Ibiza is a place that always provokes a reaction. For some it’s the warm reminiscing of hedonistic summers, for others, it’s the shudder at the thought of spending time on an island with rowdy clubbers.
Anyone in the know knows Ibiza is anything but the San Antonio clichés (and even that area is changing for the better). And to those Ibiza veterans who have adopted a been-there-done-that attitude, I would point out that the island is so progressive and contains so many creative residents the idea of it ever being “done” is simply a non-starter.
Ibiza is so much more than just a clubber’s paradise. It offers everything from perfect escape time, to some of the best restaurants serving the freshest fish you will ever taste. All of this is mixed with a glamorous bohemian scene where you’re just as likely to find yourself lunching al fresco on a table next to Robert De Niro as drinking cold beers at a beach bar with the Arctic Monkeys.
So what to do and how to do it? Here are just a few pointers that include some classic relaxation and some predictable (but oh so worthwhile) hedonistic socializing.
Starting with a little bit of relaxation time, head to the Can Talaias hotel in the North East of the island and hang out by the prettiest pool in Ibiza; www.hotelcantalaias.com).
From there, head to the gorgeous beach at Cala Mastella for a swim, before grabbing lunch at El Bigote where you can have a long, leisurely meal — just make sure you reserve though. Royalty has been turned away because they didn’t have their name down (no phone, reservations in person).
For those looking for a bit more activity during the days, consider kitesurfing on the southeastern coast near Ibiza Town, at either Es Cavallet or Playa Den Bossa before kayaking round the southern tip to lunch at foodie favourite Sa Caleta, to the east of Cala Jondal.
For those searching for a great boho local market, head northeast of Ibiza Town to Las Dalias market on a Saturday morning, www.lasdalias.es. For the true Ibiza look, head down to Benirras beach for a visit to Deseo, where insiders go for great leather sandals, cotton dresses and silks from Thailand. For vintage pieces, visit Ganesha, popular with regular visitors including Elle Macpherson and Jade Jagger (14 Montgri, Ibiza Town).
As your perfect day draws to a close, line up the perfect evening.
Start off with dinner at Plaza del Sol, a restaurant within the old city walls with gorgeous views over Ibiza Town (Plaza Del Sol 7). Another favourite is Clos Denis in San Rafael, an island institution (Plaza de Iglesia, San Rafael).
Then it really is all about the night. You’ll have heard of the super clubs including Pacha, www.pacha.com, and Amnesia, www.amnesia-ibiza.com — go there for Manumission on a Friday night — and while these clubs showcase the brilliant beating soul of the island and are full of weird and wonderful characters, don’t forget what else is on offer.
From the trendy DC10, www.dc10ibiza.com on a Monday night, to the more low key but equally memorable Underground on a Thursday, www.ibizaunderground.com) these places provide wonderful Ibizan nightlife experiences.
Another cult classic is Space on a Sunday. It’s regularly voted the best club in the world and if you haven’t been you’ll see why when you get there, www.space-ibiza.es. A sign to say you truly have arrived in Ibiza is getting an invite to the illegal beach parties that take place on a Saturday on either Playa S’Estanyol or Blue Martin Cala Jondal.
But to fit in all of that nightlife alongside exploring, shopping, relaxing and taking in the island’s other attractions — well, something will have to give.
– Tom Marchant is the founder of award-winning travel company Black Tomato, www.blacktomato.co.uk.