6 islands that are neither in the Canaries nor in the Balearic Islands

The Balearic and Canary Islands are the best known, but there are many small islands in Spain that have a very curious history. Some are inhabitable, others are covered by nature, others are false islands… How many of these small islands of Spain do you know?

Alborán Island

Small islands of Spain. Photo: Spanish Navy

Alborán Island has a very interesting history. In the vicinity of the island there was human presence since ancient times, as Roman anchors and amphorae have been found. In October 1540 the battle of Isla de Alborán took place in the surrounding area. Later, towards the middle of the 1960s, various attempts were made by Soviet fishing boats to establish a settlement on the island. To protect Alboran Island, the Spanish Army set up a permanent detachment.

Alborán Island Lighthouse

At the same time, it should be noted that in the centre of the island there is an underground navigable channel that crosses it, whose name is Cueva de Las Morenas. The island also has a small cemetery, a lighthouse, a heliport and a mooring. The only person born on the island today is the daughter of some lighthouse keepers who lived there in 1907.

For its part, the cemetery has three graves, two belonging to relatives of the lighthouse keepers and another to a German soldier from the Second World War. In addition, there is another tomb outside the cemetery which, according to some researchers, belongs to Al-borany. This is the Tunisian corsair who named the island. 100 meters away is the island of La Nube.

Montehano Island

Montehano Island is, without a doubt, one of the most unknown and unique small islands in Cantabria, in the municipality of Escalante. However, we have done a little bit of cheating, because although its name indicates that it is an island, the reality is that it is currently joined to the mainland by an isthmus located in the north. It is situated in the Canal de Hano, in the heart of the nature reserve of the Marshes of Santoña.

The pyramidal shape of Mount Hano, located on the island, stands out, reaching an altitude of 186 metres, which contrasts with the rest of the flat landscape. At the top of the mountain are the remains of the castle of the same name. Nearby there are also trenches and bunkers from the Civil War.

Small islands of Spain. Montehano Island

Perhaps the most striking feature of the false island of Montehano is the Convent of San Sebastian de Hano, which is preserved within its boundaries. Also called Convent of Montehano, it is occupied by the Capuchin Fathers. The origins of the convent go back to the late Middle Ages. As in the beginning the location of the building was that of an islet surrounded by marshes, the Catholic Monarchs granted it the privilege of acquiring a boat used to cross the estuaries if it was not accessible by the Hano bridge.

Island of La Deva y Playón de Bayas

Small islands of Spain. Playón de Bayas

Another of the small islands of Spain is the island of La Deva and Playón de Bayas, a complex located in the Principality of Asturias and declared a natural monument. It is located on land belonging to the council of Castrillón and Soto del Barco. Its area is just over 109 hectares distributed among the cliffs of Punta de Socollo, Playón de Bayas, the sea area between the island and the coast and the island of La Deva.

View of La Deva Island from the coast

On the one hand, Playón de Bayas is the longest sandy area in Asturias with about 3 km in length. Its formation is due to the significant amount of sediments pushed by the Nalón River, located to the west of the beach.

On the other hand, La Deva Island is the largest coastal islet in the region. It has a high landscape interest and it is a Special Protection Area for birds.

Tabarca Island

Opposite the city of Alicante is the only inhabited island in the Valencian Community, Tabarca Island (also known as Nova Tabarca or Isla Plana). In the Mediterranean Sea, the island is located less than 5,000 meters from the cape of Santa Pola. Near Tabarca Island are the islets of La Nao, La Galera and La Cantera. Also around Tabarca Island there are other smaller rocks like La Sabata, l’Escull Roig, Cap del Moro and l’Escull Negre.

Small islands of Spain. Tabarca Island

It is one of the best known small islands in Spain, with approximately 1,800 meters long and 400 meters wide. In its history there are Berber pirates who took the coasts of the island as a refuge.

Later, in the 18th century, Charles III ordered it to be fortified. A village was erected on the island to house the families of fishermen from Genoa who were imprisoned in the Tunisian town of Tabarka. Nowadays, the walls that surround the urban nucleus of the island are an Asset of Cultural Interest and a Historical and Artistic Complex.

Tabarca Island can be reached by boat from the port of Alicante, Santa Pola or Benidorm. Here visitors can spend a day on the beaches and coves, in the sea port or savouring the most typical dishes in the bars and restaurants. There is also the possibility of spending the night on the island.

Mouro Island

It may be difficult to locate the Island of Mouro with a single glance, but considering that this small island of Spain is located in front of the Magdalena Peninsula (Santander Bay), things change. From the peninsula, many people take the opportunity to take a picture with the Island of Mouro in the background and its characteristic lighthouse. It is one of the smallest islands in Spain with a size of less than two hectares.

Until the 18th century its name was Isla de Mogro. However, at the end of this century, while the first Hydrographic Atlas of Spain was being drawn up, in which all the islands of the country were collected, the Galician cartographer who carried it out got confused. The name we all know today, Isla de Mouro, is the result of that mistake.

Small islands of Spain. Mouro Island

During the War of Independence, in July 1812, the English landed on the island to throw grenades and bombs on the French troops located in the coastal areas of the Magdalena peninsula. With this feat they managed to expel them and the Spanish troops managed to land at El Sardinero.

A lighthouse was built there, which is often hidden behind the big waves that crash on the island. The building dates from the 19th century, carried out during the reign of Isabel II. The storms often caused the two lighthouse keepers who lived there to become isolated, so from 1921 the lighthouse was automated.

Toralla Island

Small islands of Spain. Toralla Island

The island of Toralla is an example of small islands in Spain very curious. The measures and actions taken there have often generated controversy, as it is a private island, although attempts have been made to open it up to the public. It is located on the south coast of the Ría de Vigo, near the Playa del Vao.

It is an urbanized island on which 170 houses have been built, with 800 inhabitants. Two archaeological sites have been found under some of these houses. We are talking about a Roman necropolis and a castro from the Iron Age. The surface area of Toralla Island is just over 10 hectares.

The communication with the coast of Vigo is made through a bridge. A tower has also been built on the island, reaching a height of 70 metres.


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