Ibiza has long been known as a party island, but slowly its reputation is beginning to change. Yes, you could go to a different dance club every night for a week, but Ibiza has so much more to offer than just that. There’s enough culture and beautiful scenery to keep families and couples entertained for seven days or even longer. Uncover a different side to the island and expect to be charmed.
Day 1 – Discover Santa Eulalia on foot
Santa Eulalia is the perfect place to set the tone for your trip to Ibiza. While it is an exciting destination with lots going on, the nightlife is far more laid-back than in San Antonio. You can enjoy fantastic food and unlock the secrets to the island’s culture in what is the third biggest resort in Ibiza.
Start the day with a walk along Santa Eulalia’s seafront promenade. A wander past the long beach, taking in the palm trees, pretty gardens and fountains will give you an instant feeling of calm and remind you that you’re on holiday. You’ll eventually come to Mariner’s Beach, where there’s welcoming white sand and a picturesque harbour.
Continue further along to see the thoughtfully restored Roman bridge and take in the beauty of the riverside location. From here you are close to the beach of Calo de S’Alga, which is small but perfectly formed, and the Siesta neighbourhood. You’ll feel like you’re in a little village and there are some lovely cafes to enjoy a drink in, before heading back the way you came.
By now you’re likely to have built up an appetite for lunch and The Royalty is somewhere you really must try. Situated in the heart of Santa Eulalia in its main square La Rambla, this restaurant with its peach-hued facade, has built up a good reputation since the current owners took it over in the 1980s.
The Royalty’s history goes back further than that, however, as it was constructed as a hotel in 1933 and its elegant style reflects the architecture of the day. During the Spanish Civil War, it was frequented by Franco and was the political opposite of the Can Cosmi across the street, where the Republicans could be found.
When it comes to ordering lunch, you’ll be spoilt for choice with an extensive menu and wide selection of tapas options available. For those who are hungry, the menu del dia, consisting of three courses, represents the best value for money and is a great introduction to the food of Ibiza. With a children’s menu available and around a dozen desserts on offer, you couldn’t ask for more.
Santa Eulalia is known for being a creative place, with plenty of artists calling it home. On the street that leads from the Town Hall to the sea you will often find craft vendors have set up their stalls, so take a little wander to walk off your lunch and decide if there are any souvenirs you’d like to buy.
Climb to the top of the Puig de Missa, which translates as the Hill of Mass, to see the pretty Church of Our Lady of Jesus. Its stunning 16th-century architecture is something to behold, but don’t forget to look outwards too. From here you have vistas across much of the municipality. Landmarks to spot include Santa Gertrudis, much of Jesus, Es Cana, San Carlos and the stunning bay of Cala Llonga.
See the sun disappear behind the horizon from the roof of the Aguas de Ibiza luxury spa hotel. Here, you can get a drink and take in the views of the marina while the sun sets. It’s a great spot and you don’t have to be staying at the hotel to take advantage of its prime location for an hour or so.
When it comes to the evening, you have a number of options, with the liveliest being at the marina. Here Guarana hosts live music and DJs with a hopping dancefloor, offering a taste of the nightlife Ibiza is famous for. If this is not your vibe, then there are plenty of more low-key things to enjoy. On Santa Eulalia’s main street, you can dine on anything from traditional island dishes to curry or sushi.
Day 2 – Have a beach day at Cala Conta
It would be a shame to travel to a fabulous island such as Ibiza and not have a day relaxing on the beach. When it comes to the stretch of sand you opt to lay yourself out on, the choices are seemingly endless depending on what you’re looking for. Cala Conta, not far from San Antonio, is a good bet, however, as it has several areas to choose from and plenty of amenities.
With white sand, turquoise waters and views across to nearby islands, Cala Conta is a vision of paradise. Choose to base yourself at the beach backed by sand dunes or the one with a rocky coastline. Alternatively, seek out the steps cut into the rock at the west end of the beach, which take you to a small naturist cove.
