Ibiza is the isla bonita, and is full of surprises. If you think that Ibiza is just “night life” you are wrong. Of course, Ibiza's night life is probably one of the liveliest and most enjoyable on the European scene in the summer, with the most famous and most important DJs in the world, but Ibiza is much more than that. Ibiza is unspoilt nature, relaxation, crystal-clear waters, history and a flower-power atmosphere, as the isla bonita was the refuge for several hippy communities in the 1960s.
With the well-equipped beached and wild bays, the spots for relaxation and the warm countryside on the island, and the picturesque old villages, we will take you on a journey to discover this beautiful island in the Balearics, the best islands of Spain.
Here are the places that we will explore together, from the the best beaches in Ibiza to the places of great natural or historical interest.
Dalt Vila: the old town of Eivissa
The old town of Eivissa is perhaps the first lovely surprise that the island holds for its visitors. Arriving from the sea, you immediately glimpse the red bricks of the ancient walls, the castle, the cathedral and the low, white houses that seem to scramble over the fortified citadel.
The Portal de Ses Taules is the main entrance to Dalt Vila - which is its name in Catalan - and is highly impactful: it is huge, with a statue on each side and chains, which make you realise that once upon a time, there must have been a drawbridge.
Once you have climbed the first two slopes, you will come to a beautiful town with small, white houses, craftsmen's workshop and special boutiques, where everything is brightly coloured by the flowers climbing the walls and the verdant palm trees. It is here that you will find the best, most authentic shops if you want to buy the characteristic Ibiza-style clothes, all white with macrame lace.
Climbing to the top of the old town requires some effort, but is extremely satisfying: the traces of the layers of Phoenician, Arabic, Carthaginian and Roman culture are the setting here for the breath-taking view that is even more incredible on a windy day, and which at sunset becomes the very glorification of romanticism.
If there is one truly great thing to do in seaside resorts, it is taking a walk in the evening - perhaps enjoying an ice cream - amidst the boats and yachts that have moored in the port.
Port d’Eivissa is truly stunning in this sense: it is large, and there are often sailing ships and VIP yachts moored here, therefore celebrity-watching can be an enjoyable extra thing to do.
The promenade that runs along the port is full to the brim of shops, clubs and restaurants; a lovely dinner on the shore, maybe eating paella, and few drinks of chupito to start off the fun evening can be one of the many options.
Can Marçà Caves
One of the many natural wonders of the island of Ibiza is without a doubt the Can Marçà Caves.
These are underwater caves with stalactites, stalagmites, natural pillars and gaps in the rock that allow you to glimpse the magnificent sea that surrounds them. There is also a 350-metre natural waterfall, a sight to behold.
Have you ever played at being pirates? Well, not only do the Can Marçà Caves seem to be the perfect backdrop for pirate stories that have always captured our imagination - like the adventures of Long John Silver in “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson - but they have actually been used in the past by the island’s smugglers who carried out their illegal trafficking here: there are several legends linked to these topics, but the true evidence of the truth of some of them lies in the marks that can still be seen on the cave walls, which the smugglers used to communicate with each other.
An almost magical light and sound do the rest. The Can Marçà Caves can be visited all year round on a half-hour tour, and are easy to reach from Puerto de San Miguel.
Like we said at the start, Ibiza was the buen ritiro for many hippy communities in the 1960s. A part of the flower power atmosphere has been lost over the decades, but there are some outposts where it is still possible to breathe in a little of those legendary years when free love, music, creativity and contact with nature were the most important things to the hippies.
As well as nudist beaches, you can discover the hippy mood at the many markets all over the island. The Punta Arabì hippy market, for example, is the largest and longest-standing: it has been set up with over 500 stalls since 1973, stalls that offer local crafts items that are the livelihood for the old hippies who still live on the island, natural products, flower power clothes and jewellery, and plenty of entertainment to liven up the atmosphere.
The Las Dalias market, in Sant Carles de Peralta, seems to be a kind of “hippy camp” with more than 200 stalls and psychedelic music playing everywhere: here it is possible to stock up on the original AdLib dresses.
Lastly, early Saturday mornings in Sant Jordi allow you to buy unique items, including vinyl records, furniture, boots and vintage and second-hand clothing.
Sant Antoni de Portmany is undoubtedly the most fun-loving place on Ibiza. The Passeig de Ses Fonts seafront is not only the right place for admiring a stunning sunset over the bay that lends its name to the town, but is also full of night clubs where you can have fun with your friends or just sit and enjoy an aperitif while gazing at the sea before truly starting the evening’s entertainment. Carrer de Santa Agnès is the real heart of the movida, the area where everything happens - from midnight onwards.
