The first time I went to Ibiza was thirty three years ago and the island and its people were experiencing the first changes after what was called the spanish “destape”, a wild period of new-experienced freedoms and vibrant nightlife, the first signs of renewal after the restoration of democracy, which began early in the seventies when tourism began to reach the island. Ibiza has been transformed. The Ibiza of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was a small town of few inhabitants, peasants who lived among the simplicity of nature. Blue skies, calm sandy beaches and pretty coves, vineyards, olive groves, green hills, red earth and white houses.
The change has been positive in many aspects and negative in other, but nevertheless, the island has not lost its charm. Ibiza is now a cosmopolitan island with a great mixture of races, has a number of places to enjoy nature and the traditional rural setting, to rest without any noise or to party till dawn in the bars and clubs of Ibiza Town and San Antoni. The seduction of Ibiza is that everything changes as if by magic.
Church of Sant Agnes, Ibiza
ARRIVING BY PLANE
IBIZA AIRPORT Ibiza Airport-San Jose is set in the southern part of the island, 7.5 km from the city center of Ibiza. The airport has several car rental companies, an outdoor parking area, bars and restaurants, souvenir stores and a tourist office. Many flight companies have connections from many European airports via mainland Spain
ARRRIVING BY BOAT
PORT AUTHORITY OF THE BALEARIC ISLANDS The three main ports are the ports of Ibiza, Santa Eulàlia and Sant Antoni. The ferry companies -Balearia, Iscomar and Acciona- sail to the ports of Ibiza and Sant Antoni from different places on mainland Spain. Apart from the ferry crossings, it is also possible to reach the island by private ship, chartered crossings and various cruises. There are regular ferry connections to Ibiza from Barcelona, Denia and Palma De Mallorca. The ferry from Barcelona takes between 8-12 hours, the ferries from Denia or Palma 2-4 hours. The quicker option on these routes is to take the high-speed ferry.
For a day trip to Formentera Balearia jet line and Mediterranea Pitiusa make the crossing between the two islands in 25 minutes.
RENT A CAR
BK Car rental Balearic Islands
NACIONAL ATESA Car rental Spain
IBIZA SHUTTLE Private transfers airport hotels etc.
DIPESA Limousines and Luxury Cars With Driver in Ibiza
Ibiza capital is located at the foot of a hill, on top of the hill is the charming old town, surrounded by walls, known as Dalt Vila. The medieval area of Dalt Vila was fortified by Felipe II top protect the city from the attack of Otomans and pirates. The Marina is known for its bars, pubs, terraces, shops and the atmosphere that reigns in it. Barcelona street is the heart of the nightlife in the port area.
The best way to see Ibiza is to hire a car and drive across the island which is only 45km long and 25 wide, so you can see almost everything during your stay. Inland you will find an enchanting countryside with small white washed villages, churches and local bars, markets and restaurants. Along the coastline there are wonderful beaches, coves and resorts.
During our stay we rented a bungalow in Cala Vadella, a lovely small cove in the bay on the west side of the island. The access was rather complicated for we had to drive through the mountain side roads and once we reached the place we had to think twice before leaving our comfort zone. So I would not recommend to choose an accommodation at any secluded cove though a day trip would be great. I would not stay in a place of intense action -all right for a while until you begin to hate the guest DJ and friends- nor far away from everything. So the choice is to stay at a quiet place not far away from the move, with easy access.
I have chosen the acommodation by area, I did not choose any beachfront hotel, I believe they are very touristic and noisy, those I recommend are rural hotels or villas, if you have a car it makes no difference, the better, you go every day to a different beach. The hotels are all excellent and all have swimming pools. Here I give you a map indicating the different areas of the island.
The southern area includes Ibiza Town, the Old Village of Dalt Vila, La Marina, major clubs and beach clubs, disco bars and restaurants around the Plaza del Parque.
MIRADOR DE DALT VILLA Plaza de Espanya 4, Dalt Villa. Luxury boutique hotel in central Ibiza town. The hotel offers 13 rooms (six suites), outdoor pool, hot tub and free WI FI. From 390 Euros in high season.
The coast southwest Ibiza town is the VIP area of the island, there are no big hotels, just small charm hotels and villas, includes the beaches of Las Salinas and Es Cavallet to Cala Vadella. The center of this area is the village of Sant Josep.
CAN XU XU Direction cala Tarida – can ximeu de na pou s/n, Sant Josep. Excelent boutique villa-hotel, has an atmosphere of private residence with the service of a luxury hotel. Situated on a hill 20 minutes from Ibiza town and 15 from the airport, near San Jose and Cala Tarida. You have to call or e mail for reservations. (Approx 140-270 Euros)
Can Xu Xu pool area
The west of the island includes nice beaches and calas and the San Antonio area which is quite noisy and where expats, mainly British, live and go for party. I would not stay in San Antonio, but definitely would go at sunset for a drink at Cafe del Mar.
