Heading to Ibiza? Lucky you! Not only because it’s one seriously swish and sumptuous destination, but also ’cause we’ve done all the hard work for you when it comes to making the best of the break. Sit back and scope our ultimate guide to Ibiza, your one-stop shop on what to do, eat and see on this Balearic beauty.
It may be renowned as the clubbing capital of the world, but after-dark adventures are just part of Ibiza’s charm. While certain UV-lit corners of the island are devoted to nightlife, the majority of the White Isle is far more low-key and laid-back; an antidote to the excesses of the strip. Unfrequented coves and pine-carpeted hills explain its heady hippie-era allure, while its medieval citadel and rural one-horse hamlets recall its rich Mediterranean history.
The Typical Sights
Five of the most popular sights on Ibiza – so get in early and avoid the crowds!
- Dalt Vila – The oldest part of Ibiza Town is full of fantastic architecture and fascinating history.
- Es Vedra – This rocky outcrop off the island’s south-eastern coast is reputedly rather mystical – and allegedly frequented by UFOs!
- San Antonio – The clubbing capital of the universe, and a bustling hotspot that might not be to everyone’s tastes.
- Formentera – Ibiza’s tiny sister island is well worth a day trip.
- The Hippy Market – A great place to pick up a bargain that’s full of hand-made gifts, clothes and curios.
We’ve also got a great blog on some of Ibiza’s best daytime activities.
When to visit
Sunshine is a near constant in Ibiza; the island is blessed with clear skies for more than 300 days of the year. The toasty summer lasts from May through to early October, with peak sizzle season in July and August. Of course, summer is also prime tourist territory on the island, but countless pockets of seclusion are still there for the taking if you look hard enough. Plus there are lots of fun festivals, events and activities taking place during this period.
As the famous clubs call closing time, the mass of fun-in-the-sun-seekers return to whence they came and the island sheds its summer skin, revealing a more mellow side. From November to April, the weather does cool, but the winter sunshine ensures you’ll still make your Vitamin D quota. On good days, the temperatures can inch up to 20 degrees Celsius (or beyond), while during the coldest stretches, the weather is more suited to strolls on the sand than sunbathing.
- Public transport: Ibiza does have a regular bus service, but it only runs between the major resort centres, so taxis, bikes or a hire car are essential if you want to root out those deserted coves and rustic rural restaurants.
- By bike: Ibiza is only around 40 kilometres (25 miles) from top to bottom – an ideal size for two-wheel travel. Biking will allow you to reach beaches, coves and isolated villages that simply aren’t accessible by bus. Be warned, climbing the twisty sloping roads around the hills is arduous, particularly in the July and August heat, so save the epic cycling journeys for cooler months.
- Taxis: Taxis are a common sight in the larger towns and resort areas and you won’t have a hard time flagging one down. A green light indicates that the taxi is on-duty and free. The price will be determined by a meter.
- Hiring a car: If you want the freedom to go where you want when you want, without having to walk or cycle, you’ll need to rent your own car. Companies like Europcar, Hertz and Avis all provide services direct from the airport. Choose a sturdy model if you plan on driving through the hairpin roads of the interior.
On Ibiza, swimming and sunning on heavenly beaches is de rigour, but if you can peel yourself off the sun lounger, you’ll find unexpected treasures here too.
- Just a breezy ferry ride away from Ibiza lies the mite-sized island of Espalmador, one of Europe’s last true hideaways. Beaches fringe the edges and mudbaths cover the centre. Visitors used to bathe in the brown liquid pools but these days, they are strictly (and rightly) reserved for birds.
- The best things come at a price. In the case of the secluded Cala Saladeta cove, you’ll pay in sweat. To access this extraordinarily beautiful beach, you have two options: either scramble across the rocks or swim over from neighbouring Cala Salada.
- The sparsely populated northwest of Ibiza is undeveloped and utterly unspoiled. Life’s daily rhythms are slow and only a handful or so of sleepy settlements can be found amid the rugged terrain. You’ll have to drive here, but once you’ve arrived, you can explore the dusty roads on foot or by horseback.
