Ibiza has a well-deserved reputation as a party hotspot and the dance-music capital of the world. But there is more to island life than thumping basslines and flashing disco lights. Venture away from its half-dozen clubs and Sant Antoni’s raucous West End and you’ll find a world of tranquillity. From the saltpans of Ses Salines to the piney hills of Sant Joan, via fields that have been cultivated since Roman times, Ibiza offers an intoxicating blend of nature and culture. The best way to slip into the authentic rhythm life is to follow the locals. We’ve selected five of our favourite destinations where you can shop, dine, party and unwind like a true ibicenco.
Main City Madrid
Surface 571.6 km²
Density 231.6 /km²
The Mercado Viejo (old market) is a 24-hour musical hotspot in Ibiza Town. Set at the base of the walls of Dalt Vila, the fortified old town, it houses an eclectic jumble of vintage shops, tattoo parlours, market stalls and Croissant Show, the island’s favourite patisserie. During the day, a variety of buskers from one-man-and-an-accordion to fully-fledged bands meander through, offering impromptu performances of everything from pop tunes to polka. In the evening the municipality often hosts free music events – especially during the Ibiza Jazz Festival in late August.
Forget DJs and dance-floors, if you want to unwind Ibiza style, head for Anita’s Bar, which juts unapologetically into the main road through Sant Carles as if to say to passing traffic: “Slow down – take it easy.” Arrive early to nab a table on the narrow terrace facing the island’s most beautiful church and watch the sun sink low over the tangled vineyards and pine-clad hills of the surrounding countryside. The star drink here is Anita’s legendary homemade hierbas, the typical fennel-scented liqueur of the island. Make like a local and sip it over ice while you gossip and watch the stars emerge.
Aigües Blanques is unique among Ibiza’s beaches, and is one of its most memorable. A long, narrow stretch of dark-gold sand, it is overshadowed by jagged cliffs which give it a wild, rugged feel. Rocks tumble in the edges of the surf – perfect for perching on to sunbathe or pushing off from for a swim towards the islets scattered along the shoreline. One of the island’s official nudist beaches, Aigües Blanques has a reputation as a hippie magnet but it attracts a typically eclectic mix. Naturists sunbathe, families picnic, and hip couples sip cocktails at its chiringuito. Clothed or otherwise: everyone feels equally at home here.