Sunset at Cafe del Mar
CAS GASI Camino Viejo de Sant Mateu, s / n Boutique hotel in a rural setting, 12km north of Ibiza town, on the PM-V 812-2 and 10km from San Antonio. Luxurious but simple farm Ibiza style, family atmosphere. The decor features antique furniture mixed with rustic details, meals are made with organic produce. Prices from 320 Euros in high season.
SES PITRERAS c/Valladolid, 1-3, S.Agustí des Vedrà. The small hotel offers seven luxury well designed hotel rooms with terrace. Located in the town limits of Sant Josep, 12 km to the Airport and 10 minutes to Ibiza town, near the coastal area of the Cala Comte, Cala Bassa, Cala Tarida. Price range from 200 Euros a superior room in low season to 496 Euros for a suite in high season, breakfast included.
ES CUCONS Cami des pla de corona 110, Santa Agnes. A country house hotel in the valley of Santa Ines, between the countryside and the beaches. The hotel offers fifteen cozy and colorful rooms and delicious food. Price range from 195 Euros for a double in low season to 520 Euros for the Honey-Moon suite in high season. Breakfast included
The east of the island centers in the town of Santa Eulalia, a lively village with a nice promenade with restaurants and the famous markets of d’Es Cana Hippy Market on Wednesdays, and the market of Las Dalias, Saturday, in San Carlos.
AGUAS DE IBIZA Salvador Camacho, 9, Santa Eulalia del Rio. Five star luxury hotel & Spa, in the marina of Santa Eulalia. price range from 200 Euros low season to 600 Euros high season.
CAN DOMO Ctra. Cala Llonga, Km. 7,6, Santa Eulalia a12km Farm east of Ibiza town, on the PM-V 810-1. Phone 971 33 10 59. Very well decorated by its Belgian owner and the food is very good. . Prices from 190 Euros a double in high season.
LES TERRASSES On the C-733 road Ibiza-Santa Eulalia, ten minutes away from Ibiza town. Elegant boutique hotel in a rural setting halfway between Santa Eulalia and Ibiza. Prices from 105 Euros a double low season to 335 Euros for a superior suite high season.
The north is the most natural and protected part of the island. A quiet place away from the action of the city center of Ibiza, not recommended if you want to party all day or go for a walk around the town. The beaches are beautiful and unspoilt and the villages are charming. If you want to dissapear, this is your place.
HACIENDA NA XAMENA Cami de Xamnas, 2. Awesome and stylish hotel and spa with wonderful views from the top. The hotel rooms and suites are bright, some with a private pool, all of them overlooking the sea. Very good restaurant.
GIRI RESIDENCE On the outskirts of the village of San Juan, the Giri Residence is a 30-minute drive from Ibiza airport, a 25-minute drive to Ibiza town, a 15-minute drive to the village of Santa Gertrudis and just seven minutes to some small and stunning beaches on the island’s north coast. The Giri Residence is not a conventional hotel, you feel you are a very special guest in your friend’s home of five spectacular suites, beautiful pool and garden, and a very good service.
BEST BEACHES AND CHIRINGUITOS (Beach bars and restaurants)
There are different kind of beaches in Ibiza, the sandy beaches, the pebbled beaches and the rocky beaches. It’s best to use comfortable water shoes to protects your feet in and out of the water.
BENIRRAS Ten minute drive from San Miguel. A fine sand beach with crystal waters ideal for snorkeling and swimming. The sea bed is rocky. You will find three bars, a restaurant and lounge chairs rental. At 10m drive from San Miguel. In summer parking is difficult, because many people go to see the magnificent sunsets, often accompanied by the beating of drums. Is full of people at the end of the day, better go early to park.
AGUAS BLANCAS On the north road to Cala San Vicente, the beatiful beach is a perfect strech of golden sand and clear water. Is an official nudist beach, but some go naked and others not, it is not mandatory.
CALA XARRACA Seven kilometers north of Benirras, a sandy beach with crystal waters, perfect for snorkeling. There is a good restaurant serving fresh fish, a really nice place to relax.
Benirras beach by frahm
ES CAVALLET Ten minute drive from Playa d’en Bossa. The beach is open and sandy, the nudist part is in the middle section. This beach is the one I like best, yes, it may be the un-official nudist beach and there may be a gay scene at the far end, but if these details don’t bother you, the beach itself is beautiful. It is next to the beach of Las Salinas, you can even walk from one beach to another. There is also a beach bar, more than a bar a restaurant, in the sand, which serves good food in a wonderful ambience.
