Eey-bee-tha! A place that is synonymous with ‘PAR-TEH!!’ and had been on the top of my ever-ready-to-PAR-TEH-enthu-cutlet Hubby’s dream destinations. While planning our trips, we usually split the destinations between the two of us. We’re responsible for the entire itinerary of those places. There is no way that could have featured on my list! It was completely Viraj’s baby. At the Barcelona airport, it was such a delight to see the usually calm and composed Viraj not being able to contain his excitement as the boarding was called. He was so excited that the first picture he took for the trip was…
Definitely excited right?
The trip,however, was a little different from what we had imagined it to be. We went in the shoulder season, just a week before all the major clubs were to open and completely missed out on the night life that Ibiza is so famous for. What we got instead, was the experience of a beautiful Mediterranean island which has a lot more to offer but has been overshadowed by its party scene. (Shhh… I was secretly a bit happy that not much of the partying happened. Yeaaa…. I’m super lazy! I love lazy holidays).
If you do go to Ibiza in the off season, or would like to see a few more things than the clubs, here are a few things you would check out.
Explore Sant Antoni
Chances are that when you visit Ibiza, you’ll be staying at Sant Antoni. It is on the other side of the island from where the airport is and is the place where all the party people.. non party people.. people in general stay. Sant Antoni is a cute little town and has quite a few places to see. The most prominent landmark of Sant Antoni is the ‘Egg of Columbus’, which marks the entry to the town. Locals believe that Christopher Columbus was born there and is a tribute to him. The sculpture may look a little funny, an egg with a ship inside it, but with a little big of research, I learnt that it has a very interesting story behind it. ‘Christopher Columbus, having been told that discovering the Americas was inevitable and no great accomplishment, challenges his critics to make an egg stand on its tip. After his challengers give up, Columbus does it himself by tapping the egg on the table to flatten its tip.’ (Source Wikipedia) Hence, the egg .. and the ship, of course, is Santa Maria, the largest of the three ships used by Columbus on his voyage.
Right after the ‘Egg of Columbus’ is the gorgeous harbour side promenade, Passeig de ses Fonts. The promenade is lined with restaurants and clubs with a beautiful view of the bay. This is another place to enjoy the famous Ibiza sunsets, whether it be as you hang out in one of the restaurants along the promenade or just chilling on one of the benches along the length.
East End, although just a few streets wide and across, is where the Sant Anoti’s night life is. The main street front properties are primarily restaurants while the inner streets are full of clubs and pubs. Our favourite place was Tropi Trance Bar. There were very few people along the streets, but I assume, in season, it would get quite crowded. The music at the Bar was just amazing and it really didn’t matter that it was not crowded at all. The second night we were at East End, we decided to try out a few other places as well, but couldn’t help it, we enjoyed Tropi so much that we had to go back there. So if you’re in Ibiza, do give this bar a visit.
Non-Expert Two Cents: Sant Antoni is THE place to stay in Ibiza. You can stay near East End or a place around it. Remember to hire a bike if you plan to do a bit of exploring. There is a bus stop at Sant Antoni that will take you to the main Ibiza Town as well. During season time, there are party buses that ply that take you to the various clubs, but getting around the island is a bit tough in off-season. Having said that, the best way to explore Sant Antoni is on foot. Stroll along the promenade, walk up to the Sunset Strip and enjoy the sunset and party it up or have a nice meal at East End. Sant Antoni has got you covered.
Sant Antoni harbour is also a good place if you would like to go on short cruises or try out some water sports. The last day we were in Ibiza, the winds were so strong that the entire harbour was full of wind surfers. Such a wonderful sight to see!
Witness the Most Theatrical Sunset at Cafe del Mar
Viraj and I went to Bali for our honeymoon over three years ago. Sunsets for couples are super romantic and it can’t get more romantic than pretty sunsets on your honeymoon. We were sunset cursed on the trip. Not once were we able to enjoy a good sunset. Perhaps the sunset Gods were waiting for us to get to Ibiza and gifted us with the most amazing sunset for our patience.
A photo posted by Pooja Deshpande (@abitofpooja_andalotofthat) on
We got to Cafe del Mar in time to secure a good spot to witness the sunset. Although the place is really expensive, how can you not have a drink? You’re at THE Cafe del Mar after all! With the beautiful lounge-y music playing in the background, we noticed people streaming in, photographers setting up their tripods and cameras, waiting… Viraj’s camera was all ready as well. Before we knew it, the music had changed to a dramatic soundtrack while everyone’s eyes followed the sun go down. The sunset and the music hit their crescendo in such perfect theatrical harmony that the entire audience could not help but break out into roaring applause.
Non-Expert Two Cents: Get to Cafe del Mar early to secure a spot right at the edge, else you will have tonnes of people blocking your view for ‘that shot’. Right next to the outdoor seating area, wooden steps have been constructed like theater seating to view the sunset. If you want to see just the sunset, that would be a good place to go without having to spend money on the expensive drinks. (Shhh….Although there was a sign that said that you’re not allowed to bring your own alcohol, we saw quite a few people sneak their drinks in). Having said that, I do think that the first time you go to Cafe del Mar for the sunset, being in the property is a wonderful experience. Sitting outside at the steps, the music gets diluted with the music of the other neighboring establishments and you might not have the true Cafe del Mar sunset experience.
