You may have heard of the Spanish Balearic Island of Ibiza…
Located Roughly 150 km from Valencia, Ibiza is famous for its insane party scene, electronic music and home of super night clubs like Space or Pacha, where famous DJs like David Guetta set up season long residencies.
If mega-clubs and all night parties are not your idea of a good time, do not rule out Ibiza quite yet. While its reputation for Fiesta may have put Ibiza on the map, there are so many other amazing experiences that Ibiza has to offer. I spent a weekend there in May 2013 and then again recently; here were my favorite things about the island:
Ibiza is one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been. Probably the most famous beach, Playa d’en Bossa, is located in the heart of the tourist venues, just a short walk from popular hotels and so reasonably close to the city center.
The real treasure, however, lies in the little Calas (small beaches) that are scattered along the southwest coast. The cliffs jut out to separate the beaches from each other, creating not only a beautiful landscape, but also a private and relaxing experience.
To get there, you can easily rent a motor scooter for a reasonable price (we paid 12 euros per day in early May). It took about 30-45 minutes to drive from Playa d’en Bossa to the first location. There are also lots of maps available to find a particular beach you may be looking for. As there are not many roads that cross the island, you can pretty easily find where you are looking for by following the signs.
I can only imagine being a local on the island of Ibiza, with thousands of tourists visiting each year. While this may be good in terms of tourist revenue, I can not help wonder what the island would be like without these developments. We stopped midway through our journey from Playa d’en Bossa to St Antoni de Portmany in the town Sant Josep de sa Talaia, for a cafe con leche (coffee with milk) at a small cafe. It was delicious, well priced and gave us an opportunity to explore a little bit of the island that had appeared to retain its original charm.
No visit to Ibiza, or Spain in general would be complete for me without eating as much Mediterranean food as possible. While Mainland Spain is famous for jamón, the coastal cities and islands are known for their seafood: such as burrida de ratjada (ray with almonds). Try to find a restaurant a little off the beaten tourist path and ask if they have a fresh catch of the day and try to avoid pescado de Helado (Frozen Fish) when possible.
The Island of Formentera
I wrote a recent article going into further detail about Formentera, but just in case you didn’t catch it, the small island of Formentera is located just off the coast of Ibiza. The ferries to the island takes about 40 minutes from Playa d’en Bossa and cost about 22 euros round trip. We rented bikes to drive around the island and it was absolutely worth the six euro price tag. You can reach the tip of the island in about 30 minutes with a bike, with beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear water.
Viva La Fiesta
Okay, so earlier I said I would discuss what other things there were to do in Ibiza minus the club scene. In all honesty, I felt I would not be doing this list justice without a mention of the all night fiestas. I mean, really, where else in the world do artists like David Guetta and other DJs play season long residencies? If electro music is not your thing, there are tons of other places to enjoy a night out. As there are at endless amount of options, I would recommend asking the locals for the kind of music you’re looking for.
* Disclaimer: as Ibiza is part of the Balearic Islands, they speak a dialect of Catalan, known as Eivissenc, but Spanish and English are widely spoken. I used the Spanish terms for the things in this article when I did not know the Catalan/Eivissenc version.