I’ve been to Ibiza four times: at 18, 22, 24 and 25. Each time I’ve wanted to cry on the way home, generally from a mixture of exhaustion and confusion, but mostly because I genuinely think Ibiza is one of the best places in the world.
I didn’t want to leave.
It’s the atmosphere there that does it. Everyone who goes is there for a good time. They love the beaches, the blue waters, the amazing super clubs, the cool hippy markets, the day time beach parties, the boat parties and just the any reason parties. And there are so many hidden gems in Ibiza to discover.
Ibiza attracts the coolest people with the warmest and most caring hedonistic attitudes to each other, but there are always a few people who end up in Ibiza when they should have gone to Kavos or Malia, or Magaluf. Here are a few tips on how you can avoid them, and how to have the best time in Ibiza possible.
1. Avoid the West End
These ‘chavs’ have usually watched a few too many episodes of Ibiza Uncovered. They head out to Ibiza looking for cheap booze, girls/boys, and love to flash their bits to anyone who gets a camera out. You can usually find them on a street corner having puked up on themselves from sunstroke at around 2am when you’re heading out. Thankfully, most of them have been herded up in what’s called ‘the West End’.
As a fresh-faced 18 year old in Ibiza I didn’t know what I was doing and sadly I spent quite a bit of time here that year a bit confused as to what all the fuss about Ibiza was for. It’s where the garage clubs are, the karaoke bars, the pole dancing places and the football fans falling out of the Irish bars – you can normally see a few teenagers suckling on fish bowls out in the sun by day too.
This is not ‘Ibiza’.
2. Get out of San Antonio
I have actually stayed here on three out of my four trips, but when I go again Ibiza Town is the only area for me. San Antonio is where you’ll find the legendary bars – Cafe Del Mar, Cafe Mambo etc – but Ibiza Town has the coolest vibe, more culture and the best super clubs.
San Antonio is also by the beach so of course this is where the beach parties are at and the boat parties go from, but all I’m saying is to make sure you don’t just stay here. There’s a lot more to the island.
3. Steer clear of Eden, Evissa and Es Paradis
My worst memory of my four holidays to Ibiza is Eden. Please, please don’t go here. People were practically having sex in the foam and there was so much of it that when my friend slipped over she went under it. I had to use all my strength to pull her out coughing and spluttering, just before we left.
These three clubs are all together in the east of San Antonio. There’s no real reason to go there anyway unless you want to be launched into the sky on one of those slingshot things – whyyyy?
4. Be nice to people
When the West Enders are all tucked up in bed it’s time for the true Ibiza spirit to come out and at the beach parties and in the cool clubs like Amnesia and Privilege people are actually really nice to each other so you should be too.
5. Go to DC10
DC10 is without a doubt the best club in Ibiza. It’s the worker’s club so it’s only the insiders and the real music fans that know about it. It’s smaller than Space, Privilege and Amnesia and has an amazing outdoor space so you can party under the sun. It’s under the airport flight path and so when planes go over everyone goes mental. They have an amazing soundsystem and the inside is air conditioned to the max so you can cool down on the plush sofas. Ticket and drink prices are cheaper than the other clubs too – make sure you go for the Monday day party.
My brother bought me a flight for my 25th birthday and we went for the DC10 closing party in October. It. Was. Incredible.
6. Gather your friends and get a villa
There are some incredible villas in Ibiza. Absolutely beautiful, all white wash with swimming pools and gardens. Gather some of your friends together to hire one out and you might find Ibiza villas are actually a lot better value than a hotel – definitely more photogenic anyway!
7. Watch the sun come up outside Café Mambo
Ok, bit of a cliché, but for good reason. When I watched it last they timed it to Requiem for a Dream perfectly. We sat drinking red wine out of a carton and watched the sun go down for over an hour, it was amazing.
8. Explore the island
As I’ve said don’t just stick to San Antonio, go to Ibiza Town, go to Atlantis and hire a car to explore the rest of the island too. I’d love to make the most of the yoga retreats one day too…
9. Drink at the car
Ibiza is soooo expensive. The clubs need to make their money back on drink because so many people are on drugs. Think, £10 for a bottle of water and £12 for a proper drink. Club prices vary from around £25 and up. If you hire a car and have a Des then there is a big car park culture where everyone drinks at their cars before, during and after, which can save a lot of cash.
10. Don’t go scuba diving
Bit of a random one, but one year it was a friend’s birthday and we decided to have a few drinks and go for a dive. I’m sure my eyes were bleeding by the end of it. I don’t remember actually seeing a fish: there was so much sun tan lotion pollution in the water nothing could’ve survived in there. Including us. Worst place for scuba diving ever, lots of fun though!
11. Go with someone who’s been before
If possible. Ibiza is one crazy place and to eat at the best places, go for the best boat parties and know the tricks of the island when it comes to the clubs and parties it helps to have a guide. I’m free this summer: #justsaying.
12. Visit the Medieval city of Dalt Vila
It still stands worlds apart from the thronging harbour, and has seen ancient Romans, Phoenicians and Moors come and go, way before the tourist scene kicked in. Along with the island’s underwater marvels, it’s now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and the towering cathedral, twisting alleyways and still-sturdy walls make it easy to see why.
13. Visit the north of the island
Dramatic caves at Cova d’es Culleram, Ses Fontanelles and Can Marca are all located a short distance away from the bustling beaches at San Antonio but offer glimpses of prehistoric artwork, religious artefacts and unmissable cliff views.
14. Go to Es Vedra
Take a boat ride out to the uninhabited outcrop Es Vedra to see the place said to have inspired legends from the sirens of Homer to the lost city of Atlantis. If you’re into hiking, the inland pine forests and coastal trails will keep you happy, passing watchtowers and climbing crags in the north and dipping into valleys in the south.
15. Find a secret beach
Western Cala Tarida may have its share of hotels due to the perfect white sands here, but there are also rugged coves usually only populated by locals. Even the smaller resort towns here such as Cala Vadella are popular with families for good reason; shallow, impossibly blue waters dotted with sail boats and oozing the calm atmosphere you’d never have associated with Ibiza before coming.
Just a quick drive out of Ibiza Town will also get you to the secluded paradise of S’Estanyol, with its pebbled shore and underwater caverns.
Just go to Ibiza!
There are literally hundreds of ways you can escape the typical Ibiza holidays. Tour quiet inland villages such as San Rafael and San José with their white-washed farmhouses and laid-back style to see how locals really live here, taste authentic Balearic cuisine at places such as Bar Costa in Santa Gertrudis, one of the island’s oldest bars, pick up bargains from the covered stalls which line the old streets in Ibiza Town or visit the proudly-named “hippy” market in San Juan, Las Dalias.
There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Spanish island of Ibiza is still one of the top clubbing destinations in Europe and probably the wider world. Ever since the 1960s, party-goers have been flocking to its sun-drenched shores in the summer months, crowding the clubs and bars of Ibiza Town and watching the sunsets at Café del Mar.
In recent years it’s become known as a family destination though, and more culturally-minded visitors are visiting. The island’s forested, rocky landscape, lesser-known beaches and old-world atmosphere have always been there for those who knew where to find them.
However you find it, there’s a unique Ibiza experience for anyone willing to club a little less, be a little more adventurous and get up a little earlier.