Ibiza Holiday Planning Guide
Famous for its vibrant nightlife and numerous near-perfect beaches, Ibiza also features a rustic countryside few casual visitors ever get to see. Seaside festivals offer a convenient opportunity to soak up lots of local culture, but for a taste of genuine island life try to get away from the overcrowded tourist spots along the most popular sections of the coast. Though for many visitors Ibiza remains synonymous with endless raves on the waterfront, savvier travelers explore the island’s unspoiled northeast, which is covered by thick pine forests and olive groves. Away from the jostling tourist crowds you can experience the island’s lesser-known charms, including quiet wooded trails, secluded bays, and outstanding vineyards.
Places to Visit on IbizaIbiza Town
: If the island of Ibiza is the party capital of the world, then this is its city hall. In addition to the booming nightlife, the town offers some of the best opportunities for sightseeing in Ibiza.Sant Antoni de Portmany
: The second-largest town in Ibiza, this charming port is as famous for its scenic natural surroundings as it is for its bars and clubs.Sant Josep de Sa Talaia
: Renowned for its historical monuments, this inland town boasts some of the most visited tourist attractions in Ibiza.Playa d'en Bossa
: Home of the longest beach in Ibiza, this resort town is a haven for clubbers and water sport enthusiasts.Santa Eulalia del Rio
: A favorite getaway spot for many famous artists, this cozy resort provides a tranquil and culturally rich vacation spot.Es Canar
: Located on the eastern coast of Ibiza, this family-friendly resort offers a peaceful setting and serves as a great starting point for many boat excursions to small nearby islands.Sant Joan de Labritja
: The northernmost municipality on the island, this spot allows you to discover the traditional Ibiza, untouched by mass tourism. It is also the home of some of the most scenic and secluded beaches on the island.
Things to Do on Ibiza
Popular Ibiza Tourist AttractionsCala Bassa
: Isolated from the rest of the island, and yet easily accessible and fully equipped with all the facilities you might need, this beach offers a great location for spending a day by the sea.Castle of Ibiza
: Overlooking the island’s capital, this mighty fortification is a must-visit on your historic tour of Ibiza.Dalt Vila
: Explore the winding alleys and cobbled streets of Ibiza Old Town, and discover a series of eclectic shops, amazing viewpoints, and a bustling nightlife scene.Aguamar Water Park
: With a selection of splashing pools, slides, and lounge areas, Ibiza’s largest waterpark offers fun and excitement for visitors of all ages.Playa Cala Salada
: As you relax on the golden sand, swim in the azure water, and admire the views of the pine-covered hills, you’ll see why many locals favor this beach over any other on the island.Es Vedra
: Since ancient times this small rocky island off the west coast of Ibiza has been a place of legend. Hop on a boat tour to the island, where you can admire its beauty and learn all about the mysteries that surround it.Playa de Ses Salines
: Just a short drive away from Ibiza Town, this popular sandy beach lined with bars (and other amenities) provides a great place to experience the summer spirit of Ibiza.Puig de Missa
: Nestled atop the hill overlooking Santa Eulalia del Rio, this 16th-century church serves as an excellent example of traditional architecture; it’s a place worth adding to your Ibiza itinerary.
Planning an Ibiza Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit on Ibiza with Kids
The first thought most people have about Ibiza involves partying, packed bars, and loud music, but the island has a lot more to offer than just 24-hour partying. The trick to a good family vacation in Ibiza is choosing the right place to stay.
While Ibiza Town
and Sant Antoni de Portmany
are definitely the most popular places to visit in Ibiza, they’re probably too loud and busy to be used as a permanent base for a traveling family. On the other hand, smaller resorts like Es Canar
can work for a family vacation because they offer a scenic and much more peaceful environment coupled with all the amenities. The island’s relatively small size also works to your advantage--no matter where you stay, you’ll be able to easily reach all the major tourist attractions of Ibiza.
