Ibiza: so much more than just a party island

Huertos en Broll de Buscastell, Ibiza

We love an island adventure, where we’re never too far from the ocean but can also enjoy plenty of hiking and exploring when the mood takes us. Which is why we’re on a mission to visit as many of the world’s islands as possible over the next few years. After checking out several of Africa’s tropical islands we’re now turning our attention to the Mediterranean, and in particular the Balearics.

It might surprise you to know that we’ve put Ibiza at the top of our list. Yes, it’s famed for its party scene, which really isn’t our cup of tea. Yet beyond the clubs and bars, there’s a beautiful island just waiting to be discovered. This Mediterranean island is about hidden beaches and historical towns as well as drinking and dancing.  

So, what is there to do in Ibiza beyond the nightlife?

Dreamy beaches

Ibiza’s beaches are among the most sought-after in the Mediterranean, and despite the island’s popularity, there are plenty of spots where you can escape the crowds. Up in the north, the tiny cove of Port de Ses Caletes is the perfect place to scramble and snorkel while Es Portitxol offers one of Ibiza’s prettiest picnic locations. You can only reach the latter by boat or on foot, which keeps it quiet.

Over on the east coast of the island, hotels in Es Cana Ibiza are a great base if you want easy beach access from your door. It’s an ideal place for couples and families who are looking for an authentic coastal experience that balances facilities with tranquillity. A little further south you’ll come across Cala Olivera, a gorgeous little cove with a charming beach bar and a laid-back vibe.

Cala d Hort in Ibiza
The beautiful Cala d’Hort

If you’re staying on the west coast, Cala d’Hort is a good choice, with its fabulous view of the mysterious Es Vedra island. It can be popular in the height of summer, but it’s still a peaceful beach, flanked by dramatic cliffs which make for enviable holiday photos. Surfing and sunset watching are favourite pastimes here.

Historic towns

Leave the beaches behind for a day and venture into the heart of Dalt Vila – Ibiza’s Old Town – which is located inside an ancient fortress. Here, whitewashed houses line the flower-filled cobbled streets, painting a charming picture that rivals many cities in mainland Spain. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, packed with historical landmarks and home to some of the finest panoramic views on the island. Check out the art galleries and restaurants in the Plaza de Vila (main square), admire the cathedral architecture, and pop into the Archaeological Museum to discover Phoenician treasures.

Ibiza Old Town
Ibiza Old Town

Outside Dalt Vila there are plenty of other historic towns and villages to explore. In Sant Josep de Sa Talaia you’ll gain an insight into a typical Ibizan village. Set in the green foothills of Sa Talaia, this charming settlement is known for its weekly market, sleepy squares and inviting cafes. Meanwhile, over in Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera you’ll discover island life at its most relaxed. There’s a delightful blend of old and new, giving the place an arty, bohemian feel.

Scenic hikes

We love a good hike, and one of the attractions of Ibiza for us is the extensive network of trails that can be found across the island. Hiking is a great way to explore the more hidden areas of countryside, away from the crowds at the beach. You’ll be walking off some of those cocktail calories too!

If you’re feeling energetic, you can head up the highest peak on the island – Sa Talaia. The 10-km hike starts at Sant Josep church and takes you through fragrant forests and up the mountainside. It’s one of the best walking routes in Ibiza, rewarding those who summit with far-reaching views across the whole of Ibiza.

Moscarter Lighthouse in Ibiza
Moscarter Lighthouse

Another highly recommended walk is to the Moscater Lighthouse, which begins at Portixol beach up in the north of the island. The hike isn’t difficult, but you’ll need a head for heights. This is the perfect choice if you want to walk along the coast with magnificent sea views that are ever-changing.

Traditional markets

If you want to experience a slice of island life or fancy picking up some holiday souvenirs, we recommend taking in some of the local markets during your visit to Ibiza. There are several markets that are held in towns and villages across the island, so the chances are that there will be one near you.

You’ll find the main hippy market of Punta Arabi in Es Canar, with over 500 stalls to rummage through. Or head to Las Dalias flea market in San Carlos for everything from local crafts and bead jewellery to beach wear and Spanish tapas. Meanwhile, the San Miguel market is all about artisan crafts, and often there’s live music and folk dancing to keep you entertained too.

Have you visited Ibiza? Let us know your top tips for exploring the island in the comments.

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