As Ibiza is an Island and thus surrounded by sea, you will find many harbors with yachts and boats. To get a good look on the coastline renting a boat is essential, and apart from getting a nice cool sea breeze, you will be able to go to places otherwise impossible to reach. A very popular destination to go to with a private boat is Espalmador a little island just before you reach Formentera, Espalmador is a protected natural reserve and they allow only a number of boats a day. However don´t expect to be alone, I recently hired a boat with a friend and reserved a place over there together with lots of other boats. The island itself is beautiful with a very long sandy white beach and inside the Island are mud baths to purify your skin. After some swimming, sunbathing on the deck and eating lunch, our captain advised us to go to Cala Saona for the afternoon, and so we did. Sailing along Illetas , along Formentera harbor we arrived at Cala Saona. A true little paradise with deep (about six meters) and clear water full of underwater life. My friend was the first one in the water for some snorkeling when I made a mistake; I threw my goggles into the water first so I could dive in into the water in a sporty fashion. When I came to surface to get the goggles, they were on their way down! Six meters deep how to get them? My friend dived down and yes got them back for me, the hero of the day !! After a truly wonderful afternoon with lots of swimming and wine drinking and taking the sun we sailed back at a full speed to Ibiza, crashing into the waves and looking at other boats going this or that way. The little way from Ibiza to Formentera looks like a highway of boats and lots of engine testosterone. Renting a boat is not a cheap affair but sharing makes it a lot more doable, with the renting price of the boat you need to add your consumed fuel, so the more hours sailing the higher the bill gets. My friend was already in shock of the boat price which he offered to pay by himself, I just couldn´t say fuel was separate and decided to keep this information from him and paid the fuel myself. Anyway, we had a lovely time and to rent a boat yourself is a fun thing to do.
I just didn´t like Paella that much, my first encounters with this typical Spanish dish dates back to my childhood, you know family holidays in those tourist half board hotels. Dry and without taste, and with all its bones from fish and meat just too much hassle to eat. Well you can imagine it took my friend quite some time convincing me to have it again. And so after years refusing to even consider paella, I ordered this national dish again in a little restaurant in the bay of Cala D´Hort called restaurant Cala D´Hort. This restaurant is one of the three restaurants in Cala D’Hort right at the beach. You sit with your feet in the sand, shaded by palms and with a superb view on the Es Vedra Island.
The paella had absolutely nothing to do with the one of my childhood, moist tasty saffron rice with pieces of succulent fish, shell fish and various meats. To describe it with one word divine. Yes, you will get your hands dirty! Since then I made it my personal crusade to convince all my friends and relatives to try it again. I have eaten paella in many other places since then, various restaurants in Ibiza as well as in Valencia but nothing beats the paella in Cala D’Hort. I celebrated my fortieth birthday with a paella lunch there and every summer I go back at least a few times. If you don´t like to sit with your feet in the sand you can try Restaurant El Carmen. They also serve an excellent paella, slightly more expensive but with an impressive view. You can find on your left restaurant El Carmen and on your right restaurant Cala D´Hort, looking at the sea. And one of the secrets of eating paella is that it tastes so much better for lunch and at the beach.
The famous Nikki Beach with branches in Saint Tropez, Marbella, Koh Samui and Bali opened its doors in Ibiza two years ago. This beach club is well known for its extravagant (read luxurious and expensive) parties with lots of champagne and a drunken rich crowd. Not really my thing. There is a saying don´t judge until you know it for yourself and this saying is pretty accurate with my experience at Nikki Beach Ibiza. The beach club is situated next to the ME Hotel in S’ Argamassa and with a friend I went to Nikki Beach a few weeks ago. A modern building with lots of glass from the street side, inside lots of space and an open kitchen. Everything looks pretty and clean, a huge veranda with tables set for lunch and the “ beach” has nice sunbeds and lounge beds with a pool in the middle.
A lounge bed cost at the time € 170,- for the day, yes a bottle of champagne included or sun beds for € 30,- . Orange beach towels included in both. We decided for the sun beds first line sea, and under the tunes of a DJ playing very nice music we settled with some Café con Leche. We have had a lovely experience with a nice waiter from Portugal; nothing was too much, topping up our glasses (still water) in a very discreet way. Chatting with us and giving us advice on restaurants. At lunch time we booked a table in the restaurant and were invited a glass of champagne, the menu offers a nice choice of signature dishes and lots of sushi. We had some California Rolls with fried crab and some salads as main dishes. Well-presented and delicious. The bottle of Côte de Provence to wash it all away got us also in a bit of a party mood and after lunch, we danced along lots of other people in the pool. We had so much fun and this changed my mind about Nikki Beach, I truly think that this beach Club is an asset to the Ibiza scene.
