If you are yet to experience the beauty of Ibiza, we bring you our Ibiza City Guide. Do not assume you will enter a land of stereotypical house music, drunken clubs and tourists; there is so much more to the island than this. You may in fact, find yourself dining in one of the quaintest, most elegant restaurants anywhere in the world; soaking up the sunset on a undiscovered beach or listening to a local artist play long into the night at a Spanish hideaway. The outrageously coloured skies and sunsets are an aesthetic delight guaranteed to take your breath away. So much so, that an entire side of the island San Antonio, has in essence been designed around the beauty of the setting sun against the vistas of the Mediterranean Sea. Situated on one of the most magnetic poles on the earth; there is something about this island that draws people to it and ensures they return time and again.
For such a small island, Ibiza has a rich and colourful history. Ibiza’s capital Eivissa; has an historic feel to this day. As you stroll along the winding streets leading up to Dalt Villa castle, you genuinely believe you might have stepped back in time. Thousands of shops line the streets of the capital in a maze of long Roman-style roads, constantly drawing in droves of tourists and locals alike. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, you can find some real gems to distract you from its intensity. A stone’s throw from the Dalt Vila castle is Parque De Plaza; a true example of tranquillity, and perfect for anyone looking to clear their mind in a beautiful place.
None of the aforementioned is intended to detract from the fact that Ibiza has potentially the best nightlife in the world. The island lives and breathes music; a life force which reverberates through the very core. In the summer, talented individuals congregate here from across the world, to collectively celebrate an alternative lifestyle and a love of similar interests and ethos. Densely populated with clubs across the island; they strive year on year to outdo each other with their musical offerings. This competitive nature drives forward the revolutionary music scene which you will not find anywhere else in the world. If you are unable to say you have been to a club in Ibiza, you have not truly lived.
The resorts across the island are connected by a series of intertwining mountain roads. Wherever your destination may be; any route you take can be as exhilarating as a rollercoaster ascending and descending. The most popular tourist destinations are San Antonio, Playa D’en Bossa and Eivissa.
San Antonio is a multicultural party town with spectacular sunsets. It can be a very full on experience as it is as densely saturated with holiday makers as the alcohol flowing through their blood streams. Young adults treat the strip as their playground which is definitely a place for people who have a penchant for the party lifestyle; the easily offended may prefer the more relaxed setting of sunset strip and the iconic Café Mambo.
Playa D’en Bossa
Playa D’en Bossa is a small beachside resort which has a similar clubbing scene to San Antonio. Playa D’en Bossa boasts its own fair share of nightlife and is home to the world famous clubs Space and the new neighbouring venue, Ushuaia. This is a hotel which converts into a live music hotspot and is the host of many famous artists from across the world. There is however, a different aspect to this resort that makes it a very relaxing place to stay. The beautiful long stretch of sand, that is Playa D’en Bossa’s natural attraction, houses the infamous Bora Bora beach bar. With the islands airport landing strip just behind the beach; expect to be greeted on your descent by the waves and smiles of Bora Bora customers dancing in full flow day and night.
The capital of the island Eivissa, is less tourist orientated but still a multicultural haven for the more refined of visitors to Ibiza. Home to mostly native Ibicencan residents, you will find all the amenities you would expect from any capital city. For history enthusiasts, it has a wealth of sights to visit and explore. The calm beach of Figueretas is only a 5 minute walk and is a real treat to experience. Eivissa itself was built upon the edge of the water with the steep walls of the fortified Dalt Vila protecting it from intruders from the sea. The harbour is adjacent to the capital and despite the historic beauty; it has become a promenade of nightspots, including the enduringly popular club Pacha and its fashionable new neighbour Blue Marlin.
Making the right accommodation choice is imperative to the satisfaction of your stay in Ibiza. Tourism is by far the islands greatest modern acclaim and thousands of hotels and villas open up each year for excited visitors. Many towns across Ibiza become redundant in the winter months, revolving purely around the summer tourists. You could opt for the quaintest hideaway up in the hills or alternatively, surround yourself with every amenity a holiday maker could ask for in one of the islands most thriving towns.