To add a bit of culture, which is a good thing for any holiday. San Antonio is also home to the Cap Blanc Aquarium, a unique aquarium in that it is home to marine species from the Mediterranean, in particular the sea around the Balearics.
Church of Santo Domingo
This is the church that you can see on the Eivissa citadel when arriving from the sea. It is a Baroque style church that was built from the late 16th century and includes an adjacent convent, a kind of oasis of peace that still preserves its original configuration, unlike the church itself that has undergone significant changes further to explosions and fires that damaged the building and the precious works of art inside it.
Some fun facts about the Church of Santo Domingo: to start with, it has a single nave that is 31 metres long, with five chapels on each side of it; also - a really unusual fact - the altarpiece that stands out on the higher altar is a Genoese Baroque altarpiece.
Sant Joan de Labritja
Set amidst the green mountains and the ochre colour of the burnt dry fields., Sant Joan de Labritja is a pretty town which still preserves all its authenticity. The low, white houses with their green and yellow doorsteps are typical of the town's architecture and lend an almost tropical mood to the streets and squares; they are centuries-old buildings, perfectly preserved, and even more attractive for this very reason.
Another characteristic of Sant Joan de Labritja are the rural churches and the watch towers that are dotted around its municipality along the coast: these are typical towers standing over the sea, made from yellow clay bricks (they can be an interesting point to use for creating an itinerary on this part of the island).
The nature near Sant Joan de Labritja is also worthy of note. It is here, in fact, that we find some of the best beaches on the island of Ibiza, starting with the spectacular Portinatx and without forgetting S’Arenal Gros and S’Arenal Petit, Playa Porto, Balafia, Benirrás, Cala Xarraca, S’Illot, Cala den Serra, and Cala Moltons.
The entire area is highly recommended for trekking, snorkelling and diving lovers.
A huge beach, which, in spite of its size (it is over one kilometre long) is always extremely crowded. Actually, how can these people, who race to grab a place in the sun on this wonderful fine white-sand beach overlooking a shallow turquoise sea, be wrong? The shallow depth also makes it ideal for children, anyone who can’t swim or who is afraid of deep water.
Thanks to these very characteristics, it is the ideal place to learn to go stand-up paddling or kayaking, and is also the preferred destination for many VIPs and models. Las Salinas Beach is bordered by umbrella pine woods and the surrounding land is a protected area.
Santa Inés (or Santa Agnès de Corona) is a small rural village inland.
There are no large stores, fashionable clubs or restaurants frequented by VIPs: its main attraction, in fact, are the centuries-old olive trees that almost form a wall around it, the burnt countryside with its red and ochre yellow colours and the almond trees. The latter flower in the month of February and are a real event for all island dwellers; their fragrance inebriates the countryside and colours it pure white, contrasting with the bright, intense colours of the land.
The small white church in the town is a little treasure: it is very simple in style, white and square, similar to the ones found in the desert areas of the Far West - reminiscent of the iconic church in the Quentin Tarantino film “Kill Bill” - but holds some surprises inside.
Es Vedrà is a piece of land emerging from the sea off the coast of Cala d’Hort and is the protagonist of what is probably the most beautiful sunset over the sea that can be seen in the whole island.
It can be viewed from high up on the coast, at a point where there is also a watch tower, Torre Es Savinar, after a trip into nature of about one hour, or directly from the sea, reaching the cliffs by boat or kayak.
Es Vedrà is not just the place where nature can impress visitors in all its splendour - the island is totally uninhabited - but is also the subject of fascinating myths and legends.
To start with, its shape, together with that of the nearby islands (Es Vedranell and another seven) is reminiscent of a dragon; secondly, it seems to be one of the most important magnetic and energy fields worldwide, holding the record with sites such as Stonehenge, the Bermuda Triangle, Easter Island or the Egyptian Pyramids. This theory is corroborated by the fact that compasses lose their north point on the island of Es Vedrà: the more sceptical among us will say that the fault is not down to mystical energy, but to some minerals and heavy metals on the island that interfere with the compass mechanisms, but we like to give the more esoteric hypothesis a chance. Lastly, it is said that Es Vedrà was the dwelling place of nymphs and mermaids - the ones that beguiled Ulysses on his journey home - and that it is even a part of the submerged city of Atlantis. So much mystery and attraction for such a small island!