- For a hiking route that will wow, trek south along a coastal path from the Las Salinas salt flats to Cap Des Falco. Ditch the flip-flops and put on trainers before embarking. Save this cliff walk for sunset when temperatures are milder and the light is at its most photogenic.
- The village of Sant Agustí des Vedrà wins hearts with its storybook stone buildings and the soothing simplicity of life. This is a lovely spot to spend an afternoon wandering, followed by a delicious fish supper.
Did You Know…
- Both Hannibal (the Punic commander, not the Thomas Harris cannibal) and Christopher Columbus were reputedly born on Ibiza.
- There’s no fresh running water on the island – it all comes from underground!
- Sex Pistols singer Sid Vicious lived on Ibiza when he was a boy.
OK, so it might be known as the world’s best place to go clubbing, but that’s nowhere near everything Ibiza has to offer. The wild party scene is contained to a fairly small part of the island, leaving the rest of it free for more sedate holidays where you’re not obliged to stay up until sunrise. The Balearic Islands make a great destination for a family holiday – there’s sun, sandy shorelines and loads of things to do. We’ve listed our top picks of the island’s family activities below, and you’ll find more suggestions in our blog all about family fun in Ibiza.
Fantastic Family Activities
- Get pedalling! The north side of the Ibiza is criss-crossed with amazing cycling routes that make the best of the terrain. Hiring bikes is easy, and if the kids aren’t quite old enough to cycle just strap them into a seat so they can enjoy the ride (and the views).
- Check out Kandani tours for great cycling adventures around the island.
- Explore the ocean floor from the comfort of a glass-bottomed boat. Children will be absolutely fascinated by a new perspective on the underwater world, and if they want to take things a step further there’s plenty of great coves with perfect water for snorkeling.
- With Mamboats and their family cruises you can reach Ibiza’s secret beaches and coves with ease!
- Slip slidin’ away isn’t just some awesome easy listening by Paul Simon. There are some fantastic water parks to be explored on Ibiza if you’re getting a bit tired of days at the beach. Be forewarned though – they can get incredibly busy!
- Walk or paddle around the island! If cycling sounds a bit strenuous but you still fancy taking in the sights of the island, walking tour might be just your cup of tea – or grab a kayak and paddle your way around the shore for some breathtaking views.
- Find inner peace. It might not be suitably for fidgety tots, but Ibiza’s venerable hippie past means that yoga lessons are dead easy to find – and there’s even a bunch that cater for interested kids.
- Get on contact with Minibiza to arrange Yoga sessions for the little ones.
Best Family Friendly Beaches
- Ses Salines is an impressive 1.5 km long, so you should always be able to find a space. The gentle waters also mean there’s loads of activities to choose from.
- Cala Tarida is particularly good for much smaller family family members – the shallow waters are perfect paddling depth, and there’s lots of shops nearby for snacks and supplies.
- Cala Nova is surrounded by pine trees, making it a wonderfully picturesque spot for a day out. In the high season, there are lifeguards on duty too.
Nothing makes a holiday more memorable than sharing it with your friends, and Ibiza makes a great destination for group holidays. We’ve got all the ideas you need below (and there’s even more info in our blog on Ibiza’s best group activities) and make sure you check out our favourite luxury villas in Ibiza so you and your mates have got a totally swish place to stay!
- Cliff diving is exactly what it sounds like – chucking yourself off a cliff into the sea below. If that sounds a bit risky, don’t worry. You can book with a qualified instructor so you can face your fears in absolute safety.
- Looking for cliff diving lessons? Rockid is the place to go!
- Hydrojet packing is essentially the closest you’ll ever get to being James Bond. You’ll head out into the sea and use water jets to shoot yourself into the sky – one experience that won’t be soon forgotten!
- With Mamboats you can enjoy all sorts of boating activities around the island.
- Or head under the water! Perhaps not quite as adrenaline-fuelled but no less of an adventure, Ibiza’s beautifully clear waters make it a great place to experience the wonder of scuba diving, and there’s loads of beginner’s courses available to get you started.
More Sedate Activities for Groups
- Hello sailor! You’ll have maritime puns to spare if you and your friends choose to charter a boat. You can head out fishing, partying or just enjoy the views as you sail around the shore, and between you it can actually be an incredibly cost-effective way to spend the day.
