehistoric times to the Medieval period, passing through the Iberians and the Romans, the history of this beautiful town of seafaring tradition is rich and varied. The Museum of the Sea of Santa Pola, headquartered in the Castle-Fortress, is the ideal starting point to learn about the valuable cultural heritage treasured by the town.

My advice is to book one of the guided tours that are regularly organized to learn about the different elements of the cultural heritage of Santa Pola.

6. Savor its rich gastronomy

Dónde comer en Santa Pola - Restaurante Varadero
Dónde comer en Santa Pola - Restaurante Varadero

Estefanía Blasco, @elpaladardelaterreta_ on instagram, recommends us her favorite restaurants to eat in Santa Pola, looking for a balance between local product, foreign cuisine, tradition and modernity.

Restaurants in Santa Pola

Paco Baile Restaurant

Since 1996, Paco Baile offers a Mediterranean cuisine with fresh products where you can taste a good caldero, seafood from the bay or a salt fish. This restaurant maintains the seafaring atmosphere in its premises and the Santa Pola gastronomy in every bite. The arroz a banda, a delight. Shall we reserve? Its location is perfect to visit the old town of Santa Pola after a good meal.

Varadero Restaurant

Looking for a good rice or fideuà? Varadero is a restaurant that has been offering the best of the Mediterranean for decades. Great to eat informally with its menu “la pikaeta”, with daily menu (for 16€) or to celebrate a big event. Always with the best views to the beach in the middle of the promenade towards the coves of Santa Pola del Este. The Astondoa family has always been committed to quality cuisine with the best product of our area: fresh fish and seafood.

Fishing Warehouse

Do you feel like sushi? Here they make a fusion of Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine with the product direct from the fish market of Santa Pola. The restaurant is built in the old Pósito Pesquero (hence its name), maintaining some of the original structures of the building. In addition to its variety in menu they offer group menus for only 25€. You’ll love the restaurant and the atmosphere!

Venice Tapas

This centrally located business offers a variety of rice, meat, fish, various tapas and portions with the best products of the region. Elvira and Claudio will make you feel at home with the experience and affection that they dedicate day by day in their kitchen. You can’t miss their red shrimp croquettes, their arròs del senyoret or their tostas de pagés. Not to mention its variety of desserts. Are you celiac? They have options for you!

The Zero

If you’re a rations person, you should come here. A downtown bar recently renovated and rejuvenated, but with the same essence as always. María del Mar, Manuel and their family strive every day to offer a quality product with fresh fish from the bay. The ensaladilla, the chipirones en salsa (baby squid in sauce) or the magra con tomate (beef with tomato) are must-try tapas. You can also order typical rice dishes of the area. A mandatory stop if you come to visit my town.

Tremenda by Ruiz Brothers

The Ruiz brothers from Santa Pola have decided to bring to Santa Pola the famous smash burger that I am sure you will fall in love with: matured meat, crispy bacon, nougat cream, goat cheese or truffle sauce among the ingredients that you will find in their menu. My favorite burger without a doubt is the “Traviesa Smash Burger”. Its location is urban, youthful, cozy and central, in front of Levante Beach.

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Buenas Prácticas

• Sigue siempre los senderos. Atajar daña el entorno.
• Respeta flora, fauna y entorno. Disfruta en Silencio.
• No dejes rastro de tu paso, tampoco restos orgánicos.
• Infórmate, Planifica y Equípate bien para disfrutar al máximo.
• Respeta el Patrimonio Cultural (ruinas, márgenes de piedra, etc).
• Respeta a otras personas y propiedades privadas.

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