Santa Pola near Alicante — Facts to Know for holiday planning and buying property

All you have to know about Santa Pola in Spain: nearest airport, weather and climate, the best beaches. What to do in Santa Pola — explore museums, attractions, hotels, restaurants. Is it worth to buy a property there?

1. General information

Santa Pola is the municipality of the Valencian Community, located on the coast of the Alicante province, in the comarca Baho Vinalopo. In 2019 its population was 32 306 people.

Santa Pola is famous for its historical ruins, fortress, port, salines and beaches marked with the Blue Flag, which is a symbol of environmental quality.

At the end of the 18th century, Santa Pola had about 780 inhabitants, in 1812 the population increased up to 1,400 people, and by 1887 there were 4,383 citizens. The next big jump in the number of inhabitants took place in the second half of the 20th century, thanks to the development of fishing and tourism.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the capacity of apart hotels and apartments exceeded 100,000 places, so in the summer months, the real population of Santa Pola exceeds 125,000 persons.

In the new district – Gran Alacant (5 km north of Santa Pola) live about a third of the population of the municipality. Near to it located Carabassí, a nature reserve and beach. Gran Alacant is located just a few kilometres from Alicante Airport and a few hundred meters from the city of Los Arenales, which is part of Elche.

90% of the local population of Santa Pola knows the Valencian language. A significant part of the population of the Gran Alacant residential area speaks English – many migrants from Europe live here.

The current urban landscape began to develop in the 17th century – from houses located north of the fortress, on the edge of the road to Elche. Nevertheless, the settlement did not develop until the beginning of the 19th century. Only in these times, a large number of streets appear behind the defensive wall of the fortress, when the sea ceased to be a source of danger due to pirate raids. In the mid-19th century, Santa Pola was described as a settlement consisting of "fifteen wide and straight streets and a main square".
View of the white houses near the sea in Santa Pola
The geographical relief of Santa Pola is diverse. In the northeast, the Sierra de Santa Pola mountain of bluish marl and yellow molasses towers up to a maximum height of 143 m in the place where the lighthouse is located. The southern part is occupied by the swampy area of the Elche Lagoon, separated from the sea by a sand spit. Locals have been mining salt in this area since time immemorial. Still, large-scale fishing enterprises dominating its landscape today began to form in the late 19th century and started to expand in the early 20th century.

Santa Pola's economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, handicrafts, and fishing. However, in 2003, only 1,3% of the active population was employed in the agricultural sector, the profitability of which is provided by artificial irrigation. About 200 hectares of irrigated land planted with orange trees, tangerines and pomegranates; another 230 hectares are intended for vegetables, including melons, chicory, artichokes and broccoli.

Fishing occupies 8.13% in the economy of Santa Pola, having lost its leading role back in the 80s of the last century. Currently, only small boats engage in fishing between the Spanish and Algerian coasts. The largest catches are hake, mullet, crustaceans and molluscs, which are sold on the local market and along the coastline from Alicante to Almeria. Maintaining the fishing industry at one time motivated the creation of shipyards, which are currently used more for sports shipping.

The rest of the local economy includes salt mining, construction, tourism, and services.

The toponym "Santa Paula" is derived from "Santa Paula", which, in turn, comes from the Latin name of the Apostle Paul, who, according to legend, landed on the island of Tabarca. However, there is another version of the origin of the name of the city. According to this opinion the name of city may be a result of the rearrangement of sounds or syllables in the word – the Latin "palus" ("wetland") was transferred first to "pauls" and then to "pol".

Santa Pola is known for its sporting events. Every January, the Santa Pola Media Marathon is held here, gathering more than 8,000 runners. The duathlon (running and cycling) is another great sporting event in Santa Pola. The municipality also has training sites for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Near the coast is the island of Tabarca (part of Alicante), boats with tourists depart from Santa Pola to it.

2. Climate

Santa Pola has a mild Mediterranean, moderately arid climate with an average annual temperature of around 18 degrees C. During the year, the temperature usually ranges from 7 to 30 degrees C and rarely drops below 3 degrees C or rises above 33 degrees C. In January, the temperature, on the average, reaches 14 degrees C, and in August – 26 degrees C, creating ideal conditions for recreation and entertainment throughout the year. Rains in the region are infrequent, and their level does not exceed 240 mm per year.

The maximum temperature of the water in the sea off the coast of Santa Pola reaches 25-26 degrees C in the high season – from July to September.
View of the beach with straw umbrellas

3. How to get to Santa Pola

Closest airport to Santa Pola is Alicante-Elche Airport (Aeropuerto de Alicante-Elche) – just 13 kilometres away. It is 12 minutes of ride by car on N-332 motorway.

