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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
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.
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.
The best way to begin your explorations of Ibiza’s historic quarter of Dalt Vila is at its city gate, the Portal de Ses Taules. The city walls that guarded the original city from attack are now a World Heritage Site, and from there you can follow your feet down the cobbled streets to the Patio de las Armas and Plaza de la Vila, and see the church of Santo Domingo, the cathedral, the archaeology museum and the episcopal palace. Eventually you will arrive at the bay, where you draw breath and take in the views of the city and the coast from the ancient bastions. But Ibiza is a city that mixes the old and the new like no other, and by night the whole area becomes a party zone, with music, drag queens and fantastic costumes to lure you into the bars and clubs.