Best known as the party capital of Europe, Ibiza attracts hedonists like LA attracts celebrities - hippies, gays, swingers, clubbers, DJs, sun-worshippers, dancers, the rich and famous, they all love this wild little island, though it has earned a somewhat deranged reputation due clubbers' excessive behaviour.
Although the place appears to be universally throbbing with foaming, ecstatic, all-night bars and clubs - during summer months anyway - a large part of the island is actually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its Bio-diversity (the rich marine life) and Culture (Ibiza town architecture) so development is limited by law.
Ibiza also contains pretty, sleepy villages (that go to bed early!) and family-friendly resorts (foam-free!) as well as unspoilt, hidden beaches and coves.
Local authorities are now tightening up regulations on night clubs and promoting the natural side of the island.
Ibiza old town
Dalt Vila*** (also know as Alta Vila, Ibiza's old quarter)
This medieval fortified area rising above the rest of Ibiza Town is a World Heritage Site, with narrow streets and monuments such as the Moorish Castle and the Catalan Cathedral. Climbing the 100m summit is recommended for spectacular views over Ibiza Town, the harbour and out towards the island of Formentera.
Another place of interest outside the Dalt Vila is the necropolis of Puig des Molins, the Phoenician-Punic cemetery, with 3,500 underground tombs.
Ibiza old town's Moorish castle and cathedral
Salinas salt pan (the Salinas Nature Reserve)**
Over 1,000 acres of land this pan produces around 60,000 tonnes of salt a year and is the island's biggest industry (after tourism and ecstasy). The Nature Reserve includes both land and sea animal habitats and wild landscapes.
The Sa Caleta*
These Phoenician ruins, located between Es Codolar beach and Puig des Jondal, are of extraordinary historic interest according to the World Heritage listing, tho' not to most visitors who are more taken with tequila shots and big beats.
Atlantis, 'The Secret Beach'*
This hidden cove with secluded beach, swimming 'pool' and ancient sandstone quarry is popular with new age people as well as those who seek a bit of adventure. Over the centuries stonemasons and artists have added their own creations to the area. It's located somewhere near the beach of Cala d'Hort and opposite Es Vedrá island, but is supposed to be a secret. Fat chance.
rocky islet off west coast, rising to nearly 380m above sea level, Es Vedra is one of the Balearics' most picturesque sights. The best place to view is from a clifftop overlooking the beach of Cala d’Hort, particularly at sunset. The bugcrew feel that you'd have to be pretty high both physically and mentally to find that rock exceptionally attractive.
Es Canar Market, just outside Es Canar town on the east coast on Wednesdays and Las Dalias Market in San Carlos on Saturdays in summertime.
Try here if you're interested in Ibiza holidays.
Ibiza beach with the town in the background.
The great thing about Ibiza's 80 pristine beaches is the variety; you want it, they got it. Action-packed? Child-friendly? Tranquil? Scenic? Sizzling beach parties? Sophisticated dining? It's all there.
- Just outside Ibiza town is the surprisingly laid-back Talamanca Beach (alright, maybe it's not so surprising that it's laid-back considering the state of most of the tourists the day after the night before), while stylish Cala Jondal, 6km southwest of Ibiza Town, offers one of Ibiza's finest beach restaurants - the Blue Marlin - though it's a pebble beach.
- One of the best beaches on the island is long, broad Las Salines in the south, beyond the Ses Salines salt pans, lined with trendy beach bars. Another favourite is Sa Trinxa, also fringed by bars and clubs which are terrific for people-watching.
- The longest beach on the island is Playa d'en Bossa (Platja d'en Bossa) in the southeast, with 2.5 km of sand, ideal for watersports but also popular with both families and party-animals aiming to lay waste to the Bora Bora bar.
- If peace and quiet are your keywords, try Es Figueral, Cala Moli, Cala Conta, and 'the lost beach' of Atlantis.
The best place for sunsets (something of a special event in Ibiza, heralding the start of the day, not the end!) Cala Salada near San Antonio, Cala Trida near Sant Josep, or more isolated Cala d'Hort, with its views over the Es Vedra rock.
- Es Cavallet and Es Figueral are favoured by gays and naturalists.
Ibiza port at night.
Night life ***
If you are a party animal, Ibiza is the place to be. The two primary rave zones are Ibiza town on the east coast and San Antonio (Sant Antoni) on the west. If all-night madness is not your thing it's better stay away from those two destinations and choose one of the quiet resorts in the north of the island.
The clubbing season mostly starts in June and finishes at the end of September.
Club opening hours are from 4.30pm until 6am, except for opening and closing parties that start from 12 noon.
Take advantage of useful 'Discobus' service running from midnight to 06:00 am that circles between the major hotels and venues.
Among 80 venues on the island, Space, Privilege, Pacha, and KM5 are the four biggest, with Eden and Es Paradis in San Antonio.
Amnesia has spectacular shows and is half way between Ibiza town and San Antonio while the chic Blue Marlin on Cala Jondal enjoys a reputation as one of world's hottest beach party venues.
Balearic Islands map, Spain
This is one of Mediterranean's last paradise islands, almost free from the mass tourism and commercialism of its neighbours, particularly raucous Ibiza. Even in the summer months Formentera is relatively tranquil.
A Formentera beach, Spain.
The land is flat so that you can explore the island's unspoilt nature by bicycle quite easily in a day. It has an excellent network of Green Route cycle paths and finding rental bikes is easy and inexpensive.
Take swimming suits to dive into some of Spain's best beaches on the way. e.g. the island's best and longest beach, Playa Mitjorn, with its chain of coves on the south coast is relatively low-key but has good facilities available. The crystal clean water is great for snorkelling, too.
Balearic islands general information