You can also be reached by bus, in which case the travel time is 30 minutes. The ticket costs 2.45 euros, and you can buy it from the driver. The Vectalia bus runs several times a day from the city of San Vicente through the airport. Santa Pola is the last stop. You can get the schedule on the carrier's website:

https://movilidad.vectalia.es/lineas-regulares/gran-alacant-santa-pola/

4. History

The first settlements in the Santa Pola area dated by the 3rd millennium BC, as evidenced by the rudimentary tools and drawings of the Neolithic era. These items were found in the Carabassi Spider Cave (Cueva de las Arañas del Carabassí), as well as the remains of Late Paleolithic hunter-gatherers in the cave Teresitas (Cueva de las Teresitas).

The Cave of Spiders was discovered in 1967 by Antonio Saez Llorens and got its name due to the large number of spiders on its vaults.

In the 4th century BC, a small urban settlement was founded near the Vanalopo River. It served primarily as the Greek-Iberian economic centre.

During the 1st century AD, a port called Portus Illicitanus, serving the city of Illici (Elche), was built near this place. This port became one of the main ones, along with Cartagena, affecting the development of maritime trade in the region. It is known that in 460 the flotilla of the emperor Majorian was planning to attack the vandals of North Africa from here, but was burned right in the port.

From the Roman settlement remained a necropolis, the ruins of a fish salting factory and the Roman villa Palmeral (Casa Romana del Palmeral). Their remains were described in 1621 by Christofol Sanz, although they were excavated only in the 20th century.

Little is known about the history of Santa Pola after the fall of the Roman Empire because the port was almost abandoned and the population of this area declined sharply. However, it is believed that the Visigoths, since the reign of Sisebut (612-621), housed a fleet here with the help of which, presumably, the Visigoth commander Theodomir repelled the attack of the Byzantines in 754.
View of Santa Pola harbor
The next mention of Santa Pola as the port of Cap de Aljub ("Cabo del Aljibe") dates by 1275.

By the end of the 14th century, there was a fishing farm around the defensive tower. In the middle of the 15th century, several shops, a baking oven and construction work on the building of the church were mentioned in historical documents.

Economic development and the danger posed by the Berber pirates dictated the construction of a fortified castle, where sailors and merchants could take refuge in the event of an attack. Work on the construction of the fortress was begun in 1557 at the initiative of the Duke Bernardino de Cardenas, the governor of Valencia and the son of the Marquis of Elche. In 1562, the fort was already equipped with cannons.

It should be noted that in the Middle Ages piracy in the Mediterranean experienced a huge boom starting from the 15th century. The coast of Alicante was constantly attacked by Muslims, Genoese, Provence, Castilians, Portuguese, and even King Aragon's own citizens, who discovered a decent source of income from their attacks on ships, cities, and port facilities. The island of Tabarca was one of the places where pirates took refuge. The piracy (harassment and robbery of ships) was a very lucrative business in which were engaged the inhabitants of Denia, Villajoyosa, Alicante, Orihuela and Guardamar.

During the development of the fishing industry and trade, and also due to the growing popularity of the coast as a summer resort, in the 19th century, the population of Santa Pola grew almost exponentially. In 1810, the beaches were already so crowded that the city council of Elche was forced to publish the rules and regulations for those who come to Santa Pola to relax or swim.

By the mid-19th century, Santa Pola consisted of 350 houses, and almost all of them were single-storey; many of them belonged to inhabitants of Elche and were used by them as summer residences during the bathing season.
Houses on the beach line of Santa Pola
In 1860, under the rule of Isabella II and the mayor of Santa Pola, Antonio Murtula, the local castle fortress became municipal property. It has gone through the appropriate reforms to ensure that the building lost its military character and remained a historic building for civilian use. At different times, the castle housed the town hall, chapel, customs, public schools, civil guard barracks, living quarters for residents of Santa Pola, the hospital's headquarters, and the world court.

In 1877, King Alfonso XII officially granted to Santa Pola the title of a city, and in 1944 its municipal borders were determined. In the 1950s the local port was expanded by increasing the fishing fleet, although the tourist boom of the 1960s served as the decisive impetus. The first buildings in the form of one- and two-storey houses appeared on the beaches of Lisa and Santa Pola del Este. A bit later began to be built apartment buildings, including 8 and 9-storied ones. Following this, respectable townhouses grew on the mountain slopes.

5. Beaches

The coastline of Santa Pola stretches for 13 km, and it's divided into several sectors. A thin strip of sand stretches from the southern border from Elche to the city centre, which separates salt marshes from the sea. In this area the beaches of El Pinet and La Gola placed.

