The island of Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics, is renowned for its summer club scene but there is so much more to the beautiful White Isle than that. A UNESCO-listed capital city, tranquil interior, picture-perfect beaches, gourmet food, and coastal hills and inland mountains that are a haven for hikers and cyclists, combine to make Ibiza a true island getaway. You can dance ‘til dawn every night but it’s just as easy to skip the party scene altogether and get away from it all in a whitewashed villa in the hills or overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean. Ibiza is the island you want it to be.
Ibiza Town may be home to many of the island’s famous clubs but it retains a glorious old walled town which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999. Its intact 16th century fortifications, standing proud on a rocky headland facing the sea, offer breathtaking views, wonderful architecture, a variety of intriguing museums, and a number of upmarket restaurants, galleries and shops.
Imagine driving through heavily scented pine forests broken only by almond trees and fig groves, a rural idyll almost entirely devoid of tourists, sunning yourself on the sand in a deserted cove, or hiking to a dramatic cliff which plunges into the sea far below. If rural bliss, sleepy villages and undisturbed peace is what you’re after, head to the tranquil north coast, an area of unspoilt, rugged beauty.
Food to ease the soul
The people of Ibiza love their food and it shows in their cooking. Almost every village has at least one restaurant which will satisfy even the most demanding gourmand. Seafood is outstanding and incredibly fresh. Try local specialities such as Fideuá seafood stew with pasta, ray with almonds, and anglerfish casserole, and look out for fresh lobster.
Sleepy farms, sunlit vineyards, gnarled olive groves, and whitewashed villages dot Ibiza’s peaceful interior, a world away from the bustle of the capital and the party beaches of the west. Hire a bike and hit one of the 30 marked trails, winding your way through lazy villages and bustling market towns, past Medieval churches and Bougainvillea-clad houses, and darting between pine and almond trees over the red-ochre earth.
… And not forgetting the parties
While it is easy to stray from the party scene to seek out unspoilt beauty and peace, Ibiza retains its status as a party island and hedonists flock to San Antonio, near Ibiza Town, in the summer months. Head to pre-club institutions Café Del Mar and Café Mambo to watch the sun set over the sea whilst sipping cocktails and listening to chill-out tunes and later make your way to Eden and Es Paradis in San Antonio, the courtyard of Ibiza Rocks Hotel for live indie and rap-soul, Pacha in Ibiza Town, Space to its south, and Amnesia in between Ibiza Town and San Antonio.
Whether you want to dance the night away and sleep under a parasol on a sunny beach during the day, or seek quieter pleasures such as a walk or cycle through unspoilt and isolated countryside followed by good food and fine wine al fresco, Ibiza has it all. You can be whoever you want to be in Ibiza – party animal or bohemian, active or inactive. The question is, what hat will you don when you visit?