Ibiza, hedonistic and wild

Yumi Kayayan

The story

Early in the morning, curiosity leads us to the warm, crystal-clear waters of Sa Caleta, a little cove sheltered from the wind and swell south of Ibiza. Behind the white sandy beach, we find a small traditional fishing port teeming with cabins. We walk from one to the other, balancing on their thin wooden ramps submerged in glistening water. Their doors follow in line, green then blue.

Just above us, the sharp ochre cliff strangely evokes the great American West. Silence reigns, disrupted only by the echo of the small boats - llaüts – sailing off into the turquoise sea. We sit down for a moment among the ropes and chains in the cool shade of haphazard roofing before starting up the stairs that stretch behind the cabins towards the ruddy heights. High up, we find Phoenician ruins surrounded by pines. Far from the clamor of the towns, only the sound of the cicadas echoes on the rocks. Some lizards scamper around our feet. From the top of the cliff, the coves seem tiny, lined up like horseshoes opening upon the shimmering sea.

Everywhere on the white island, nature manifests itself in all its wildness and diversity, baffling and fascinating us at the same time. Throughout the seasons, we come across cacti, carob trees, almond trees in bloom and centuries-old olive trees. With one’s feet in the water and one’s eyes on the horizon, it is not rare to witness a sunset of pink, yellow and pale blue, the background of our most beautiful evenings. In such tranquil moments, one almost forgets that Ibiza is about to burst with light. As night falls, the island holds to its ‘party capital’ reputation. Night after night, the cities of Ibiza and San Antonio host the best beach, rooftop and club parties. Moreover, with the numerous chiringuitos and restaurants scattered around the island, Ibiza ranks high among the top gastronomic destinations.

The festive atmosphere goes hand in hand with Ibiza’s own version of la dolce vita. Since the 1930s, many intellectuals, artists, and nonconformists who seek warmth and tranquility have been drawn to the wilderness and hedonism of Ibiza. Its spirit of freedom and of creativity has persevered to this day.

A detour to Formentera

When Ibiza becomes too hectic, there is always its little sister Formentera, wilder and more preserved from mass tourism and urbanization. As it has no airport, it can only be reached by sea from Ibiza. A long way from Ibiza’s extravagances and clubs, with the clearest waters of the Mediterranean, this secret retreat will please those in search of quiet and tranquility. Here, straw hats replace sequin dresses. Country roads lead to sandy beaches that easily compete with those of the Caribbean. To preserve its much sought after calm, bicycles and scooters are favored on the island. There are few restaurants, bars and hotels in Formentera, an absence that only adds to the island’s discreet charm.

In the back of its paradisiacal beach, there’s Beso, where you can grab lunch with your feet in the sand and great music in the background. The restaurant is renowned for its paella and octopus, served with warmth and flair in the shade of an impressive pergola.

When to go?

The Balearic island knows only two seasons, summer and winter; with summer stretching from mid-May to early October. Those who want to enjoy the clubbing season will choose the months of July and August, when both the temperatures and the number of visitors reach their peaks. We prefer June for its mildness and calm before the summer crowds; or better still, September, when the beaches are empty and the Indian summer can finally begin. The landscape softens, no longer looking "scorched". The white island is encompassed by nature again, suddenly so removed from the frenzy that has made Ibiza famous.

How to get there?

Ibiza Airport is well served by airlines from major European cities, with daily flights from Paris in the summer. Once you arrive to the white island, it is very easy to travel by car or scooter. The moment you leave the airport you see nature take over. Two wheels are preferable in order to avoid traffic jams and lack of parking space during the busiest months. To reach certain rocky inlets, you will have to take a boat or walk the steep paths -- a good opportunity to engage in some adventurous hikes.

Experiences

Discover Ibiza’s vineyards

Let the master of the house reveal the secrets of his vineyard and the family wine cellar where you can taste Spanish wines that owe their special flavor to Ibiza’s unique climate. Continue the adventure by visiting a typical island house dating back to the 17th century, a real architectural jewel with Phoenician and Arab influences. Afterwards, resume the tasting with the unforgettable traditional dishes of the island.

Harvest your own salt in the heart of the Salines in Ibiza

Head off to harvest your salt in the heart of Sant Jordi de ses Salines, guided by an expert salt collector. Your guide will share the incredible story of this natural park, an emblematic spot that is notably featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Seize the opportunity to observe the diverse ecosystem, including over 200 types of birds and plants.