Hotel Garbi 4*
Although Playa D’en Bossa has a distinct sense of tradition, Hotel Garbi stands out as one of the changing faces of the area. A complete refurbishment in 2008, added an abundance of facilities to an already reputable venue. The hotel now boasts a nightclub which is directly adjacent to the hotels entrance. This is carefully soundproofed, however, and residents gain entry free of charge. The hotels prime location is among the poplar shops and restaurants of the resort. It is also a mere five minute walk from the hectic late night bars and clubs, such as Space and Bora-Bora Beach Bar.
Hotel Garbi houses a relaxing beach bar on the outdoor terrace. The inviting Jacuzzi may lead to you spending more time here than you may originally intend. If Ibiza was not already relaxing enough; you can head to their top of the range spa for an array of first class treatments. After sweating it out in the sauna, why not head to the selection of outdoor pools; perfect for soaking up the Ibiza sun. Other notable features include a tennis court, live entertainment in their lounge area and free Wi-Fi. You can also expect the usual amenities of satellite television and hair dressing facilities in your room.
At the door step to Hotel Garbi are a range of activities for you to partake in. From windsurfing and jet skis to pedaloes, catamaran sailing and even a diving school; you will find it all on Playa D’en Bossa Beach. Taxis waiting outside are ready to help you explore the island and there is even a regular bus service to take you to Eivissa.
Mirador de Dalt Vila 5*
The Dalt Vila of Eivissa is one of the most enchanting sights you will encounter on the island. The Mirador de Dalt Vila is situated spectacularly within the castles ancient walls. A former town house built in 1904, it is decorated in a discreetly ambient fashion; respecting the surroundings and history of the elite location. A cultured visitor may spend hours admiring the grand artwork which lines the hotel walls. It is somewhat intimate, with only 12 rooms available for guests. This alone should assure you that the promise of a bespoke, personalised service will be expertly upheld throughout your stay.
The facilities are immaculate. Fine diners will be amazed by the delicacies on offer in the Es Mirador restaurant; an eclectic selection of food, specialising in avant-garde Mediterranean cuisine. The La Enoneca wine cellar is a must see for those with a palate for excellent vino. Here you will find a varied range of the islands finest wines and some from the neighbouring Spain. The drinks continue to flow in the elegant cocktail bar which offers all the favourite tipples along with some of their own concoctions. They pride themselves on the breakfast menu; offering appetising choices for both the calorie conscious and the Mirador Special for big appetites.
None of the buildings charm or history was lost during the transformation into a hotel. Modern luxuries have been seamlessly blended into the existing décor. Free Wi-Fi and satellite television are standard and some superlatives which may astound you include their bespoke pillow service. Each bathroom is accessorised with Lowe accessories, placed against a backdrop of marble, green onyx and other semi-precious stones. The perfect end to a day at Hotel Mirador de Dalt Vila is a relaxing dip in their large pool followed by a soak in the bubbling Jacuzzi. They also offer guests the opportunity to take an exclusive trip to Formentera in their private yacht; an experience not to be missed.
Ibiza Rocks House at Pikes
Truly a unique place to stay, Ibiza Rocks House incorporates a colourful history with a chance to indulge in the renowned Ibiza carefree way of living. Dating back 500 years, until recently it was known infamously as Pikes after the eponymous veteran, Tony Pikes. With a long legacy of celebrity guests, equally notorious parties have been held here over the decades. It is now in the hands of the Ibiza Rocks team who are pushing it forward with new names and faces landing each year. Pikes himself remains an all year round resident and is influential in maintaining the success of the past.
The hotel has been shaped by its history. The most notorious event to take place here would have to be the 40th birthday party of Freddie Mercury. A night which is still talked about to this day, the guests and their antics epitomise both the hotel and the stars legacy. The room which hosted this event has become an homage to that day; being redesigned in his honour. Pikes provided the location for Wham’s hit Club Tropicana. To this day you can find young starlets replicating a young George Michael sipping a cocktail by the very same pool. There are too many tales to list, but they are available for your perusal in the hotel reception.
