Marie Claire's guide to the party island
If you’re planning a holiday there and want a balance of party and chill – here’s our recommendations.
1) Book a beach club bed
This is one of those ‘when in Rome’ expenses that’s totally worth it - because nothing sums up Ibiza #beachlife more than lounging on a giant white sunlounger, chilled glass of rosé in hand, watching a crowd of buff chaps and tanned ladies in cut-out swimsuits swanning up and down the boardwalk. It’s generally agreed that Blue Marlin is the best place for both posing and people-watching, but Nassau is a less flashy option with a brilliant afternoon playlist (particularly if you prefer your sunbathing soundtrack to be less heavy house) and a delicious sushi menu.
2) Go and see Carl Cox (for the last time) at Space
DJ Carl Cox - something of a dance music legend – is playing his very last season at Space after 15 years. Music is Revolution: The Final Chapter will run until 20th September and is well worth booking tickets for if you want a pure taste of what Ibiza nightlife is all about. We asked Carl what he likes to do when he’s not working. ‘Visit [restaurant] Sa Capella, just outside San Antonio. It’s set in a former monastery. The ambience is beautiful. There are two signature dishes that people love – suckling pig and small pieces of oxtail meat cooked over a hot stone’ he says. And for the perfect sunset? Carl recommends Café Del Mar. ‘This is an Ibiza classic. You can really only get that type of sunset in that part of the island, where you have the backdrop of the boats and the villas.’
3) Have dinner on the cliffs at the Amante Beach Club
If you want a chilled evening away from the thud-thud-thud of the Playa d’en Bossa then try the Amante Beach Club. Nestled in the cliffs above a secluded cove – a picturesque favourite for wedding ceremonies – there’s a brilliant menu of uncomplicated, fresh Mediterranean food, like clams cooked in the restaurant’s own charcoal oven or grilled hake from ‘Cantábrico.’ The beach club also hosts outdoor cinema nights every Tuesday and yoga by the sea if you’re feeling virtuous.
4) Book a day trip to Formentera
A 40-minute boat ride from Ibiza is the lovely island of Formentera, where the beaches are famous for their clear, Caribbean-blue waters. The roads on the island are small and narrow so the quickest way to get from harbour to the lovely Playa de ses Illetes is by bike or a boat taxi which whips you straight there. If you want a really decadent afternoon, book in for a lobster lunch at the stylish beachside restaurant Juan y Andrea.
5) Hit a natural water park
Think a beachside version of Total Wipeout, the Ocean Mania water park in San Antonio harbour is a good place to visit if you get easily bored sitting on a sun lounger – or it’s a good place to dispatch your boyfriend/husband if HE gets easily bored on a sun lounger and you want to read your book in peace.
6) Have an evening stroll around the Old Town
This beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts over 2500 years of history and ticks all your Mediterranean holiday boxes. Peer down from the old battlements by the cathedral at sunset, then disappear into one of the winding cobbled street for tapas and a glass of local wine.
7) Book a long boozy lunch here
If you want to know where the cool kids hang out, you've got to head south to the backdrop of Ses Salina's nature reserve. It’s a long winding road to get there but once you do you’ll find the Experimental Beach Ibiza, from the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Clubs in Paris and London. With great tapas and (obviously) a brilliant drinks menu, it’s the perfect spot for a long boozy lunch.
8) Indulge in a spot of retail therapy
La Galeria Elefante, a concept store in Santa Gertrudis is the locals' best kept secret. If trawling around the famous hippy market isn't really your thing, and you're more about finding one-off gifts, fashion and cool interior buys (like this tableware, above) look no further. There’s also a yoga studio and beauty rooms on-site, so you could easily spend a couple of hours there.