City beaches are Tamarit, Lisa and Grand Playa, located west of the port. To the east of the port are the bays of Santiago Bernabeu (a series of small beaches artificially separated by breakwaters) and Varadero, which is located next to the shipyards. Further, the entire coast of the cape becomes narrow and steep, with small bays situated under a cliff. The cape itself, called Alhub (l'Aljub), or Cape Santa Pola, is a high-order control point of a geodetic network. In 1858 here, on the old Atalaiola tower, a lighthouse was installed. In front of the cape, in 5.5 km is the island of Tabarca, which belongs to the municipality of Alicante.

The city beaches of Santa Pola are perfectly equipped and they offer a wide range of compulsory services, such as disabled access, pasarenas (beach decks), foot showers, lifeguard and cleaning services, public telephones, bus stops, sports and playgrounds, etc.

The dark sand beach with gravel Mare de Déu is the only one located in the east. It appeared as a result of sushi exposure at the end of Cape Santa Pola. This fairly isolated beach stretches 830 meters in length and 20 in width.

The sandy beach Santa Pola del Este (Playa de Santa Pola del Este) is named after the urbanization located between the beach and the foothills of the Sierra de Santa Pola, which began to develop in 1963. From the north, this beach is bordered by buttes of Cape Aljub (Calas de L'Aljub), and from the south by Varadero beach. The city beach Santa Pola del Este is well accessible directly from the street, has a small parking lot and its own promenade. Its length is 1270 m, and its width is 15 m. Buoys limit the water area of the beach, there is a particular place for the departure of boats. Since 2006, the beach has the status of the Blue Flag.

Varadero Beach (Playa Varadero) is a semi-urban beach with fine sand, awarded the Blue Flag. Its name comes from the dry dock located next to it. The beach is 475 meters long and 62 meters wide.

Levante Beach (Playa de Levante) is a natural beach of dark sand with a large influx of vacationers and many resort services. Among other equipment, the beach is equipped with foot showers, a children's play area. Also beach and water equipment rental is available. Its length is 420 m, width - 35 m.
Levante beach view
Levante beach
Between Levante and Varadero, the Calas de Santiago Bernabéu stretches – picturesque rocky bays in the seaport, forming a complex artificial space in the south of the city. They owe their name to Don Santiago Bernabeu (president of Real Madrid for over 30 years), who spent the summer in a house located on the avenue of the same name. This beach is an area with dark sand and calm water, through which a wide promenade passes, which can be reached by climbing stairs and ramps. The Calas de Santiago Bernabeu have the Blue Flag Award, and there is a rental of water and beach equipment, a games area, showers for the feet. The beach is 1000 meters long and 30 meters wide.

In the bay of Santa Pola, 70 meters from the yacht club is the Big Beach (Gran Playa). Its length is 1100 meters, and its width is 50. It is well equipped for people with disabilities and has all the amenities you would expect from a city beach. There is a windsurfing and waterskiing area, a beach bar, restaurants and a ramp for access to boats.

Lisa Beach (Playa Lisa), which means "smooth, flat", owes its name to its landscape. Its length is 600 meters, and the average width is 120 meters. There are dark sand and calm waves, and there is a windsurfing school and water area for water skiing.

Several beaches are adjacent to the Salinas de Santa Pola Nature Park, which is protected by the state. These beaches are the kilometre-long Tamarit beach (Playa del Tamarit) made of dark sand, which has the status of the Blue Flag, the 3-kilometre beach of Playa del Pinet of gold sand and the Braç del Port beach of dark sand, stretching for 2 kilometres. The latter one is equipped with a surfing area, and nudists also like to relax there.
Tamarit beach view
Tamarit beach
You can get to La Gola public beach only by walking from Pinet or Tamrit beaches. This beach of golden sand is isolated, and it has a kitesurfing area. Its length is 3,2 kilometres.

The 830-meter Alhub bays (Calas de L'Aljub) at the cape of the same name are also located in a conservation area of high landscape and environmental value.

6. Sightseeing and attractions

The main attraction of Santa Pola is Castillo-Fortaleza de Santa Pola – a Renaissance castle fortress, was built in 1557 on behalf of the Viceroy of Valencia and Lord Elche Bernardino de Cardenas to protect against attacks by pirates and corsairs. Previously, there was a defensive tower on this site, erected in 1334 to protect the port.

Castillo-Fortaleza de Santa Pola is a square fortress, with two bastions and two towers in the northeast and southwest corners. This structure belongs to the military art of the Renaissance. The towers are made of masonry with hewn stones at the corners. The bastions have sloping outer walls, with mouldings surrounding all the walls of the fortress. The courtyard is also square, with bevelled corners through which you can get into the rooms in the bastions and towers. Inside the citadel were military units, warehouses, a furnace and a cistern. The main entrance portal dates from the 18th century.

