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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
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.
There’s no better place to witness one of Ibiza’s magical sunsets than from the terrace of Restaurant S’illa des Bosc, on the westernmost tip of the island. Perched on a bluff overlooking the most perfect pool of turquoise sea imaginable, this laidback restaurant offers cuisine to match the views. It specialises in fresh-off-the-boat seafood ranging from simple but delicious grilled squid to lubina salvaje a la sal: whole wild sea bass baked in salt and expertly filleted at the table. If possible, save room for the mojito sorbet or a slice of tarte café caleta – a booze-infused coffee cake.
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.