Ibiza is worldwide famous for its wild summer nights. It is the clubbing mecca of the world, and every summer it attracts hordes of people from everywhere willing to party like there is no tomorrow.
But there is a quieter, much more relaxed island to discover when you go off season, and that’s exactly what I did last weekend.
We decided to travel to the island with a group of friends to celebrate a milestone birthday of one of them. We wanted a relaxed atmosphere, some beach time to open the summer season, and good food. And we managed to get all of that.
Where to stay?
There are no mayor chain hotels on the island. The hotel offer available may fall in one of three categories: luxury spa hotels (as Can Curreu), party hotels (as Ushuaia), or independent (and mostly uninspiring) hotels that range from cheap shacks for the young party crowd to large all-inclusive complexes.
However, for me coming to this Islands has always been about staying in rural houses, away from the noise but just minutes away from the beach and the action. And I’m lucky enough to have friends that live permanently in a rural house in the middle of the mountains, with stunning views over Sant Antoni Bay.
Independently of where you stay, a visit to Dalt Vila is always mandatory. “Vila” is the name the locals use to identify the city of Ibiza. And Dalt Vila (“the high village”) is the old town. The walls, the cathedral and most of its buildings were built during the XVI century, during the renaissance and on the peak historical moment of the Spanish Empire.
Narrow streets, many steps. But also lots of shops, dining and wining options.
The beaches on this island are mostly small coves. Cala d’Hort is probably one of my favorites.
Located on the Southern side of the island, this place is special because of the stunning views over Es Vedrà, a gigantic, 385 meters high massive rock that emerges from the turquoise waters of the cove and dominates the landscape. It is impossible not to look at it.
During the summer, finding a sand spot on this cove is almost mission impossible. That was not the case this time. On a beautiful, sunny and warm day we easily found a table at one of the two restaurants located there (Restaurant Cala d’Hort) and had a fantastic paella and red scorpionfish. Delicious.
A new discovery for me this trip, Cala Boix is a small cove with clear waters and dark sand, surrounded by cliffs. The day was good enough to enjoy a nap on the beach and some food and drinks at the local chiringuito, a beach restaurant with tapas and basic food offerings.
One of the things that surprised me the most was how easy it was to park our car. Usually it is impossible to find parking spaces in the small beaches of the island (as this one) during the high season. Parking was easily available on the street, and the parking for pay was completely empty.
Sant Carles is a small interior town in the northern side of the island, famous for two things: Las Dalias hippie and Ca n’Anneta.
Las Dalias started as a hippie market back in the time, and now is the hipster spot of the island with concerts and a party program during the summer. Definitely a must see on a Saturday afternoon.
Ca n’Anneta is a local, low-key bar, located in the center of the town, right across the church. For many years it was the only bar in town, so it also operates as the local post office. Many residents (especially those living in rural houses) have PO boxes in the bar and go there to pick up their mail. The best on this bar is definitely their homemade sweet herbal liquor. Worth the trip!
Ibiza is a magical island, and I prefer the relaxed side of the island rather than the animal party side. Coming off-season allows you to enjoy the place without stressing about traffic, finding a spot on the beach, getting into a restaurant, and so many other things that are nearly impossible or highly frustrating to achieve during the high season months.
May and October are probably my favorite months to come visit the island. The weather is good enough to have some beach time, the island is not full of tourists and you can enjoy of all its beauty.