Ibiza is iconic for many reasons – the White Isle is still indisputably the top party destination in Europe. DJs travel the world to play at its world-famous nightclubs, chic beach clubs and banging pool parties. But what many first-timers don’t know is that there’s a tranquil side to this Balearic island, too, where hippy-ish yoga retreats meet sleek boutique hotels, and family-friendly Spanish beaches set the scene for some of the Mediterranean’s best sunset views. Here’s why you should visit Ibiza.
It still has banging nightlife
Every summer, hoards of partiers still flock to the island to hit the dance floor in some of the biggest and most famous clubs in the world – mostly congregated around San Antonio and Ibiza Town. From iconic haunts like Amnesia, Pacha and Privilege to the already legendary Ushuaïa and Hï, the island still offers some of the best nightlife of any holiday destination, hands-down. Expect to see world-class acts like Black Coffee, Nina Kraviz, Adam Beyer and the Blessed Madonna, on heaving dance floors overlooking turquoise pools or the lapping sea, up to the season closing parties in October.
There’s no shortage of incredible beaches
From craggy coves to long stretches of golden sands, it’s no secret that Ibiza boasts some amazing beaches. Whether you fancy channelling your inner hippy with a waterfront bongo session, or just want a quiet piece of beach to recharge after a night’s raving, you’re guaranteed to find a perfect spot. There’s plenty of diving spots around the island, too. For an extra special experience, divers can head to the Cala D’Hort Marine Nature Reserve – and with a little bit of luck there’s every chance of bumping into a school of dolphins, or even a whale.
With guaranteed summer sun and a very relaxed approach to nudism, Ibiza’s beaches also offer an excellent opportunity to work on that all-over tan. While you probably shouldn’t bare all on the more family-oriented bit of coastline, there’s no shortage of secluded spots where you’re at liberty to expose your bits to a little sunshine.
You can easily nip over to Formentera
If Ibiza’s beaches aren’t enough for you, a quick half-hour ferry ride takes you over to the gorgeous island of Formentera for a day trip. The island’s super-chilled atmosphere and natural beauty is the perfect place to hang when you need a break from the hard partying of Ibiza. Numerous boat companies will take you there for an all-in day trip, with some beach hopping around the idyllic coastline, and others packing snorkeling gear or stopping for a paella lunch.
It’s a family-friendly destination
It might come as a surprise to some, but Ibiza is actually very family-friendly. Besides the obvious beaches offering calm, kid-friendly waters, a range of boredom-busting options are available – from waterparks and boat trips to mini-clubs and jeep safaris. Explore the inland mountains and forests on horseback with Ibiza Horse Valley, take little ones to the Cap Blanc Aquarium and if all else fails, drop them off at a beach club or Mini Ibiza where they’ll be entertained with arts and crafts and free play.
You can stay in some seriously sexy accommodation
With everything from rustic-luxe retreats and charming boutique properties to mega-suites overlooking the latest superclub, there are some incredible places to stay on the island. Groups who really want to splurge also have a selection of villas to choose from, some of which take luxury rentals to new heights.
Ibiza has a thriving art scene
As well as plenty of homegrown talent, Ibiza has long drawn a steady stream of artists of all inclinations – which has resulted in a very active art scene on the island. Some excellent contemporary art galleries, pop-up exhibitions, festivals and artistic events take place each year around the island. Hotels, like the iconic Pikes, support artists by hosting exhibitions as well.
Its restaurants are world-class
Whether you’re looking for a romantic dining spot, fancy some freshly fished seafood, or are after a meat-free meal, Ibiza has enough to satisfy every taste. Diners who really want to blow the budget can book a table at Sublimotion – dubbed “the most expensive restaurant in the world”, where a 20-course, multi-sensory tasting menu is prepared by five different chefs who have a total of eight Michelin stars between them. Set in the Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza and surrounded by 360-degree projections, the conceptual menu is only prepared for 12 guests at a time.
Not all of us are in the market for a €1,500 dinner though. Instead, seek out the festoon-strung, candle-lit garden at Finca La Plaza, a restaurant in a whitewashed building behind the main square in Santa Gertrudis for creamy burrata dunked in smoky baba ganoush and Galician steak tartare. Vegans should make a beeline for the crispy jackfruit bao buns at Los Otros Harbour in Santa Eularia, while the famous Ibiza institution El Chiringuito Es Cavallet sears some of the freshest tuna steaks you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
The sunsets are fabulous
Ibiza’s sunsets have long been legendary, offering the ideal chance to relax with a sundowner as the sky turns through a spectrum of red, orange, and pink. There are numerous spots – and plenty of bars – along the coast to get the best vantage point, or even better why not hit the water and enjoy it away from the crowds on a boat?
With its typically crisp whites, immaculate cleans lines, and the constant throb of background beats, Ibiza pretty much invented the beach club as we know it today. So it stands to reason that the island can boast some of the best: from super-chilled chic to buzzing party vibe, there’s sure to be a beach club to suit your mood – and provide the sunset views (plus sundowner cocktails) that you crave.
You can buy hippy-ish souvenirs
While the original hippies arrived on the island a long time ago, the island has since continued to attract a motley stream of drifters, wanderers and bohemians. This has resulted in an unmistakably New Age vibe, even if it has become a little commercial in the form of the famous Hippy Market. There are also numerous fashion boutiques and thrift stores, making Ibiza a great place to shop. If high-end boho-chic is your thing you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice, or if you prefer rummaging around flea markets for a bargain there’s also plenty to tickle your shopping fancy.
There’s history and nature to be explored
Dalt Vila, also known as Ibiza Town, is one of the Balearics’ most picturesque cities. It’s home to an old port and historic city ramparts, which were built in the 16th century to keep out the Turks, while the fortified Upper Town (Alta Vila) is a leading example of Renaissance architecture and has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site. Outside of Ibiza’s built-up areas, there are plenty of natural highlights to explore for a breath of fresh air and dramatic scenery. Visit the area of Cala d’Hort and you’ll see the celebrated Es Vedrà rock formation thrusting dramatically out of the sea. It’s part of a protected nature reserve and measures around 400m (1,312ft) in height, making for quite a sight.
Find inner peace at a yoga or meditation retreat
Many of the clubbers of yesterday are the yoga bunnies of today, and Ibiza now attracts the world’s finest instructors, offering retreats in the most beautiful surroundings. Where better to practise your downward dog and sun salutations than on sandy beaches and in pine-scented forests? Choose between a myriad of private or group retreats, or even complete your 200-hour yoga teacher training and come home with an incredible new skill.
Florence Derrick contributed additional reporting to this article.
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