Towns and Villages

To those who have never seen Ibiza before, it can seem very small, bearing in mind it’s international reputation and renown.

It’s actually impossible to drive in any one direction for much more than half an hour without arriving back at the sea, albeit on the other side of Ibiza. Similarly, the towns & villages are small. None are really large enough to be called a city and only three large enough to justify claiming to be towns. Many of the others villages listed are little more than a hamlet, or completely close down throughout the winter.

However, on the basis that many of the best things in life come in small packages, we’ve included them and we suspect that you’ll find them quite charming and each unique in their own right


Ibiza Restaurants

Ibiza probably has a higher concentration of restaurants than any other place of similar size on the planet, apart from the major capital cities. This means that Ibiza is blessed with an enormous number and variety of restaurants from which to choose, in an extraordinary variety of different settings. The most obvious that leap to mind would obviously be the fish restaurant on the beach – where you can dine in the shade with your toes in the sand.

Or perhaps the quayside of a pretty little bay sampling the day’s catch fresh from the fishing boats. Your dinner options might include candlelit luxury alongside one of Ibiza’s fortress churches high above the centre of the island, with the distant lights of old Ibiza town sparkling in the distance, or the far off lights of distant ships traversing the invisible horizon with myriad stars overhead.

Alternatively, a restaurant alongside one of the island marinas, accompanied by the indignity of rubbing shoulders with wealthy yacht owners swapping tales from the high seas. Or, truly away from it all, at one of the many isolated country restaurants amidst the scents and scenes of an unspoilt, and relatively undiscovered, Ibiza.

In addition to local Spanish fare and the more unusual typical Ibicenco dishes with their mix of influences from the various cultures that have occupied the islands down the centuries, fine Italian, French, Dutch and German restaurants vie with Thai, Chinese and Japanese restaurants, some so authentic that all of the decor and even the chefs have been imported from their country of origin to complete your perfect experience. In fact every taste from around the world of cuisine is represented at one place or another and the competition is hot, so quality is not hard to find, as long as you look around and do your research.

So to guide you in the right direction – welcome to our guide to the island’s restaurants, where you will find some of the better options appropriately highlighted. One of the nicest surprises when you visit Ibiza is the relatively low cost of eating out. It is often cheaper to visit a restaurant than to buy and cook the ingredients yourself. This is especially true of the ‘menu del dia’, the Spanish lunchtime menu, which normally involves three courses, often with wine thrown in, and can usually be found for less than 10 euros.

Bear in mind that it does get hot here and the least attractive place to spend the hottest part of the day can be the kitchen, trying to master an unfamiliar cooker!

Local Produce
The quality of the locally grown food is another example of the effect that enormous amounts of sunshine have on living organisms. The vegetables are as healthy as the indiginous population are happy, and the same appears to apply to all of the other animals with that we share the island with. We’d never really thought about a happy chicken before – coming from England where they all used to live in battery farms…

Anyway, the point is… it is far easier to make really good food with really good ingredients, so, in the same way that artists seek out the island as a place to create their art – because the light here is unique (very sunny), culinary artists are also attracted to this oasis, because the local produce is powerful and produces phenomenal results (it grows well in the sunshine). We shouldn’t be surprised really… every other type of artist is represented on the island, from the physical to the spiritual … why not the nutritional?

The choice becomes bewildering when the myriad of other ‘summer only’ restaurants open up too. Some are fantastic, others not quite so good – we’ll try to keep you informed whilst trying not to get too fat. After all we have to do the beach research in our thongs too..


Beaches

Ibiza and Formenteraas islands may be small, but when it comes to beaches they are definitely on the large side with a hundred to choose from. What this means, both to the casual user and the hardened expert, is that you can always find a perfect beach to suit the mood of the moment.

Whether you want a beach heaving with bronzed flesh and children with buckets and spades, or a place all to yourself for a bit of skinny dipping, Ibizaoffers a dazzling selection from which to choose.

In order to do justice to this abundance of sea and sand we have put together here the most detailed selection of beaches ever compiled on the internet.

One of the many advantages that Ibiza holds over other tourist resorts is the fact that all of the beaches are no more than half an hour apart. This means that if the prevailing wind at your beach is creating waves when you had a day of snorkelling planned, or you encounter a flat calm the day after you’d polished your surf board, you can swap that beach for one that fits in with your plans, even if it’s on the other side of the island.

Rarely, but occasionally, you will wake up and look out to sea to find clouds spoiling your plans for the day on the beach, but checking the direction of the prevailing wind, which creates the clouds by forcing the colder air upwards as it reaches the land mass of the island, you can soon work out which beaches will still enjoy sunshine on the windward side of the island, whether you fancy waves to play in, or a sheltered cove to enjoy snorkeling with sunlight illuminating the seabed below?