- Mamboats has a load of options for chartering all kinds of boats – check ’em out!
- Get pampered with one of Ibiza’s many spas! There’s loads to choose from, and you can even arrange for a spa treatment to come straight to your villa. Massage while you’re lounging by the pool? Why not!
- Ibiza Angels are your go-to guys for on-site beauty treatments including soothing back, neck and shoulder massages.
- Have a sip of one of Ibiza’s hidden gems – its fantastic wine. There are many quality vineyards all over the island, and some of them open their doors for budding gourmands to try their vintages. Bear in mind you’ll have to travel inland to find them though!
- Enjoy a wine tasting session accompanied by tapas at Sa Cova Ibiza, San Mateu d`Albarca’s small but perfectly formed winery.
You’d be surprised how much of a foodie haven Ibiza is! While the areas of the island catering to mass tourism are chock-a-block with fast food and chain restaurants, all you need to do is a look a bit closer (or head inland) and you’ll be treated some some sumptuous eats worthy of fanciest French haute cuisine. Don’t believe us? Check out our blog on Ibiza’s top 10 restaurants, or have a look through our selected highlights below.
- Casita Ibiza can be found in the vibrant streets of San Antonio, but it’s not like many of the other eateries you’ll find around there. Concentrating on cooking quality food from around the world, the eclectic menu has lots on offer, and it all comes at a reasonable price.
- Babylon Beach in Santa Eulalia is the place to head if you’re holidaying with the kids and fancy somewhere that caters to them without feeling like some awful theme restaurant. There’s a playground they can run off and enjoy, and the cool vibe and dining choices (café-style or more formal) means you can kick back and relax whatever you fancy.
- Wild Beets can be found in the quaint little village of Santa Gertrudis, and if you like your food fresh and healthy it’s well worth the trip! As the name suggests, Wild Beets specialises in hearty vegetarian and vegan food that redefines what you can do with the humble vegetable. Well worth a trip of you feel the need for something tastily different.
- Sa Punta is where you need to head if you feel like treating yourself to something a bit fancy. Presenting fusion-style takes on classic island dishes as well as a few meticulously-crafted classics, the retaurant also lets its hair down on a Sunday and provides kid-friendly amenities so everyone can enjoy the ambiance.
Dishes to Try
- Sofrit Pagès is one heck of a meal, especially if you’re hungry. A hearty mixture of spiced pork, lamb and sausages, it’s traditionally a working man’s meal so you might not find everywhere – but it’s well worth ordering if you do.
- Bullit de Piex is similar, only it makes fish the star of the meal. Traditionally cooked with rockfish, this delicious stew can actually utilise any seafood and isn’t a million miles from bouillabaisse – only with some characteristically zingy Spanish flavours.
- Ensaïmadas are definitely something you’ll want to tuck into after your meal. A form of Ibizan croissant made with lard (so they’re not suitable for vegetarians), they can be plain or filled with all sorts of delicious sweet fillings including pumpkin jam, apricot and chocolate.
Recommended Foodie Experiences
Your foodie fun doesn’t have to be relegated to sitting in restaurants – strike out and experience the joy of Ibizan food and drink in a whole new way!
- A visit to Vino & Co is a great way to brush up on your Spanish wine, and perhaps pick up a bargain at the same time. A subtle mix between a wine bar and a wine shop, you can try before you buy and even enjoy some tapas and small plates to accompany your drinks.
- You could even try your hand at sharpening your cooking skills with chef Louise Gould, who runs a cookery school out of Can Pere Mussona. This in itself is a delightful organic farm, so take your time and enjoy the sights before trying out a couple of new recipes!
- If you’re looking for something a bit more detoxifying try Ibiza’s Raw Food Experience, a beginner’s guide to cooking with (and appreciating!) raw food. Not only that, you’ll be tutored in the ways of gluten, lactose and sugar-free cooking – perfect if you’ve over-indulged a bit and need a health kick!
- Then there’s always the classic Wine and Food Tour, where you’ll picked up, whisked away and given the opportunity to sample some of the island’s finest small batch wine vintages and hand-crafted local delicacies. Better yet, you’ll see some of Ibiza’s beautiful countryside as you’re driven around!