The COLUMBRETES ISLAND have been know since time immemorial. The Romans called then COLUBRARIA, the Greeks OPHIUSA, the Iberians MONCOLOBER. All these names suggest there were lots of snakes living on the islands.
Legends have originated here about a pirates´ refuge, home for light house, Nowadays the archipelago is unique in the Valencia region, It is a small insular place of major ecological interest for the whole Mediterranean Sea.
The islands have been shaped in a series of rocky isles and reefs. They are 27 miles off Alcossebre and extend for 5 nautical miles. They cover 19 hectares. They are a good example of volcanic activity, which can be seen in the rocks and their shapes. This can be seen particulary on the only inhabited isleGROSSA made from a chain of craters and CARALLOT, reaching 32 metres above the sea, It is a reminder of past volcanic activity. It has been a protected Nature Reserve since 1998. The Enviroment Ministry has protected the four isles of GROSSA, LAFERRERA, LA FORADADA and EL CARALLOT since 1990.
The archipelago is an ideal place for birds ( Eleonora´s falcon, cormoran moñudo ) to breed during their migrations. It is also a place for butterflies, scorpions and small lizards.
The interest of the islands is multiplied when we immerse ourselves in its sea, each island offers a different mosaic, characterized by the orography and currents.
Thanks to its transparent waters, the depths of the Columbretes have a dense cover of algal that allows the development of interesting communities.
The habitats show an excepcional level of conservation.They stand out clearly in the waters.
On the sea bottom you can see the following species:
Coral weed, White gorgonian, Snakelocks anemone, Mediterranean tube worm, Barracuda, White bream, Moray eel, Common stringray, Red starfish, Peacock wrasse, Salema, Sea scorpionfish, Common octopus, huge Groupers, Spiny lobster, etc…