The Queen’s Baths (La Illeta dels Banyets, or Baños de La Reina) can be found on a small promontory jutting out from the coast near the El Campello sailing club. It is a beautiful, rocky “island” which, despite its name, was actually a Roman fish farm. Legend has it that a Moorish queen bathed here, but that’s just a legend. It was once an island, separated from the land by an earthquake many moons ago, but in 1943 a decision was made to use dynamite to destroy some of the ruins to create a new land bridge.
The site is managed by MARQ, the magnificent archaeological museum in the heart of Alicante. That’s where the artefacts found here are now displayed. You’ll find notice boards in good English, as well as Spanish and Catalan, enabling you to while away an hour learning about the interesting history of the site. It costs just €2 to visit, so what are you waiting for?
The Queen’s Baths are not just about the history though. On either side of the peninsula there are a series of buoys marking a specially designed snorkelling route. You can listen to audio guides here, but their value is, dare I say, subjective! Sadly, on the day of my visit, the tide had brought in rather a lot of seaweed making entry into the water from the beach difficult. A high tide and large waves made both entry into the water from the rocks, and an exit, a little too precarious for my liking. I guess sometimes you are just out of luck. Still, it was a nice spot to take in some early morning rays instead.
Overlooking this spot is the impressive Torre de la Illeta. It’s a rather over-restored tower but a great landmark for orientating yourself. It’s also where to head for parking. You can’t park directly outside the tower as that is a police car park, but it’s better than getting all the way down to the sailing club only to find it is members only and making a u-turn is not easy!