Explore the hippie market Las Dalias with an old-hand bargain hunter

Meet one of the island’s inimitable characters and embark on a treasure hunt. Let this fashion and art enthusiast guide you through the stands of favorite local artisans, creators and decorators.

Our address book

La Paloma

An authentic trattoria

In the heart of the village of San Lorenzo, the authentic and convivial Paloma is known for its cozy and simple style. The menu is Italian, healthy and organic. The chef, an Italian from Tel Aviv, works only with the freshest ingredients. We love their solomillo (beef filet) and homemade pasta dishes. You’ll feel as if you were in Tuscany sitting aside the fireplace in the intimate atmosphere of a living room, or out in the garden by candlelight amidst lemon and olive trees. One of the real treasures of the island.

Calle Can Pou, 4, 07812 Sant Llorenc de Balafia

Chiringuito Beach Club

The simple luxury

Facing the white sandy beach of Es Cavallet, we take our lunch at Chiringuito, one of the best beach restaurants on the island. French chef Jérôme Palayer serves Mediterranean specialties on the shaded terrace whose white decor is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. Don’t pass up the delicious beechwood-smoked salmon or the famous Chiringuito burger.

Plage es Cavallet, 07830 Sant Josep de sa Talaia

Amante Beach

The romantic one

The Amante Beach restaurant, spanning three floors, faces the sea in the Sol d'en Serra cove. You will be served modern and inventive dishes with a Mediterranean accent in a particularly romantic atmosphere. When making dishes like his grilled octopus with stuffed potatoes, chef Carlos Fernandez insists on using high quality, local and organic products whenever possible. He often picks them from his own garden, located right on the grounds.

Cala Sol d'en Serra, Calle Afueras, 07849 Cala Longa

Cotton beach club

Cocktails with a view

Some contend that the Cotton Club bar has the best view of the sunset. There’s even a whole section devoted to it: an amphitheater which, as its name suggests, will have you seated side by side to admire the view with an aperitif in front of you. Cocktails and cold-pressed juices accompany the attraction overlooking the silver beach of Cala Tarida.

Carrer Posta de Sol, 21, 07829 Cala Tarida

KM5

A legendary lounge

Pronounced “Kilometro cinco”, this iconic Ibiza lounge is known for its legendary evenings that add to the myth of the island. Under the Berber tents, inspired mixologists serve unconventional casual cocktails. Die-hard night owls will favor Red Bull Km5, a mix of Mosko vodka, strawberries, coconut syrup and the eponymous energy drink.

Road to San José, 5.6 km away, 07830 Sant Josep de sa Talaia

Experimental Beach Ibiza

An original

On the white sands of Cap des Falco, the mixologists of Experimental Beach Ibiza confidently prepare cocktails with spirits from all over the world. Each is served with a smile and with excellent pepperoncinos to savor on the beach beds facing Ses Salinas. The best DJs of the Balearic archipelago play in the background. Whatever you want to do – drink, dine, swim, dance: there's always a good reason to go to EBI, where the atmosphere is far more mellow than the other big beach bars of Ibiza.

Playa d’es Codolar, Salinas, 07817 Ibiza

Cala d’Albarca

A hike

Completely off the beaten track between Cap Rubio and Cap d'Albarca, Cala d’Albarca is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular coves on Ibiza. The place is steeped in history: between the 16th and 18th century it was controlled by pirates. You can observe numerous birds from its idyllic promontory, including the Eleonora of Madagascar falcon. The more adventurous can hike the steep trails, while those otherwise inclined can reach Cala by boat.

07820 Sant Antoni de Portmany

Cala d’Hort

A perfect cove

What could be better for a day of relaxation than the white sand and transparent water of Cala d'Hort? Tucked away in crescent-shaped cliffs, Cala d'Hort and its charming fishing huts stay sheltered from the wind. Looking out towards the horizon, one sees the islets of Es Vedra, Es Vedranell, and, in the distance, Formentera. While you’re there, be sure to stay for the stunning sunset.

07830 Sant Josep de sa Talaia

Sluiz

Bohemian shopping

The regulars know not to miss out on Sluiz. What better place to fish for new items for your wardrobe and home decorations than this store inspired by the bohemian, fun and colorful style of the island? The influences are very eclectic: from the chicest of the chic to the oddest of the odd, everything from Moroccan tableware to fluorescent poufs. The excellent coffee and juice bar and the amusing parking signboards add to the experience.

Carretera de Sant Miquel, km 4, 07814 Santa Gertrudi