What are the best things to do and see in Ibiza?

Cristina Slattery

Ibiza is the Balearic island known around the world for its nightlife. Hitting the clubs features highly on the to-do list of many visitors vacationing on the island. But since there’s more to a well-rounded vacation than partying, here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five best things to do and see in Ibiza:

1.  Exploring Old Town. This area of town looks as you’d expect with narrow cobbled streets that wind past shops, cafes, art galleries and residences. Enter by Port de Ses Taules guarded by Roman statues or by Portal Nou. As you wind past the Gothic buildings, you’ll notice that you’re walking up an incline; the payoff is a magnificent view overlooking the ocean.

2. Enjoying the sunset. They’re beautiful here and are tinged with mystery, especially if you’re gazing out at Es Vedra, an island that was supposedly the home of the sirens in The Odyssey. According to legend, no venomous animals can live there and odd circles of light are seen off Es Vedra, which keeps fisherman at bay.

3. Exploring Cale Benirras. This inlet is beloved because of its majestic beauty. Walk the shoreline, head to the nearby woods for a hike or pop into one of the cafés. Just off the coast, there’s a small island Cap Bernat that sailors used to say resembled a seated Queen Elizabeth.

4. Relaxing on the beach. As an island in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea, Ibiza is blessed with a seemingly endless number of beaches. Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend Las Salinas and Aguas Blancas.

5. Taking up a new sport. If you’ve been meaning to take up scuba diving, parasailing or horseback riding, you can give them all a try in Ibiza. Take guided lessons or book excursions to explore in an adventurous way.

  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    Is Formentera a must-see destination?

    Formentera is a small island just two miles from Ibiza. It does not attract many of the ravers and package tourists that often find their way to Ibiza — it is a more tranquil, location with few paved roads and plenty of sand and sun. In some ways it is the antithesis of Ibiza — it is not a particularly glamorous spot and focus is not on nightlife except for the live jazz concerts held Saturday evenings in the Plaza of Sant Francesc. Repeat visitors often want to guard Formentera from gaining too much attention from those who may not appreciate its low-key charm.
     
    There is no dress code on Formentera — women who wear their finest jewelry stand out as do men who wear jackets to dinner. No jewels or clothing can compete with nature’s turquoise water and humans should attempt to blend in with the surroundings as much as possible here. The island is a must-see destination, therefore, for those who wish to enjoy a laidback vibe and unspoiled natural beauty.
  • On September 5, 2012
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    What is the best thing to bring home from Ibiza?

    The best items to bring home from Ibiza range from the tasty to the fashionable. Hierbas Ibicencas — the herbal liqueur made from rosemary, aniseed, thyme and 15 other botanicals — is the quintessential taste of Ibiza. You can find a summery white dress that will remind you of the hot days and cool nights at one of the many boutiques in Ibiza Town. And the island’s crystalline salt — basically dehydrated seawater — can easily be carried back home for a little bit of that island feeling.
  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    What are the best Ibiza food experiences?

    Most of the dishes in Ibiza revolve around seafood or fish, which is amazingly fresh and succulent. But meat lovers will find some dishes too, as will those who gravitate towards sweets and spirits. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the five best food experiences in Ibiza:
     
    1. Bullit de peix. A typical dish from Ibiza, the bullit de peix is a seafood and potato stew that’s seasoned with saffron. It’s always served with a side of allioli, a garlic and olive oil mix, and followed by a bowl of rice. El Bigote and Restaurante Salvadó on Pou de’s Lleó are well known for their bullit de peix.
     
    2. Paella. The island’s cooks celebrate their Spanish heritage and the local seafood bounty with paella. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest visiting the restaurant on beach Cala D'Hort for authentic paella. Or for a twist on paella, take a 30-minute ferry ride to Formentera and head up to village of Es Caló. The restaurant at Hostal Rafelat serves a famed arroz caldoso.
     
    3. Sofrit Pages. This Ibicencan dish is a plate of pork, lamb, chicken and freshly made sausages and potatoes in a sauce scented with cinnamon, saffron garlic and peppers. Try it at La Palmera or one of the other home-style restaurants in Ibiza.
     
    4. San Pedro. This local fish goes by many names: San Pedro, John Dory or gallo San Pedro (St. Peter’s Rooster) in Spanish. No matter what you call it, it’s meltingly tender; Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend ordering San Pedro at Restaurant Es Torrent.
     