Currently, the fortress has become a cultural centre – it houses the Museum of the Sea, the Fishing Museum, the Chapel of the Virgin Loreto (patroness of Santa Pola) and the Municipal Exhibition Hall. The castle hosts cultural, holiday and religious events.
Castillo-Fortaleza de Santa Pola
Castillo-Fortaleza de Santa Pola
Preserved (more or less) coastal watchtowers (Torres vigía) are reminding about Santa Pola's past. They were built in 1552 as a part of the Berber pirate attack prevention system introduced by Philip II to protect the Levantine coast. They are located in a certain way to warn of the approach of aggressors timely. The towers communicated with each other using smoke signals during the day and burning lights at night.

Tamarit Tower (Torre de Tamarit) is located in Las Salinas. It is a square masonry tower with large stones to strengthen its corners. It is also called the Tower of Las Salinas, or the Tower of the Lagoon. Until the recent recovery, her condition was catastrophic. This tower stood on the defence of the city of Elche, between the castle of Santa Pola and the defensive tower of Del Pinet. Its function was to establish a good connection between them in the event of an attack by the Turks or Berbers. Also, Torre de Tamarit had a good visual connection with the Escaletes tower.

Escaletes Tower (Torre d'Escaletes) is located in the mountains, not far from the Mediterranean coast. Its construction dates by the 16th century, although it is very likely that it was built on the remains of another tower of Muslim origin. The height of this tower is 8 meters; at the top there are stone ledges. The Tower of Escaletes was declared an object of cultural interest by the Council of the Generalitat of Valencia.
Escaletes Tower
Escaletes Tower (Torre d'Escaletes)
Atalayola Tower (Torre de la Atalayola) was located at the highest point of Cape Santa Pola. Therefore, due to its excellent visibility, the current Santa Pola lighthouse was built on it. It was a square tower crowned with a cornice. On its stone walls were holes of horizontal loopholes, and the corners were lined with hewn stones. To date, the tower has changed a lot, having lost its original appearance - it was plastered and painted. The lighthouse was installed in 1858 for night orientation of ships passing along the coast.

The Cylindrical Tower of Carabassi (Torre del Carabassí), unfortunately, is now in ruins, although it is included in the list of objects of cultural interest to the Valencian government.

Perhaps the most ancient witness to the history of this area is the port of Santa Pola. Its activity dates by to the 4th century BC. He witnessed important historical events in the region, such as the exodus of the Moors from Elche after their exile in 1609 and the visit of the Royal Squadron, with which Alfonso XII travelled in 1877.

The current port of Santa Pola dates from 1911, when the jetty was expanded after the destruction by a storm in 1909 – to 169 meters in length and 40 meters in width. However, this was not enough, so in 1931 the port was increased by another 487 meters. And in 1953, at the request of the fishermen, the port was finally modernized with the construction of an additional breakwater (552 m) and an increase of 198 m from the previous pier. These works were completed in 1966.

In 1980, the Port of Santa Pola Marine Club (Club Náutico de Santa Pola) was opened at the port with 550 berths. In the 1990s, the government of Valencia expanded it by building a small pier in the centre of the port, on which 434 new berths were arranged.

The main activities of the port are fishing, servicing tourist passenger traffic and salt export. Every day, fishing boats bring fresh fish and seafood from the sea to the port. From Monday to Friday, after 16 hours and until about 19 hours, you can witness the Peix de Santa Pola fish auction. After the sale, this recently caught seafood can be bought at Peixatería de la Cofradía, located at the beginning of the fishing port.

Another attraction of Santa Pola is the Molino de la Calera windmill, was built in 1771 to provide grain for the population. In the vicinity were discovered limestone quarry (calera), to which it owes its name. From here you can enjoy a picturesque panoramic view of the city and the natural park.
Santa Pola Lighthouse and Skywalk
Santa Pola Lighthouse and Skywalk
From an architectural point of view, the local food market (Mercado de Abastos) is of some interest. It based on a church of the early 19th century, destroyed by an earthquake. Initially, it was an academic project of the temple. Chroniclers narrate that "when the church was almost completed, suddenly at night it collapsed, leaving behind only ruins." The construction of the temple continued, but several years later, the disaster repeated. At the end of the 19th century, another earthquake turned the new temple into another "broken church." Finally, on the site of the church, authorities decided to open a food market, which was done between 1935 and 1938. There are various shops in the market building, offering the freshest and most natural local produce.

