From golden beaches to captivating history
As the electric nightlife whirrs through the west, on the other side of the island, a choir of crickets strikes up as the sky darkens. A couple enjoy traditional tapas in a small, harbourside restaurant. And locals stroll through softly-lit cobbled streets. This is the side of Ibiza that doesn’t make headlines. The Ibiza of luxury hotels, unspoiled beaches and deep orange sunsets. This is laid-back living in its purest and most intoxicating form.
Discover Ibiza’s past
Ibiza’s east coast seems fresh from a painter’s canvas. Higgledy-piggledy houses tumble down to quaint fishing ports. Palm trees fringe the water’s edge. Locals lounge under peach parasols as the ocean glitters in the sun. Despite its postcard-perfect appearance, this island is steeped in rich history that’s proudly displayed in museums and religious sites.
For impressive views of the island, climb up to the hilltop retreat of Puig de Missa in Santa Eulàlia. At its peak, an ancient church towers above the town. From its whitewashed walls to the grand entrance porch, it’s hard to believe this tranquil refuge once protected locals from pirate attacks. Meander the grounds for 360-degree views of Ibiza – and get a glimpse of the magnificent altar and peaceful memorial garden.
For an insight into how the locals lived hundreds of years ago, visit Santa Eulàlia’s Ethnographic Museum. Within the walls of a rural farmhouse, you’ll find traditional farming equipment, musical instruments, a wedding dress collection and a giant olive oil press.
Further down the coast is Dalt Vila in Ibiza Old Town. As one of the most photogenic spots on the island, you’ll want to see this world heritage site from every angle. Meander through the cobbled streets to find gothic works of art in the hilltop cathedral. Gaze out over the blanket of terracotta tiles and whitewashed stone. And if you’re visiting in May, be sure to swing by the town’s Medieval Fair & Festival, a celebration of the island’s rich heritage.
Ditch the party resorts and make one of the best luxury hotels in Ibiza your base. Set in the coastal town of Santa Eulalia, Hotel Aguas de Ibiza Lifestyle & Spa is perfectly placed for a laid-back break. And from the rose gold sands of an east coast beach, the nocturnal strip of San Antonio will feel a world away.
Just a 10-minute coastal drive from your boutique hotel, you’ll reach Cala Nova beach. Swim in the rippling turquoise waters and lounge on the long stretch of powder-soft sand. Though beautiful, this beach can get crowded at high season. So for a spot of tranquillity, edge a little further up the coast to Cala Mastella. This hidden cove beach is tucked into the cliff edge, with surrounding pine trees bowing to the glistening waters. If you’re visiting in low season, you may be able to enjoy this out-of-the-way idyll in total solitude. From here, a short climb will lead you to El Bigotes seafood restaurant, where you can savour freshly-caught fish infused with island herbs.
Midway down the east coast, between the bustling resorts and lush rolling hills, Cala Llonga beach stretches out like a great golden arc. Though it’s a prime spot for sun worshippers, there’s plenty of sand space to go around. And if you’re making a day of it, there’s a scattering of Mediterranean eateries just a short stroll away.