Sometimes we travel to explore new places. And sometimes we travel to re-experience a beloved destination. We first visited Ibiza in 2007 and have returned several times, most recently on our 2013 world trip (twice) – see the Ibiza blog post. Each time, we combined a one-week stay with a visit to another city like Paris or Barcelona and left feeling like we didn’t have enough time on the island. So this time, we spent the entire two-week vacation on Ibiza.
After a one night layover in London, we took a short flight over to Ibiza. As the plane descended toward the island, I spotted Ses Salines (the salt flats) and Ushuaia Hotel and got that happy feeling…
Dalt Vila (Old Town) Eivissa
Photo opportunities abound in and around old town. We entered the walled hilltop Dalt Vila and strolled through narrow passageways as we made our way to the top. We walked along the cliff side to check out the Catedral de Santa Maria and views of the island. Then we stopped for a break and refreshing glass of fresh watermelon juice at a crowded (and understaffed) café (see travel tips below). Heading back down, we passed the Museu d’Art Contemporani (see museums section) and a charming street lined with shops and cafes. During the week, I returned to Dalt Vila several times to wander, take photos, and shop. Dalt Villa Travel Tips: If you can, try to avoid old town when there are cruise ships in port. Wear walking-friendly shoes, e.g., flats with a good tread – there are a few steep streets and the cobblestones are slippery.
Around the Island – Es Vedra, Torre d’em Rovira, Ses Salines
We rented a car for two days to check out a few new areas and wander.
Our neighbor recommended Cala d’Hort as a good place to view Es Vedra – and he was right. It is a small cove on the southeast part of the island with a sandy beach, restaurant ( El Carmen), and shop. Our neighbor recommended the paella at El Carmen, but we stopped by in the morning – too early for paella, but not too early for a snack of toast con tomate on the breezy open air patio. Cala d’Hort Parking Tip: We went early because we read that there is limited parking. You can park on the steep hill that leads down to the cove, but you can avoid the hike if you drive to the very end of the road and turn right onto the dirt road.
From Cala d’Hort, we drove north to check out one of several old lookout towers along the island’s coast, Torre d’em Rovira. After driving down a paved road in a residential neighborhood that turned into a dirt road, we saw the sign pointing left, and off we went. We ended up at Cala Bassa, a larger cliff side beach with a few restaurants and beautiful clear blue water. We walked around a snapped a few photos but didn’t see the tower – hmm – so we headed out again. When we got to the sign for the tower, I noticed that someone had scratched out the arrow and scratched in an arrow pointing in the opposite direction – hmm again. So off we went down a narrow dirt road. After a few minutes, the road opened onto a wide cliff with incredible views of the town of Sant Antoni. And then we saw the tower! There was no one around except for a few people and their pooches in a camper van.
In the evening, we popped over to the salt flats at Ses Salines because we heard it is a good spot to watch the sunset. What do you think?
The following day, we headed out to the Hippy Market in Punta Arabi on the east side of the island. We went to the Hippy Market on our last trip to Ibiza, but didn’t find it to be as enjoyable this time. It was a very hot day, and the dense concentration of booths and people amplified the temperature. The water in the bathrooms was turned off – so no flushing and no hand washing. As we browsed, I noticed that many of the vendors carry the same items and that I had seen these items at the mini Hippy Market at Playa d’en Bossa and vendors along the waterfront in Eivissa. So, if you are a die-hard shopper and don’t mind crowds, you’ll enjoy Hippy Market. Parking tip: There are several pay for parking lots in the area. The first one you will see as you approach the market is a great option because it is in the woods and there is shade. Although, getting into and out of the parking spots can be a challenge.
Next, we drove north and picked a random cove on the map to stop – Cala de Sant Vincent. The scenic drive to Cala de Sant Vincent is takes you high into the hills over narrow, windy roads. After descending, you reach a small quiet cove with a few homes, small hotel, and two restaurants. We stopped at On The Beach Restaurant for lunch and cold beer. Then we took another scenic mountain drive inland past Sant Joan de Labritja to catch the main road south back to Evissa. On the way, we stopped at Sal de Ibiza to pick up gifts for family and friends (see shopping section).
In addition to beaches, historical sites, and parties, you can also explore some wonderful museums in Ibiza.
The Museu d’Art Contemporani has a really nice permanent collection of prints, paintings, and mixed media art living on top of an archeological site. In one room, the glass floor provides a view of structures going back to the sixth century BC.
The Necropolis des Puig des Molines is an archaeological site and museum. You can enter a small underground area to see one section of the burial chambers and then head inside to see the incredible treasures found during excavations. As a bead lover, I gasped out loud when I saw the large display of beautiful trade bead necklaces (although the display was in an awkward location that was hard to see). Necropolis des Puig des Molines Travel Tip: Purses and bags are not permitted inside. There are lockers in the lobby, but you need to insert a 1E coin, which is returned when you open the locker.
We didn’t make it to the Museu Arqueologic Dalt Via . . . next time.