Things to Do on Ibiza with Kids
For outdoorsy kids, especially those who enjoy the water, Ibiza is certain to provide endless amounts of fun. Many beaches in Ibiza feature a large number of facilities and activities for both younger kids and teenagers. A good vacation idea in Ibiza for families traveling with children is to swap a day on the beach with a visit to one of the island’s amusement parks like Aguamar Water Park
or Acrobosc Ibiza
. Taking a glass-bottomed boat tour is definitely of of the family-friendly things to do in Ibiza, or, take advantage of the island’s peaceful countryside by doing a family mountain bike tour.
Tips for a Family Vacation on Ibiza
Ibiza is an island that’s able to accommodate tourists of all ages and from all parts of the world. Public transportation, though a little hectic, is a good way of getting around for the families who prefer not to drive, and all the towns are small enough to tour on foot. Bear in mind though that some of Ibiza’s attractions, such as Dalt Vila
can be tricky to navigate with a stroller. Most of the island’s beaches are safe even for the youngest children, and many are monitored by lifeguards.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday on Ibiza
Cuisine of Ibiza
Combining the recipes of continental Spain with local specialties, the culinary scene of Ibiza is both rich and varied. Favorite Spanish dishes, such as paella and tapas, are widely available on the island and are just as tasty as any you can find on the continent. Specialties, like the botifarra sausages, are a clear example of Catalan gastronomic and cultural influence on Ibiza. With the island’s long seafaring and fishing heritage, seafood lovers will enjoy using their holiday in Ibiza to discover a variety of distinctively local dishes made from freshly caught cod, squid, or skate. While fish recipes are traditionally connected to the island’s coast, the inland countryside is famous for its meat and vegetables dishes, such as sofrit pagès. A great way to refresh on a hot summer day is with a glass of sangria or horchata--an ice-cold drink made from tiger nuts. Locally made wines and traditional thyme liqueur called Frígola are popular drinks, both with the locals and visitors. In addition to local specialties, in Ibiza you’ll be able to find a great selection of international restaurants, from Moroccan to Japanese. Almost every town on the island has a varied selection of restaurants, but Sant Josep de Sa Talaia
is considered by many to be Ibiza’s gastronomic capital.
Shopping on Ibiza
Beaches, parties, sightseeing , and the laid-back atmosphere might be the island’s main attractions, but shopping enthusiasts will also find an abundance of opportunities to fill up their Ibiza itinerary. Many of the world’s leading names in the fashion and sportswear industries have their shops in the island’s major towns, but there is an even larger selection of boutique stores with local designs and handcrafted accessories. A special treat for bargain hunters is the island’s trademark markets with a bohemian atmosphere, where you can find anything from souvenirs to jewelry and music instruments to home decorations. The most famous is likely Las Dalias Hippy Market
, but many towns across the island have their own versions of these markets. Keep in mind while shopping in Ibiza that the working hours of stores can be quite unconventional, and almost all of them are closed for a couple of hours during the midday siesta.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Ibiza
History of Ibiza
Ibiza’s position at the crossroads of the western Mediterranean world has made it attractive for various civilizations since the earliest times. The first settlement on the island was founded by the Phoenician seafarers in the 7th century BCE. The island’s modern name is derived from the Phoenician word Ibossim, the name of this original settlement. Carthage, another Phoenician colony, soon took control over Ibiza and the island’s trade and economy flourished. Today you can visit a great monument to the earliest days of Ibiza’s history at Necropolis del Puig des Molins
. With the defeat of Carthage at the hands of the Romans, Ibiza became a part of the Roman world and the life on the island went on quietly until the fall of the Empire.
In the subsequent centuries, Ibiza changed hands several times. First, the island was conquered by the Vandals before the re-conquest of the Balearic Islands by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I brought it back under the Roman control. The empire, whose heartland was in Constantinople on the other side of the Mediterranean, couldn’t defend Ibiza from the Moorish conquerors, and the island surrendered in the 10th century.