This hidden retreat in the hills is as exclusive as the services they offer. You can employ a private jet or a helicopter amongst a whole host of beauty activities. The spectacles on view are endless and you never know who you may end up with a neighbouring room to. From Jon Bon Jovi to Julio Iglesias, this really is a resort graced by the stars; even Grace Jones.
Ibiza is blessed with bounteous beaches. You can rarely find a section of coastline that is not charmingly broken up with a long stretch of sand. Whether you find yourself on the serene beaches of the east or watching a spectacular sunset on the west, you are sure to leave with a memory that will last a lifetime. These are a select few, but endeavour to visit as many different locations as possible.
Cala Vadella is one of the few quiet beaches to submit to the ever growing tourist industry. Home to mostly summer holiday makers, the small neighbourhood consists of mainly hotels and restaurants. As you gaze down the traditional Ibicencan mountain road and begin your descent to the beach; it is easy to see why tourism has thrived at this delightful cove. Cala Vadella has also achieved the rare success of remaining a tranquil place to visit, despite being situated in an enviable location to watch the sunsets.
Located with no impairments to the panoramas of the setting sun; the only landmark visible on the horizon is the glowing rock of Es Vedra. This alone is a reason to step foot on this beach. Es Vedra has a sensation of magical proportions, particularly to the locals who reside here. It stands out beautifully, rising from the sea a short distance from the coast although the rocky surroundings make it difficult to go ashore. Formed from a range of Mediterranean mountains, it is the tallest of the surrounding edifices. There is an oddity around Es Vedra which makes it somewhat unique and mythical tales are in abundance. Compasses are rendered useless as the magnetic pulse surrounding it is stronger than even that of the Bermuda Triangle. A focal point of the island, it is not to be missed.
Other highlights of your visit to Cala Vadella should include a snack or beverage in the peaceful bars and restaurants. Clocks and watches may become a distraction as time passes without you even realising it. It is somewhere for couples and families to enjoy a different side to Ibiza without the hustle and bustle of many of its peers; only a few pedoloes and scuba divers will be seen exploring the peaceful shores.
A strikingly remote location, Ses Salinas is an ambient excursion for those in search of peace and quiet. A handful of restaurants line the picturesque length of sand. A long walk on the beach should be your priority as it is in the heart of the Ibiza Wildlife Conservation Area. People have travelled from far and wide to lay their eyes on this visual marvel; even British Prime Minister David Cameron has been seen strolling down the sandy shores. During the peak of summer, it becomes a popular venture for tourists, but the plentiful neighbouring coves mean you could still end up soaking up the sun on your own private beach.
Ses Salinas takes its name from the oldest Ibicencan trade: salt. As you drive down the winding roads to the entrance you pass through the epic salt waters where they conduct the mass salt extraction. Piles and piles of this essential condiment can be seen at either side of the road.
The beaming sunshine of Ibiza draws people out of their hotels in search of Vitamin A to every corner of the island. For sun worshippers, Cala Conta is the sun trap you should head to, with barely any inch succumbing to shade. Amenities are minimal, expect for a few remote restaurants lining the edge of the cliff. A set of elegant steps lead you onto the various beaches, where you can marvel at the offshore islands which can only be reached by the most confident of swimmers.
The few peaceful restaurants contain hubs of sun seeking travellers. They gather to watch the setting sun descend to a backdrop of aptly chosen chill out tunes which offsets this nightly spectacle.
Ibiza’s diverse culture is in sync with the eclectic dining experiences at your disposal. Cuisines from across the world are catered for but nothing has a more authentic feel than the many traditional Ibicencan restaurants you will encounter. With extensive competition, ensure that you chose one of the competing restaurants guaranteed to offer you the finest service. You may find a hidden gem tucked away from the maddening crowd, but these are some of the best known eateries that people flock to each year.
El Ayoun – Eivissa
Well established on the island, El Ayoun has been serving delicious meals for 15 years. With an annual aim to outdo the previous year, it is generally agreed that they succeed. Changing the décor each year, they still manage to provide diners with the perfect backdrop to match their culinary offerings. The expertly chosen lighting which creates an almost Arabian Night aura; heightening your senses and tantalising your taste buds in anticipation of the meal ahead.