Another interesting historical site is Aljibes del Massapà: it is a complex of three tanks designed to store drinking rainwater, supplied initially through the pipeline. Reservoirs were built around the 18th century to provide water to the city's growing population. Later, this water began to be sold in jugs that were transported by cars. The tanks were used until the first half of the 20th century, after which they were abandoned due to the introduction of water supply and modern irrigation systems in the post-war period.

In one of the highest areas of the city, on the Golgotha Square (Plaza del Calvario), a chapel inspired by Arabic architecture stands out, built in the early 20th century. El Calvario is a symbolic district of Santa Pola, where the families who lived in the castle moved in 1967.

7. Archaeological sights

The most famous archaeological value of the region remains of the ancient port of Illici (Elche), Portus Illicitanus. It is located in the centre of Santa Pola, along with fragments of the commercial district of the Roman city, residential walls, a small courtyard with a tank of the 1st century BC and several shops. In the vicinity of Portus Ilicitanus, around the present Plaza de la Diputación, a great Roman necropolis was found, dating back to approximately the same period as Tarragona's one.

It was one of the most important ports of the coast along with the port of Cartagena, and it is repeatedly mentioned in historical sources. Here, in 460, the Roman fleet was built by Emperor Mayorian to attack the vandals of North Africa. However, spies reported about this to the vandals, and they set fire to the flotilla right in the port. Mayorian had to return to Rome, where he was killed due to his failure.

On the territory of Portus Illicitanus are the remains of the Roman villa Palmeral (La villa Romana del Palmeral), a stately home of the 4th century. This villa is luxury; the architecture of the house meets the preferences of the aristocratic class of landowners who built their residences during the late Roman Empire. Interestingly, the villa was built on the foundation of previous buildings of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC.
This house had a large peristyle surrounded by a mosaic gallery. The mosaic is made of one-centimetre limestone tiles with decor from a series of geometric motifs with black fretwork on a white background. These were very fashionable compositions in the 4th century. Another mosaic ornament is simple double Solomon knots of red, black, ocher and white colours, as well as floral decorations.

8. Natural attractions

Two natural parks surround the city of Santa Pola – Salinas de Santa Pola (Parque Natural de las Salinas de Santa Pola) in the west and the Sierra and Cabo de Santa Pola (Sierra y el Cabo de Santa Pola) in the east.

The Parque Natural de las Salinas de Santa Pola has been declared a protected area and is included in the list of wetlands in Europe and North Africa of the International Mar project (1965). Also, it was ratified by the International Convention on Wetlands and waterbirds RAMSAR (1971), to protect wetlands of international importance. Due to the constant habitation of flamingos and stilt in this area, the government gave the status of "Special Zone for Birds" (ZEPA) to this park. This natural area is one of the best places on the peninsula for bird watching.

The park is located on 2570 hectares, and it is formed by many dunes and beaches, next to which there is a salt farm. Birds feed on fish and invertebrates, which enter the salt marshes, while salt production benefits from the mineral wealth brought in turn by the birds themselves. In the park's information centre is the Salt Museum, housed in an old salt mill. People began to engage in salt mining here when, as a result of evaporation of seawater in the sun, salt deposits began to be deposited.

At the entrance to the lagoon is the Tamarit tower, which was used as a coastal watchtower. Inside the park, there are freshwater ponds and even agricultural land.

Due to differences in the environment of the park, you can find the most diverse vegetation here. In the coastal dunes, there is an immortelle, Periploca and an African sandalwood, and around salt ponds there are juncus (rush), juncus maritimus (sea rush) and limonium, endemiс of the park.

The most famous representative of the fauna of the reserve is flamingos, of which there are about 8,000 copies during the breeding season. In general, all kinds of birds that take advantage of the park's resources to feed such as avocet, stilt, sternula, common shelduck, marbled duck, northern shoveler, red-crested pochard, laridae, coot and common moorhen.

Also noteworthy is the presence of the Spanish toothcarp, a fish endemic to the Spanish Mediterranean region.
At 144 meters above sea level rises the rocky cape La sierra y el cabo, which is a unique example of a coral reef in Europe from the Messinian tier of the Miocene era. This geological feature determined the presence of interesting vegetation and fauna here.

The cape extends into the mainland, forming the Sierra de Santa Pola, a green area of the municipality, with extensive pine forests. The tall shrub, covered in ravines, consists of a chameroops, black hawthorn, mastic tree, olive, African sandalwood and ephedra.

Sea fennel (crithmum), limonium, immortelle, frankenia, sea asteriscus, lycium, wild clove and many other amazing plants grow on the rocky shore. And in the upper part of the cape is dominated by thyme, acalypha hispida, anthyllis cytisoides and rock rose.

