11 islands of Andalusia to discover on your next trip

It is possible that not everyone knows this, but besides being the second largest community of Spain, with 87,278 km, the territory of Andalusia also extends by sea. Here we can find islets and archipelagos of different sizes. All with a history to be discovered and a cultural value that deserves to be recognized. In this review of ten islands of Andalusia, we will explore what they were, what their territories have and the legacy they have left us. 11 stories to write down in the vacation plan and go to meet them to soak up their tales and legends.

San Andres Island

San Andres Island

San Andres Island | Millars, Wikimedia

Probably one of the most striking curiosities of the island of San Andres is that, having rough bottoms, you can watch the presence of a volcanic crater. Due to its crystalline waters, it is undoubtedly one of the favorite destinations for lovers of the Mediterranean Sea. Being able to find castanets, barracudas, damsels, mojarras, groupers, bream and even thrushes. Because it belongs to the municipality of Carboneras, it is commonly known for the festivity of Moors and Christians. So much is its cultural richness, that on October 1, 2003 the island was declared a natural monument by the Junta de Andalucía.

Las Palomas Island

Island of Las Palomas

Island of Las Palomas. | Manželé Ebrovi, Wikimedia

There are at least five funerary hypogeum that can be seen on the island of Las Palomas. They are of Phoenician-Punic origin and are dated between the sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Although it is not the only thing that encloses this islet, which since Roman times has been used to extract limestone rock for construction. You can also find the fortification, which laid its first stone in the 17th century. With capacity for five men, its function was to protect and guard. Already in the 20th century more barracks were built for the same purpose and became the property of the Ministry of Defense.

Trocadero Island

Since 1989, Trocadero Island, located in the Bay of Cadiz, has been considered a natural site. With a length of 4.3 km, it is separated by the Trocadero Channel. It is one of the favorite islands of Andalusia for birdwatchers. Because you can find seagulls, herons, flamingos, cormorants, coots or moorhens. In its interior we can also find the Fort of San Luis, which is still standing and served as protection of the Bay of Cadiz.

León Island

Isla de León

Isla de León from the sky | Hispalois, Wikimedia

Today, there are six bridges that connect the island with the mainland. Four of these bridges can be found in San Fernando and the remaining two in Cadiz. One of them being the 1812 construction bridge that was completed in 2015. Around 1100 B.C. was when the island of León was first colonized by the Phoenicians. After them would come the Carthaginians, Romans and Visigoths respectively. Until 1729 or so, it was called La Isla del Puente (the island of the bridge), to later be called the Royal Island of León.

Terreros Island and Negra Island

Isla Negra Natural Monument

Negra island Natural Monument | José Belzunce, Wikimedia

On January 23, 2011, both islands, very close to each other, were declared natural monuments. Both originated from a volcano, the island of Terreros has 11,150 square meters, while Negra island has 6,015 square meters. The latter is composed of andesites and other volcanic rocks such as hornblendes and magnetites. This gives the island its distinctive black color, which is the reason for its name. In 1960 there were plans to build a casino on one of the islands, but fortunately the project was stopped to safeguard its history and space.

Alboran Island

Alboran Island

Alboran Island | Miguel, Flikr

Located in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa, its name was given by a corsair from Tunisia named Mustafa ben Yusef al Mahmud ed Din. Known for his fierce attacks, he was nicknamed Al-Borany, meaning ‘storm’. Because he settled on this islet in order to organize his attacks on the Iberian coast, the island was eventually given the name Al-Borany, or Alboran. The island, in addition to a heliport, has a lighthouse and a cemetery with three tombs. Two of them belong to the wife and mother-in-law of the former lighthouse keeper, and the other to a German fighter of the Second World War. Outside the cemetery there is another tomb that many point out that it belongs to Al-Borany himself.

Islet of La Nube

This curious islet is located at the tip of the island of Alboran. Separated from it by a channel that is no more than two meters deep called the Canal de las Morenas. It is inhabited by herring gulls, the species most commonly found in the northern hemisphere. They are highly recognizable for their stridency and opportunism, always looking for food and even approaching fishing boats to try to catch something. But what stands out most about this islet is what gives it its name. Since, on many occasions, a large cloud rests on the entire territory giving the impression that it has rested on a fluffy pillow.

Islet of Sancti Petri

Islet of Sancti Petri

Islet of Sancti Petri. | Rxp90

The Islote de Santi Pectri is one of the islands of Andalusia with more history. It is mainly composed of three pillars. The Temple of Hercules, the Castle of Sancti Petri and the Lighthouse of Sancti Petri. According to the historian Pomponio Mela, under the temple was buried the well-known semi-God Hercules, besides containing relics such as the belt of Teucro or the Pygmalion tree known to give emeralds in its fruits. Nor does its castle, built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its purpose was to defend the island from pirate attacks, although it was bombarded centuries later by French troops. In 1610, in order to improve the fortress, a lighthouse was installed, which is still in operation today.

Green Island

Isla Verde

Fort of Isla Verde. | Falconaumanni, Wikimedia

The most important historical piece of Verde Island is undoubtedly its fort. Built by Juan de Subreville in 1734 with the purpose of protecting the island from the sieges of Gibraltar. It was expanded over time and even two bunkers were built in 1942. But it was in 1801 where the fort played an essential role in the battle between the First French Republic and the United Kingdom. Although the troops of Commander James Saumarez tried to take the fort, they were defeated. Today the remains of the fort can be visited even though it is not signposted, which is why it is being fought for its cultural value to be recognized.

Isleta del Moro

Isleta del Moro. | José Juan Sánchez, Wikimedia

Probably the most famous of all the Andalusian islands, although not everyone knows why. The fact is that it has been the setting for several audiovisual productions, both in film and television. Due to its visual spectacularity, it has been the setting for feature films such as The Bird of Happiness, A Day Without End or Terminator: Dark Fate, the latest installment of the popular saga started by James Cameron. The 2020 also hosted the acclaimed national series Veneno, about the life of Cristina Ortiz, originally from Almería, the municipality to which Nijar, the location of the Isleta del Moro, belongs.

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