Featured image by Roberto Faccenda
Ibiza may be known for its famous clubbing scene, but there’s a lot more to this magical island than late nights and expensive drinks. Away from the main thoroughfares, idyllic coves and peaceful vistas abound, with a huge variety of fantastic restaurants tucked away just off the beaten track. The small size of the island makes it perfect for driving – nothing is very far from anything else – yet the wonders you can discover with your own set of wheels are a world away from the well-trodden tourist trail.
Ready to explore? Pick up a car hire at Ibiza Airport and change your preconceptions.
San Antonio and surrounds
San Antonio is best known as the party hub of Ibiza – but don’t let it put you off visiting. The spectacular sunset strip is a must-see sight for all visitors, but once you’ve had your fill of the trendy bars and restaurants, there’s plenty on the outskirts of town to get excited about.
Grab a hire car from San Antonio and head west along the south side of San Antonio Bay to discover numerous idyllic beaches such as Cala Bassa, Cala Comte and Cala Tarida (to name a few). Continue southwest to Cala Vedella and take the steep road down to Cala d’Hort to gaze over the magical isle of Es Vedra. As much as the view is beautiful, this spot is also associated with UFOs and lots of general weirdness – the perfect place to take your favourite conspiracy theorist.
Ibiza Town and surrounds
Ibiza Town is a fascinating mix of modern cosmopolitan culture and Mediterranean tradition, yet somehow the two sides of this magical capital collide beautifully. Once you’ve had your fill of people watching (and there’s plenty of it to be done here), set off east through the classy resort of Santa Eulalia and inland towards San Carlos (Sant Carles).
Visit the hippy market of Las Dalias and stop by the iconic Anita’s Bar, where you can still see the mailboxes used by the original ’60s hippies as their only means of contact – with some still in use today. From there, head towards the east coast and seek out Cala Mastella, where you will find El Bigotes restaurant. On first glance, this may look like a derelict shack in a quiet cove – but return around 2pm and you’ll be blown away to find the bay full of glamorous yachts and the trestle tables filled with diners of all nationalities, happily feasting on the best fish stew they’ve ever tasted.
The best of the rest
Next, travel north up the east coast to look down on the beautiful family-friendly resort of Cala San Vicente and, further up the road, Portinatx. Continue over the northern tip of the island to start your journey down the northwest coast. This is Ibiza’s most remote stretch of coastline and is well-worth the trip – just be sure to stop in at Benirras Beach for an alternative mystical sunset experience (be warned – this usually involves hippy bongo drumming…).
For those who like their beaches REALLY remote (and have a decent map), continue west to reach the huge bay of Cala d’Aubarca (or Cala d’Albarca). You’ll have to park and do a bit of walking and climbing – but you’ll be rewarded with some magnificent photo opportunities and a view that few visitors to Ibiza have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Once you’re all beached out, take a meander through the middle of the island. Much of Ibiza is still very rural; and in villages like Santa Gertrudis, full of atmospheric little bars where you have to mind your head on the hanging legs of local ham, your transformation from Ibiza doubter to devotee will be complete.
Have you explored off the beaten track in Ibiza? Let us know in the comments below.
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