LAS SALINAS The most fashionable beach of Ibiza, the place to see and be seen at, so they say, but so crowded that you never know who the famous people are. Finally, in August, it is best to arrive before 12 to park .
ES CODOLAR Located under the flight path to the airport, this beach is almos always uncrowded, may be because it is a pebbled beach, so don’t forget your water shoes, never so useful.
View towards Es Cavallet by GanMed64
Is more convenient to go in the morning because the sun goeas down early in this part of the island.
S’ESTANYOL Es Canar road, ten minute drive from Ibiza town. This is a small beach with fine sand, set in a rocky bay. It is best to go early in the morning and stay for lunch in the nice rustic restaurant on the beach, ask for lobster stew and a “fideua” (like a “paella” but is made with noodles instead of rice).
CALA MASTELLA. Is one of Ibiza’s smallest beaches quite difficult to acces. Leaving the village of San Carlos as you get close to Pou des Lleó make a turn following the signs to the beach. The final stretch to Cala Mastella is pretty dusty. There is a “chiringuito” called “El Bigotes” built into the side of the cliff, serving delicious fresh fish. You must make reservations for lunch, so make sure to book a table as soon as you arrive to the beach, time limit for seating is two o’clock in the afternoon.
The west coast is well known for its great beaches, most of them tucked into intimate bays and coves.
The string of coves starting south of Ibiza begins with Cala Jondal, continues with Cala Vadella, Cala Moli, Cala Tarida and Cala Conta. Closer to San Antonio, Cala Salada, Cala Gracio and Gracioneta. The Blue Marlin in Cala Jondal is an cool beach bar with friendly atmosphere, the restaurant opens from 12.30 – 19.00 for lunch and 20.30 – 00.30 for dinner.
The beach of S’Arenal next to the port of Sant Antoni is part of the bay of the same name. full of pubs and visitors.
WHERE TO EAT
Ibiza harbour area and Dalt Vila
CAFE SYDNEY Marina Botafoch. Tel: 971 19 22 43. A terrace with a view over the yatch harbour, great salads and breakfast overlooking the port movement.
EL MACAO Cool restaurant by the harbor. It also has snack bar on the beach Es Codolar near the airport, with DJ music from 7p.m.
LA OLIVA Calle de la Santa Cruz, 4. Mediterranean gastronomy restaurant in the ancient quarter of Dalt-Vila.
There are also a great number of restaurants and bars in the Plaza de Vila, Plaza del Parque and Calle de la Virgen, Dalt Vila
LAS DOS LUNAS On the road from Ibiza to San Antonio, Km 6. Very good italian restaurant, great place exquisitely decorated with beautiful patio and gardens. Book in advance (97 119 81 02) for its really worth going, for me is the best place in all ibiza
ES TORRENT On the road from Sant Josep to Ibiza, there is a detour in the middle of a curve leading to Porroig. Halfway there, find an exit to the right that leads to Es Torrent. High quality kitchen in a unique atmosphere at the sea.
LA TRATTORIA DEL SOLE On the road Ibiza-San Jose Km 7.5. A good restaurant and pizzeria, also great for a drink before or after meals. Open from 7p.m. to 2a.m.
CAN CAUS On the road to Santa Gertrudis Km 3,5 A typical restaurant of the island, with large terrace and garden. The restaurant is part of a complex dedicated to the recuperation, production and trade of the traditional foods of Ibiza.
CAN MUSON DE SA VILA Ctra. San Joan, Km.15.4 San Juan de Labritja. An authentic Ibizan restaurant. Its speciality: grilled meats and fresh bread.
EL AMANTE Beach Club Sol Den Serra C/Fuera SN. Good for its breathtaking views, chill out and fresh mediterranean food.
LA CUCINA Port of Santa Eulalia Italian food in the marina, only at night.
CASA COLONIAL Road Santa Eulalia, km2. On a low hill surrounded by a tropical garden. The cuisine is a mix of Asiatic and Mediterranean dishes. Has a colonial style terrace to enjoy summer nights.
GUARANA Bar and nightclub in Port Santa Eulalia.
El Amante Santa Eulalia
BAYBAR CAFE Avenida Dr. Fleming, San Antoni bay. Great place for drinks before clubbing.
CURRY CLUB Indian food. Has a nice terrace amidst lush gardens. Calle San Antonio 38, in the city center. Open from 7p.m. to 00.30 a.m.
