Want to know more about the real Ibiza Island? No, the all night disco scene is not the real Ibiza. Danielle Rivas-Gardner, our guest writer, has Spanish heritage, lives in Seville and loves traveling in Spain.
By Danielle Rivas-Gardner
If you think Ibiza Island is only for clubbers, DJ’s and party goers then think again. Sure, Ibiza has earned the reputation of being one of the party capitals of Europe but there is so much more to this magical island.
Step beyond the tourist areas of Ibiza Town and San Antonio and you will discover the real essence of the island. The countryside feels wholesome, quintessentially Spanish and characterised by mountains, rolling hills, lush vegetation, traditional farmhouses with white washed walls (fincas), quaint little bars, endless almond groves, hidden beaches and friendly residents.
Here are my top 10 tips:
1. Hire a car: Experience rural Ibiza as it is essential to have your own transport. We used Centauro Rent a Car who were very polite, professional and spoke English. Their depot is located a few minutes away from the airport so they provide a shuttle bus to transport you there and back.
2. Stay in a traditional finca. What better way to experience the real Ibiza than by staying in a traditional farm house and getting a taste of how peaceful life can be. We stayed at Can Pujolet in Santa Ines, a rural Ibizan house of the mid-eighteenth century that has recently been restored with care. The finca is surrounded by farmlands where organic methods are used to grow fruit and vegetables, which are used in their in-house restaurant. A 25-minute walk up the hill will bring you to some cliffs and spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Can Pujolet also has free WIFI so you can stay connected to the world.
3. Eat and drink in the country bars: Driving from the airport to Can Pujolet we were fortunate to pass by beautiful scenery and rural villages. After taking a wrong turn and finding ourselves lost we were delighted to stumble across Can Cires, a gorgeous country bar and restaurant. My husband ran inside to ask for directions to our accommodation. The owner Victoria happily provided some instructions and said “If you can’t find it come back and I’ll take you there”. My husband was so impressed with Victoria’s hospitality that he ordered a couple of drinks and came out to collect me from the car. Over the next few hours we sat at the bar and got to know Victoria and her French husband Francis. When you go here ask for their house speciality “Flambé”, flat pizza bread topped with onion, garlic and cheese sauce. Another friendly bar to enjoy is Can Cosmi in Santa Ines de Corona, they are famed as having the best Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelette) on the island.
4. Buy pottery in Sant Rafel De Sa Creu: It’s the only village on Ibiza to be declared an ‘Artisan Interest Zone.’ Here you can browse and purchase pottery that has been handcrafted in San Rafel and perhaps see one of the local potters at work on one of their unique creations. Afterwards, stop for a cool drink or a spot of lunch at Can Pilot.
5. Go shopping at the Hippy Markets: Held on Saturdays and Wednesdays mornings there is a mix of imported and handcrafted items from Ibiza such as leather goods and Adlib Fashion. There are plenty of places within the market to stop for a drink or bite to eat.
6. Discover hidden beaches: You’re never too far from a beach in Ibiza and each one has it’s own personality. We explored a handful of them but we enjoyed Cala Salada the most. It’s not a huge beach, which means it doesn’t attract truckloads of tourists. You can hire a beach umbrella for 5 Euros and there is a good bar and restaurant. When you arrive at Ibiza airport go to the tourist information desk and ask for a map of the beaches. On the back of the map is a photo of each one.
7. Watch the sunset at Café Del Mar: My first impressions on Sant Antoni were not good. We drove into the town around lunch time to take a look around and found it to be very commercialised and full of young “Northerners” who are there to party. We returned in the evening however to watch the sunset from Café Del Mar and our experience in this part of the town was excellent. Our bill for 4 drinks was about 32 Euros. Keep in mind that Café Del Mar does not serve food of any description, no olives, nada! For a bite to eat we moved down a few doors to Kama Sushi Bar & Restaurant. We sat up on their bar table which overlooks the ‘Sunset Strip’ and devoured their delicious Tokio Burger, not very Ibizan I know, but just what we needed after a few drinks at Cafe Del Mar on an empty stomach.
8. Lunch at Es Vedra: A trip to Ibiza would not be complete without seeing the islands most famous mystical landmark Es Vedra. This mysterious limestone rock projects almost 400 meters out of the Mediterranean Sea and is a sight to behold. Legend has it Es Vedra is the third most magnetic point in the world (after the north and south pole) due to its high concentration of minerals and metals. So much so that electrical equipment, mobile phones and navigation instruments have been known to go haywire in the rocks vicinity. The best place to view the rock is from Cala D’hort (beach). Enjoy the view with a glass of cava and some lunch at one of the restaurants.
9. Walk around Dalt Vila: Located in Ibiza Town Dalt Vila (literally “Upper Town”) is the original settlement of Ibiza founded in 654 BC by the Phoenicians. The walled area of the city is characterised by quaint boutiques, bars, restaurants and a crisscross of narrow cobbled streets that stretch up and down the hill. The view from the acropolis is outstanding and particularly lovely at twilight. Also within the walls are Ibiza Castle, the Cathedral, Ibiza Archaeology Museum, and the Town Hall.
10. Enjoy a Mojito at “Arte de Mojito”: don’t leave Ibiza town without paying a visit to this iconic bar and resting your weary legs with a delicious Mojito. The owners are just delightful and I’ve never seen a happier couple so content with serving up their signature drink and getting to know their patrons. You’ll leave here feeling satisfied and loved. Felices viajes
In April 2012 Danielle took extended leave from her corporate HR job in Australia to pursue a dream both she and her (half Spanish) husband held of living in Spain. Danielle is the author of Mi Vida Abroad, a travel blog sharing personal accounts of Living, loving and laughing in Sevilla . . . and her expat life abroad. You can follow her adventures at: www.mividaabroad.wordpress.com