Only the unacquainted could dismiss Ibiza as little more than a ravers’ paradise. In fact, it’s one of Spain’s most cosmopolitan and attractive corners – affluent, self-confident, with a fascinating heritage and a vibrant, home-grown music scene of global reach and influence.
Venues are broadening their horizons, with grime, rap and UKG getting more playtime, as well as funk and disco, instead of just the usual house and techno. Daytime pool parties and beach clubs, too, are challenging the post-midnight clubs of old.
The most beautiful places to lay out your towel are Ibiza’s hidden coves. Portitxol is one of the most dramatic sights in Ibiza – a 50m-wide, horseshoe-shaped pebbly cove, strewn with giant boulders and a ring of tiny stone-and-brushwood fisherman huts and dwarfed by a monumental backdrop of cliffs that seem to set the bay apart from the rest of the world.
Another beguiling beach is Cala d’Hort, in the extreme southwest of the island, with its lovely quiet sand-and-pebble shoreline plus three great seafood restaurants.
This quirky, arty hotel, run by the Ibiza Rocks crew, plays host to some of the best parties on the island – a carefree evening here is one of the coolest things to do in Ibiza.
The legendary venue has a rock ‘n’ roll heritage, with everyone from Grace Jones to Bon Jovi having stayed here, and it still draws well-known faces; look out for headline acts propping up the poolside bar (of Wham’s Club Tropicana music video fame).
DJ Harvey has a residency at Pikes and the popular funk, soul and disco outfit Melon Bomb puts on regular nights throughout the summer.
A long-standing Ibiza institution, Las Dalias is perhaps best described as a mini festival site hosting bars, restaurants, street food and market stalls and an eclectic clientele of tourists, hippies and locals.
There’s a day market on Saturdays, plus a night market in summer and various weekly events… Namaste on Wednesdays is an Indian-themed night, live music and dancers, Thursdays host live concerts while Acid Sundays is as psychedelic as it sounds with guest DJs, live bands and performance artists.
The heart of Ibiza’s LGBTQ scene is Calle de la Virgen, a historic portside street lined with dozens of tiny cave-like bars and restaurants, plus a fetish boutique or two.
Despite its inappropriate moniker, the “Street of the Virgin” is one of the wildest on the island. An ordinary-looking, sleepy lane by day, at night it metamorphoses into a dark, urban alley dedicated to hedonism.
Moving west to east, the street becomes progressively busier, narrower and more raucous, finally becoming no more than a couple of paces wide and crammed with drag queens, club dancers and perfectly honed muscle.
Pack your walking boots as well as your party shoes: while your bucket list of what to do in Ibiza might not include a hike, you’ll be missing out if you never venture from the beaches and bars. Especially as walking routes have been newly signposted and mapped to help you on your way.
Santa Agnès is one of Ibiza’s most scenic sections of coastline, best explored on a path that runs past steep cliffs and through terraced fields reclaimed by pine forests.
This circular walk (4.5km/2hr from Santa Agnès or 3km/1.5hr from Las Puertas del Cielo restaurant) explores remote coastal scenery, along high cliffs and through thick forest, and offers (if you’re nimble enough to scramble down the rocks), the chance of a dip in the sea.
Paddle your way out to a cove like no other, Sa Pedrera in the Cala d'Hort nature reserve – nicknamed Atlantis. On your way you’ll see another Ibiza landmark too; the fabled, giant triangle of Es Vedrà rock.
The stone carved out of Atlantis was used in the construction of Ibiza Town’s magnificent walls. Much of this old quarry has been carved by hippies with mystic imagery – blunt-nosed faces resembling Maya gods, swirling abstract doodles and graffiti.
At the edge of the promontory there’s a wonderful, partly painted carving of a Cleopatra-like queen. Best of all, shimmering indigo-and-emerald-tinged pools of trapped seawater add an ethereal dimension to the scene.
You can organise the trip as part of an Ibiza package holiday, or join a guided excursion with Ibiza Kayak (4 hours, €60) departing from Cala d'Hort.
As house music’s spiritual home, Ibiza serves up a selection of the globe’s leading DJs virtually every night of the week in the summer months.
Clubs cost around €25–60 to get in and are open between midnight and 6am – try to blag a guest pass from one of the bars on the harbour front. Check out the party calendar at ibizaspotlight.com for details of events.
Pacha is one of the ultimate clubbing experiences; indeed it’s one of the best things to do in Ibiza. Clubbers come to live it up at its series of terraces around the whitewashed exterior of an old finca, framed by floodlit palm trees.
Now a global empire, the island remains HQ for this dance franchise founded on chic, Balearic-style clubbing, with visits from the world’s top DJS including Pete Tong and Solomun.
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