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What to Do and Where to Stay in Ibiza
21 Apr. 2023
21 Apr. 2023
Looking for what to do in Ibiza and where to stay in Ibiza? Lartisien details the best activities and hotels that the White Isle of the Balearic Islands has to offer.
Located on the eastern coast of Spain, off the shores of Valencia, the island of Ibiza is a little piece of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is known for its bohemian lifestyle and vibrant nightlife, but also boasts natural and historical treasures with its beautiful beaches and coves, as well as its fortified castles built by the Moors. Going hand in hand with this idle life, the island’s gastronomic offer is quite developed and cosmopolitan, presented in settings each more seductive than the previous one.
With a history that begins with the Phoenicians as the first settlers in 654 BC, the Romans, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the conquest by the Muslims in 902 BC, and the Aragonese conquistadors in 1235, Ibiza is an island whose history has been influenced by many peoples who have endowed it with all its cultural richness and diversity.
The old walled town of Ibiza, Dalt Vila (the upper town) is one of the most beautiful testimonies of this history. At the top of it stands the Castle of Ibiza. Built during the Moorish occupation, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has buildings dating back to the 8th century, which continued to be built until the 18th century. Along the cobbled streets of the old town, visitors can see the historic buildings and fortresses that were used to defend the city against pirate attacks. Today, the old town is full of small bars, restaurants and picturesque sites.
Leaving the old town, visitors join the hustle and bustle of Eivissa town, especially the popular Ibiza harbour or La Marina area. The town is home to many restaurants, bars, museums, shops, nightclubs and the popular hippy markets that are so emblematic of the island’s lifestyle.
Indeed, in the 1970s, Ibiza became a haven for those who considered themselves freethinkers and non-conformists, especially during the Spanish Civil War. Hippie culture and aesthetics thus influenced life on the island. The markets are the most emblematic legacy. The most famous hippie market, however, is not in Eivissa but in Las Dalias, in San Carlos, in the north-east of the island, with its 200 stalls offering local cuisine, handicrafts, antiques, musical instruments, but also the services of fortune tellers and masseurs.
The island is in no shortage of excellent gastronomic spots that explore local and international cuisines. You can get a good grasp of Ibiza’s culinary heritage through street food spots such as the night markets and hippy markets, offering the best chance at trying fresh ingredients which are quickly prepared in the traditional fashion.
The old neighbourhood of the city of Ibiza, Sa Punta, for instance, has a stunning al fresco setting that combines breathtaking views with a Mediterranean menu. It also has a rooftop restaurant, Patchwork, where guests can enjoy traditional Lebanese cuisine.
Address: Es Pouet de Talamanca, s/n, 07819 Ibiza
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 18h30 to 02h30
Close to the castle of Ibiza, Maison Le Vrai brings a French gastronomic experience in taste and style to the island. Within an eclectic, contemporary design that is part tropical veranda, part urban rustic, guests enjoy innovative French dishes, influenced by local and international flavors.
Address: C/ de Miquel Caietà Soler, 9, 07800 Eivissa
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday – 20h to midnight
On the east coast, the Amante restaurant is nestled in the bay of Sol den Serra, right on the beach and seems to be cut off from the world for the most romantic experience. The restaurant organizes morning yoga sessions followed by hearty healthy breakfasts and outdoor movie nights where guests can enjoy a movie while lying on large poufs with the most beautiful backdrop: the starry sky and the soothing sound of the waves.
Address: Cala Sol d’en Serra Calle Afueras, s/n, 07849 Cala Llonga
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 11h to 23h
Inland, the whimsical Aubergine brings guests to the heart of Ibiza’s countryside, between Santa Gertrudis and San Miguel, with rustic and romantic décor and a farm-to-table menu.