Renowned chef, Stephane Gasciolli, has over 20 years’ experience in the business; perfecting his craft at one of the top cooking schools in France. Masterfully directing his team, he skilfully blends the finest European dishes with El Ayoun’s trademark Moroccan style. Prepare to wonder at the flavours that burst in your mouth as you bite into the tender meat offerings. Although with each meal like a mini piece of art, you may hesitate to take your first mouthful. This is a dining experience unique to that of any other on the island, blending excellent service and surroundings with complimentary dishes that are one of a kind.
El Chiringuito – San Antonio
For gastronomic lovers, the El Chiringuito endeavours to provide the ultimate dining experience. Overlooking the beautiful bay of Cala Gracio, the view to accompany your meal is simply phenomenal. As you enter, the helpful waiter is ready and waiting with a delightful choice of refreshing cocktails for you to enjoy. For those in search of real refreshment, however, consider one of the famous El Chiringuito Juices. The relaxed atmosphere infused through the venue gives you time to soak up the view and decide which mouth-watering delight to order.
The restaurant is centred on offering the best in Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine. If you are looking for authentic native food, then this is as specialised as you can get. Being situated so close to the water; you can expect unsurpassed seafood cooked to perfection in the Hispanic style. Traditional Ibicencan meats are also offered alongside an amazing selection of other delicacies, including a range of superb pasta dishes. The breakfast menu is great for early risers and sure to entice you to stay the day amongst the beautiful sands of Cala Gracio beach.
Sands – Playa D’en Bossa
Playa D’en Bossa is a seasonal matrix of fine dining. Outlets line each street but you will be hard pushed to find a dining experience to match that of Sands. Equidistant between the main party hub of Playa D’en Bossa and the usual accommodation spots; it offers sun, sea, sand and scrumptious food. Diverse relaxing music and some of the most distinctive cocktails in Ibiza are added ingredients to cement its already glowing reputation.
Authentic blends of the finest international foods are what set Sands aside as one of the most luxurious places to eat on the island. Usual compliments about the cuisine claim it to be the greatest dining experience in Ibiza. Recommended by countless visitors, respect is due to the Japanese chef who proficiently creates masterpieces sure to get your mouth wanting more.
Ibiza Day Trips
Ibiza has a wealth of entertainment available. Whether you desire peace and tranquillity, are an aspiring history buff or love to feel adrenaline rushing through your veins; there is the perfect activity to fill your time. With everything in fairly close proximity; you will not have to waste precious hours cooped up in a car travelling from place to place.
Aguamar Water Park
Fun for children and adults alike, the Aguamar waterpark is the largest on the island. Situated in Playa D’en Bossa, directly behind the nightclub Space; it is hard to miss the impressive slides towering above you as you make your approach. Boasting seven large slides and an array of smaller ones, this is a trip which is guaranteed to get your pulse racing. Thrill seekers should head straight to The Kamikazee and The Black Hole, which are amongst the fastest and steepest rides you will encounter. For the more faint hearted, there are a selection of pools, a bar and a cafeteria, where you can even hire a sun lounger to soak up some sun and sip a cocktail.
Open from May until September, a day ticket will set you back less than €20 and give you unlimited access to the rides between 10am and 6pm. There are lockers available for hire so if you want to save a few euros you can take your own picnic to munch on throughout the day. Alternatively they have a selection of restaurants to tantalise your taste buds, with everything from traditional Spanish cuisine to hangover curing hamburgers.
Dalt Vila or ‘High Town’ is a spectacle for any culture vulture. The pinnacle of Ibiza Town; the views from the top are easily some of the best you will find on the island. Steeped in history and legend, Dalt Vila dates back to the 16th century. High heels are best avoided as you make your way up the steep, winding cobbled streets to the top. The main entrance can be found through the Portal De Ses Taules which is bordered by two mighty statues and leads onto an expansive cobbled courtyard, the Plaza De Vila. From here you can make your ascent into the maze-like expanse of winding pathways, to explore the traditional Ibicencan architecture.
