More insider guides for planning a trip to Ibiza
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Note that our writer visited pre-pandemic.
While the foundations of Ibiza’s fame are largely built on its clubbing roots, increasingly people are cottoning on to the island’s many faces — it’s not all expensive bottles of water, sticky dancefloors and sunsets (though you can never really have too many of these). Indeed, to unearth the real charm of this fair Balearic isle requires getting off the beaten track where lush, rolling green hills and pine forests alive with the song of cicadas quieten the mind and ease the soul. There’s plenty to Ibiza besides techno, and you needn’t look far to find it.
Rev it up on a Mustang tour of the island
There’s nothing like the sleek, shiny lines of a Ford Mustang to get a car enthusiast’s juices flowing, and that’s before you mention the prospect of taking one out for a spin on winding, tree-lined back roads, of which there are countless to choose from in Ibiza. Mustang Adventures‘ rental cars come in dark green, baby blue and black, but for maximum muscle points it has to be the 1965, red convertible V8, a machine that evokes all the glamour of a bygone era. You’re guaranteed plenty of admiring glances from onlookers, so be sure to perfect your thumbs up before hitting the road.
Step back in time at a medieval festival
Every year in the second week of May, a celebration unfolds to commemorate Ibiza’s richly tapestried history that spans from Phoenicians and Romans through to pirates and Christians. Held in the fortified town of Dalt Vila, a Unesco World Heritage Site, the four-day Ibiza Medieval Fair fuses the sights, sounds and smells associated with the Middle Ages, with street performances, jousting, market stalls and crafts. Locals get into the swing of it by drinking beer and eating supersized sausages atop the majestic castle walls. You should do the same.
Contact: 00 34 971 301 900; medieval-festival-ibiza.ibiza4all.org
Hike (or drive) to the island’s tallest point
Unlike the neighbouring island of Mallorca, Ibiza isn’t renowned for its mountainous landscape — the tallest point is only 1,560ft (475m) high, after all. Nevertheless, it’s well worth traipsing to the top of Sa Talaia because it still offers breathtaking views of rock and sea as it collides in a mish-mash of colour and texture below. The drive to the top is bumpy, or you can ascend on foot wearing sensible shoes. Visit at sunset, when the sky burns ablaze and you can toast the day’s end with a bottle of cava you hauled up the mountainside with you.
Sail around the ‘tip of Atlantis’
Located just off the south west coast of Ibiza, the limestone island of Es Vedra is steeped in myth and legend. Folklore claims it’s the third most magnetic place on earth (though locals will laugh when you ask about this); that it’s the only visible tip of the lost city of Atlantis; and that it was the birthplace of the Phoenician Goddess Tanit. None of this can be confirmed of course, but in a sailing trip around the island the immense feeling of power projected by the rock is palpable. Look out for the infamous island goats, which despite being removed on several occasions apparently still linger.
Contact: 00 34 659 535 435; nautilusibiza.com
Rummage for market treasures
There’s a market for every mood on Ibiza. From the unashamedly kitsch goods on sale at the hippie market in Es Cana to the handmade wares available at Las Dalias near San Carlos, it’s a bona fide magpie’s paradise. For a more local experience, head to the sprawling San Jordi market on a Saturday, a giant car boot sale selling second-hand clothes, furniture and all manner of things you never knew you wanted. On Sunday, head for the sleepy village of San Juan, where there’s live music and paella from 12pm.
Opening times: Es Cana: Mon-Wed, 9am-5pm; Las Dalias, Mon, Tue, 7pm-1am; San Jordi, Sat, 9am-3pm; San Juan, 10am-4pm
Get lost in the campo on a walking tour
While the majority may not venture far beyond the dancefloor, those with a head for adventure look beyond the resort towns in search of the island’s vibrant wilderness. In this scenario, call on the experts at Walking Ibiza, who’ve been leading guided walks with immeasurable knowledge and passion for over a decade. Join a community walk for as little as €10 (£9) per person or head out on a private tour, regardless you’re guaranteed to see some of Ibiza’s most spectacular natural landmarks. Foodies will relish the Ibiza Food Tours, which unveil the island’s gastronomic past on foot through Ibiza town.
Hop over to Formentera in an eco-catamaran
No sojourn to Ibiza is complete without a boat trip — it’s one of the best ways to get to know the island’s coastline peculiarities. And there are no better vessels for exploring than La Bella Verde’s fleet of eco-catamarans, which sail across the Mediterranean with no fuss, no noise, and no emissions. All day trips come with a fridge full of refreshments and snorkelling equipment, and a homemade picnic can be thrown in for extra cost. Spend as much time as possible in the crystal clear waters surrounding Formentera, there are few beaches as beautiful in the world.
Bow down to the full moon
There’s a spiritual streak running right through the core of Ibiza — claims of its magnetism, energy and appeal are rife. So when the full moon rises once a month it’s an occasion lauded by yogis and healers who harness this phase of the lunar cycle with their own practice and rituals. In summer, take part in similar praxis at Pure Seven Spa at Seven Pines Resort Ibiza, where full moon yoga takes place in the spa’s stunning, glass atrium foyer, with the mystical island of Es Vedra looming in the distance. Less hippie, more swanky, it’s spiritualism for beginners.
Contact: 00 34 971 19 52 00; 7pines-ibiza.com
Opening times: See website
Live like a local in Ibiza’s most vibrant village
Think of the classic Mediterranean scene and likely it features sunny, picturesque courtyards peppered with friends chatting animatedly over coffee. This vision comes to life in Santa Gertrudis, a vibrant village at the heart of Ibiza with a constantly bustling main square. Here, people spend hours watching a constant parade of characters while savouring their daily caffeine kick. For prime front row viewing head to Bar Costa, possibly the most famous sandwich bar on the island, and order an Iberico ham bocadillo, or simply a plate of cured meats. The paintings hanging indoors were exchanged for food by customers during in the Seventies.
Dine in the great outdoors
There’s something timelessly charming about dining in nature, with the velvety sky twinkling above and the sound of birds chirruping wildly from nearby branches. And that’s the secret to success for The Last Supper Club, which pops up in different, idyllic locations all across Ibiza every month during summer. Tunes are provided by a local DJ, food tastes fabulous and is served with just the right amount of performance, and the company is always varied, making for spirited conversation everywhere you look. Bring a jacket because Mediterranean nights can still get nippy.
Opening times: See website for event dates