Eivissa Chill Out
On this visit, we found a previously un-discovered spot to chill out in the evening and gaze at one of the best views Eivissa. We took a ten minute walk over to Marina Botafoch and found Calma at the edge of the water. We had drinks and snapped photos as the day turned into night and people popped in and out on their way to dinner, many with their doggos. After a few drinks, we were lazy, so we took the water taxi back to the port. We returned a few days later for a replay with dinner at the restaurant.
Shopping in Ibiza
All shops below are in Evissa in the center of town within a few block radius of the port. Note: many shops in Ibiza close for siesta roughly between 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
Custo Barcelona – Every time I go to Spain, I visit one of my favorite stores for bright, colorful tops and dresses
Savage Culture – super cute boho style clothing
Italian brand Parosh has two Ibiza shops – one has current collections and the other has the previous season at a discount
Mango is a Spanish chain with affordable casual clothing and accessories
Ibiza Code – clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry
Ibiza Bagus – island style caftans, sandals, and handbags
Biscuit – clothing and jewelry
Charo Ruiz – high end island style clothing
Serano Alcazar – really cool, unique clothing and accessories
Majoral – gold and sterling silver jewelry
Purnima – beads from all over the world
Looking for gifts for family and friends?
We always stop by the Sal de Ibiza store for Ibiza salt. Yes, you can buy it on Amazon, but it is more fun to buy it at the source.
Tax Free Shopping
If you are interested in seeing how tax free shopping works in Spain, check out the post Tax Free Shopping Abroad.
Watching the sunset on the west side of the island is an Ibiza tradition. We grabbed a taxi to Sant Antoni and found a spot on the bleachers near Café del Mar. After saying goodbye to the sun, we walked along Passeig de la Mar to town and had pizza at K Vida (there are several restaurants on the water, but they get crowded). Then we took a quick stroll up Carrer de Santa Agnès, a street lined with very lively pubs before continuing along the along the promenade to look at the lights. Travel Tip: you can get to Sant Antoni from Eivissa by bus or taxi (E27).
La Bodega in old town is one of our favorites – we stop by every time we visit Ibiza for yummy tapas – pimientos de padron, croquetas, meatballs.
Sagardi is one of the few restaurants we found that offers pinxtos – pop in to try a few along with a copa de vino.
Calma Bistro at the Marina – large portions of fresh fish, higher prices than restaurants in old town and the beach towns – but you can’t beat the view.
Playa d’en Bossa
Pago Pago has the perfect beachfront location (try the fig salad – in photo above).
Garden of Pizza – when you just want a quick bite, grab a slice of pizza and beer – it is located on the main street Carretera Playa d’en Bossa (no website).
Cala de Sant Vincent
On the Beach – Lori had a cous cous salad, Michael had nachos – while we ate, we noticed that their giant burgers looked very yummy.
Eivissa Travel Tips
- Groceries / Toiletries – There is a large grocery store just outside the town center – Mercadona with way lower prices than in town (e.g., a small bottle of nail polish remover in town was nearly 4E – at Mercadona a large bottle was E1).
- Taxis – To get a taxi near the port, go to the taxi stand – walk up Avenida Bartomeu Rossello one block up from the port.
- Water Taxi – You can take a water taxi from the harbor to the marina and Playa d’em Bossa.
- Parking – Parking in the center of town can be a challenge. There is metered parking on the street a few blocks from the harbor, which we tried on our last trip (see Ibiza Parking Meters). There is a paid short term lot near the port. The rental car staff told us about a free long term parking lot just outside of the center next to Ikea (ten minute walk).
Where we Stayed
We couldn’t get a connecting flight to Ibiza on the day we arrived in London, so we stayed overnight at the Sofitel Hotel in Heathrow Airport. It was super convenient – adjacent to terminal 5 via an elevator and walk down an aromatherapy scented hallway. We had requested early check in because our flight arrived at 10:00 AM, and when we got to the reception desk at 10:30 we were able to check in. The room was very comfortable and every staff member we encountered was extremely friendly and helpful. Oh – and the buffet breakfast was huge. This hotel is a great option if you have an overnight in London.
In Ibiza, we stayed part of the time at a flat in the heart of Eivissa and part of the time at a favorite hotel in Playa d’en Bossa – Ushuaia.
We picked the Eivissa flat for its location in the heart town overlooking the port. The large living room with two huge, super comfy couches was a great place to relax. The bed was comfortable (not always the case with holiday flats) and the bedroom was quiet. The flat had everything we needed (except for kitchen sponges and trash bags, which we bought) and everything worked, except for the wi fi in the bedroom. We did have problems checking in and out. The phone number of the check in contact wasn’t a valid number, so we had to call the property manager twice and wait outside the flat for about 15 minutes. For check out, the agent said she would come by at 11:00 AM. By 11:45, she had not arrived, so I emailed the property manager who quickly replied and said we could just leave the keys and go.
We spent the last four days in Playa d’en Bossa at Ushuaia Hotel in a double superior room in the tower. This was our second stay at Ushuaia, and like the previous stay, it was great. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our room had a private patio and Jacuzzi. Well, it wasn’t exactly private – there was a clear glass wall between each patio. The breakfast buffet has expanded to an almost overwhelming cornucopia of options, including fruit sushi. And, a big thanks goes out to the manager for the welcome bottle of cava and delicious chocolate covered strawberries.