Ahhh – Ibiza. Just the name makes me feel happy! Some of you maybe wondering why a name synonymous with the hedonistic lifestyle of many twenty somethings during the Summer season, would strike such a chord of serenity with me. Well, I can safely say, it’s nothing to do with clubs and drugs! Ibiza to me is an idyllic island, only 45 x 25 kms, off the coast of Spain and the third largest of the Balearic islands (the others being Majorca and Menorca). It is small enough to get around quite happily and on our 4 day break, we actually did cover all the compass points.
So it is common knowledge that in Summer, Ibiza is buzzing with people, almost to the point of bursting. It is still a beautiful island despite the crowds, but on this visit, which is my first out of season, it was great to see Ibiza laid bare. It certainly lived up to my expectations even though most clubs, beach restaurants etc… were shut. In fact, it being the Easter weekend, most shops were shut too but this did not deter us one bit. Spurred on by the warm temperatures and empty roads we set out to see what Easter in Ibiza is like.
Day 1 – we had a cycle tour booked in Santa Eularia, some 40 mins drive from our villa, so we left at around 10.15am, backpacks in hand. On reaching Kandani cycle shop we were all fitted for helmets and bikes and then we were off for our 2 hour tour. I honestly couldn’t tell you where we went, and at one point I asked James (our guide) where we were, to which he answered ‘Santa Eularia’, indicating we hadn’t ridden that far at all! What was great though was the sheer abundance of cycle trails. Without a guide we would never have navigated our way through the maze of paths so I do recommend getting one, especially if you have kids, as it makes life a lot easier. I think having done it once, next time we go we’ll be fine to cycle around on our own though. All in all, a great morning and quite tiring. This naturally led us to lunch which we had in Santa Eularia on the promenade at a lovely fish restaurant call Estel. Beautiful sea bass for main, with calamari and salads for starters, washed down with some cava sangria! We finished lunch around 4pm and took a stroll down the promenade where we had some ice cream before returning to the villa, quite tired from our outing. In the evening, we ended up getting a pizza take out from Es Verge, a very popular pizzeria in San Josep – divine!
Day 2 – after breakfast, we decided we were going to tackle Dalt Villa this morning – Dalt villa is the historic part of Ibiza town (the capital) and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It comprises a castle at the top as well as a cathedral, a monastery and museums. However, the real attraction of Dalt Villa is the cobbled, winding streets which are residential (you can see the washing lines outside many houses) and the antique shops, jewellery shops and other interesting boutiques that line the route. The architecture is fascinating too – historic monuments adjacent to modern houses; but this is what gives it its charm. We walked to the top of the castle to take in the splendid views of Ibiza with the small island of Formentura in the distance. After this, we drove north, past Santa Eularia again and up towards Cala San Vincente to The Boat House, a restaurant on the beach. The location was spectacular and the food matched the view. We tried tapas style dishes and then went for a walk on the beach which was deserted and looked spectacular. Sadly this sight will be non existent in the Summer, due to the swathes of sunbathers who will gather here. After lunch we made our way to San Antonio on the west of the island – in the Summer, San Antonio is a lively resort with plenty of nightclubs and high rise hotels, making it extremely popular. During Easter however, it is still tranquil and it was great to be able to drive around freely. We stopped at Cafe del Mar, which had opened just two days previously for the Summer season. After taking in the beautiful views we returned to the villa and chilled out for the rest of the day when our friends (who live on the island), visited.
Day 3 – lunch on the Beach at Yemanji. This beach restaurant is owned by Blue Marlin, a day-to-night beach club on the south west coast. Although Blue Marlin is yet to open for the season, Yemanji is open year round. We enjoyed paella with our friends and then the boys played on the beach while we relaxed, listening to the chilled out music that was playing. That evening, for sunset we ventured up to the hills above San Antonio to Hostal La Torre. This is a must if you come to Ibiza – sunsets, I mean. They are mesmerising. Cafe del Mar is in San Antonio itself and is heaving during the Summer months, but Hostal La Torre may be slightly less busy due to its location (I’m not promising though!). We enjoyed tapas while watching the sun set – a really magical final evening.
Day 4 – today, we had a leisurely morning at the villa packing while the boys payed table tennis (it was slightly too cool for a swim despite the pool being heated). Then we popped down to the Jockey club in Ses Salines for a lunch of Calamari, salad and John Dory. The beach was not looking as nice as it does in the Summer – we were late told that during April the beaches are cleaned and groomed to remove all the seaweed that has accumulated over the Winter and then are given a fresh coating of ‘extra’ sand to restore them to the condition most Summer beach goers are used to!
So there you have it – our 4 days in Ibiza. It was really sad to leave that afternoon but I am glad we got to experience the real Ibiza and not the one that most people see. Having chatted to a few people, I am looking forward to returning in the Summer armed with my new knowledge of what not to do! If the properties were cheaper, it would be a no brainer to snap something up, but I think I am 10 years too late! Ibiza really does have something for everyone – as my eldest said, ‘there’s something about Ibiza; I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I just love being here’. So true!