This cosmopolitan island, the third largest in the Balearics, has a reputation for being a party paradise – and it absolutely still is if that’s what you are looking for. Scratch beneath the surface, however, and Ibiza is an island of contrasts loved by the international jet set and families alike.
So, as well as cheap bars, nightclubs and preposterous amounts of neon, there’s also an abundance of world-class beaches and restaurants, chic boutiques and hippy markets, as well as Ibiza Old Town which boasts UNESCO World Heritage status.
Health fanatic? Discover the tranquil, holistic side to the ‘White Isle’, featuring unspoilt villages dotted with almond blossom trees, plus first-class yoga and wellness retreats.
GETTING FROM THE SHIP…
It has only been in the last two decades that the Port d’Eivissa has been equipped with the infrastructure it has in place today – with almost 250,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to visit the island this year.
Smaller ships can dock at the port in the heart of the old town while the extended Botafoc dock is where larger cruise ships berth.
Ibiza town and Dalt Villa are both within walking distance of the old town port, however, if you are based in Botafoc, you’ll need to catch a shuttle bus.
WHAT WE LOVE…
Las Dalias: Held every Saturday in San Carlos, this is the most famous of Ibiza’s hippy markets and well worth a look, if only for the authentic atmosphere. Buy anything from clothes and jewellery to local crafts, many of them handmade. There’s also a restaurant and Moroccan tea tent. In high summer it can get very busy, so visitors should head there early to avoid the masses.
Las Salinas Beach: Want to mingle with the beautiful people? This is the beach in which to see and be seen in Ibiza, attracting a varied crowd, plus a fair share of superyachts. A ten-minute drive from Ibiza Town, the beach offers golden sands, water sports, restaurants, bars, showers and a beach boutique. This is one of the liveliest and most exclusive beaches in Ibiza – so expect prices to match.
Dalt Villa: Just walking distance from the port, this medieval castle and UNESCO World Heritage site dates back to the 16th century and offers panoramic views of the island from the battlements. There is a maze of narrow, cobbled streets lined with restaurants, shops and boutiques, selling everything from souvenirs to art and handmade clothing. There is also an archaeological museum featuring collections from the Carthaginian era.
TOP 3 PLACES TO EAT…
Mar A Vila: You can’t visit a Spanish island not partake of some tapas and this popular restaurant in the heart of Ibiza Town serves classic small plates begging to be shared.
El Chiringuito: An Ibiza staple for over ten years now, this Moroccan-inspired French restaurant is a seaside treat perfect for a long afternoon in the sun.
La Mezcaleria: More than just a place to enjoy a margarita in the heat, La Mezcaleria serves authentic Mexican cuisine at a reasonable price. Well worth a look!
TOP 3 PLACES TO SHOP…
Punta Arabí: Can’t get enough of Ibiza’s hippy markets? Try this long-running alternative to Las Dalias where you can scour for more fashion and craft bargains.
Ibiza Town: Head to the south-east of the island to the de facto capital, Ibiza Town, and explore its incredible selection of boutique shops and high street favourites.
Dalt Vila: We touched on it above but Dalt Vila is more than just a collection of UNESCO treasures – it is acclaimed shopping area in its own right.
OUR LOCAL TIP…
The residents of Ibiza observe the Spanish siesta diligently and therefore don’t be surprised if a lot of shops are shut between 2pm and 5pm.