Spain’s smallest inhabited island chosen as ‘Starlight site’

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SANTA POLA – Tabarca, the smallest inhabited island in Spain has an area of ​​only 0.3 square kilometres. Thanks to its special location, there is little light pollution and it is possible to see the stars very clearly at night.

That is why Tabarca, off the coast of Santa Pola in the Spanish province of Alicante, received the qualification ‘Starlight site’ from the foundation of the same name. This qualification means that the foundation recognises Tabarca as a place where the quality of the air is optimal for the development of astrotourism. Stargazing!

The island is just 4 kilometres in a straight line from Alicante’s Santa Pola cape. 70 people live there. After receiving this prestigious award, the Alicante City Council plans to strongly promote astronomical tourism. They want to develop and market tourist packages. Tourists can then travel to the island in combination with a stay to enjoy the stargazing at night.

The observation point ‘Punta Falcón’, at the easternmost end of the island, is the ideal location for this purpose. From here it is possible to enjoy multiple constellations during all seasons of the year.

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About the Starlight Foundation

The Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) and the Consulting Corporation founded the Starlight Foundation. Its mission is to make astronomy and science more accessible to the general public. The founders also want to protect the starry sky through advice to minimize the impact of light pollution.

UNESCO approved the certificates issued by the Foundation which also have the support of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Other Starlight Sites in Spain

  • El Chorreron (Caceres, 2022)
  • Isla de Tabarca – Punta Falcón (Alicante, 2022)
  • El Cerrajon de Murtas (Granada, 2021)
  • Faro de Avión (Covelo) (Pontevedra, 2021)
  • Don Domingo (Santiago-Pontones) (Jaen, 2016)
  • Aldeire (Granada, 2018)


Tabarca is more than just an island. It is a small archipelago that consists of the islets of La Cantera, La Galera, and La Nao, as well as the main island. This island was also the first marine reserve of fisheries importance to be declared as such in the country. With its length of 1800 metres and a maximum width of 400 metres Tabarca is the smallest inhabited island of Spain. The maximum height is 15 metres.

History of Tabarca

In the past, the coasts of the archipelago were a haven for Berber pirates. Until 1741 the islet was part of the Republic of Genoa. Later the Bey of Tunis conquered the island. In the 18th century, King Carlos III ordered to fortify the island and build a city to repopulate it. The walls surrounding the city are officially declared a historical, artistic, and cultural heritage site. by Charles III of Spain

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