So much more than a second home for hedonists, the idyllic island of Ibiza has been charming tourists for decades.
Spend a weekend in Ibiza and experience this Balearic getaway’s beautiful architecture, hidden coves, Roman ruins and sleepy villages that seem a world away from the reputation the island has gained in the two decades since the club scene exploded. Large parts of the island have been untouched by the tourist boom. It goes without saying that if you are still chasing the nightlife, you can hop on the next flight to Ibiza you more than entertained.
It may be best known for the boom in tourism that began in the 1980s, but the history of this Mediterranean island dates back millennia. Some believe the first habitation of the island was as long as 3,000 years ago. The earliest records date back to the Phoenicians in the 7th Century BCE, who built a port on the island and called it Ibossim.
The island next passed into Carthaginian hands and became an important trading centre. Salt was the most important commodity and the flats used by this early population to harvest it from the sea are remarkably still in use for the same purpose today. They also built a shrine to Tanit, the Phoenician goddess of fertility, and her image can still be seen on artefacts across the island.
With the fall of Carthage, the island became part of the Roman Empire. It was a peaceful handover, with the islanders managing to keep most of their traditions and customs intact under the new regime. Remnants of Roman rule can be seen in the statues at the gates of Dalt Vila and the newly-restored bridge at Santa Eulalia.
The Romans came and went and Ibiza endured a turbulent few centuries before the Moors arrived and imparted many of the architectural customs that are now thought of as Ibizan. Crusading Catalans reclaimed the island for Christianity in the 13th century. They then left the islanders to their own devices, who developed a spirit of autonomy that remains to this day.
With the 1970s, tourism arrived along with democracy following the fall of Franco. The dance music culture of the late 1980s and 1990s turned the island into a bonafide tourist destination.
A world away from the hedonism of the island's legendary club scene, Ibiza's old town looks like it has been lifted straight out of medieval times. The entrance is via a drawbridge, which takes you within the walls and into the cobble-stoned main square, Plaza de Vila. The name itself means 'high town', and one of Dalt Vila's attractions is the view.
From the battlements you have a great vantage point to look down on the lower settlements and the sea below. The narrow streets and alleys are packed with bars and shops selling local crafts. The Museo Puig des Molins houses an impressive array of Roman artefacts discovered on the island.
Rising defiant out of the sea to the west of Ibiza is the island of El Vedra. More like a giant boulder than an island, the 400-metre tall limestone rock is now a nature reserve. A spectacular site at sunset, El Vedra is best known for the myths and legends associated with its past. Some believe it to have been the home of the deadly sirens mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. Some also believe it to be the tip of the lost city of Atlantis. Take a boat tour around the rock, some of which feature glass bottoms to enjoy the area’s marine life.
First found by smugglers and used to stow away their contraband, the Can Marca cave is set high into the cliffs at San Miguel and dates back over 100,000 years. Packed with giant stalagmites and stalactites, fossilised underground waterfalls and prehistoric lizard species, the cave is a different kind of treasure trove today. Guided tours in English will explain the geology of this natural wonder.
The first towers were built in the 16th century as a necessary defensive tool for the island. With its isolated position along a main trade route, Ibiza and the neighbouring Formentera were popular targets for looting pirates. These round stone towers were the residents' early warning system and now you too can enjoy the spectacular views they afford.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
From the 1970s onwards, Ibiza has been a haven for those wanting to escape the ratrace for a simpler, more peaceful life. Glimpses of the older hippie culture are still clearly visible, particularly at the island's hippie market. Here you will find plenty of locally made goods, from shoes to jewellery as well as other less typical items. On Wednesdays you will find this riot of colour occupying the streets of Es Canar. On Saturdays it moves to San Carlos. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the market is a great spot just to wander around.