The local fauna is represented by hares, rabbits, hedgehogs and foxes, as well as numerous species of birds.

In 1986, the natural area of Tabarca Island was declared a marine reserve. This was facilitated by its clear waters, a unique seabed and rich fauna and flora. Currently, this is a famous tourist destination in the high season. Tourists are happy to explore the picturesque sea bottom, have a good time on the beaches and enjoy local dishes based on fish and rice. Also, one cannot fail to note the constant calm and friendliness of the locals.
The monuments of the island are the monumental baroque church and the restored Governor's House, currently used as a hotel.

To Tabarca there is sea transport from Guardamar, Torrevieja, Alicante and, directly, from Santa Pola. From Santa Pola, the island can be reached in 25 minutes.

9. Museums

Located in the castle of Fortales de Santa Pola, the Museum of the Sea (Museo del Mar) is dedicated to the history of the city. Its exposition is divided into six main topics: the prehistoric period, the Iberians, the Roman port, the strengthening of the coast, fishing and salt marshes Las Salinas.

The prehistoric period (History and Archeology) is represented by archaeological artefacts found in the area of Santa Pola and the Cave of Spiders (III millennium BC). These are drawings, fragments of houses, tools of labour, hunting and fishing.

The second section tells about the structure of the Iberian port settlement, the features of household life, clothing, religion. Special attention is paid to aspects of the maritime trade of the Iberians with the Greeks.

The ruins of the Roman port – Portus Ilicitanus – have collected numerous materials confirming the development of commercial activities in the region. Among the exhibits, it is worth mentioning the mosaic of the Roman villa Palmeral, a collection of coins of this era, tools found in the salt factory, as well as finished products such as ceramics, lamps, glass, jewellery and personal items.

The fourth section is devoted to the local fortress and watchtowers – the history of their construction with evidences and graphic materials found during the restoration of the fortress.

In reserve "Art of the Sea", you can get acquainted with the features of fishing, the daily life of fishermen, as well as the basics of navigation.

The theme of the Santa Pola salt industry continues the idea of the previous section, telling about another major industry in the local economy.

The museum also has an audiovisual room in which documentaries are projected.

Ticket price is 3 euros. For 5 euros you can buy a combined ticket to enter the Museum of the Sea and the Aquarium.

The castle also has a small museum dedicated to fishing – Museo de la Pesca, representing two sections: ethnology and ethnography. The first includes eight halls, the exhibits of which tell about the art of fishing and all related aspects: carpentry, boats, marine and fishing tools, and much more. The Ethnography section is located in the northern wing of the castle, where the features of marine and fishing activities are revealed through cartography, navigation, and through marine traditions.

The Museum of Salt (Museo de la Sal), opened in 1991, is located on the grounds of the old salt mill in the Salinas de Santa Pola Nature Park. It tells about the characteristics of salt, its use and consumption, its significance in history, as well as a tour of the old mill is available. You can visit the bird watching viewpoint and take a walk in the Las Salinas Natural Park.
The castle of Fortales de Santa Pola
In 1996 in Santa Pola was opened Municipal Aquarium (El Acuario Municipal), which helps visitors learn more about the biological wealth of the underwater world and the importance of preserving it. For the vast majority of people, sea spaces remain inaccessible areas, and they can learn about various marine species only from television programs. A visit to such aquariums allows you to get acquainted with the famous and rare inhabitants of the deep sea with your own eyes, to receive unforgettable impressions and the desire to preserve this natural wealth of our planet.

It is the oldest saltwater aquarium in the Valencia community. The total area of the premises is 707 square meters. 202 square meters of space are occupied by 9 tanks, the seawater capacity of which exceeds 210 m³.

Sailors from Santa Pola donated many species living in aquariums. Among them, a dusky grouper, European fan worm, pinna nobilis.

Water at the facilities is changed weekly by 25% using a recirculation system connected to the sea. Water is collected directly from the sea, and its purification is carried out using a mechanical and biological filter system into which ozone is introduced. It allows maintaining a high degree of oxidation and an optimal balance of water composition is preserved. The "used" water is poured over the top and seeps into trays at the back of the pools, returning to the treatment tanks, where the cycle resumes.

Entrance ticket to the Aquarium costs 3 euros.

10. Entertainment

There is entertainment for every taste and age in Santa Pole. Some people like relaxing beach vacations, others enjoy invigorating and inspirational walks in the protected areas, while others love to learn something new, visiting museums and viewing historical sights. But if your family has children, you are unlikely to be able to get past the Pola Park theme park.

