It may be known for its party scene, but the White Isle has so much more to offer than just a top-notch night on the tiles. The Spanish archipelago is bursting at the seams with culture, history and sunset views that will blow you away. Delve deeper into the island’s landscape and discover majestic hidden caves and a crystal clear ocean laced with exotic marine wildlife. Divert your attention from the dancefloor to the pretty pine-clad hills and head off-the-beaten-track in search of seven secret places to visit in Ibiza.
Take a break from the throngs of tourists and venture down the rocky coastal path south of Cala Codolar to the impressive art installation, ‘Time and Space’. Designed by Australian artist Andrew Rogers, the piece consists of 13 basalt columns closely resembling the famous Stonehenge in England. The pillars form a circle around the highest column which stands at ten metres tall and is topped with 23 carat gold. Sitting on the edge of the cliffs looking down on the tiny beach of Cala Llentia, the monument is accessed via a set of ancient doors which stand alone on the hill. The piece was supposedly commissioned by Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberte as an attempt to guide UFOs to land on the Balearic island playing up to the boho-cool hippy vibe of the whole place. Visit the columns as the sun goes down the and watch as the pillars change colour and the light glistens off the gold touches.
Ibiza’s old town, Dalt Vila, is the cultural and historic hub of the island. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient fortified hilltop provides a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the clubs. Wander through the castle and its wall, the cathedral, monastery and plethora of museums and get lost exploring the labyrinth of cobbled streets. Creating a magical feel, the historic artefacts of the area are lined with restaurants decorated with fairy lights, antique shops and jewellery boutiques. Splattered with stunning examples of medieval architecture, the old town gives you a taste of the real, authentic Ibiza and will keep you entertained for hours. Hidden in plain sight, this is one part of the island worth dedicating some time to.
The island’s famous hippy markets don’t stop when the sun goes down. Head to Las Dalias for an atmospheric evening of browsing the stalls and tasting local street-food that’s good enough to write home about. Selling everything from handmade jewellery to clothing, the market often features live music and some top resident DJs so you can make a night of it. Grab a bite to eat from one of the food stalls and indulge in some beer or cocktails at the bar. The markets are family friendly with an ‘Eco’ Carousel and arts corner to keep the little ones entertained. A truly different and unique experience, this is a great way to enjoy island life after dark and is a must when looking for things to do in Ibiza.
One of the island’s greatest hidden treasures, a trip to the seaside quarry on the far western coast is an unforgettable adventure. A mismatch of caves, huge geometrically-perfect rocks and clear, turquoise freshwater sea pools, the excavated cliff is the ultimate location for swimming and sunset views across the water and Es Verda rock. Nicknamed Atlantis for its sheer beauty, the small cove in the Cala d’Hort nature reserve is a diver’s paradise with an impressive collection of marine wildlife and plants to discover and enjoy. A spectacular sight, the rocky escape is well worth the steep ascent and is arguably one of the best spots on the White Isle to watch the sun dip into the horizon.
Translating to hill of windmills, Puig des Molins sits just outside of the old town and is founded on the original Phoenician settlement dating back to the seventh century. Home to a massive, well-preserved necropolis, the hillside is a labyrinth of underground burial sites, estimated to hold over 3000 tombs. Pay a visit to the area and follow a fixed route around the hypogea – burial chambers – and take a look around the archaeological museum which details the necropolis’s history throughout the centuries. An interesting insight into the island’s past, a tour of the ancient site definitely makes it on to the list of hidden gems off the beaten track in Ibiza’s.
Spend the day on the west of the island at the small rocky beach of Cala Comte. The rugged coastline has a selection of sun loungers as well as carved flat platforms to lay your towel on and bask in the Mediterranean sunshine. This is the ultimate beach for people who hate the sand but want to spend a day by the sea. Ideal for families, the shallow waters are great for paddling and dipping a toe in the ocean. After a relaxing day in the sun, go for dinner at one of the three cliff top restaurants and try the local cuisine against the stunning backdrop of panoramic sunset views.
If you’re a fan of traditional Spanish jamon, this bar will be your paradise. Nestled in the main square of Santa Gertrudis, the local hangout is museum like in its interior with rows and rows of legs of cured Spanish Serrona ham hanging from the ceiling and walls lined with eclectic art. On sunny days, sit at low rustic wooden stools and tables outside the white traditional bar and in winter snuggle up to the roaring fireplace with a glass of wine. Brush up on your Spanish, live like a local and immerse yourself in a night of typical Mediterranean dining.
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Flights to Ibiza
- Lucy Norris