I had another reader request. This time for Ibiza, Spain. Through Twitter, I met Anton who kindly stepped up to share his vast knowledge of the island with us. He's been going to Ibiza for 15 years.
Ibiza offers such a breadth of holiday experience that it's important to know what you want from the magical white isle to ensure that you make the most of your time there.
The Island is renowned for being the best party destination in the world and if you stay in or around San Antonio, Playa D’en Bossa or Ibiza Town, you would have to be blind or bedridden to miss this.
Head far away from these places, to Portinax, San Miguel in the North of the Island or to neighboring Formentera, and you have the chance to experience another side to one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean.
Personally I like to find a balance between the two. Whether you are young, old, straight, gay, traveling alone or with friends/family, get Ibiza right and you’ll have a great time. This is one place where you will always make new friends.
The best time to go for solo travelers.
Like most European holiday destinations, avoid the months of July and August when the island is at its busiest. I prefer June and September when the people and the temperature are just right. Expect some rain in late September but these months are the best for the opening and closing parties of the season.
If you are looking for lively beaches, the south of the Island offers the ever popular Salinas Beach with The Jockey Club (for the beautiful people) and Sa Trinxa providing food, drinks and music at either end of the beach.
Restaurant El Chiringuito at neighboring beach, Es Cavallet, offers a fine sea food selection, washed down with sangria or a good cava. This area can only be described as colorful – straight/gay/mixed and in places, clothing optional. Don’t let this scare you off this part of the Island, the surrounding salt flats are part of the nature reserve and great for wildlife and watching the sun go down.
If nature rather than naturism is your interest then Es Vedra nature reserve, San Josep is also worth investigating. Otherwise the nearby Blue Marlin bar is a great place to observe money and hedonism at the end of a long day and a drive past the infamous club DC10, situated at the end of Ibiza airport, will open your eyes to another side of the Island.
If you’re looking for a more chilled end to the day and a great place for dinner in this area, hunt down the legendary KM5 restaurant, on the road between Ibiza town and San Josep.
Towards Ibiza town, Playa D’en Bossa is ever changing and evolving. A clash of European package tour families getting some sunshine and hedonistic party people either dancing on the tables at Bora Bora beach bar or emptying their wallets at Ibiza super club, Space. What used to be the car park next to Bora Bora has sprung a new and visually upmarket hotel complex, including the new Delano Hotel bringing a Miami feel to this part of the island (relationship to it’s Miami namesake is unknown!)
The laws surrounding daytime clubbing have tightened on the Island and the roof added to the Space terrace may have made a difference to noise levels but if you’re looking for a peaceful week here, think again. If not, the party is happening in this part of the Island and new bar/club www.ushuaiaibiza.com is one of the latest additions and one of the few places where you can still party on the beach.
Ibiza Town (Eivissa) is a lively, picturesque and cosmopolitan capital to the Island and a solid base if you are looking to explore the Island. The old town offers a beautiful window onto the Ibiza of old as well as a few lovely restaurants to while away a long lunch or dinner. The winding back streets are filled with small boutiques, cafe’s, bars and restaurants, all open late into the night.
For breakfast try the Croissant Show or head to Ocean Drive on the the other side of the marina to my favorite, Cafe Sydney. In the evening, have a drink or two at old favorites the Dome or Bar Zuka or head port side to the Rock Bar or Base Bar or one the newer rivals. Nightclub El Divino is only a walk or boat ride to the other side of the marina and if you’re looking for the city’s gay scene, take a walk along Avenue de Virgins and its many small bars like JJ’s, or head into the old town walls to night club, Amphora.
Head across Ibiza town towards Talamanca and you’ll arrive at the Pacha hotel, situated across the road from global superclub, Pacha. The hotel is design heavy and the bar and restaurant are minimalist cool but the outdoor space is pretty limited if you wanted to spend a day at the pool. If you are looking for a peaceful escape close to here try a beautiful little seaside restaurant called Sa Punt Ibiza and take a different perspective on Ibiza town.
Elsewhere in Ibiza
Continue up the East coast towards Santa Eulalia, Ibiza’s third largest holiday resort. More a family destination and home to a great selection of international cuisine, found on Calle San Vincente, also known as ‘Street of Restaurants’. Close to here, try the amazing Sol d’en Serra beach and the restaurant, cascading down the hillside towards the sea.
Head further north to San Carlos and Es Canar and check out the island’s original and largest hippie markets (on Saturday and Wednesday) or head inland to San Rafael’s El Ayuon restaurant for some North African cuisine or L’Elephant, another of Ibiza’s old favorites.
At the heart of the island, it’s geographical center, you’ll find Santa Getrudis. Alongside the island locals you’ll discover the Island’s best restaurants. My favorite, Ama Lur, its popularity with Ibiza’s elite is clearly reflected in the price and Can Caus with plenty of prime, high quality meat dishes to savor.
Other beaches to investigate across the island – Es Cana, Sa Caleta and Cala Llongha
One other restaurant on the Island that must be experienced is Bambudha Grove, the Asian fusion cuisine here is another Ibiza favorite.
San Antonio is one place I have left till last and one place in Ibiza where I have spent the least amount of time. The old days of the TV living soap, ‘Ibiza Uncovered’ still live on here and if you’re looking to avoid the young and foolish crowds then avoid San An. There are some still some great experiences to be had there, the traditional sunset at Cafe Del Mar and Cafe Mambo remain hard to beat. Start the night at Bar M where a number of world-class DJ’s play before heading off to the big nights at Eden and Es Paradis, both walking distance, or on to superclubs Privilege and Amnesia, situated towards the middle of the Island on the road to Ibiza Town. Slightly away from San An, you’ll find Sa Capella, a beautiful restaurant in a converted church on the hillside. Definitely worth booking for dinner if you are in this part of the island.
So work out what you are looking for and then decide where on the Island you want to be. In the thick of it you may be happy with a well located but average hotel or apartment as you’re not going to see much of it (Ibiza has a dangerous ability to keep you out till the early hours). If you are going with a group of friends think about getting a villa a good 20-30 minutes away from the mayhem. If it’s just a sunshine resort then head to Santa Eulalia but if its a more real Ibiza that you are after, head to San Carlos, Santa Getrudis or further north and steer clear of San Antonio.
Better still, head to Formentera. This place is truly amazing.
For more info, Ibiza Spotlight can give you all the information that you need.