From the hippies and bohemians of the ’60s and ’70s, to ’90s ravers and millennial raw-vegan yoga lovers, Ibiza has seen and embraced it all. These days, the island in Spain has something for everyone, with different places appealing to different types of people. For a run-down of the coolest neighbourhoods to visit, read on.
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Ibiza Town and Dalt Vila
Ibiza Town (known locally as Eivissa) is the capital city of Ibiza and a picturesque port overlooking the Mediterranean. Known for its nightlife, the town is buzzing after dark, with plenty of excellent bars and restaurants, as well as the world-famous Pacha nightclub – if that sounds like your cup of tea, then you might be interested in Ibiza’s best party hotels. During the day, the shopping is pretty good, from high-street stores to independent boutiques, as well as endless cafés and gift shops to frequent, but the real must-see is the stunning old town, known as Dalt Vila (which literally translates as upper town). Best explored on foot, the fortified historic district is on a hill, accessed via an old drawbridge, and is full of narrow, cobbled streets, with fabulous views from the ancient ramparts. The hidden courtyards, museums, galleries and the magnificent cathedral make for a wonderful day, but the old town is also very beautiful at night, when you can enjoy candle-lit dinners on the cobbles – La Dispensa, is a quirky but excellent mainly Italian restaurant in the perfect spot for watching the world go by.
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Santa Gertrudis lies right in the heart of the island, surrounded by fruit trees, and is a nice blend of traditional and more modern and multi-cultural aspects. The village itself is very pretty, with a strong sense of community, and most socialising takes place in the main square, overlooked by the church. It was here that hippies, artists and musicians gathered in the 1960s, many of whom still live in the area, now showcasing their art in the many cafés, boutiques and galleries. Santa Gertrudis has a large international community, and there is a wide range of places to eat, from local tapas in Bar Costa, to the more contemporary, social hub of Musset Café and healthy eater’s paradise, Wild Beets.
Santa Eulalia is a quiet resort town, with a tree-lined promenade running the length of the beach, and the 16th-century Puig de Missa church looking over the town from the hill above. It’s the third largest resort on the island, so it has a lot to offer; yet, it also remains a very laid-back place, and unlike many spots in Ibiza, there is a strong year-round community here, so it doesn’t die-a-death in the winter months. Known for its buzzing restaurant scene, you won’t be lacking in places to eat, with tapas bars like Royalty providing a slice of local history and Café Sidney offering views over the chi-chi marina area, plus a couple of beach clubs in the area. There are some great budget options here, so check out our selection of the best cheap hotels in Santa Eulalia.
A famous hippy enclave in the ’60s and ’70s, San Carlos is a small, picturesque village in the north of the island. These days, the place is a little more chi-chi, but still with a definite bohemian feel to it, and the renowned Las Dalias hippy market is not far away. There are a handful of restaurants around the white-washed church and its manicured lawns, but the go-to place is Bar Anita. This popular bar and restaurant was the hippy hangout back in the day, as it was the only place with a phone and was also where people came to collect their mail. The original phone booth remains, and the wooden mailboxes 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.
Sant Jordi is a fairly traditional village, close to the resort of Playa d’en Bossa, and home to one of the oldest and most impressive churches on the island. There are numerous restaurants and bars around the square, but the main reason people visit the area is for the Sant Jordi Flea Markets, which take place in the Hippodrome, a former horse-racing enclosure. Another popular event is the Festival of Sant Jordi in springtime, with activities, processions and a fun fair.
This part-sand, part-shingle beach with incredibly clear waters is the place to go on a Sunday afternoon. Back on 18 August 1991, 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 event, a day now known on the island as the Day of the Drums, with hippies and anti-war protesters travelling from all over the world to attend. Sadly, the event eventually grew too large and was banned in 2002; yet, since that time a group of hippy drummers gather every Sunday at Cala Benirrás to play their bongos together as the sun sets behind the strange rock formation in the sea just off the beach. Unsurprisingly, Sundays have thus become very busy, so it’s best to get there early if you hope to find parking in time to witness this spectacular weekly ritual.
Sant Agustí, or San Augustin, is a tiny hillside village in the south-west of the island and consists of little more than a few streets around a majestic white-washed church. Although very small, this village is extremely pretty and well worth visiting for a slice of authentic Ibiza. The few houses in the village are old fincas (farmhouses), and their pleasingly rustic architecture has been well maintained, while the traditional church is the only one on the island to face west, making for some fantastic pictures as the sun sets on the white facade. There are only a couple of eateries in the village, but Can Berri Vell, in a 17th-century house next to the church, is excellent (if a little pricey).
For more inspiration, discover our guide on where to stay in Ibiza for a local experience and book now on Culture Trip.
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