Ibiza was an infamous hippy hangout in the Sixties and Seventies, earning a rep as the ‘San Francisco of Europe’. And the flower power vibe is alive and well at the island’s many hippy markets, hawking handmade trinkets and must-have hippy regalia - think henna tattoos and moccasins. The biggest is Punta Arabí Hippy Market, held on Wednesdays in Es Caná - it’s been going since 1973, and even hosts gigs and a kids’ area. Load up on jewellery, or try out the couldn’t-be-more-boho natural cosmetics. Only here for a weekend? Las Dalias Hippy market, in San Carlos every Saturday, is the next best thing. As well as clothes, crafts, homeware and accessories, there are cocktails, street food and a ‘Soul Bar’ with live music.
Ibiza’s image as the ultimate party destination makes it easy to forget the White Isle has a storied – and explorable – history. Capital Ibiza Town was first founded in 654 BC and has been invaded by pretty much everyone over the centuries - Moors, Catalans and pirates all left their mark here. Roaming the Game of Thrones-esque ramparts and battlements of the old quarter – built by Catalans in the 16th century to keep an eye on marauding pirates – is a fun way to get a flavour of its heritage. The fortifications wrap around the whole town, so you can walk the entire perimeter – clamber up the seven bastions for unbeatable views over the harbour and neighbouring island Formentera.
Sure, grabbing your glow sticks and dancing ‘til 6am is one way to do nightlife in Ibiza. But a new crop of sophisticated beach clubs is offering a more grown-up, stylish alternative. Don’t miss clinking craft cocktails at Experimental Beach Club, from the same guys behind exclusive London speakeasy Experimental Cocktail Club. Or slink under a palm-thatch parasol at rock-carved Sunset Ashram for chilled out sundowners. Ready to get your rave on? If you’re going to do it, do it properly – Pacha has been Ibiza’s premier party spot for more than four decades. Other must-do superclubs include techno titan Amnesia - hosting legendary night Cream on Thursdays - and Space, home of Carl Cox, at renowned clubbing resort Playa d’en Bossa. This summer will be Cox’s last season at Space, so don’t miss out.
The Balearic isle might be party paradise, but it’s family-friendly, too. Benirrás beach, in the quieter, pine-covered north of the island, not far from Portinatx, is less ‘largin’’ and more ‘lazin’’. There’s even a hippy drumming ritual at sunset every Sunday, so stick around for bongos and VW Beetles aplenty. Another family favourite is old port town Port des Torrent, a laid-back pocket on the west coast. The sea here is famously calm, so perfect for the kids to go paddling. And there’s still plenty of action on hand, as San Antonio, home of the famed Café del Mar, is just five kilometres up the coast.
As one of Europe’s most glamorous destinations, Ibiza isn’t short on slick restaurants. You can feast on everything here from Asian-fusion to fine dining. But classic Spanish cuisine, such as seafood and tapas, is more authentic - and often easier on the wallet. For a taste of traditional Ibiza, El Rincón de Pepe, also in San Antonio, has been serving tip-top tapas since the Sixties. Decked out in typical Spanish style, with white-washed walls and Iberian lanterns, it’s an atmospheric spot for getting acquainted with the local small plates, from €4.50. For a finer feed, post-party people can recharge with brunch at El Chiringuito on Es Cavallet beach, near Ibiza Town. Pick a few fab seafood sharing plates, and take the edge off with a Bloody Mary - the recipe comes courtesy of classic Covent Garden restaurant Rules, established in London in the 18th century.
Given its reputation as a bastion of ‘alternative lifestyles’, it should come as no surprise that Ibiza has its very own Stonehenge - the British original is popular with Pagans. This strange semi-circle of 20-metre-high basalt columns, adorned with 23-carat gold to reflect the sun, was built at the request of eccentric Canadian billionaire Guy Laliberte. Incidentally, he incurred a gigantic fine for erecting it in front of his villa without planning permission. Thanks to its position on a rocky coastal lookout, the monument – called ‘Time & Space’ - is a spectacular sight at sunset. Find it at Cala Codolar, close to Cala Tarida. For something a little more down to earth, the Can Marça Caves at Puerto San Miguel are a network of underground chambers once used by smugglers. In true Ibiza style, they’re now illuminated in psychedelic colours. You can take a guided tour of this gnarly subterranean world, and enjoy a trippy sound and light show at the finish.
Check out our holidays to Ibiza here.
The family-focused TUI BLUE Aura hotel's in a peaceful spot about two minutes’ walk from Port des Torrent Beach.
With a beachfront setting, stunning views and six pools, TUI SENSATORI Ibiza is the cream of the crop. Treat yourself to a relaxing spa session, and sip fruity cocktails in the Sunset Lounge.
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