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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
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.
Every Saturday, crowds of islanders and expats rise early to congregate at Ibiza Sant Jordi hippodrome’s famous flea market. Unlike the tourist-orientated markets at Las Dalias or Es Canar, this is the real deal: anyone can turn up with a blanket and a box of goods, pick a pitch and set up shop. This makes for a fantastic mix of characters and a unique shopping experience. Grab a hot chocolate and fresh doughnut, then browse an array of vintage clothes, handmade jewellery, second-hand books, imported rugs, furniture, and other assorted whatnots. The challenge will be fitting all your new treasures into your suitcase.
Set on the southwest coast of Ibiza, Cala Salada is a short drive from San Antonio, but a world away from the tacky tourist hustle. A crescent of golden sand cups the clear turquoise sea, which is perfect for swimming or snorkelling (you can hire pedalos as well). Pine trees march down to the shore, mingling their soft scent with the salt air, and the woods offer numerous paths for a cooling stroll. This makes Cala Salada ideal if your party can’t agree on the perfect ratio between sunbathing and activities, and the adjoining chiringuito means you don’t even have to pack a lunch.