Address: Carr. de San Miquel, km 9, 9, 07815 Sant Miquel de Balansat
Opening hours: 12h to 23h
La Paloma, in San Lorenzo village, is an old finca transformed by one family and its friends in a cafe and restaurant. The restaurant offers a convivial bohemian hacienda style with its white building colored with blue-gray, and its colorful tables and chairs set in its garden filled with lemon trees. Address: Carrer Can Pou, 4, 07812 Sant Llorenç de Balàfia
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 12h30 to 16h30, 19h to 23h
The Boat House, located in the west, with its beachside atmosphere, feels like the interiors of a boat were spilled onto the beach to form a cosy, welcoming little spot. Run by the Dutch Zandwijk family, who started its culinary adventure some 40 years ago, the restaurant features a modern, organic menu of local and international dishes and an extensive cocktail list. The homegrown sugar cane juice is a must-try.
Address: Carrer Cala Sant Vicent A, 3, 07811 Cala de Sant Vicent
Monday to Thursday – 10h to 22h
Friday – 10h to 22h30
Saturday – 9h30 to 22h30
Sunday – 9h30 to 22h
On the northern coast of the island, in Naxemena, the Edén Restaurante is nestled on top of cliffs and offers a sublime view of the bay and the sea and explores the island’s gastronomy through its set menus for lunch and dinner.
Address: Carrer na Xamena, s/n, 07815 Sant Miquel de Balansat
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 13h30 to 15h30, 19h to 23h
As an island, Ibiza has no shortage of incredible beaches (or “cala” in Catalan) for visitors to enjoy.
Cala Xarraca, located near the northern tip of the island, boasts a clear, shallow lagoon with a unique tint of green to it. The bay itself is surrounded by lush pine forests, rugged cliffs that hide trendy, Mediterranean houses. For an even quieter spot, Cala Es Canaret, a short 15-minute ride away, is the refuge of private yachts. Long inaccessible except for having or staying in a house, the owners have since allowed for a passageway to the 60-meter beach and its turquoise waters.
Cala d’en Serra, in the north-east, is a horse-shoe bay, with a clear blue lagoon, protected by steep cliffs. The spot is famous for the abandoned hotel that was once slated to become a luxury resort. The building is now known for being a canvas for local graffiti artists, though we do not recommend going inside the structure.
A 30-minute ride from Cala d’en Serra, located on the eastern tip of the island, Faro de Punta Grossa is an abandoned lighthouse sitting at some 55 meters above sea level. The lighthouse is only accessible by foot, but once there, visitors are treated to one of the most splendid views of the island and the sea.
Cala Benirrás with its partly pebbly beach and densely forested cliff is famous for being the spot where hippies once protested the first Gulf War in what is now known as The Day of the Drums.
All the way in the southwestern tip of the island, one of the most popular and beloved beaches on the island is Cala d’Hort. Rather small, the beach’s white sand and clean lagoon are bordered by steadily rising cliffs, and an array of restaurants and boutiques to make it the picture-perfect beach. From there, visitors can spot the mysterious and dramatic Es Vedrà, a rock island that rises almost 400 meters high.
The rock’s fame grew with the many legends and stories that surround it, some claiming that it was once the home of the Sirens from Greek mythology while others say it was the birthplace of the Goddess Tanit, who the ancient Phoenicians revered. Es Vedrà can be admired from the Mirador de Es Vedrà, a lookout deck perfect for a full view of the rock and the sunset. Located right next to the beach is Sa Pedrera de Cala d’Hort, an old sandstone quarry that features caves, rocks, and artificial pools of crystalline water, which have earned it the nickname of Atlantis of Ibiza.
A little further west, Cala Vadella is a small cove, with less a smaller crowd, where visitors can enjoy all the water activities in peace and quiet. Cala Sadaleta, in the west, features a similarly quiet and protected environment, but the surrounding cliffs feature a lush forest, offering plenty of shade from the sun.
Cala Conta is a superstar among beaches. White sand, clear, turquoise lagoon, rock outcrops, and fabulous views all make it one of the best beaches in Ibiza. The beach is especially popular for family outings, given its nearby restaurants and shops, and activities.
Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera is a picturesque village in the heart of the island. With its whitewashed houses, decorated here and there with yellow walls, its large square where the imposing fortified church of Santa Gertrudis sits, and its lively pedestrian street lined with bars and terraces, this town offers a typically Mediterranean experience, more authentic and calming than that of Ibiza. This town, built by artists and sculptors who have taken up residence here, has a great deal of charm. Bar Costa, for example, a popular sandwich restaurant in town, was once a place where artists exchanged their artwork for food.
Located 19 km from Ibiza, the island of Formentera is a wild neighbour of Ibiza, prized for its beautiful, pristine beaches and unrivaled tranquillity. A sandy peninsula, Ses Illetes Beach is a natural treasure. The town of Sant Francesc Xavier has some very pretty little fincas, whitewashed Mediterranean houses adorned with lush bougainvillea and beautiful buildings such as the chapel of Sa Tanca Vella and the 19th-century windmills of Sa Miranda. There is also the beautiful Ses Salines National Park, whose lagoon is home to aquatic birds, including pink flamingos. The Cap de Barbaria with its lighthouse overlooking the rocky cliffs is a particularly impressive site.
While Ibiza has made a name for itself as a party destination, this Six Senses property on the north of the island invites guests to discover the art of lazing and wellness activities. Six Senses Ibiza offers an atmosphere of absolute serenity, amplified by the breathtaking views over Xarraca Bay.
Six Senses Ibiza has adapted to the island rather than imposing its style. Indeed, architect Jonathan Leitersdorf wanted the property to blend into the landscape and reflect the natural vibrancy and vitality of the Balearic Islands. It is set on 8 hectares of land, with a layout that makes it feel more like a village than a resort. The hotel is also at the forefront of ecotourism with its zero waste policy, its 51% renewable energy operation and its farm-to-table dining practices.
The 137 rooms and suites almost blend into the rocky, sandy landscape, cascading down the slopes to the beach. Facing the sea and the setting sun, the rooms are bright and the fresh air flows in once the huge windows are opened. Inside, the design is Mediterranean and relaxed with natural, earthy and creamy tones and natural wood. Continuing from the rooms, the terraces open onto the sea and offer a breathtaking view and some protection from the sun with their rattan pergolas.
The Six Seasons Ibiza culinary experience is led by the talented Chef Eyal Shani, with 5 venues exploring the rich cuisine of the Mediterranean and the world. Open from May to October for dinner, North Restaurant offers a stunning open-air setting that allows guests to enjoy Spanish and Israeli dishes amidst olive trees. The Beach Caves resembles a hippie cave with its eccentric and colourful mural and offers an electric musical atmosphere. Guests can enjoy Japanese cuisine and direct access to the beach, with a lounge area on the sand.
The Secreto Bar allows for intimate private dining (10-14 people) around a chef’s omakase table. The Orchard has a trattoria feel, perfect for family parties or friends over an Italian meal. While La Plaza is a friendly lunch experience to explore traditional Spanish flavours. The Farmer’s Market is a casual, almost canteen-like setting, with a literal tractor and baskets of vegetables in the middle of the room, where guests can enjoy Balearic cuisine, live music and delicious cocktails. Finally, by the pool, there is an ice cream truck to cool off on the hottest days.
Six Senses Ibiza has earned a reputation as a wellness destination thanks to its superb spa, which has developed a programme that spans 1,200 square meters. Guests are treated to tailor made RoseBar longevity programs for mind and body, detox programs of yogic cleansing, sleep therapies, and a number of visiting practitioners who will educate guests about Quantum Physics holistic therapy, hypnotherapy, pain relief therapy among others, and also outdoor activities such as yoga and meditation.
Address: Carrer Camí de sa Torre, 71, 07810 San Juan Bautista, Illes Balears, Spain
Transfer: 40 minutes from Ibiza Airport
Opening period: All year