Ibiza: is it only a bling-bling party island?
I shall start by answering no!
This little island in the Mediterranean Sea part of the Balearic Islands is one of my special places at heart. It was my French grandmother who started to go to this wonderful island in the 50s and she passed her love for the island to my father who then passed it on to us. It’s true that Ibiza is a magical island and that there’s something in the air that attracts everyone and makes it hard for people to ever leave.
I have been going to Ibiza ever since I was little and I even lived there with my family for 7 years during my teenage years. I have seen the island change so much throughout the years for good and for bad. Roads and infrastructure have developed which on one side is good for the island and the local economy, however it means that many things have lost their charm. A simple example is the fact that most roads that lead to the beach are now tarmacked. I remember how they used to be mostly dirt tracks when I was a child and we would have such a laugh on the bumpy roads in our old Volkswagen Kübelwagen.
Ibiza has been a popular destination since the 60s when, at that time, you had an influx of flower power happy tourists. There is a still a strong hippie vibe on the island with towns like Santa Gertrudis and San José and markets such as Las Dalias and the Hippie Market on Saturdays at the Hippodrome next to Playa den Bossa, but a new crowd has emerged in the past decades – the party ravers and the super-rich.
Ibiza is renowned for its unique clubbing scene, boasting some of the biggest clubs in the world (Amnesia, Privilege, Pacha) and many fancy beach clubs (Blue Marlin, Ushuaia, Destino). If you’re a first timer then you probably will want to go out partying at least one night as it really is like nowhere else. Of course for me now I have more of a “been there, done that” attitude so I prefer to spend my days in the low key areas of the island and at my own secret beaches - I’m sorry but I won’t be sharing these for obvious reasons…
Despite how small the island is (less than 50km lengthways), Ibiza has a place to please everyone. If you want to just party 24/7, Ibiza is the perfect place for you. If you want to spend your days at beautiful beaches and enjoy the natural side of the island then Ibiza is also the right place for you. Even if you’re travelling as a family, Ibiza is a great destination. Like any other place in the world you just need to know where to go to and what to avoid depending on what you’re looking for.
The most beautiful beaches in my opinion are: Cala Jondal, Sa Caleta, Las Salinas, Cala Bassa, Cala Salada, Benirras, Cala Conte and Cala D’Hort. These two last ones are ideal for watching the sunset. Formentera also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (Illetas and Tanga) which I highly recommend. You can either rent a private boat or take the ferry which is only 25minutes from Ibiza port.
🍴 Where to Eat
Sa Caleta Restaurant - Sa Caleta beach: the best fish and seafood with a wonderful sea view. You must try their delicious paella (best to book a table in advance).
Bar San Juan - Ibiza town: a lively restaurant in the heart of Ibiza town serving local dishes at very reasonable prices (not possible to book a table - but it's worth the wait).
La Paloma - San Lorenzo: a family run restaurant in the north of the island serving homemade food using fresh local products.
Temakinho - Marina Botafoch: Japanese- Brazilian fusion food and delicious cocktails with a view over Dalt Vila.
Bar Costa - Santa Gertrudis: the best bocadillos (local sandwiches) on the island. Been popular even before I was born and it's always just as good.
Can Berri Vell - San Agustin: a charming restaurant serving delicious food with a beautiful garden to eat in. I love going there for dinner.
El Zaguan - Ibiza town: a fun tapas bar that is always full - it's perfect if you want to eat a few bits & pieces and drink local wine (they also serve main dishes if you have a good appetite).
Cas Costas - Road from Ibiza to San Jose km 3.5 - they serve the most delicious grilled meat and organic products in a rustic Ibiza style decor. Perfect place for dinner in a lovely garden.
La Focacheria - San Jose: lovely restaurant run by a charming Italian couple that serve the best farinatas and focaccias ever. This is my latest new discovery on the island and I highly recommend it.
🍸 Where to have a drink
There are of course many places when you can go out for a drink such as Ibiza old town, the marina, the small charming towns, etc. but my personal favourites are:
🏨 Where to sTay:
I’ve never had to book accommodation in Ibiza as we have our family home but I’m familiar with many of the hotels. I would particularly suggest renting your own private villa on Airbnb to have a more natural feel. Agroturismos have now become very fashionable and those that I recommend are Atzaró and La Granja.
☀ Best time to go
The summer season runs from May to October with the busiest months being July and August. My favourite time of the year to go is in June because the weather is great and it’s still not too crowded.
🚗 Getting around
The best way to get around the island is by car because some places are so hidden away that no public transport will ever get you there. You can get taxis (remember that Uber is banned in Spain) but this will end up being more expensive overall and when it’s busy on the island it rather hard to even get one…
The most important message I want to get across is not to be put off this wonderful island simply by its party reputation and certain things you might have seen and heard as there is a lot more to it. I am sure you will fall in love with this Island just how I did and how so many other people have.
Have you ever been to Ibiza? If so, what do you like the most about the white island?