As you know, I fell in love with Ibiza. My latest with W Dish is all about how the stunning white isle is so very much more than the molly-fuelled raves people think about when they hear the word, Ibiza.
I made it a mission to explore everything Ibiza is about other than the molly-fueled bikini bods clubbing under neon flashing lights image that many people think about when they hear the word “Ibiza,” and you know what? It wasn’t hard at all to discover that Ibiza is so very much more than that.
Located east of the Iberian Peninsula, Ibiza is the most south of the Balearic Islands and was declared World Heritage status by UNESCO based on its phenomenal natural and cultural features. Like it’s sister island, Mallorca, Ibiza experiences a glorious 300 days of sunshine, minimum, a year. Ibiza definitely has an air of the rich and famous with its frequent tide of movie and rock stars, models and local celebs rolling in on their bright white yachts, but the island’s choose your own adventure vibe is what really got me hooked. In Ibiza, anything goes.
Become a Hippy
Ibiza’s open mind and freedom to be who you are is such a welcoming spirit to enter into. My favorite thing on the whole trip was a visit to the Las Dalias Hippy Market. A loving nod to its hippy roots, Mercadillo Hippy takes places every Saturday on a beautiful garden space draped with exotic flowers and filled with artisans selling one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, handmade shoes, home decor, art works… you name it and it’s made and sold here. It’s a great opportunity to take a piece of the “ad-lib” fashion (from the Latin word “ad libitum” meaning “at one’s pleasure”) that was born here (think white long flowy cotton dresses). What really won me over was not just the quality of the products sold; the friendliness of the artists and all the little details like the local bands playing live music, the cute outdoor restaurant in the centre of the dreamy vine garden and the fun Soul Bar with rotating DJs, made it more than just a regular market but rather, an incredibly memorable experience. I dare you not to make a new friend or two at the Las Dalias Hippy Market.
Escape to the Countryside
When you leave the tourist trail, you’ll discover the alluring countryside that’s unknown to a lot of visitors to Ibiza. I stayed at the agritourism haven, Can Lluc, in a cozy villa surrounded by fragrant carob and olive trees, and a charming siesta sanctuary in my front yard complete with a rainbow hammock. An easy bike ride down nearby Buscastell—the one grocery store, one bar and one school town—passing by ancient farmhouses and almond and orange groves is pure serenity and quaint-ness at it’s finest.
Take Comfort in a Slower Pace
It’s totally not hard to succumb to the calm and easygoing energy of Ibiza. Es Puig de Missa is a beaut built on a hilltop in Santa Eulària and is the perfect spot to escape the crowds. You can visit the pretty white church tower at the top, which dates back to the 16th century and offers spectacular views overlooking the entire town. Of course, there was a romantic wedding being set-up there when I visited, adding even more to the romcom-like allure. It really is unreal how clean and picturesque every corner is – for a second, I thought about pulling an Under The Tuscan Sun and buying a sweet little house on the hill.
Shopping Therapy by the Beach
With the white sands and crystal clear waters of the over 56 beaches in Ibiza, chances are you’ll be hitting a beach or ten during your time on the island. Being the clothes hound that I am, I discovered that shopping and beaching go hand in hand. Two of my favorite shops in Ibiza, Treasure Chest at Experimental Beach with fabulous local designers and the impossibly chic shop (in a straw hut!) in the parking lot at Playa Es Cavallet’s El Chiringuito, made sure there was no time lost between sun, sand and “I’ll take this in a small, por favor.”
More Than Just Food
Eating is a joy in Ibiza and is as delightful and carefree as its people. Just as you don’t need to stray far from the beach to get your shopping fix, the same goes for the fresh paella, crispy calamari and flaò (a sweet tart made of goat and sheep’s milk) offered at beachside restaurants like El Carmen in Cala d’Hort beach, which is uber-delicious and a prime spot for babe-watching. On dry land, I absolutely fell in love with Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, a lovely town with a pedestrian-only center sprinkled with adorable boutiques and restaurants, including Bar Costa where you can sit on little woven stools on the terrace slowly indulging in jamòn sandwiches and San Miguel beer as the warm Balearic sun kisses your skin.
Relic in a Natural Wonder
Ses Salines Natural Park is a UNESCO Item of World Heritage and a magnificent sight to see. Situated between southern Ibiza and northern Formentera (which is a 20 minute ferry ride away and very well worth the daytrip for its pristine secluded beaches), the park also includes the sea channel that separates both islands and contains 178 species of rare plants and 210 species of birds (including gorgeous pink flamingos!). Salines, meaning salt in Spanish, has a deep history in Ibiza and for two months in the autumn, the salt flats at the park become opaque enough, creating a perfectly mirrored image of this natural wonder.