While most people associate Ibiza with leisure days and drinking cocktails on the beach, people who like to stay active can enjoy them too. Wondering how? Running on the beach, anyone? Just make sure you get the right breathable running shoes and match them to your feet. If you are a runner with flat feet take a look at these models on ComfortHacks

Not sure why you should run instead of just laying on your towel? Running improves brainpower and keeps you healthy. Read more about it here.

Some days the skies are clear on your local beach, but the incoming wind is creating surf when you really fancied a lazy hour watching clouds vapourise from your lilo? Relax in the knowledge that it will never be more that 30 minutes to that new dream beach you never checked out before – sometimes even less than ten minutes walk?

Ibiza’s beaches offer so many different options that we have only started to begin to pay homage to the amount of pleasure that the multi-faceted beaches of Ibiza have given to ourselves and all of our friends. However, it has to be admitted that this is one of the nicest research jobs on the planet?


Activities on Ibiza

Although much of the fuss about Ibiza revolves around the nightlife – which more or less precludes doing anything else strenuous during the days – there are other activities to be done, places to go, people to meet and fun to be had.

The most obvious are the many beaches on Ibiza. Some are inaccessible without a rowing boat or luxury yacht, others are difficult to find without a car, but hey, this is an island so there are still plenty more to choose from and more than enough can be reached on public transport. Nb: Public transport here includes little ferries that run along large sections of the coast dropping people off to various beaches and then collecting them again at sunset.

For the terminally fit we have a section describing the most beautiful walks and hikes on Ibiza. Many follow the coastline offering a paddle to weary feet. Others scale the mountains or follow the cliff tops offering spectacular views.


Accommodation on Ibiza

Accommodation here is a necessary evil, because the authorities frown upon people sleeping rough on the beaches.
Although this makes the islands look more tidy, the subject of accommodation has become more and more of an issue as the island continues to attract increasing numbers of visitors.

For permanent residents this means paying property prices that are the highest in all of Spain – even more so than central Madrid! For those of us who can’t afford to buy, the same applies to property rental prices.

For island visitors the situation is slightly different as there is a fair spectrum of choice on offer, from the humble hostal room to the penthouse suite at one of the five star hotels.

However, the increasingly popular choice nowadays, much to the angst of the powerful local hotelier’s association, is private villa rental. As hard as the hoteliers have tried to stamp out this option, they appear to have no chance of reversing the trend.

The internet and dot com airlines have brought on the decline of the traditional tour operators’ market. People have got used to traveling independently and like the idea of booking a villa between them, with their own swimming pool, for the same money they would spend booking individual hostal rooms as a group.


Nightlife on Ibiza

The ‘super clubs’ of Ibiza are renowned the world over as the global HQ of dance music, and deservedly so. Not only for their size and splendour, but also for that unique nightlife atmosphere created by thousands of people, fresh off the beach, letting their hair down with a holiday vengeance.

It has to be borne in mind though that these clubs pre-date the ‘dance music’ phenomenon by many years. Most have been around for three decades and more, during which time they have provided a stage for the top ranking artists of the moment down through the years.

For this reason they have taken every musical genre that has come and gone over this period in their stride – from the hippies onwards.

In the meantime many other smaller venues have established themselves offering DJs and live music in a more intimate setting.

In a nutshell, whatever type of entertainment or nightlife rings your bell you’ll find it here somewhere.


Art and Culture on Ibiza

By virtue of having been occupied by so many different cultures over the course of the centuries, Ibiza’s cultural heritage is huge and incredibly varied. The influences reflect the various occupiers’ own cultures, from the Phoenicians via the Romans and Moors to the more recent Catalans.

Most recently the occupiers have been less aggressive, but equally pervasive. Many of the early hippies were artistically inclined and were swiftly followed by more and more artists reveling in the quality of the Mediterranean light and the effect it had on the colours that surround us.

Little surprise then that the island has more artists per capita than almost anywhere else on the planet and a wealth of art galleries at almost every turn.


Living on Ibiza

Living on Ibiza is an art form. On first arrival with no information, friends or grasp of the language it can be very difficult – unless you’re filthy rich. On the other hand, if you have seriously useful skills and an ability to put yourself about, without treading on other people’s toes – the keys to paradise are at your disposal.

Essential skills might be best summarized as: a willingness to clean or paint other people’s houses, the possession of ‘green fingers’ for their gardens, an affinity for digging holes in the road or bottle juggling skills to find work in a bar.