Sant Josep di sa Talaia
Sant Josep di sa Talaia is another of Ibiza's picturesque towns, filled with history, tradition and art, with its characteristic white houses and churches with a strong personality, such as the church of Sant Jordi di ses Salines, the church of Sant Francesc de s’Estany, the church of Sant Agustí des Vedrà, and Sa Rivista. They all date back to the period of the 13th-18th century and church in Sant Jordi di Ses Salines was built to welcome all the churchgoers who worked in the island's ponds and salt marshes.
One of the things to see in Sant Josep di sa Talaia is Sa Caleta, a Phoenician village preserved in excellent condition and also the Punic-Roman rural settlement of Ses Païses.
Nature lovers here will find a charming cave to visit in an original way. It is Cova Santa, a natural cave that is about 25 metres deep. We say it can be visited in an original way as a restaurant has been opened inside it and it is often used for shows and performances; you may choose to visit it during a superb dinner, discover its potential during a show, or visit in another moment chosen by you.
Santa Eularia des Riu
Santa Eularia des Riu is one of the resorts on Ibiza that is suitable for families. Along the main road that crosses the town, there are many shops and restaurants suited to all needs, while along the coast there are various sand beaches with facilities.
In the main square, the one with the Ayuntamiento, you can enjoy breakfast at Caffè Royalty, a historical bar that is a true local institution; you will find local delicacies - such as pan y tomate - excellent croissants and cafè con leche.
Stalls are set up in the square during the summer evenings, which are perfect for an after-dinner walk at the end of a long, great day at the beach.
After living it up during your Ibiza nights, what you really need is a day on the beach, doing nothing but basking in the sunshine and taking a dip every now and then.
Cala Bassa is the ideal place for doing all this and much more too. It is close to Sant Antoni de Pormany and is beach of fine white sand with transparent blue waters, given the name of “natural pool”. It is large and with facilities, so if you get hungry after a couple of swims in the sea and a nap, there are three restaurants (including a famous beach club and a chiringuito) where you can eat something tasty in the shade. This is why it is suitable for families with young children who don’t want to miss out on the fun and the crystal-clear waters.
If you are still looking for fun in spite of the crazy night antics - or you have simply recovered enough energy - it is possible to try out several water sports and activities in Cala Bassa, you can hire a jet ski, a pedalo, a fun bananaboat or a jetski.
Es Cavallet is another of Ibiza’s most famous and best beaches. It is the natural continuation of Las Salinas Beach and for this reason has the same natural characteristics: bright blue, shallow waters and a large, sandy beach.
In addition to being rightly famous for its natural beauty, Es Cavallet is known for being the most gay-friendly beach in Ibiza, and the official nudist beach on the island. If you come from the road or from Las Salinas, you will see the rainbow flags flying proudly as a sign of openness and inclusiveness for anyone who wants to spend a day on the beach in total freedom.
In this sense, Chiringay is a real institution of Es Cavallet. It is a chiringuito offering relaxation, music and excellent food to those who want to take a break from the sun and tanning.
Es Cavallet is situated in the Area Natural de Especial Interès de Ses Salines and is also Zona de Especial Protecciòn para las Aves, or rather a protected area for bird species. The fragrance of rosemary and wild fennel fills the air here, which stands around the natural salt water pools that fill this area, natural pools that have made this beach become a UNESCO world heritage site.
Cala de Sant Vincent
Puig des Molins Necropolis
Not everybody knows that Ibiza was ruled by the Phoenicians, then the Carthaginians, and then by the Romans, for several centuries. From the end of the 7th century B.C., the Phoenicians settled in the area of Puig de Molins. This is where it is still possible to visit the archaeological ruins of the necropolis that with the Punic era (6th century to the 1st century B. C.) saw the start of a trend that continued to Roman times, extending to the north and going as far as what is now known as Avenida de España and Calle Aragón. The necropolis is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Aside from the necropolis ruins, there is also a Monographic Museum where all the items found in the Puig des Molins necropolis are preserved, telling the history of the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans. Here, you will find precious necklaces, bronze and lead tools, charms, coins and other items found in the necropolis’ funeral chambers.
The museum is also home to the bust of the Goddess Tanit, the goddess of fertility and pleasure, associated with luck, light and rest; in Phoenician mythology, this goddess is also Astarte, the Mother Goddess. Tanit is now a symbol of Ibiza. We should also point out a particular collection of special ostrich eggs that are decorated.
Discover Ibiza with Costa Cruises
Set sail with Costa Cruises to discover Ibiza, its heavenly beaches, its history and its wonderful relaxed atmosphere, full of flower power and fun that are so distinctive on this island in the Balearics. Be charmed by the silent crystal-clear waters, its inland, its music - in bars, on the street and on the beaches - that make your holiday and must more so exciting