As you wander through the ancient streets you will find little chapels hidden away, locals selling handmade goods and magnificent panoramic views. Gazing down, notice the authentic red tiles of the Santo Domingo church and the famous statute of military hero Joaquin Vara De Rey. It is also recommended that you take time to saunter through the Museo Puig De Molins which houses an impressive collection of archaeological artefacts from the Carthaginian era. All this sightseeing can be thirsty work, so make sure you take time out to visit one of the traditional cafes and bars scattered around the city streets.
Es Cana Hippy Market
Founded in 1973, by Club Punta Arabi, Es Cana Hippy Market has grown to be one of the most visited attractions on the island. Hosting over 500 stalls, selling everything from the mundane to the extraordinary; it is visited by an excess of 10,000 eager customers each week. Open every Wednesday at 10am to 8pm throughout April to October; make sure that you schedule this into your itinerary. The key to a successful trip is to arrive early and beat the bustling crowds; which will also leave you with time later on to head to the beautiful beach of Cala Martina down the road.
This is the place to visit for anyone looking for that special gift or souvenir. Handmade crafts can be found in abundance, from clothing and jewellery to furniture, statues and original artwork. As you peruse the plethora of goods available, you will pass live street performers and artists providing entertainment as you browse. Flocking from all over Spain to play here, you can expect traditional Catalonian music, mime artists and more. There is also food aplenty on offer, with local delicacies and treats to sample; the perfect pick me up for tired shoppers.
The Zoo Project
Dating back to 2006, The Zoo Project is one of Ibiza’s more unique ways to spend your day. Strictly over-18s only; it is a party you are unlikely to ever forget. Running every Wednesday and Saturday, it was conceived with the intention of uniting all ‘party animals’. Taking place at an abandoned zoo, the open air venue consists of beautiful gardens, a pool and numerous stages hosting celebrated DJs from across the globe. It has grown with infamy amongst music lovers; now attracting the most hard-core island visitors in masses. The dress code is strictly minimal, with extravagant body paint as the main clothing staple. Artists flood the streets of Ibiza with sprays, paint, glitter and feathers; ready to transform clients into beautiful depictions of whichever animal they may desire.
Expect to hear innovative and eclectic music pumping out as the day goes on, from minimal to deep house and techno. This is offset to a background of live performers juggling fire and exotic dancers thriving on the atmosphere. As the sun sets, everyone gathers at the Seal-Pit to watch DJs pump out tunes from their cages, before moving to the adjoined indoor venue to continue the festivities throughout the night.
A visit to Ibiza will never be complete without a trip to Sunset Strip at dusk. As the sun descends beneath the skyline, the heavens come alive with extraordinary colours. It is a scene difficult to put into words, and impossible to do justice with a camera lens. To locals it signifies the end of the day and the start of the evening celebrations. As the sun reaches the horizon; a deafening round of applause erupts from the crowds, the music is turned up and the night truly begins. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous fire dancer on the beach below Café Mambo, consistently impressing tourists with spectacular tricks performed with finesse.
Whether you head to Café Mambo, Café Del Mar or Savannah; a fruity cocktail or a refreshing flute of champagne is a must. Tables can be booked in advance to ensure that you have the perfect view looking out to sea, with each bar offering a selection of contemporary, delectable meals. With Café Mambo attracting a range of big name talent, you can expect to hear the likes of Pete Tong, Roger Sanchez and Paul Oakenfold guiding you into the night ahead.
Party goers have been coming to Ibiza since the 1960s, shaping a nightlife which is hard to rival anywhere else in the world. Strewn with stylish, cutting edge bars, Ibiza is also responsible for coining the phrase ‘super club’. An island which measures a tiny X square metres, houses: Amnesia, DC-10, Eden, Es Paradis, Pacha, Privilege, Ushuaia and Space. Collectively, they draw in the biggest names in music and clientele speaking every language known to man. Here are a few not to be missed.
Since 1973, Pacha has been a destination for music lovers to unite in from across the globe. With five different rooms, it caters to a variety of musical tastes. Best known for house music; it has seen everyone from David Guetta and Luciano to Pete Tong and Erick Morillo hold residencies. Wander through the winding corridors, however, and you may encounter electro, hip hop or soul to list but a few. The Pacha group is synonymous with its logo of bright red cherries which embody its fruitful decadence and sense of fun.
