An Ibiza travel guide – palm-fringed coves, sugar-cube villages and Europe’s wildest nightlife
Get your bearings
Ibiza sits in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain’s east coast. The vibrant capital Ibiza Town, with its fortified Dalt Vila and postcard-perfect port, lies to the south-east. Edge slightly west to Playa d’en Bossa’s golden beach, popular with partygoers, families and watersport fans, and the wildlife- rich salt marshes of Ses Salines. Ibiza’s highest peak Sa Talaia rises above the interior’s lush pine, olive and almond groves. Live to party is the ethos in raucous San Antonio, situated in the otherwise tranquil north of the island.
Party- loving sun worshippers top up their tan to the sound of chillout tunes on San Antonio’s string of golden sandy bays on the north coast. Down south, lively Playa d’en Bossa’s long, palm-fringed beach and shallow water are great for family holidays in Ibiza. Choose an Ibiza hotel in Santa Eulalia del Rio for a more low-key vibe. Bronzed crowds frolic into the turquoise sea and sip sundowners at crescent-shaped Ses Salines. Snorkel in Cala Xarraca’s crystalline waters or seek seclusion on Cala Salada’s sandy bay flanked by pine-clad cliffs.
Be soothed by ambient tunes and rolling waves at San Antonio’s legendary Café del Mar, or the hypnotic rhythm of bongo drumming on hippie-magnet Benirras Beach as the sun sets dramatically over the Med. Ibiza nightlife is synonymous with hedonistic San Antonio, where pre-clubbing drinks on Sunset Strip are followed by all-night clubbing and drunken shenanigans in the bar-packed West End. Hot on its heels is Playa d’en Bossa with its beach parties and clubbing temple Space. Dine alfresco on fresh fish in Ibiza Town’s lantern-lit streets before heading on to DJ bars in the upbeat Sa Penya district.
Trade the sun lounger for the trail on active Ibiza holidays. Pink flamingos and herons wade in the salt flats and marshes of UNESCO-listed Ses Salines Nature Reserve, best explored on foot or by bicycle. Hikers seeking more of a challenge trudge through shady pine woods to 475m-high Sa Talaia peak for exhilarating views that reach to Spain on clear days. Cool breezes and clear waters invite pursuits like windsurfing, Jet-Skiing and scuba diving on south-coast beaches. Canter through Ibiza’s rugged interior on horseback in Can Mayans, or hop on a mountain bike saddle to pedal through the almond groves of Santa Inés.
The island’s rich past is evoked in Ibiza Town’s fortified Dalt Vila, a jumble of cobbled streets presided over by a Gothic cathedral. Contemplate groundbreaking Ibizan works in the Contemporary Art Museum or Roman artefacts in the Archaeology Museum. Nearby are the eerie burial chambers of hilltop archaeological site Puig des Molins, the largest known Phoenician-Punic necropolis. colored lights illuminate the stalagmites and stalactites of the prehistoric C’an Marça Caves, a former smugglers’ hideaway. Lose yourself in the narrow alleys of Moorish hamlet Balàfia, where whitewashed cubic houses dazzle in the sunlight.
Mallorca Island, Spain
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