The Columbretes Islands Nature/ Marine Reserve is an archipelago which is one of the most important protected natural areas of The Valencian Community due to its small archipelagos in the Mediterranean Sea, and its biological and ecological diversity.
It is an area worth visiting with a truly spectacular landscape on the islands and the crystal clear sea water that is home to many varied species of marine life.
The Columbretes Islands are a set of four groups of volcanic islands located 30 miles (56 km) east of the Cape of Oropesa, off the coast of the Province of Castellón. The island groups are (in Spanish and Valencian respectively): Large Columbrete or Illa Grossa, La Perrera and La Ferrera, La Horadada and La Foradada and The Brig o Carallot. The archipelago also contains many deep underwater cliffs and a sea bed characterised by numerous craters and volcanic chimneys.
The Columbretes Islands Nature and marine Reserve has a landmass area of 19 acres (14 of which are the l’illa Grossa). The surrounding marine reserve covers an area of 5,543 acres.
The islands are set on sea beds with depths of up to 80 metres deep and cover a total area of three nautical miles, representing one of the small archipelagoes with greater ecological interest in the Mediterranean Sea.
The largest island, known as the “Columbrete Great” or “L’illa Grossa” has a shaped profile of a large open arc, characteristic of intense undersea volcanic activity. Carallot, with its 32 metres of height, represents the remains of the central chimney of a volcano.
L’illa Grossa has a lighthouse, which is located on a hill 67 meters above sea level and forms the highest point of the archipelago. At the other end of the island is the cemetery, which has 11 graves where the lighthouse keepers and their deceased relatives are buried after their deaths on the island.
There are visits to the islands, strictly controlled, which leave from the Port of Castellon Alcossebre and Benicarló.
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