The island's population doubles as tourists flock to Ibiza to enjoy the nightclubs and beach bars. It is also a major haven for people looking to hear famous DJ's. But what if you want to do something more laid-back, something more mature? Can you go to Ibiza if you are over 30? Can you take children to Ibiza? And will you enjoy a holiday on the island if you are not a fan of DJ’s and nightclubs?
Many fall in love with Ibiza as a youth, and return later to explore the more intimate side of the island. It is a great chance to discover Ibiza as an island of boundless natural beauty. Ibiza is a good place for walking, hiking or mountain biking in the off-peak season. Water sports are also a great way of spending some fun time with your friends and family, as are lounging on the beaches all around the shoreline. Going towards the interior of the island, you can find lovely scenic streets and small coffee shops and restaurants.
If you are looking to get to know more about the island's history and culture, there are several fascinating museums around Ibiza, and you can also visit the well-known castle and the Cathedral of our Lady of the Snow.
It is a good idea to rent a car. It is best to have the freedom to drive down small twisty tracks to secret beaches or climb the winding roads to cliff tops to enjoy the stunning views.
Ibiza Town and historical sightseeing in Dalt Vila
During off season, Ibiza Town is still the liveliest city on the island, but you get a different kind of visitor. Dalt Vila is the old part of Ibiza Town. It lies within the old city walls and includes the citadel that towers high above the harbour. It is best to explore the narrow, steep cobbled streets on foot to enjoy the views from the breaks in the high ramparts and the vast terraces at each level. Start by walking up through the Portal de ses Taules and make your way around the walls. The walls date from the 4th Century BC, and were reinforced in the mid-16th Century. This sight is labelled an Unesco World Heritage Site. The gift shops and art galleries on the walk up to the cathedral are treasure troves of unique works by talented local crafts people. There are also old churches, a couple of museums and numerous cafés and restaurants to explore.
Go to the north of the island
When visiting Ibiza, make sure to take a trip to the north of the island. As you travel up north, the scenery becomes more relaxed and laid-back, an oasis of tranquillity and calm, and seems a million miles away from the rushed lifestyle in the clubs and bars of Ibiza Town. Buildings are spread further apart, farms and fields dominate the landscape, and roads become narrower and quieter.
Santa Eulalia is the main town in the north, a relaxed town sitting on the northeast coast of the island that perfectly captures the relaxed vibe of northern Ibiza. The small village of San Carlos is a must-visit for its beautiful church.
Experience the Beach Life
If your main purpose is to lounge on a beach, you have many options. Most beaches have chaise lounges available to rent for the day. Cala Carbo and Cala Xuclar are two lesser known beaches, both with informal beach restaurants and wonderful swimming conditions. For sandy, Caribbean-style beaches, go to Salinas or take the ferry to Formentera island. At both, the calm, shallow water is ideal for kids. For an even more sheltered spot, drive down a rocky track to Cala d’en Serra, a little haven among pine trees. Cala Llonga, a short drive from Santa Eularia, is home to another attractive beach. A truly undiscovered jewel is Sol d’en Serra, a tiny cove in the shelter of two looming cliffs.
Finally, and most importantly…What about Ibizan food?
This year Ibiza is all about the restaurants. Who needs noisy clubs? Spain’s position in the race for the best cuisine in Europe appears to have spread to Ibiza, with many superb restaurants across the island.
- In Dalt Vila, definitely go to La Oliva. Imagine candlelit dinners in a Medieval castle under the Mediterranean stars…
- Try Ibiza’s Trattoria del Mar for a delectable octopus salad starter followed by gnocchi alla sorrentina.
- A trip to a Spanish island would not be complete without trying the local paella. Make sure you pay Ca N’Alfredo a visit.
- If perfectly grilled fish and lobsters taken straight from the sea are what you crave, head to Madrigal.
- Another favourite lunch spot is Es Torrent with its amazing John Dory.
- Cigale, is owned by a charming Italian couple. The food is delicious, and there is a playground for children.
- No one should miss Balafia, set in a pretty grove of lemon trees. They have no menu, just the freshest tomato salad and loveliest grilled meats you could imagine.
Definitely try a local speciality such as guisat de peix, a hearty seafood stew with potato and garlic mayonnaise. Lastly, no visit to Ibiza is worthwhile without having a shot of locally-produced, thyme and rosemary liqueur, Hierbas Ibicencas!