CLUBS There are many, but I agree with those who think that the best still are
WHAT TO DO
There are different sides to Ibiza, the quiet rural side of the island, the urbanized and touristy, the one with a nightlife and young of heart fond of clubbing and private parties, the medieval Ibiza of the Dalt Vila, the Ibiza of beautiful beaches and coves. They are all great attractions for different type of visitors. We’ve talked about the beaches and nightlife but we still have to go through the natural beauty of the countryside and the rich cultural heritage of the island.
DALT VILA The ramparts of Dalt Vila built in 1554 are a world heritage site since 1999. Dalt Vila is a showcase of remainings of all the cultures that have inhabited the island, from the very first settlers in the bay of the city of Ibiza , to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors, up to the Christian conquest led by the King of Aragón in the 13th century. The architecture of the Old Town is of great beauty and simplicity. Access by car to the Old Town is restricted. Ibiza City Council gives tourists audio guides with the voices of the actress Paz Vega and the Ibiza-born journalist Concha García Campoy. It also runs guided tours around the walled World Heritage site, using historical descriptions combined with performances by a group of actors to give visitors a better understanding of the citadel’s history.
BALAFIA SETTLEMENT In the 16th century Balàfia was a rich, heavily populated county which was constantly besieged by pirate incursions. The remainings is a set of five farmhouses with two defence towers built in a traditional Ibizan style located a few minutes walk from the small village of Sant Llorenc.
ES CULLERAM CAVES The Punic sanctuary, once a Phoenician shrine to the Goddess Tanit, is near Cala Sant Vincent on the north of the island.
COVA DE CAN MARCA Located at the north of Ibiza, near Sant Miquel Port. In the nineteenth century, the pirates arrived to this coast and crawled over the Cova de Can Marca guided by the still visible marks of red and black paint. Today it is the tourists, after paying eight euros-who rediscovered these tunnels, with more than 100,000 years old.
ES VEDRA The islet of Es Vedra is a pointed rock formation that sits off the southwest coast of Ibiza, by the small beach of Cala d´Hort. The island is a natural reserve and it’s uninhabited. To get around this formidable rock it is possible to arrange boat excursions or rent a boat outboard (no degree required) in Cala d’Hort. Due to extremely high concentrations of metals and minerals the rock creates a highly magnetic field, it is assumed that it exudes a paranormal energy that may disturb compasses in the surrounding area. Urban legend says that in Es Vedra pigeons lose their sense of direction, that UFOs have been seen over the islet, that is the tip of the sunken civilization of Atlantis. Well, either way, the most human thing we can do after a visit to the islet, is to have lunch at El Carmen, in Cala d’Hort. The restaurant has magnificent views of the magical island which can be combined with a tasting of a lobster paella, the specialty of the house. Parking can be difficult in summer season, so it’s better to arrive before the crowds.
San Agusti des Vedra by JanManu
WHERE TO SHOP
I made a small selection of different stores that you will enjoy.
GANESHA Vicente Calle Guillem de Montgri 14, Ibiza town. Vintage clothing.
PURNIMA 12 Cross Street, Ibiza Town. Accessories.
LA REINA Crta. Santa Eulalia Km7, Santa Eulalia del Rio. Bohemian chic style fashion and decor shop.
SLUIZ The owners have opened two stores in Ibiza. Ctra Ibiza-St.Miquel Km 4, St. Gertrudis. and Sluiz Art, ctra. Ibiza/San José Km 8. They sell exciting design objects they find on their trips through Europe.
LAS DALIAS Ibiza-San Carlos road km 12. Hippy market on every Saturday throughout the year and Monday nights in summer.
ES CANAR Hippy market on Wednesdays from 10a.m. to 18.30p.m. in Es Canar, Santa Eulalia. The most ancient market of the island, you will find in this market same sellers than in Las Dalias market.
IBIZA HIPPY MARKET ON LINE offers the opportunity to meet with artists, designers and craftsman of the island.
ARTISAN MARKET SAN MIQUEL Every Thursday from 6p.m., from May to October the town square is filled with craft stalls – is a lovely place to visit.
SES FIGUERETAS By the sea, along the promenade in the evening.
IBIZA TOWN In the back streets of the port in the afternoon.
CALA LLONGA Very complete but smaller than the above, there is a marvelous place with Indian handicrafts.
PASSEIG DE SES FONTS Sant Antoni.
PASSEIG DE S’ALAMERA Santa Eulalia. At the Rambla in front of the fountains (the street that goes to the beach) every day and night.
SANT JORDI Located at the Hipódromo. Held every Saturday throughout the year, from 9.00 to 14.30. Preferred among the residents, you can buy practically everything second hand. Books, clothes and jewelry. A cosmopolitan atmosphere and a bar with drinks and snacks. At midday bongo drummers organizae incredible jam sessions.
Hippy Market by DonPableras
I hope some of these suggestions may be helpful and see you on the next journey