Cala Conta might very well be Ibiza´s most beautiful beach. This said beach might be a too big of a word. Cala Conta exists of tiny strips of sand, rocks and cliffs. It is one of my favorite beaches in the low season; the coastline is breathtakingly beautiful with a few islands, turquoise water that resembles the Caribbean Sea, a few “chiringuitos” to satisfy your thirst and hunger. Because Cala Conta is not very big, this beach gets in the summer too crowded with tourists and on top of that, glass bottom boats coming from San Antonio to look into the beautiful underwater world this bay has on offer. This doesn´t mean you cannot go to the beach in summer, if you rented a villa in its surroundings you can do this beach in the early mornings, or go and sip a cocktail at sunset. Cala Conta is an excellent beach for snorkeling because the water here is shallow and has many rocks and riffs, for this one finds an abundant fish life.
A small beach but definitely worth a visit is Sa Caleta on the road to Cala Jondal. A strip of sand surrounded by red cliffs and shallow clear water. I usually go there in the low season and avoid the months of July and August because it is really too busy. From the main beach one can walk left or right to find smaller pieces of sand to find a bit more privacy but what I do is take a sunbed, the price for a bed is € 10,- , a bit higher than usual, yes but you can eat or drink up to the € 10,- . The beach waiter is very friendly and makes sure you will have your drinks quickly. Not only the beach is great, try the restaurant as well. Traditional fish dishes like Bullit and Guisat de Peix are phenomenal here, but also fresh gambas, roasted squid or raors ( seasonal fish) . If you don´t like the beach or if you visit Ibiza off-season walk around a bit, the area is protected and one finds here one of the oldest archeological sites of Ibiza going back a few thousand years.
Every year in September, the yearly migration begins of the Flamingos on their way to Africa. After spending their summer in the South of France to be exact the Camargue’s, they fly across the Mediterranean Sea to warmer grounds. They use Ibiza as a stopover, to feed, and to rest. You can spot these beautiful pink birds during the months September and October in Salinas ; This natural Reserve is also at its most picturesque, when the lakes color a deep pink because the sea water evaporates and leaves a thick crust of salt. You can walk through them and see the production of the salt, while taking in the flora and fauna Ibiza has to offer.
Yes, springtime is here, the time that Ibiza starts to wake up from its winter sleep, and although winter on the Island is mild, springtime weather is just great. Flip-flops and T-shirts out of the closet, winter clothes in storage and soaking up the warm sun. The Island is at its most beautiful, soft green meadows, fields of wheat full of flowers, empty beaches and clear blue sky. Every year around this time, the island of Ibiza transforms into a sea of colors. On the fields that are dry in summer, one can see an abundance of various flowers mixed with the green color of grass. Marguerite’s, Poppies and lots of others flowers are in full bloom. Apart from this, the field’s produces also eatable plants like wild garlic, asparagus and all kinds of green herbs. With the temperature still mild, it is the best season to discover the wonders of the natural world Ibiza has on offer. Go hiking, cycling or for the lazy ones rent a car and drive through the picturesque villages, stopping occasionally to have a coffee or lunch on one of the terraces. Especially this time of year, all restaurants and bars give season openings parties and it´s still select and intimate. This time of year is also excellent to visit Ibiza´s Dalt Villa with its steep and narrow streets and you don´t get suffocated by the heat. Flights and accommodation are also a fraction of the price in compared to August.
These two beaches are in the Salinas Natural Reserve, on your way to the beaches you drive through the salt lakes, used for thousands of years for the production of salt. It makes for beautiful scenery and especially in summer the lakes changes color all the time.
The excellent location in the proximity of Ibiza Town has made these beaches very popular, fortunately both are virgin beaches without hotels or big constructions, but what you can find here are great beach clubs and restaurants. They are easy to get to by bicycle, scooter or bus. Es Cavallet doesn´t have a bus stop so you will have to walk a bit. Also take into account when driving a car, while Salinas has a semi covered paid parking; Es Cavallet is a bit of a hassle to park. So the earlier you get there the easier you will find a place.
Between Salinas and Es Cavallet you can find a beautiful natural reserve, great for walking and taking a swim along the way. You have many little beaches and little bays and coves. Take into account that there no bars or restaurants in this part so if you want to spend the day there it´s advisable to bring food and drinks yourself.
