What is the magic of Ibiza? I have been there now 2 times over a period of 7 years and it seems that the island is only getting more popular over the years…This year the island is expecting about 7 million tourists, an ultimate high for this small island!
I have to admit that even though I also like Mallorca very much, Ibiza has something special and also Formentera is magical! How did Ibiza get this popular and where does this hippy feel and magical effect come from?
In the 1930’s the island was originally a refuge for artists, creative’s and beatniks, which is how the hippy vibe started. In the 60’s the hippies began to come more and more to the island to cleanse their chakra’s, because the soil was said to contain a high level of quartz. They say this caused the vibration of the island which is felt by some.
After that in the 70’s artists and Hollywood stars discovered the island as well, with more and more clubs starting to appear. But also a lot of hippies kept on coming and passed by the island for open air parties with drum sessions, before leaving for the ashrams in India.
This caused a mixture of vibes on the island, which is still unique and attracts a big range of visitors; from famous people, dance lovers, to families, health freaks and hippies alike. This wide target group only keeps on growing with the addition of new clubs and high end restaurants on the island.
Because of that the island unfortnately also tends to get crowded and posh. This was the reason for me to write a blog about the quieter and unique spots on this island, to show you that it is also possible to enjoy the island in a more authentic way.
Where to go?
Figueretes is a beach just outside Ibiza-city in between the capital and Playa d’En Bossa. Nearby all the popular spots but a bit more quiet. With a nice promenade by the beach with local painters and stalls with art and accessories. This place is not really that authentic, but what is, is the walk of about 30 minutes-2 km from there to Ibiza city over the old city walls leading to Dalt villa.
Dalt villa, is the old town part of Ibiza’s capital. It is amazing to walk over the city walls with wide views over the city. Pass by the old stone walls and through historic tunnels, to end up in the cutest small streets with white houses covered by flowers. Dalt Villa has a lot of nice shops where you can buy everything to get you styled in the unique Ibizan way. And nice restaurants on small squares all around, where you can have dinner until midnight.
Santa Gertrudis is a nice town in the middle of the island which is much more quiet and unique than the other villages and towns more to the south. Quaint town squares, authentic restaurants and white houses all around.
Sluiz has several stores on Ibiza, but the biggest one is next to the mainroad just outside Santa Gertrudis. This is one of the most well knows stores of Ibiza and one of the leading concept stores of Europe. They have everything from interior, to clothing, accessories, food and even a garden restaurant where you can have lunch. The store definitely has its own style, decoration and a lot of unique products which you won’t find anywhere else.
Ibiza is well known for its hippy culture, so naturally it also has a range of Hippy Markets to choose from, to name a few:
Las Dalias is the most popular and well known Hippy Market and held every Saturday in San Carles.
Es Canar Hippy Market is held every Wednesday and is the biggest, but also most turisty market. It is advised to go early to beat the crowds.
San Juan Sunday Market has a nice vibe and attracts both real hippies as wannabe’s. Nice lunch tip is nearby Giri Café, the day menu there is affordable but very tasty!
In Sant Jordi a real authentic flea market is held every Saturday. This is no real comparison to the other island’s Hippy Markets, but worth a visit as well. If you like to browse and find bargains, this place will be your idea of heaven. The market is very diverse and attracts stall holders and customers from all around the world.
Hotels and villas
Es Cucons a nice rural hotel in the west part of Ibiza with only 15 bedrooms and a great restaurant. When you drive out of San Antoni and head up, you pass some awesome views and nature, it already feels far away from San Antoni’s clubs and crowds. In this valley lies Es Cucons, which is actually only 7 km away. The 1650s finca is tastefully restored but still kept intimate, with beautiful natural settings and palm trees all around. All bedrooms are designed each one unique and with a private outdoor space.
Destino Pacha hotel near Ibiza city is a bit more luxurious, but still in natural surroundings and near the beach. It has panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, Dalt Villa and Formentera. A spectacular pool, wellness center, hot yoga studio and restaurant with sea view terrace. The hotel booking comes with free entrance to club Pacha. But it is also possible to just go here for a luxury lunch or dinner with amazing views.
In between Sant Llorenc en Sant Carles is agriturismo hotel Atzaro. This is both a hotel, spa as restaurant, again you can also visit just for lunch or dinner.
But you can also choose to stay in private pool villa like we did. If you look for villas with several rooms more in the north of the island, you are likely to get more value for money. We stayed in a very luxurious, but affordable villa near Cala Sant Vicent. Note: this is much more affordable when you go with a bigger group of friends so you can split the costs:)
For the easiest and trustworthy way to book a similar villa go to: link to site Homeaway
We prefer the area north of Santa Gertrudis. Especially for beaches the most unspoilt bays are likely to be found here! Here are some of our best finds:
Cala Salada is a nice small beach near Es Cucons rural hotel. But most beaches from there until Cala Compte are nice, just drive by the big ones and look for the smaller more quiet bays.
Cala Grassioneta is one of those bays north of San Antonio. A beautiful small bay with a nice restaurant.
Just south of Cala Compte by the beach of Cala Tarida you will find the Cotton beach club. A quite new, but really stylish restaurant-beach club. The interior is all white and the view is absolutely stunning!
In the north-eastern Ibizan area in between Cala Nova and Cala Sant Vicent there are also a lot of nice beaches, such as Aigues Blancas, which is a bit more authentic and unspoilt.
A visit to Benirras up north is a must do on Sunday. On that day it is a tradition for hippies and tourists to come together at sundown, play the drums and make music to celebrate the beauty of the Ibizan sunset. Quite crowded but a great experience! This is also a nice beach to have dinner by the sea.
A few of my preferred popular destinations, if you do wanna see and be seen for a day, are:
Yemanja, an Ibizan hotspot which already exists for 30 years. The beach club is situated next to the famous Blue Marlin in Es Jondal, and is the more authentic alternative to the jetsetters beach club. Nice beach beds to lounge on while chilling and having lunch with nice sea views. Open all year!
In D’es Cavallet you can find Beach club El Chiringuito, not to be mistaken with The Chiringuito in the north in Cala Nova bay. Both are nice, and the one in the north is just a few kilometers away from Atzaró hotel restaurant.
South of Cala Nova is Amante beach restaurant nearby Santa Eularia. This was voted best beach restaurant 2 years in a row already. Beautiful location with nice views. Situated in a stunning cove on a cliff overlooking the bay, the restaurant-beach club is surrounded by rocks and nature.
If you have the time a (day) trip to Formentera is highly recommended. We loved this small island as it is a bit more quiet and still untouched. Rent a bike and you see almost the whole island in a day. A big part of the island is a nature park, where you can cycle totally surrounded by nature. But there are also a lot of beaches with turquoise sea views all around and nice small beach bars, such as Pirata Bus beach bar on Platja Mitjorn.
Soleado restaurant: quite basic, but well priced and outdoors with nice views and directly next to the sea at the end of Figueretes promenade.
La Bodega: at the base of Dalt Vila, on the left side of the city gates. Good atmosphere and one of the best tapas bars on Ibiza.
Forno Antico: nice restauarnt on the coolest square in the middle of Dalt Villa, Ibiza’s old town part.
La Brasa: a popular garden restaurant in Ibiza city.
Bar Costa: the 1st bar in Santa Gertrudis, which put this small town on the map and made it popular. Great sandwiches, tapas and several nice meats.
Macao: best Italian food on the island, this is THE hotspot restaurant of Santa Gertrudis.
Cicale restaurant near Sant Joan: has a nice garden and value for money Italian food.