Spend the morning splashing about in the sea, snorkelling or hiring a pedalo. Cala Conta is a popular area and there is a lifeguard on duty, but don’t venture too far out to see where the current gets stronger. Sun loungers and parasols are available to hire, so there’s everything you need to lie back and relax.
After a hard morning enjoying the holiday lifestyle, get yourself to S’Illa des Bosc for a slap up seafood lunch overlooking the beach. It is one of three restaurants within walking distance of the prime sunbathing spots, but undoubtedly the best. Choose a delicious sharing plate or a dish of your own, featuring freshly caught fish. Finish it off with a signature mojito sorbet for the ultimate refreshing hit.
Pass the afternoon lazing on the beach and planning your course of action for the evening’s sunset. You could spend it listening to live DJs at Sunset Ashram, which occupies the space between the two beaches. Its panoramic windows were designed to perfectly frame this natural wonder. Other options include enjoying a sunset cruise or finding your own patch of land to sit and take it all in.
Day 3 – Diving in Las Salinas
At the southernmost tip of Ibiza is the Las Salinas Beach, which has a reputation for being very hip. While it’s a great place to head for a bit of a party vibe in the summer months and plenty of amenities, there’s more to do at Las Salinas than just live it up cocktail in hand.
The conditions here are great for body surfing and a number of activities, especially diving. If you’re keen to get below the waves and leave the revellers on the beach behind, there’s a well-respected diving school at Las Salinas, which can help get visitors of all abilities into the water and enjoying the incredible sealife hidden in the ocean.
When it comes to lunch there’s no shortage of beach bars and restaurants across Las Salinas at which to refuel. If you’re looking for somewhere with a more relaxed vibe, however, head down the beach to Sa Trinxa. To reach this little haven, which has been serving up delicious food since 1978, you need to venture past the naturist section of the coastline. There’s the option to have your meal right on the beach and you may well decide to stay here for a while, as it’s fun, but relatively quiet compared to the rest of Las Salinas.
In the afternoon, you may wish to give your beach bum a rest and go for a walk. This could result in you finding a little cove all your own further along the coast or making your way to the watchtower nearby. The area adjacent to Las Salinas is a Wildlife Conservation Area, so there’s lots of beautiful pristine scenery to hike through and the opportunity to spot some native flora and fauna.
Day 4 – Cycle the island
Cycling is a great way to see more of the island and get a bit of exercise at the same time. The roads are generally very good in Ibiza and there are plenty of places from which to hire bikes. For most of the year, the climate is conducive to cycling, but if you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to set off early in the day and plan to have a rest stop during the hottest hours around midday and early afternoon.
There are lots of opportunities to discover the island on two wheels, depending on what your interests are and your fitness levels. You could decide to do a cycle route that takes you along the coast, stopping at beaches and coves as you go. Alternatively, head inland to get a glimpse of the different terrain and come across pretty villages and the rural way of life in parts of Ibiza away from the areas usually frequented by visitors.
Pick up a map of the cycle routes from the tourist information near where you’re staying. Your starting point will help to determine which option to choose and you should have a good idea about how long it will take to cycle, but be sure to factor in a little contingency time.
Decide where you’d like to stop for lunch and ensure there is somewhere that will be open to grab a bite to eat or pack a picnic to take with you. Purchasing items for this from a local market the day before or in the morning will mean you still get to eat fresh produce that is typical of the island. Pack some flao – a local cheesecake, made with honey and herbs, which will give you a good energy boost to help you continue cycling throughout the afternoon.
Bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a basic puncture repair kit to ensure you are prepared for most eventualities on the route. Take a good look at the map before setting off so you know what to expect and check there are no conditions that could prevent you from finishing the ride and getting back to where you need to be.
Day 5 – Day trip to Formentera
By the fifth day of your holiday to Ibiza you’ll be getting to know the island quite well and it could be nice to explore one of the other landmasses close by. Formentera is the nearest of the Balearics to Ibiza and can be reached in around half an hour by ferry. There are four companies that offer the crossing and between them there are approximately 50 sailings a day, meaning you have plenty of options for getting there and back. The boats leave from Ibiza Town.
