Ibiza is the party capital of Europe, it is no secret! But the island offers so much more, it is home to secret beaches, cliff top views, colourful hippie markets, quaint towns and has a cool laid back bohemian culture. Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, it is not a very big island but is home to over 100 beaches and is located only about 80 kilometres away from Spain.
I had six days of exploring in Ibiza, spending three of these in Ibiza town (or Eivissa in Catalan), and another three days over in Sant Antoni de Portmany (San Antonio) on the western coast and I fell in love with the beauty of this island. We went in April over Easter, which is off-season. But while most of the bars were closed, there was still a lot happening and all without the crowds that summer draws in! The sun was hot and the water warm, it was the perfect pre-summer getaway.
What to see?
Eivissa Fortress: Dalt Vila
Spend sometime wandering the old town in Ibiza, it is like an open air museum. The huge fortress built in the 16th century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site is complete with cobbled streets and drawbridges and huge wooden doors. You could easily spend half a day exploring; there are lots of cute, winding streets with whitewashed buildings and hidden cafés, shops and art galleries. There are also great views of the island from the top!
Within the old town walls there are lots of little shops to explore as well as different street markets all over the island with live music, jewellery, clothing, crafts and food. There is a lot of creativity in the markets and most offer plenty of handmade items. The Hippy market is the most famous of these, we didn’t go but have heard its well worth a visit!
Mountain Biking and Hiking
There are lots of biking and walking trails to choose from and what better way to enjoy and explore the beautiful scenery of the island than hitting the trails! We hired mountain bikes for the day for only €15, and set off along the coastline, coves, along the top of cliffs with stunning views of the crystal clear sea. We were even lucky enough to see some dolphins playing from the top of a cliff! We went up to Torre de Sa Punta, a watch tower for lunch. The watch towers were the islands surveillance system almost 3000 years ago. After lunch we went through the woods, stopping at Cala Bassa for ice cream and yet another swim.
San Antonio is known as being the best part of the island to watch the sunset. One of the best places to get a drink and watch the sun set is Cafe del Mar. Another night we head out past Calo der Moro and walked over the rocks to find a place to watch the sunset with a picnic dinner.
If you have more time than us, we would also recommend heading over to Formentera – sadly the timings of the ferry didn’t allow us to head over there when we were over in Ibiza town.
Where to eat?
There a quite a few organic shops in Ibiza, I stopped at Biorganic to pick up something for afternoon tea, they had a good selection of homemade raw treats in the cabinet, which were really yum! They also had some nice gluten free bread, which was handy to have for breakfasts.
Passion Café has six locations around Ibiza, I went to the café on the Marina. Passion is the hotspot for green juices, smoothies and raw treats, with a philosophy of providing good, wholesome food. I went here for lunch and had a warm turmeric tonic with a chicken, quinoa salad bowl. It was a little on the pricey side but delicious, so well worth it and the staff were very friendly.
The Skinny Kitchen
The Skinny Kitchen is in two locations in San Antonio and also over in the UK. Their philosophy is creative, clean and healthy food and it didn’t disappoint. We really wanted to go here for dinner but unfortunately they weren’t on summer hours, so we got takeaway salads and a dessert for a picnic, which we enjoyed on the beach during sunset. We loved the falafel and halloumi protein bowl and the clean and jerk chicken with barbequed corn on the cob. There was a huge amount of gluten free options and lots of choices for vegetarians and vegans.
You always need a good ice-cream place when on a beach holiday and Heladería Milú, a little hole in the wall on the marina in San Antonio, offered homemade Italian gelato with lots of different flavours, we frequented here maybe a little too often!
We stopped here for a juice to cool down after our mountain biking adventure. This place had a cool vibe with a nice garden area for seating and swings off the bar. We didn’t have any food here but the menu looked good – we would have been back here if we had more time!
Hostal Giramundo Ibiza
I was a bit nervous about staying in a hostel in Ibiza, thinking it would be super noisy and I wouldn’t get any sleep. But I was pleasantly surprised, the hostel while social wasn’t too rowdy into the small hours. The rooms were large, there were lockers for your belongings in the rooms and it was located only one street back from the beach. There is a cool bar area downstairs to hang out in during the day too. They allow you to leave your bags after check out for a small fee but this also allows you to use the shower facilities, perfect if you plan a beach day before that late evening flight.
Blau Park Aparthotel
We chose this hotel because it had a pool, was on the waterfront and only a short walk from the centre. Our room had a great view of the sea with a balcony and a kitchenette, which meant we could have lunch in our room on the balcony. There was also a free buffet breakfast with all the works (bit lacking on the fresh fruit though) and they were happy to cater to gluten free. Tip: Ask for a room on the top floor – we had to ask for a quieter room after being above the restaurant below.
As you can see there is way more to Ibiza than the crazy party nights! It is full of beautiful beaches, landscapes and a cool hippy culture, what more could you want from a summer getaway!