The most unexpected ruler of Ibiza showed up in the 12th century. On his way to the Holy Land, Norwegian king Sigurd I conquered the island with his crusader army and re-established Christian rule of the island that continued with the Aragonese conquest about 100 years later. The island’s Muslim inhabitants were deported, and new settlers were brought in from the mainland town of Girona. The new inhabitants brought with them Catalan culture and language, which remain dominant in Ibiza to this day. As a part of the kingdom of Aragon, Ibiza became a part of Spain after the Aragonese unification with the kingdom of Castile.
Historical sights on the island might not be as numerous as in some other parts of the Mediterranean, but they are still plentiful enough to make a trip to Ibiza an exciting experience for any history enthusiast.
Landscape of Ibiza
The third largest of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza covers an area of 571 sq km (220 sq mi) and its coastline boasts over 200 km (125 mi) of beaches. The island’s terrain is mainly hilly on its western and northern coast, while the central and southern parts of the island feature more flat areas. The highest point of the island is the summit of Sa Talaiassa, which rises 475 m (1,558 ft) above sea level and provides excellent views of the rest of the island. Ibiza is renowned for its geological treasures, the most famous of which is Cova de Can Marca
. Some of the most interesting places to visit in Ibiza are the smaller islands off the coast, such as Es Vedra
or Illa Conillera where, according to the legend, Hannibal was born.
Holidays & Festivals on Ibiza
Just like the tourists, the locals in Ibiza enjoy parties and festivities, and no matter when you visit the island, chances are good that there will be a celebration going on. Just like the rest of Spain, Ibiza is mainly Roman Catholic, and the main religious holidays on the island are Christmas, Easter, the Epiphany, and St. George’s Day. Before the start of the Easter Lent, carnivals are organized in towns across the island. Additionally, there are several religious holidays that are particularly important to the islanders, such as Santa Maria, celebrated on August 5,and San Ciriaco, on August 8. These two holidays are joined by a four-day fiesta marked by parades and music that are especially lively in Ibiza Town. In May, the town turns back the clock as it celebrates its annual Medieval Fair. This display of song, music, costumes, handicrafts, and street performances is definitely something that will make your holiday in Ibiza memorable. Of course, one of the main attractions in Ibiza is the electronic music parties, and numerous events and festivals featuring the world’s best DJs, which take place on the island every summer.
Ibiza Travel Tips
Climate of Ibiza
Enjoying a typical Mediterranean climate, Ibiza features an abundance of sunny days, a warm sea, and long holiday season that lasts from May to October. June, July, and August tend to be the hottest and the busiest months on the island, with temperatures regularly rising above 30 C (86 F). Late May and early October are good times to visit if you’re looking for a more peaceful vacation in Ibiza, however, consider bringing some warmer pieces of clothing because the temperatures can drop significantly during the night. Even in wintertime the weather in Ibiza stays mild, but rain is fairly common.
Transportation on Ibiza
With the island’s convenient size and abundance of attractions, exploring different towns and regions is a great way to spend your vacation in Ibiza. The island boasts a wide public transportation network, with additional buses brought in every summer from the mainland. This, however, can cause a bit of confusion as different lines often don’t connect very well, so you might have to make a detour to reach your destination. Luckily distances on the island are short enough that this won’t waste much of your time. Buses that connect major resorts during the day are replaced by disco buses at night. These run between all the main clubbing areas and are the most convenient and safest mode of transportation for party goers. You can also rent a car or scooter for a couple of days and take a tour of Ibiza at your own pace, but bear in mind that the island’s roads are not known as the best or the safest in the world. For those who prefer not to drive, there are plenty of taxi services that cover the whole island.
Languages of Ibiza
Catalan is the official language in Ibiza, and the language spoken by the locals is its dialect called Ibicenco or Eivissenc. The names of towns on road signs and in other places are often only written in Catalan, so for example, Ibiza becomes Eivissa. Memorizing a couple of these Catalan names will make your trip to Ibiza much easier. Spanish, however, is widely understood and spoken, and with the huge influx of tourists, English and other foreign languages are commonly used too.