Are you heading to Ibiza this summer? Find out about the isla bianca‘ s secret places in the travel guide.
I know that when you think of Ibiza and you likely imagine mega-clubs and all-night rave parties. And indeed, if you stay in Platja d’en Bossa or Sant Antoni de Portmany, that may well be a big part of your experience. But what is really extraordinary about this island is how much variety exists and cohabits peacefully within its compact area. Ibiza is many things, many places in one, with an almost immeasurable variation of atmospheres. To find the Ibiza of refined relaxation, my boyfriend and I rented a car and head for the low-key western and northern parts of the island. Nothing is terribly far from the main town, also called Ibiza, and you can reach in circa 30 min even the farthest beaches. To drive between towns is to encounter a landscape that is ancient and majestic. Terraced hills with olive, fig, and almond trees, empty fields and rural houses without any sign of the wild disco nights. I haven’t visited in winter yet but hope to someday see the almond trees in bloom, one of the reasons Ibiza is known as the isla blanca.
Exploring the quiet side of Ibiza was a dream come true — the small towns, hidden beaches, and low-key hotels and restaurants of the Spanish island. I was more than satisfied to find out that there is so much to see.
The must see ( like every travel guide says )
The historic Dalt Vila (Ibiza Old Town) and the spectacular views it offers at its summit are far from secret. But as a part of the island’s history it’s nice to have a stroll and enjoy the small shops and restaurants inside the walls. We made a quick stop at Cafè Mambo and Cafè del Mar at Sant Antoni de Portmany also – I love the music compilations and was curious to see where the most famous DJs play. Book a table in advance if you want to enjoy an amazing sunset. I won’t mention the disco clubs but be sure to buy you’r tickets in advance – especially for the opening or closing parties.
Also one of the most commercial places we stopped by was Cala Comte and Cala Bassa – there is no doubt that the water is divine ! I don’t like beaches full with people where you barely can turn around. But the sunsets there gives the two beaches a plus point! Ses Salines is one of the largest beaches we saw, with many chiringuitos, but the water is not so clear. It’s also one of the nearest to Ibiza city and it worths the drive thru the natural reserve Ses Salines.
The best beaches
If you want something off the beaten path with the most incredible views and perfect turquoise snorkeling waters, then you definitely need to head to Cala Xarraca. Then five minutes up the road check out Cala Xuclà.
Located in a calm bay, Benirras offers good snorkelling and the opportunity to go walking in the surrounding hills. Popular with yacht-owners who moor their boats just inside the cliff walls of the bay and the hippie drum parties in august.
Situated in the North of the island, Portinatx immediately impresses with not one but three great beaches – S’Arenal Gros (which is the largest), S’Arenal Petit (which is more private) and Playa Porto Beach. Each of them with stunningly clear water and soft sandy beaches. The plus for me were the trees where we were hiding from the burning sun.
The beach club
Literally cut out of the cliffs, Amante is not a place you simply stumble across.This spectacular beach club is on the eastern side of the island and worth the hunt thou, for vertiginous sea views, capacious lounging beds and award-winning food. Spend a day on the bleached wood terraces before tiptoeing down to swim in the secluded cove. Alternatively, come late, when the moonlit sea makes the perfect backdrop to a romantic supper. Owned by a former DJ who knows exactly what it takes to impress the Ibiza jet set. Tuesday nights are the most magical – the lower level turns into cinema under the stars! We had the pleasure to be part of the opening night for this season and to enjoy the film from our bean bag bed with cosy blankets, popcorn and accompanied by a glass of Jean Leon wine. Truly magical!
The best kept secret
The far western coast of the island keeps a hidden treasure, the seaside quarry known as Atlantis. This is a massive excavation of cliff where the stone was taken out to build the walls of Ibiza’s Dalt Vila, one of two remaining walled citadel towns in the whole of Europe. It’s a long, steep hike down, it’s easy to get lost because there are no signs, but the rewards are great. And Atlantis remains the only one that doesn’t appear on any map, nor is it signposted from any nearby road or path. But I cannot give you the directions either – the beauty of Atlantis is to find it yourself!
Es Vedra and the myth
Es Vedra is mostly known as the best place to enjoy the sunset. But the mythical tales surrounding this little island extend even as far as sirens and Argonauts. The history of the Island which dates back many thousands of years has stories told that the sirens and sea-nymphs lived on and around the rock. The Tanit which was the Phoenician lunar goddess who was worshiped as Patron Goddess knew the Island as a holy island. It was said that sacrifices took place on the shores of the Island during the full moons to honour her. Other stories tell of two brothers who cured there father with a special saphire from the Island. But in order to get the saphire they had to defeat the huge giant who lived on the Island in one of the many caves. Known as the ‘Es Vedra Giant’, they achieved this and were able to collect the saphire and cure their father.
To go there you have to follow the guides to Torre des Savinar, from where the view is breathtaking, to a parking space and then proceed for 30 min by foot. When we were there the tower was closed so we didn’t climb the hill to the very end, but along the road you can enjoy as well the magical island.
The foodie paradise
All kinds of chiringuitos are the perfect solution for a lazy lunch while the sun is burning, but the breeze from the sea is gently touching your skin. But four restaurants stole my heart:
La Brasa is the prettiest restaurant in Ibiza city! It has an amazing garden with enormous flower covered trees with hanging crystals. The paella was delicious but too big for only two people. The pan y alioli was the best I’ve ever tried, the desserts also. Five stars for the interior design!
Sa Brisa – a gastro bar that brings your senses to a next level. Sharing is the bast way the suggest you to try their menu based on street food recipes. Croquetas with matching sauces served on a christmas look-like tree and tacos with green apple based filling were delicious. With modern design and eclectic way to serve and prepare the food, this place is my favorite in Ibiza !
Can Berri Vell – The absolutely romantic getaway in Sant Agusti des Vedra. A rural house transformed into a restaurant with more than five different zones , it’s the perfect spot for a dinner with the loved one or just to relax with friends. Delicious the asparagus tierra y mar and the scrambled eggs with “sobrassada”, perfect the traditional dessert with eggs and mint.
C’an Pilot – ‘Let the meat reign the world’ must the be the slogan of this restaurant in San Rafael. Hundreds (may be ) meat plates cooked in front of you. Enormous plates for hungry people with low prices . Quantity equals quality here and is always full.
Any village, such as Sant Agustí des Vedrà – where a storybook church and single restaurant make the ideal setting for a quiet dinner – or Es Cubells – a small village nestled among the orange, lemon and olive groves on precipitous terraces – is a great pitstop for a refreshing drink or quick meal.
Puerto de Sant Miguel and the cave
Situated on the north coast of Ibiza, Puerto de San Miguel was once the fishing port of San Miguel village, but is now a popular small resort with families and peace-seeking couples alike.
The Cave of Can Marça, a former smugglers’ hideaway, is an interesting diversion from the port. It’s well sign posted and the way down to the cave offers an amazing view over the bay.
The island is not so big as it seems, but if you’re planning your vacation during the summer is better to rent a car – it’s too hot to ride a moto. A bike can be helpful in the main city but you can reach everything by foot also.
The airport is only 15 min away from Ibiza city, if you’re renting a car it’s better to do it with a pick up from the airport.
A one day trip to Formentera is a must! There are ferry boats every 20-30 min. and on most of them you can take your car,moto or bike on board. But be careful because some of the rent companies do not allow to transfer vehicles from Ibiza to Formentera and vice versa.