Opened in December 1996, Pola Park offers 30 diverse attractions and activities for the whole family. On the territory of 24,000 square meters, there are also eating establishments where you can have a snack or lunch. The entrance fee provides for unlimited visits to attractions throughout the day and is 18 euros for adults and 14-16 euros for children, depending on age. There are family tickets which allow to save a lot.

In Santa Pole, you can conquer not only the surrounding mountain peaks and the seabed, but also the sky, and at the same time, you can take a bird's eye view of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. Not far from the lighthouse of Santa Pola is the centre for paragliding in tandem with the pilot. The flight takes 20 minutes and costs from 80 euros.

11. Gastronomy and restaurants

The gastronomy of Santa Pola is based on fish and rice, seasoned with olive oil, saffron, ñora pepper, cloves and salt. The most traditional dishes: arroz a banda – rice cooked in fish stock, arroz negro – black rice with squid ink, as well as various stewed ragout based on meat or fish (guiso). Among the latter stand out bollitori (ragout cooked in a special pan with legumes, potatoes, pumpkin and salted cod (bacalao)), gazpacho de mero (gazpacho from perch), caldereta de langosta (bowler with lobsters) and traditional caldero (typical dish of the region from rice and fish).

As in many other coastal cities of Spain, the cuisine of Santa Pola is replete with all kinds of seafood. Seafood is an exquisite delicacy in any form. Boiled shrimp, crayfish and fried red shrimp are especially popular. As for the fish, they appreciate the gilt-head bream, European bass, seriola and many other types of fried fish.

Of the snacks in Santa Pole, salted caviar and fish (cod, bonito), mohama (dried tuna), pies with a grouper and coca de sardinas (rectangular baked pieces of dough with sardines laid on them) are very popular.

Local sweet foods are also very varied and attractive. You should definitely try various handmade cakes, puff pastry dessert with caramelized threads ("angel's hair"), coca boba (sponge cake with cinnamon and orange juice), spring rolls and varieties of handmade ice creams, granizado cocktails (with crushed ice). And without fail – coffee with ice cream and ice ("black and white").

You can enjoy all this gastronomic diversity in any restaurant of Santa Pola. Many of them are constantly filled with locals, which indicate the impeccable quality of the dishes served there.

Many restaurants and bars are concentrated at the port of Santa Pola and central beaches. Near the port and yacht marina are few authentic Spanish restaurants. "Buenisimo Tu Taperia" is famous for its large selection of traditional dishes. In "Nueva Casa del Mar" you can find impeccable local dishes and large portions. "Batiste" is a large fish restaurant, whose visitors greatly praise seafood dishes and desserts. On the marina is a stylish "Vintage Restaurant & Bar", offering amazing seafood and delicious fish dishes, dishes. The prices are not budget-friendly, but the food and service are worth it. All restaurants at the port prepare their dishes with the freshest seafood, delivered directly from the fish market.

Near the castle, on Plaza de la Glorieta, there are also several interesting places. Restaurant "La Sidreria" specializes in typical Asturian cuisine. Visitors note the excellent value for money, excellent service and an interesting menu, one of the best in Spain. You can also enjoy typical Asturian dishes (fabada, caldero de bogavante) at the "Pulperia Narcea" restaurant, located in the centre of Santa Pola, near the port. Especially popular is the restaurant's speciality – Galician octopus (pulpo a la Gallega). The gastronomic variety is complemented by a large selection of wines.

In the centre of the city is another popular restaurant, "Casa Rico", among the main advantages of which are tasty and relatively inexpensive dishes, a large selection of various tapas, homemade wine and excellent service.

Some restaurants of Santa Pola are placed directly on the beaches, for example, "El Capitan" is located on Grand Playa. Authentic local cuisine is a priority here, offering excellent paella and other traditional dishes. On the beach of the Calas de Santiago Bernabéu, the "Los Curros" restaurant is always filled with locals. It serves excellent squid and octopus, as well as other dishes made from the freshest fish.

If we talk about the cuisine of other countries, here traditionally stand out restaurants of Italian and Indian cuisine. Not far from the castle is a cosy Italian restaurant with very friendly staff "Sapori d'Italia", which serves tasteful pizza and pasta, as well as desserts and coffee. Near the Aquarium of Santa Pola is located the "Krishna Indian Restaurant", appreciated by the local population and foreign tourists for the consistently high service and quality of a variety of Indian dishes.

12. Events and festivals

Festivals of the city reflect the spirit of its inhabitants, folk traditions and the historical events of the region. The history of Santa Pola is closely connected with the sea, so local holidays are associated with it.

On the first weekend of March, the Mig Any festival takes place in Santa Pola, a kind of prelude to the grandiose event Moors and Christians, which is celebrated six months later, in September.