Formentera provides a quieter alternative to much of Ibiza and with 20 kilometres of white-sand beaches you’re bound to find your own little stretch of paradise. It’s up to you where you head, but Migjorn, Illetes and Llevant are among the best options. With no high-rise constructions and many being backed by protected sand dunes, it’s nature at its finest.
A project to build wooden walkways at some of the larger beaches on Formentera has made them easier to navigate. A lovely touch is the addition of information boards dotted along these, allowing you to learn more about the wildlife and plants you may spot as you enjoy your day on the island.
When it comes to eating and drinking, you will often spot a small establishment on the beach known as a chiringuito. These huts acts as small bars and often serve up a very small selection of dishes, but when the ingredients are this fresh and simply prepared, some barbecued fish or similar is all you need.
Day 6 – Explore Ibiza Town and enjoy a laidback evening
Having caught a glimpse of Ibiza Town the previous day when you boarded the ferry for Formentera, you may wish you go back and explore the island’s largest city in more detail. There is so much to see both night and day, you could find yourself staying out until 5am if you get into the spirit of the party, but the cultural sights are also quite captivating.
Start in the Old Town, known as Dalt Vila, which is a United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. It has occupied its wonderful position up on the hill for 2,500 years and its panoramic views remain unrivalled to this day. Follow the winding cobbled streets up to the Plaza de Vila main square, which is reached in dramatic style across a drawbridge with Roman statues on each side.
Once you’ve arrived, the entire area is a treasure trove of gothic buildings, pretty courtyards and small chapels. Be sure to climb to the top of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows, which can be found nestled into the Old Town’s walls, as the views are incredible. Look out for the terracotta roof tiles of the Santo Domingo Church and the statue of General Joaquin Vara de Rey, a hero of the Cuban War. The cathedral itself stands on the site of a temple founded by the Carthaginians in the seventh century, although the current incarnation was started in the 14th century and not completed until the 15th.
Occupying a fantastic position in the main square, La Oliva really is the best place to go for lunch. It would be a shame to sit inside, as this restaurant, which has been going for more than a quarter of a century, has a pavement terrace that is perfect for watching the world go by, as you tuck into a plate of braised and roasted meat or something from the Mediterranean-style menu.
In the afternoon there is the opportunity to enjoy all of the New Town’s offerings. This encapsulates everything from marvelling at the stunning town houses on the Vara de Rey boulevard and shopping to taking in some culture at one of the museums and galleries that are dotted about the area.
After a hearty meal at lunchtime, you may not be wanting a huge dish in the evening, but that is fairly convenient due to the tapas and pintxos culture that has been fully embraced in Ibiza Town. These small plates and delicacies on sticks allow you to mix and match what you’d like to try and simply stop when you’re full up. Avenida Ignacio Wallis and Paseo Bartolomé Escandell are home to some of the best bars and restaurants serving up tapas and pintxos, so head here and see what takes your fancy.
Alternatively, take a stroll around the stunning Marina Botafoch, where you will see the yachts of the rich and famous moored. If you would prefer to indulge in a more upmarket meal, then you’ll find plenty of choice here, with Sushipoint and Los Pasajeros coming highly recommended, depending on your tastes.
Day 7 – Get in some last minute beach time at Cala Jondal
If you want to make the most of your final day on the island, there’s only one thing for it – the beach. Just a 15-minute drive from Ibiza Town, Cala Jondal is an upmarket beach that is frequented by boat owners and has restaurants to match this clientele. There are also a few chiringuitos too, which is good if you’ve cultivated a taste for this more simple fare during your time in Ibiza.
Grab a sun lounger in the shade of a pine tree or go swimming in the startlingly clear water. While much of the beach is pebbly, there are sandy areas, making it easier to get into the sea for a swim. With the jagged cliffs and green mountains behind, Cala Jondal paints a wonderful picture of Ibiza and is a great final memory to create before heading to your flight.
Take a look at the map below to plan your Ibiza holiday