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Watching the sun go down
Watching the sun go down
Getting ready to party


Thursday, February 9, 2006

Until the 1950s, Ibiza, third largest of the Balearic Islands, was virtually unknown, while Majorca, its bigger neighbour, had lots of visitors. How things have changed! Ibiza’s arts colony and the arrival of 'flower children' saw the little island grow into a place to party, with more than a million visitors now arriving each year. It’s said that if partying was a religion, Ibiza would be its Mecca.

Each of the Balearics has its own character, not necessarily Spanish. Various Catalonian dialects are spoken and the islands are politically far removed from Madrid.

Ibiza’s rugged coastline has dozens of fine, sandy beaches, mostly developed for tourism. The harsh landscape receives little rainfall and grows hardy pines and cultivated crops of olives, figs and almonds.

Ibiza City, or Eivissa, is where most people enter the island. It’s vivacious, with an old quarter and a diverse range of cafes and restaurants. It’s the perfect base for exploring the rest of the island.

D’Alt Vila, the old walled town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Romans fortified the hilltop, but the existing walls were put there by Felipe II in the 16th century as protection against invasion by combined French and Turkish forces.

This is the island’s best vantage point and a wanderer’s paradise. Two thousand years ago it was one of the Mediterranean’s major trading ports. Its cobblestone streets breathe history and romance and wind through a proliferation of upmarket restaurants, galleries and shops. This is also where you will find the Museu d’Art Contemporani.

Es Caná is very much a family resort, with a long, crescent-shaped sandy beach and small harbour. A visit to the Hippy Market at the holiday club Punta Arabi in Es Caná is like taking a trip back to the 1970s. It opens between 10am and 7pm each Wednesday from May to October. The market has exotic batik fabrics, all sorts of clothing, leather moccasins, east-Asian silver jewellery and trinkets, most being sold by aging hippies.

Ses Salines, also called Mitjorn, is a beautiful beach that is safe for swimming and ideal for windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, sailing and pedal boating. Its sand is very fine and white and on the eastern side there are secluded rocky areas and natural pools.

Café del Mar opens from 4pm until 3am. Its DJs are among the best in Ibiza and its early opening means people congregate there pre-party to enjoy the sunset before heading off to other popular spots.

Privilege is one of the original Ibizan clubs from the 1970s. It rises like a spaceship over the hills of San Rafael and offers music from each and every genre every night. It enjoys legendary status worldwide.

Es Paradis is where the Fiesta de Agua water party is held each Wednesday and Saturday during summer. It opened in the summer of 1975 with a theme inspired by classic gardens of the Mediterranean. It’s all Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, temples, fountains and terraces and the dance floor turns into a swimming pool!

Amnesia also opened in the 1970s. Once an open-air venue, it had to retreat indoors due to noise laws. It is a particular favourite for end of season parties. The famous espuma (foam) parties are held here. They fill the place with foam and everyone just keeps having fun.

Space opens at 8am to cater for those who just haven’t had enough. It started in 1988 with regular hours, but is now the world’s most famous after-hours club. Summer house and garage music is the key to its success. Patrons sip vodka lemons in the sun. Dedicated clubbers fly in just for opening and closing parties and many world-class DJs name Space as their favourite club.


The Balearic Islands off Spain’s east coast.


Ibiza hostel accommodation starts at around $55. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.

More information

Ibiza Service Center
c/- Peppermint
Calle Jaime 1, No 5, 07800 Ibiza
España — Baleares
Ph: 34 971 394 413
Fax: 34 971 391 086

Urbanizacion San Rafael S/N, 07816, San Rafael
Ph: 34 971 198 086

Es Paradis
San Antonio, Ibiza Town
Ph: 34 971 346 600

Carretera Ibiza a San Antonio Km5
San Rafael 07800, Ibiza
Ph: 34 971198041

Playa D'en Bossa, Ibiza Town,
Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain
Ph: 34 971 315 127

Ibiza information

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