During Holy Week (Semana Santa), various processions take place on the streets of the city, in which numerous fraternities take part. On the same days, the medieval market unfolds on the parade ground of the Santa Pola castle.
Holy Week (Semana Santa)
In June, in honour of the Virgin Rosario, a pilgrimage takes place to Cap (Romería del Cap). Day of July 16 is devoted to the Virgen del Carmen. Liturgies and flower offerings are held in memory of the missing fishermen and sailors, after which people arranged solemn procession and fireworks.

From August 31st to September 8th, one of the most popular Spaniards events is held - "Moors and Christians", which are combined here with honours of the Virgin Loreto, the patroness of the city. The costume festival traditionally consists of landing the Moors on the shore, negotiating, conquering the castle and releasing it by Christians. Following by parades, fireworks, flower offerings to the patroness in the chapel of Castillo Fortales, holiday processions, children's games and sports.

On December 10th, city residents celebrate the Coming of the Virgin Loreto in Santa Pola with a small procession going from the port to the chapel. According to legend, in 1643, a fishing boat bound for another port was forced to call at Santa Pola due to a severe storm. The image of the Virgin Loreto travelled on this ship as a passenger. When the storm subsided, the ship went to sea, but returned three more times, until, finally, the crew and the city authorities realized that Virgo Loreto wants to stay in Santa Pola.

From December 21st to January 5th, various events for children and youth are held at Plaza de la Glorieta. December 31st, the population celebrates New Year's Eve listening to the bells of the Castle. Christmas and New Year celebrations end on January 5th with the traditional Cavalcade of the Magi (Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos) and presenting gifts to obedient children.

13. Hotels and apartments

There are always many tourists in Santa Pola, especially during the high season. Nevertheless, there are quite enough places to accommodate everyone, and mainly these are apartments, guest houses, and villas. Many of them are located on the first line, close to the beaches.

"Oceanic Santa Pola Apartments" is located opposite the marina, 100 meters from the beach and 5 km from the Sali Museum and the Salinas de Santa Pola Nature Reserve. Apartments of 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large kitchen, a dining room and a living room with a terrace of more than 100 square meters accommodate up to 6 people. Within walking distance are bars, restaurants, supermarkets, as well as a pier, from which boats depart to Tabarka Island. The cost of apartments varies from 108 to 175 euros, depending on the season.

"Santa Pola" aparthotel is located 100 meters from the beach. It offers 2-Bedroom Apartment with a pool and terrace, which can accommodate up to 4 people. The cost of living is from 117 to 147 euros. If you wish, you can find apartments cheaper, at the same distance from the sea – from 79 to 126 euros.

400 meters from Levante Beach and 9 km from Carabassi Beach is "Alojamientos Santa Pola" guesthouse, starting at 33 euros per night and up to 85 euros in high season.

Offering sea views, "Vista Mar 1" apartment is also 450 meters from Levante Beach and 1.5 km from Tamarit Beach. The cost of living here is from 72 to 114 euros for two.

"Cassaturis Apartments" is located 500 meters from Levante Beach. It has an outdoor pool, sea views. The price for two people is from 52 to 146 euros, depending on the season.

Less than 1 km from Levante Beach and a 13-minute walk from Tamarit Beach are Apartamento Santa Pola, which can accommodate up to 4 people. The cost of these apartments is from 55 to 106 euros.

There are options for hosting large companies. Offering outdoor and indoor pools, a fitness centre and a garden, "Chalet Beach and Golf Santa Pola Alicante Jupalca" is a 5-bedroom (280 sq.) Holiday home located 13 km from Carabassi Beach and costs from 190 euros to 480, depending from the season.

If you want to stay on Tabarca, you can consider accommodation in the 2-star hotel "Santacoru", where the cost of a double room starts from 90 euros, or in the 3-star hotel "Boutique Isla Tabarca" (from 75 to 150 euros).
Sea view apartment

14. Real Estate in Santa Pola

Santa Paula is known for its budget real estate prices. Because the city is a summer resort, in the winter season there are few people. Therefore, it is difficult to get money by renting housing from November to March. According to portals (by April 2020), the cost per square meter of real estate in 1-4 lines from the sea is 1620 euros, and 500 meters from the sea and further - from 1315 euros per square meter.

If we talk about resort housing in walking distance to the sea, it is represented by re-sale property (development 1960-1970), five-storey complexes without elevators. A small apartment with 1-2 bedrooms can be bought at a price from 70 000 euros. New townhouses can be found at a price from 150 000 euros, detached villas - from 250 000 euros.
You can learn more about real estate prices in Santa Pola from our catalogue.
Thank you for your attention! If you are interested in real estate in Santa Pola contact our agents!
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