A holiday on the White Isle can involve a lot more than just throwing shapes and soaking up the sun. From buzzing markets to cutting-edge galleries, fascinating historical sites and eerie caves, there’s a lot to see and do. With so much to choose from, we’ve handpicked a selection of 17 of the must-visit attractions in Ibiza.
Benirrás Beach and the Sunday Drummers
This part-sand, part-shingle, beach with incredibly clear waters is the place to go on a Sunday afternoon. On August 18, 1981, a day now known on the island as the Day of the Drums, hundreds of people gathered on the beach at sunset in protest against the Gulf War. The event was so popular that it became a huge annual gathering, with hippies and anti-war protesters travelling from all over the world to attend. Sadly the event got too big, and it was banned in 2002, but since then, a group of hippy drummers get together every Sunday at Cala Benirrás, to play their bongos as the sun sets behind the strange rock formation in the sea just off the beach. As a result, Sundays are very busy, so its best to get there early if you hope to find parking in time to witness this spectacular weekly ritual.
Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museu d’Art Contemporani features some major internationally renowned artists and really punches above its weight in terms of quality for such a small island. The permanent collection of Antoni Marí Ribas, one of the most prolific painters born in Ibiza, is well worth a browse, along with a spectacular collection of posters from nearby Carl van der Voort Gallery. Temporary exhibits are excellent too, including most recently a stunning collection of designs by the LOEWE fashion house. The historic building has been beautifully restored with glass floors laid over an archeological site making for an enjoyable stroll around some fantastic curations.
Ibiza Contemporary Art Museum, Ronda Narcis Putget, Ciudad de Ibiza +34 971 30 27 23
Casita Verde is the headquarters of an ongoing sustainable living and eco-education project. Set in a restored finca, and mainly run by volunteers, they have open days every Sunday throughout the year when you can tour the farm, see buildings made from recycled materials, enjoy a home-cooked vegetarian lunch, as well as participate in workshops, listen to live music and enjoy massages and other therapies.
This popular bar is in San Carlos, a small, picturesque village in the north of the island, which was a famous hippy enclave in the 60s and 70s. Bar Anita was the hippy hangout back in the day, as it was the only place with a phone, and it was also where people came to collect their mail. The bar is still a hub for locals and visitors in the area, the original phone booth remains, and the wooden mail boxes are still used by people living in properties too remote for regular postal services. There’s a nice shady courtyard, and an eclectic selection of art on the walls, which is said to have been donated over the years by local artists unable to pay their bills. Worth visiting to experience a slice of Ibiza’s hippy history.
Located on the West of the island, Cala Comte has a small beach with sun loungers as well as a rocky coastline with plenty of carved flat platforms to base yourselves on for the day – perfect for anyone who loves the sea but hates the sand. The water is shallow too which makes it a great spot to bring kids. Spend all day in the water until sunset, then head up to one of the three restaurants on top of the cliffs to enjoy the wide-lens views of the sun dropping behind the horizon.
Ibiza’s famed hippy markets can make for a colourful and fun-filled day or evening out, with the chance to browse for souvenirs, enjoy a meal and see some live music. Las Dalias night market is great for a shopping trip and is on every Monday and Tuesday night (7pm–1am) from June to September, and on Sundays in August. Punta Arabi is the oldest and largest hippy market on the island, and is on every Wednesday from 10am during the summer months. Not only does this market have great food, great shopping, and lots of live music and other acts, but it has a dedicated area for kids, where they can have their face painted or make their own souvenir or T-shirt using recycled craft materials.
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Dalt Vila (meaning upper town), is Ibiza’s old town and is on a hill, contained within ancient walls, and looking out to sea. The views from the ramparts are stunning, and the numerous winding, cobbled streets and steps lead towards the cathedral at the top. The main gateway into the old town is up a ramp and through an old draw-bridge. The area is not simply a tourist attraction but is still partly residential, and offers tantalising glimpses of real life through the occasional open door. A fascinating area to wander around during the day or evening, with many little shops, galleries, museums, and restaurants in the narrow streets.
Puig des Molins Necropolis
Puig des Molins translates as hill of windmills. Located just outside the old town, and on the original 7th century BC Phoenician settlement site, the area also contains a large, ancient, and well-preserved necropolis, with an estimated 3000 tombs (although only a handful of these are open to the public). The hillside is like a rabbit warren of tombs, most of which remain un-excavated, and you can follow a set route around the hypogea (burial chambers) and even descend into one. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is also an archeological museum on site, detailing the necropolis’s history century by century. Entry to the museum is very cheap and it makes for a fascinating visit.