    5. Ensaimadas. This ancient spiral shaped sweet bread dates back to the 1700s in the Balearic islands. The soft breads available at bakeries throughout Ibiza may be plain or stuffed with chocolate, almond purée or the pumpkin jam called angel’s hair. Usually served at breakfast, tear pieces off your ensaimada and dip it in hot chocolate or coffee.
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  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    Where is the best nightlife in Ibiza?

    It’s not hard to find a nightspot in Ibiza, after all, nighttime revelry is what the island is known for around the world. Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend visiting the legendary club Pacha to be in the center of the club scene. The Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, which has hosted some of the world’s best DJs since opening in 2009, is also an ‘it’ spot for those seeking a quintessential slice of the island’s pulsating dance party atmosphere. Sipping a drink while sitting on the terrace of The Rock Bar in Ibiza Town and people watching is an option for those who want a slower pace in the evening. Cocktails at Bambuddha Grove in Santa Eulalia is also recommended as is an after dinner drink at the retro Anita’s Bar in San Carlos.
  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    What is the best way to see Ibiza in one day?

    If you’re looking to see Ibiza in just one day, the best way to experience the island is to rent a car. One possible itinerary could include going to Las Salinas beach in the morning and eating lunch at Sa Trinxa, a bar on the beach that has been serving food and drinks to beautiful people in bathing suits since the ‘70s. Stop for an aperitif at Blue Marlin, a stylish beach club located along Cala Jondal Beach on the island’s southwest coast. If you want to play like the international luxury crowd here, make a dinner reservation at Lio in the marina. Lio is a cabaret-restaurant of lavish dimensions that opened in 2011; it serves Japanese and international fusion cuisine. After dinner, hit the party scene that made Ibiza famous and head to Pacha, the famed disco that opened in 1973. Here, you can either end your evening or take it into the next morning.

    Another quieter option is to drive from a beach in the south up to the sleepier northern part of the island and stop in a few villages along the way, including Sant Josep, Santa Gertrudis, Sant Joan and Portinatx. And for those that love the sea, consider hiring a boat for a day and touring the island’s gorgeous calas.
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    Where are the best places to eat in Ibiza?

    Ibiza has a large and diverse number of restaurants catering to its international clientele. Some are really extensions of nightclubs, but the best combine carefully prepared local ingredients, great service and exquisite settings. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five favorite places to dine in Ibiza:

    1. Cami de Balafia.  A large grill where all manner of meats — chicken, seafood, steaks — are cooked to perfection dominates this spot on the road to San Joan. The lamb chops with chips (aka French fries) is a specialty. Reservations are highly recommended.

    2. S’Oficina. Located on Playa d’en Bossa in San Jordi, this restaurant serves some of the best Basque cuisine outside of San Sebastian. Cod cheeks and hake with clams are some of the specialties at this restaurant adorned with water images and ship lanterns.

    3. El Portalón. Set inside Old Town, this restaurant has a dual nature: one room is modern with orange and black décor while the other has a medieval atmosphere, with coats of arms and heavy wood beams. The cuisine is a mix of old and new as well — expect dishes like roasted sea bream or duck with blackberry sauce.

    4.  El Chiringuito. A stunning beach restaurant in the lush Cala Gracioneta, El Chiringuito is an ideal place to dine on tapas like steamed mussels, prawns and Galician style octopus with a glass of wine. Those with bigger appetites can try entrées such as paella or fresh fish in a saffron cava sauce. 

    5. El Cigarral. This fine-dining restaurant stays open year-round, serving Mediterranean dishes created with fresh local ingredients. The service is expert and the dining room is quaint and warm, with brick walls and lace curtains at the windows.
  • On September 5, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to stay in Ibiza?

    Renting a villa is popular for families and large groups, but Ibiza also has many hotels for the discerning traveler. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the five best places to stay in Ibiza:

    1. Agriturismo Can Talaias. Run by the youngest son of British character actor Terry-Thomas, Can Talaias is located near San Carlos. This intimate high-end agritourism hotel has eight rooms and the property, filled with Mediterranean plants of all kinds, abuts the sea.

    2. Ibiza Gran Hotel. This all-suite, 157-room hotel that has it all: besides comfortable rooms with modern luxuries like whirlpool tubs and discreet service, the Ibiza Gran Hotel also has a casino and a spa. Other amenities include a seafood-focused restaurant, two lounges and a pair of pools.

