Why it’s time to look again at Ibiza
Long tarred with the 18-30s brush, Ibiza is now all grown up. Foodie-magnet restaurants, luxury yachts and boutique beach retreats have taken the place of ‘eat, sleep, rave, repeat’. You’ll still find frenetic, all-night clubs if you go looking, but it’s just as possible to party with a cosmopolitan, chilled-out crowd.
Here are four reasons why it’s time to put the White Isle on your must-visit list:
1. There’s as much to see by day is there is by night
While all-night clubbers sleep, mornings are made for getting a fresh perspective on island culture. Ibiza Old Town is known as Dalt Vila – meaning upper town – and wrapped in defensive walls. Those with a head for heights can walk the whole way round the ramparts, stopping to snap photos of the incredible views. It’s also worth popping back at dusk when the walls seem to glow with a warm light. Near the highest point in Dalt Vila, the cathedral is another impressive place to wander.
Below ground, the coastline is honeycombed with caves once used by pirates. Ancient Cova de Can Marçà on the northern side are atmospherically lit, making them a worthwhile stop. While you’re in the north, you’ll have your pick of ice-white sand and turquoise seas – Cala d’en Serra being a notable beach beauty. Make your way across to the east too, past pine forests, to discover serene spots such as petite Cala Mastella and its neighbour Cala Boix.
2. It’s got a booming fine dining scene
Forget images of full English breakfasts and beachside burgers – Ibiza’s eclectic dining scene will be music for foodies’ ears. Chic beach clubs let you linger over creative cuisine and cocktails, with DJs setting the right tone later on.
- Venture inland to Santa Eulalia and Bambuddha, which is becoming an Ibiza icon thanks to its inventive take on Asian sharing plates. You’ll also find knockout French haute cuisine in town here at Es Terral.
- If you make it to the western side of the White Isle, sleek Cotton Beach Club is a must for sophisticated style inspired by 1950s France and Italy. Try the sushi in its Fay restaurant.
- El Chiringuito is ideal for languid lunches without straying too far from the dazzling white sand beach at Es Cavallet. Depending on the day’s catch, you could have fresh lobster or home-smoked salmon.
- Tucked away in San Rafael, La Belle dishes up high-end French fare.
- If you like long dinners that turn into chilled cocktails (and DJ sets) as the sun goes down, it’s difficult to beat the restaurant and roof terrace at Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay.
3. Sailing isn’t just about boozy boat trips
Boating is one of the best ways to see more of the White Isle. But it doesn’t have to involve loading up with lagers and bobbing just out to sea with a group of total strangers. You can charter speedboats and even luxury yachts from places such as Ibiza Town and Cap Martinet. Bring parasols and towels from your boutique Ibiza hotel and drop anchor in castaway coves such as often deserted Cala Xuclar or uninhabited S’Espalmador island.
4. You can still have a big night out – with a sophisticated edge
Beach club culture is big in Ibiza, especially with grown-ups seeking the spirit of White Isle nightlife without the mega-club experience. They’re elegant, cool places to relax by day and stylish places to hang out after dark. The largest even play host to global DJ stars – making them more in tune with the Coachella than the clubbing crowd. Beachouse (in summer) and Cotton Beach Club are favourites with the more discerning – while Ibiza Bay is set to become a major part of the scene.