Museu Monogràfic Puig des Molins, Via Romana, 31, 07800 Eivissa +34 971 30 17 71
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Café del Mar
The iconic Café del Mar, in San Antonio, opened in 1980, and has become synonymous with chill-out music and sun-downers. Famous the world over for its chill-out compilation albums, the cafe has a large terrace, where you can enjoy a cocktail or two, and enjoy the music as the sun sets over the sea. The food is pretty decent too. It may seem like a cliché but it’s something you should experience at least once when in Ibiza.
La Maison de l’Elephant
Fronted by enormous sculptures of robots, silver skulls and pink elephants, it’s hard to miss this interior design concept store on the road to Sant Josep. InsideLa Maison de l’Elephant, there are five floors dedicated entirely to interiors with some outrageously quirky and avant garde contemporary designs. Among the art, there are home-wares, antiques, unique furniture, and even fashion, ranging from the humbly affordable to eye-wateringly expensive. The founder, Bruno Reymond, has styled the interiors of many a famous building on the island, including the extravagant Ushuaia super club and the Pacha Hotel.
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Built in 1898, this historic building was Ibiza’s first theatre. These days, Teatro Peyreyra is a live-music venue, and has hosted a wide range of musicians over the years, with the occasional stand-up comedy act too. Inside, the venue is dark and moody, with red-velvet drapes and chandeliers, and a buzzing, anything-goes atmosphere every night (except Sundays) until 4am. Drinks are expensive but excellent, with a particularly good cocktail list, and the place is a real social hub for locals and tourists alike. A fantastic place to experience some late-night music with your post-dinner drinks.
Teatro Peyreyra, Carrer del Comte de Rosselló, 3, 07800 Eivissa +34 971 30 44 32
Es Vedrà is a rocky and uninhabited island, standing 413m high, just off the south-west of Ibiza. A mythical place, folk-lore says not only that it is the third most magnetic place on earth, but that it is the birthplace of Phoenician goddess Tanit, and that it was home to the sirens and sea nymphs who tried to lure Ulysses from his ship in Homer’s Odyssey. The island is also the setting for the local fable Es Gegant des Vedrà (the giant of Es Vedra) about two brothers who go to the island to search for a cure for their father’s illness and come face to face with a giant. Mythology aside, Es Vedrà is a stunning place to take some pictures or watch the sun go down.
Although essentially just a cafe, Croissant Show is a bit of an Ibiza institution. Yes, you come here to enjoy coffee and pastry, or breakfast, but really it’s all about the people watching, and the incredibly eccentric owner, Andres. It is Andres, with his Dali-esque moustache and his incredibly friendly and extravagant nature that put the show into this place. Sit outside and watch as clubbers stop in for a post-party breakfast on their way home, world-famous DJs linger over café con leche, and Andres chats and mingles with locals, celebrities and anyone he fancies a chat with. There are no rules in this cafe as to what time constitutes breakfast, making it popular with those who’ve had a heavy night and need a long lie.
Croissant Show, Plaça de la Constitució, 2, 07800 Eivissa +34 971 31 76 65
C’an Marça Caves
Originally used by smugglers to stash their illegal wares, the C’an Marça Caves, in the north of the island, can be quite chilly inside and make a welcome break from the intense heat of summer. Filled with stalagmites and stalactites, you can take an official tour of the caves, and learn all about their history. The tour includes a light show around an artificial waterfall, created to represent how the caves once looked.
Aquarium Cap Blanc
Often referred to as ‘the Lobster Cave’, Cap Blanc Aquarium is located in a large natural cave, which was once used as a nursery for lobsters, which were then exported to mainland Spain. Due to the quality of the water and the naturalistic environment, the cave is often used to house rescued sea turtles before they are released back into the wild, and there is a wooden walkway over the water, as well as tanks containing examples of other Mediterranean sea-life. From colourful fish such as the rainbow wrasse, to sea sponges, starfish, shark eggs and other marine life, there is plenty to keep you engrossed. When you’re done in the cave, there’s a decent sea-front cafe on the terrace.
A renowned place to watch the sun go down, Sunset Ashram is on a beautiful unspoilt beach, and has a resident DJ playing music throughout the day and guest DJs playing sunset sessions. Relaxed and unpretentious, the bar is on a rock that divides the beach, with seating under rustic beach umbrellas, and the restaurant serves very tasty Mediterranean, Indian and Japanese food. If you want to come and enjoy a cocktail and watch the sun go down, it’s best to call ahead and reserve a table as it gets very busy later in the day.
The Cathedral of the Lady of Our Snows, sits atop the hill of Dalt Vila (Ibiza old town) and has incredible views out to sea. There has been a religious structure of some kind on this site since the 7th century, but work commenced on this building in the 14th century and finished in the mid 1500s. It did not however become a cathedral until much later. If you’re fairly fit, the steep climb up the hill (best not to do it in the midday heat) is worth it for a chance to look round the Catalan Gothic style building and then stop and enjoy the views.
Catedral de Santa María, 07800 Ibiza, Balearic Islands +34 971 39 92 32
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