A great place to buy fresh made sandwiches, fruits and cold drinks is the little supermarket on your way to Salinas.
Es Cavallet is Ibiza´s biggest gay and nudist beach. Surrounded by dunes and forests, the beach is rougher than Salinas, deeper water and usually windier. Es Cavallet starts as a regular mixed nudist beach which turns into the gay beach towards the end.
You have three restaurants at the Es Cavallet Beach, the first one overlooks the entire beach and is called La Escollera , serves excellent fish and Spanish specialties like Arroz Negro , Paella or oven baked fish a la Ibicenca. La Escollera is also great for a drink before heading back to the city. The second restaurant is called El Chiringuito and is located right at the beach. Upscale and luxurious serves great Mediterranean food and a hell of a breakfast, pancakes with blueberries, fruit salads, juices etc. The third is the Gay Beach Club El Chiringay , great terrace overlooking the beach, cabanas to get a shaded massage , beach service, sun loungers and shower facilities. For lunch a great variety of Salads, Pastas, Fresh Fish and a variety of cocktails.
Salinas is most likely the most popular beach in Ibiza, so very crowded in summer. Frequented by the international jet set, the young and beautiful but also especially in high summer lots of families. A White powdery sandy beach and turquoise shallow water, great in spring and fall. Most of time the sea is calm accompanied with a nice breeze. You can find lots of restaurants but I´m going to mention just two. Jockey Club and Sa Trinxa because they are by far my favorites. Most of the time when I go to Salinas you can find me at the Jockey Club, a restaurant with a palm leaves ceiling wooden decking and furniture. Reserve a table on the first line and you´ll have a superb view. Great lounge music by a life DJ. And finally fantastic food, ranging from innovative salads to fish dishes. I have to say not cheap but worth to try. Secondly Sa Trinxa, a beach Club that attracts a younger crowd and has a hippy atmosphere, also the last stop of the promotion parades of the Clubs. Sa Trinxa stays lively until late in the evening.
What are you planning to do with Easter? Although religion becomes less and less important in Ibiza, the Easter celebrations are of a long tradition and it might well be the most important holiday. Not much to do with bunnies and finding eggs like in other countries. In Ibiza, the highlight takes place on Good Friday with a severe and dramatic procession in which all church societies of Ibiza take part. Members of these societies walk slowly down from the cathedral of Ibiza through the Old Town to the marina, carrying crucifixes, statues and torches under the dramatic rhythm of the drums. In the past people had to walk with bare feet, in chains and with masks to hide their identities, the meaning of this was to make penance for their committed sins. Nowadays not a lot of people walk bare feet, but the rest is intact. It makes an impressive sight, and is worthwhile to see. Because the weather is still not too hot, visiting the island in this period gives you the opportunity to visit the historical center of Ibiza Town called Dalt Villa and go back in time. A few museums are dedicated to the history of Ibiza and are worth to pay a visit. In addition, Ibiza´s nature is at its most beautiful, green meadows full of flowers. Rent a car and discover the island in springtime, drive through the picturesque villages stopping once in a while for a coffee or lunch. This side of Ibiza not many people know.
With about 48 beaches divided from small hidden bays to big Sandy beaches, Ibiza is the perfect island to go beach hopping. What all have in common is clear water and fantastic for all kinds of watersports. The southern area of San José counts the most and the popular ones, like Playa den Bossa, in the summer crowded by young and hip people to the natural reserve Salinas, glamorous Cala Jondal, to the smaller ones as Cala D’Hort and Cala Bassa. The great thing about Ibiza´s preservation of natural reserves is that quite a lot of reserves are unspoiled except for maybe a chiringuito to eat a paella or a grilled fish.
At the western coastline, one is able to enjoy beautiful sunsets and sometimes on clear days, one can spot the Spanish mainland. The bars Café del Mar and Mambo in San Antonio are busy during the hours when the sun goes down, with great chill out music and a cocktail people gaze over the sea. Benirras on the North West coast has every Sunday at sunset a hippy tambourine party and is frequented by all kinds of people.
As the south is more popular you should not want miss out on the beautiful rougher north coast, fantastic hidden bays, small beaches with pine trees growing nearly to the water, and thus providing a welcome shade against the hot summer sun. Take a good sunscreen with you and avoid taking sun around 14.00, just have lunch in the one local fish restaurants.