Hit the Beaches
Ibiza lined with exquisite beaches! With its fine sand and crystal clear blue water, the beaches are inviting to say the least! We were in Ibiza at the end of April so the weather allowed us to bum on the beach during the day. It was nice and toasty under the sun, with just that right amount of cool breeze. It got a bit cold in the shade though and once the sun went down. (That could be just for me. I believe that I have an optimal functioning temperature i.e. between 21-26 deg Celsius. Anything less and I have to layer up and even a degree warmer, you will be lucky not to hear me complain about how hot it is.)
You can check out the list of beaches in Ibiza here.
We went to Port des Torrent, which was supposed to be ‘right next to’ where we were staying. After a king sized breakfast, we set out on foot because it was just a ‘five-minute’ walk. We skipped along expecting to be there any minute, but we never were. The excitement started to dwindle and the bounce in our step was nowhere to be found. As we trudged along, we stopped every ten minutes to ask for directions because we were so sure that we were lost. No matter whom we asked, there was one constant reply.. ‘Ohh, just a five-minute walk straight along this road’. The five minute walk turned out to be a 45 min walk… one way! And thus was formulated our ‘Just a Five Minute Walk in Ibiza’ Theory. Nothing is as close as it seems, and remember to hire a bike!
Port des Torrent was worth the walk. The beach was a bit small, but since it was off-season, it was not crowded. Viraj has a policy that irrespective of which beach he goes to, he has to get into the water, and get into the water he did. It was freeeeeeezing! I really don’t know how he does it. I barely managed to get my toes wet.
Non-Expert Two Cents: I felt that going to the beach during this season was definitely worth it. The weather was good, and the beaches were not crowded at all. I would strongly recommend stocking up on the sun block and hiring that bike. We could only make it to one beach because of that very reason.
Day trip to Formentera
This was the best find for the trip EV-AAAHH!!! What a gorgeous island Formentera is. If you think beaches in Ibiza are beautiful, you will get blown away by the gorgeousness of the beaches in Formentera. Just have a look…
I promise you, this is not a picture I have downloaded from the internet. It is a picture that Viraj took. Does that excite you already?
On the map, Formentera looks like a piece of land that has melted away from Ibiza. The more I look at the map of Ibiza and Formentera, it looks like the separation is still in motion. The very irregular shape of the island gives the opportunity for long stretches of white sandy beaches. It’s not like there is much to do on the island, but sometimes that is exactly what you need – to not have a plan and be laaaaazy! I love it that not many people know about this paradise on earth. I found it to be a perfect balance of development and yet have the charm of being secluded and untouched. Perhaps that is due to its inaccessibility. You can get there only by boat from Ibiza. I hope it continues to be like that for a while, for I know that the secret is out and it won’t be long before a lot more of us start going there.
Non-Expert Two Cents: I would recommend Formentera for a day trip. There is a fair bit to explore on the island. With a scooter and some time management, you can cover most of it in one day. I will be writing a post shortly about our day trip to the island and that should help you plan your trip out. However, if you would like to stay on for a night, perhaps a little longer, there are a few nice places to stay as well. Some of the beach side restaurants have sundowner parties in season as well.
Walk the Lanes of the Old Town
The minute you land in Ibiza Town, it is difficult to ignore the Old Town area. With the foot of the hill adorned with buildings painted white and Dalt Vila looking over like a watch tower, it can’t get more old school European. The winding narrow cobbled streets make it all the more romantic. I wonder why we didn’t spend much time there. I guess we have to leave something for next time! (Hubby is pretty determined that there will be a next time.. we didn’t get to hit hose clubs remember?) Since I didn’t go up to Dalt Vila, you can read about it here. Definitely make it a point to go and tell me how it was.
Non Expert Two Cents: Go to the old town when you have some time to spare. We did it in a hurry and I guess that’s why we were not able to soak in the actual beauty of the place. The streets are lined with beautiful romantic looking cafes (read expensive) and shops (read expensive). Amidst this old school romance that is the Old Town, you can spot a lot of quirky Europe as well. What am I talking about? You will have to go there and find out!
Who can resist free samples of liqueur at the airport? Viraj and I sure can’t. Especially when the liqueur is poured from a really funky bottle with herbs in it. And thus was our discovery of Hierbas. A beautiful aniseed-ish digestif from Ibiza. It is said that monks who were already living in the Balearic islands had been producing this liqueur in the Middle Ages. If you like Sambuca and Ozuo, there is a high possibility that you will like this one as well. In fact I liked it more than the other two. The drink goes down very smoothly as it is sweetish, but not as sweet as Sambuca and it does not have the little harsh aftertaste like Ouzo. The perfect blend!
Non-Expert Two Cents: Don’t think… just have! If you don’t like it, you can always gift it to me 😀
I really enjoyed the laid back vibe of Ibiza when we visited. I really would love to go back and see the other version of this crazy little party capital. Have you been to this crazy little party capital? What is on your list of things to do in Ibiza? I would love to know..