Depending on to whom you, the heady concoction known as hierbas can cure your cough, arthritis, or simply help your dinner go down easier. An Ibizan institution, there was a time when almost every family on the island combined their own mix of herbs and fomented it into a strong spirit. Today the ingredients are more set in stone. The dominating taste is aniseed, but there are also hints of thyme, rosemary, lemon, and orange. A total of 18 plants go into the drink, which is 30% proof. Found at every bar, café, and restaurant, it makes a pleasant drink when water and sugar are added, perfect for after a good meal.
Many beaches in Ibiza are dotted with bars that provide the pre-party or after-party for the legions of clubbers the island attracts. But if you are willing to travel a little bit, there are some hidden bays with great beaches. Cala d'en Serra is a great example. It is a short drive from Portinatx; you travel down a rocky road until it peters out and you have to park up and walk down the track for the rest of the distance. A small, sheltered cove, there is a crescent of white sand and clear waters ideal for snorkelling.
Just 6.5 kilometres south of Ibiza lies its neighbouring island, Formentera. Perfect for a day-trip, you can reach the island by boat. If you feel like exploring, hiring a bike is the best idea.
The award-winning Insotel Fenicia Prestige Thalasso Spa Hotel is one of the island’s most luxurious hotels. Looking out on the Mediterranean and the Santa Eulalia River, the hotel's 172 suites offer the height of comfort in an ideal location. With great food, a solarium, a swimming pool, and an on-site spa, there is plenty of pampering on offer. And if you feel like venturing outside, Santa Eulalia beach is just steps from the hotel entrance. The Spanish Institute of Touristic Quality bestowed its “Q” award on the hotel for the high level of its facilities.
With a great view of Dalt Vila and the stunning yachts anchored in the Botafoch Marina, El Corso Hotel is perfectly positioned in the Bahia de Ibiza. The hotel is also close to beaches and the wealth of nightlife Ibiza has to offer. It even runs its own shuttle boat for gusts into Ibiza town.
The Playa Grande Apartments Hotel is just a short walk from the ever-popular golden sands of the Playa d'en Bossa, a beach that is home to a wide range of water-sport facilities as well as the island’s most famous clubs. The hotel’s apartments, each complete with kitchenette and balcony, are grouped around the pool.
Set in a tranquil bay, Es Grop Apartments Hotel in Portinatx are a great option if you are looking for a relaxing getaway. Surrounded by pine trees, this picturesque coast has a quiet beach and stunning turquoise waters, which can be seen from the balcony of the apartments. The complex boasts a large pool and a restaurant overlooking the bay.
For more choice, check out our selection of hotels in Ibiza.
From excursions to daily and weekly rentals, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the Mediterranean that surrounds Ibiza. If you are an experienced sailor without a yacht handy, you can rent one to pilot yourself while you are on the island. If a charter seems like going a little too far, landlubbers will find plenty of companies offering services to Formentera or Es Vedra.
There are also a large number of ferry services connecting different parts of the island as well as boats to the Spanish mainland.
To reach the island's far-flung beaches and to escape the well-worn tourists trails, renting a car will stop you breaking the bank on taxi fares.
Consider car hire in Ibiza to travel at your leisure.
With four companies in operation on the island, Ibiza is well-served by buses. The vehicles themselves are well-maintained and air-conditioned, and tickets are cheap. Between the major resorts like Ibiza City, Santa Eularia and Portinatx, expect a bus every half an hour.
A green light on display means the taxi is available for hire. If you are splitting the cab between a group, it can be an economical way to get around the island. If you are planning to stay out late, the disco bus takes over from the standard companies at midnight, ferrying revellers between the main nightspots until 6 a.m.
Within the towns themselves there is no need for any mode of transportation other than your own two feet. Just pick up a town map from the tourist information centre and away you go.
Offering spectacular views of Es Vedra, Es Boldado (Playa Cala D'hort, 07830 Sant Josep De SA Talaia) is a special place to eat. The rock looms gigantic on the horizon as plates of the freshest fruits of the sea arrive at your table. As well as clams, prawns and sardines caught that day, the restaurant offers a wonderful Parillada de Pescado, a kind of mixed grill for fish that is not to be missed. With great views and superb food, Es Boldado is a hot ticket, so make sure to book ahead.