Hosting the largest VIP area in Ibiza, it is a place where the affluent congregate and sip champagne into the early hours of the morning. Holding just 3000 people it is the smallest of the super clubs, which combined with high demand, puts ticket prices at a premium. Entry to Pacha can cost upwards of €50. For the budget conscious, it is worth considering booking to go for a meal first at the El Hotel which includes free entry to the club afterwards.
2013 sees Pacha turn the ripe old age of forty yet they have announced a line-up which shows no sign of them slowing down. David Guetta will return with his enduringly popular Thursday night of F**k Me I’m Famous and new recruit Solomun begins a Sunday night slot called +1 which will see him team up with different acts each week. For those fancying a bit of nostalgia Flower Power on a Tuesday is always fun. Everyone dresses up like hippies and dances the night away to music from the 1960s and 1970s. It is inspired by an event which sees locals don extravagant costumes and take to the streets of San Antonio. Although, if you want a piece of the flagship event; you will have to head over to Ibiza in January.
Established by Pepe Roselló, Space added to the ever-growing list of ‘super-clubs’ in 1989. At this time Playa D’en Bossa was seen by many as a family resort and it would need to make a big impression to divert patrons from their normal clubbing route of Eivissa to San Antonio. Roselló made the radical decision to go against the prevailing trends of that time; using the more relaxed licensing laws, he chose to close Space for a mere two hours a day.
It was in 1991 that a young DJ Alex P, set up a roof terrace behind the bar that the club really started to pick up pace. Joined two years later by Brandon Block, this additional spot for tourists to chill out and listen to music became the now famous Space Terrace. Their Sunday night sessions arguably led to the development of the renowned night We Love Space on Sundays; legendary 22 hour sessions that people would flock from the across the globe to attend.
No longer can Space open for the debauched, lengthy sessions of the past, however, it still manages to bring something new to the table year on year. With Sundays as enduringly popular as ever and Carl Cox a stalwart resident for Tuesdays, the crowds still seethe through the doors. It is seen by most as the heart of electronic dance music, winning too many awards to name. The elite VIP areas are also not to be missed, carefully situated throughout the club; they are the place to see, and get seen.
A fairly new addition to the Ibiza family, Ushuaia has gone from strength to strength since it opened in 2011. A hotel come music venue, the €22 million renovation has funded amenities as copious as the champagne consumed by guests. The Magic Garden restaurant is the perfect way to soak up the atmosphere before walking out to the stunning vistas of Playa D’en Bossa beach. The exclusive beach club allows you to look down at revellers partying into the night.
By evening, Ushuaia comes alive as the outdoor main stage greets residents such as Avicii and David Guetta. Guests assemble around the expansive outdoor pool and mingle in the exclusive VIP areas to watch the talent play against the background of the Mediterranean Sea. 2013 looks set to eclipse previous successes with an impressive line-up which includes stealing Luciano from Pacha. They will also be holding a mini music festival Lovin’ Ibiza in early May; a pre-opening celebration of electronic music.
For those who prefer to steer away from the clubbing scene, Blue Marlin is a new bar which has been making steps as the go to venue for a more relaxed evening. Nestled against the picturesque pebbles of Cala Jondal beach, it is only a fifteen minute drive from Ibiza Town. Luxury and style are the driving force behind Blue Marlin and the extensive cocktail menu caters for every taste. Their most popular evening is Sunday when they play host to a variety of well-known DJs, so be sure to book a table in advance.
Ocean Beach Club
A baby to the island, but born from Ibiza loyalists the Linekers and Tony Truman, Ocean Beach Club is a stylish new addition to San Antonio. Set against the backdrop of the bay, it is a day to night venue, for more refined guests preferring to steer clear of the bustling West End. The tasteful cream and orange décor set it aside from the more garish bars, and the reflective glass barriers keep prying eyes guessing about what happens inside.
The venue is designed around a spacious pool, with luxurious sun loungers and beds available for hire, where you will be waited on hand and foot. The pool parties draw in an array of musical talent which can be heard reverberating out into the bay. Due to high demand, 2013 sees their opening hours extend past midnight which combined with developments to the exclusive Pearl Lounge; it is set to draw in clientele to rival that of its peers.