    3. Aguas de Ibiza. A curving modern hotel, the Aguas de Ibiza is an eco-chic oasis done in natural materials like stone, granite and reclaimed wood.  Rooms are dressed in soothing earth tones; even the simplest have Italian glass tile mosaics in the bathroom and Bang & Olufsen TVs. The rooftop terrace is the place to enjoy the view overlooking Eulalia.

    4. Haciendo Na Xamena. This Moorish villa is about 14 miles north of Ibiza Town and is a true sanctuary from the wild club scene just a few minutes away. Personal service and privacy are second only to the gorgeous views of the Mediterranean at this luxe hilltop hacienda.

    5. Hotel Mirador de Dalt Vila. With just 13 rooms, this highly rated hotel offers a true boutique experience. The historic hotel is on a UNESCO world heritage site, is cited as a great place to escape the crowds during the high season and enjoy views of the city and ocean from the many balconies and terraces.
  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    Where is the best shopping in Ibiza?

    Shopping at a outdoor market is a well-known pastime in Ibiza. Hippies once dominated the markets, but now they attract all sorts of shoppers and vendors. The popular Las Dalias market is held on Saturdays in San Carlos, and you can find a Monday evening market there as well. If you stroll through the streets of Ibiza Town — called Eivissa in Catalan, the local dialect — you’ll find name-brand stores and chic boutiques. In the village of Santa Gertrudis there are smaller, artisan shops such as Enjoy Ibiza, which sells fashionable children’s clothing, and Casi Todo, an auction house with a wide array of discounted items are for sale. 
  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    What are the best things to do with kids in Ibiza?

    Kids will love the beaches in Ibiza — as will adults. But of course, you can’t spend your whole vacation at the beach. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five favorite things to do with kids in Ibiza:

    1.  Splashing at Aguamar. The water park at Playa d'En Bossa is a fun option for those with children — or even big kids who will love spending the day on the slides.

    2. Go-karting. In Santa Eulalia you’ll find a popular indoor go-kart track. It’s divided into areas for children age 3 and under and another area with faster cars for kids over 7. There’s also a 300-meter circuit with hills and valleys for adults. Once they get tired of racing, hit the arcade for video games and air-hockey.

    3. Football training. If you really want to treat your children to a special experience, hire a local personal trainer to give kids private football (soccer) lessons. After all, it is Spain’s most popular sport.

    4. Horseback riding. Horseback riding at Horse Country Club in the village of Santa Gertrudis makes for a fun outdoor activity with kids too.

    5. Playing on the beach. Cala Llonga is a particularly child-friendly beach. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella, as the summer sun in Ibiza can be intense.
  • On September 5, 2012
    Cristina Slattery answered the question: Cristina Slattery

    What are the best things to do and see in Ibiza?

    Ibiza is the Balearic island known around the world for its nightlife. Hitting the clubs features highly on the to-do list of many visitors vacationing on the island. But since there’s more to a well-rounded vacation than partying, here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ five best things to do and see in Ibiza:

    1.  Exploring Old Town. This area of town looks as you’d expect with narrow cobbled streets that wind past shops, cafes, art galleries and residences. Enter by Port de Ses Taules guarded by Roman statues or by Portal Nou. As you wind past the Gothic buildings, you’ll notice that you’re walking up an incline; the payoff is a magnificent view overlooking the ocean.

    2. Enjoying the sunset. They’re beautiful here and are tinged with mystery, especially if you’re gazing out at Es Vedra, an island that was supposedly the home of the sirens in The Odyssey. According to legend, no venomous animals can live there and odd circles of light are seen off Es Vedra, which keeps fisherman at bay.

    3. Exploring Cale Benirras. This inlet is beloved because of its majestic beauty. Walk the shoreline, head to the nearby woods for a hike or pop into one of the cafés. Just off the coast, there’s a small island Cap Bernat that sailors used to say resembled a seated Queen Elizabeth.

    4. Relaxing on the beach. As an island in the midst of the Mediterranean Sea, Ibiza is blessed with a seemingly endless number of beaches. Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend Las Salinas and Aguas Blancas.

    5. Taking up a new sport. If you’ve been meaning to take up scuba diving, parasailing or horseback riding, you can give them all a try in Ibiza. Take guided lessons or book excursions to explore in an adventurous way.