Tacked on the side of the auction house of the same name, Casi Todo Cafe (Plaza Iglesia, De La, 07819 Santa Eularia Des Riu) is perfect for a relaxing lunch. Tables spill out onto the cobblestones of the pretty plaza. The cuisine is a mix of French and Spanish influences, and salads and seafood are the local specialities.
La Paloma (C/ Sant Llorenç 4, 07812 San Lorenzo) is a charming Italian restaurant found in San Lorenzo, in the centre of the island. The restaurant grows most of its own produce so you will be hard-pressed to find a fresher salad on Ibiza. Salads are the main attraction in the café, which is open during the day. Come the evening, the slightly more formal dining room opens its doors, offering a wide range of Italian favourites.
If you want a sea view thrown in with your meal, you could do no better than Es Torrent (Carretera Sant Josep Es Cubells, 07839 Sant Josep De SA Talaia). Found in the bay of the same name, this restaurant sits right on the edge of the beach. It is perfect for some seafood and a cold bottle of rosé as the sun goes down.
There are no obligatory vaccinations for a trip to Ibiza. Recommended vaccinations include boosters in the vaccination schedule, including polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, hepatitis A (only for risky journeys). Rabies vaccinations are unnecessary, but seek treatment after a bite that you deem suspect.
Petty crime does exist in Ibiza, particularly in high season. To be safe, bear in mind the following:
- Only carry small amounts of cash on your person
- Be discreet with valuable items like electronics or jewellery
- Do not leave any important documents or valuables (like mobile phones) in vehicles
- Refrain from walking unaccompanied at night or in darkened areas
- Refrain from accepting drinks or food offered in bars
Tip: It is highly recommended that you make photocopies of all your travel documents and keep the copies on you so you are prepared if the originals are stolen or lost. Keep the original documents in a safe place (such as the hotel safe) with a little money. When you travel, take a mobile phone with you and ensure you know the emergency telephone numbers. If you are assaulted, keep calm and do not resist or retaliate.
If you are hiring a car during your stay, below find tips in mind when using the roads.
- Refrain from driving at night.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Do not stop if you see a broken down car.
- When asking for help from a roadside phone, make sure the breakdown truck that arrives belongs to the company you contacted.
- Do not carry large sums of cash with you.
Located in Sant Jordi de Ses Salines, this beachfront hotel is connected to the convention center, 0.2 mi (0.2 km) from Aguamar Water Park, and 2.9 mi (4.6 km) ...
Nestled on the beach, this Playa d'en Bossa apartment is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Gran Piruleto Park P. Bossa and 2.4 mi (3.9 km) from Ibiza Castle. Bossa Beach ...
Nestled on the beach, this Portinatx resort is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Torre de Portinatx and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Moscarter Lighthouse. Benirras Beach and San ...
Nestled on the beach, this Playa d'en Bossa hotel is 0.4 mi (0.6 km) from Gran Piruleto Park P. Bossa and 2 mi (3.3 km) from Ibiza Castle. Illa de ses Rates ...
Located in Playa d'en Bossa, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gran Piruleto Park P. Bossa, Aguamar Water Park, and Bossa Beach. Ibiza Cathedral is 2.1 mi ...
Nestled on the beach, this Sant Jordi de Ses Salines hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Aguamar Water Park and Bossa Beach. Gran Piruleto Park P. Bossa and ...
The stretch of beach outside guests' sliding doors is famous Playa d’en Bossa, the longest swathe of sand on the White Isle. A 10-minute drive is all it takes ...
Nestled on the beach, this Figueretas hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Teatro Pereyra and Ibiza Castle. Port of Ibiza and Illa de ses Rates are also within 1 mi ...
Located in Cala de Bou, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Pinet Beach and San Antonio Beach. Air Zone Ibiza and Egg of Columbus are also within 2 ...
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