M and I just returned from Ibiza. He had talked it up a lot, and we therefore decided to join some friends for a few days. After all, I figured there is no reason I would decide to visit this island once the time comes to bring a youngster or two into the world. Or so I thought. But truth be told, I found Ibiza to be somewhat different than expected! Here are some of my assumptions about the “party island” and my opinion of reality.
1. Ibiza is expensive.
This one is absolutely true.
Accommodations are pricy, and you don’t get much for your money. BUT, it is especially possible to keep costs down by rounding up a group of friends or family members and renting a villa or apartment together. As always, Airbnb provides great options for vacation rentals as does villas.com. Otherwise, consider hotels or other accommodations away from the beach towards the center of the island, and the costs do come down somewhat.
Dinners and meals can also be extraordinarily expensive especially when you choose the most well-known venues. But Ibiza is known for high-class cuisine with much variation, so if venturing away from the well-documented locales, one can certainly still find plenty of great options.
One great restaurant is Casa Colonial, which of course, was still expensive. But they offer an extensive daily menu which included 5 surprise starters for the table for a set price which was similar to the price of a main course at other popular places.
2. It’s only a party island.
Not true. Yes, absolutely there is much partying and even just after exiting the airplane, the signs and notifications for clubs and parties bombard you and never let up. If you remain the whole vacation in Playa den Bossa, then you’ll only realize the tip of the party iceberg. But actually relaxed Beach Clubs dot the coastline where chill tunes envelope the air.
A wonderful sunset restaurant was Sa Punta, located in Talamanca. At this locale, choose your favorite cuisine! Level 1 housed Sa Punta serving Mediterranean/Spanish food. On Level 2 enjoy Asian at Ginger and on the rooftop, a new restaurant called Patchwork opened this year serving Lebanese food. The vibe was quite relaxed but the highlight was the beautiful sunset falling into the bay.
3. Only young people travel to Ibiza.
Again, not true. When traveling outside of the main party zone of Playa den Bossa, there are plenty of nice places for all ages. Santa Eularia des Rios is a more relaxed beach town due east of Ibiza Town with multiple weekly hippy markets, in effect paying homage to the island’s popular beginnings!
4. It’s a tropical island.
Not true. Ibiza is a dry dusty desert in the summer! How is it possible to have amazing sunny weather so often as well as managing a lush, tropical paradise? It isn’t. Despite this, Ibiza is beautiful. The summer is nearly consistently dry and during the winter, temps stay mild around 15C (56F) and 25C (76F) in the sun, but this is when the island gets some rain. The trees finally get some relief and apparently beautiful flowers flow all around the island.
5. Ibiza is loud.
This is true. Even in the quieter areas, you hear lots of cranked up tunes. Case in point: M and I drove half an hour to Nikki Beach on our last day on the recommendation of a friend (thanks G!) and Nikki Beach had constant thumping music, but directly next door was a posh hotel called ME Ibiza who was subjected to the endless sounds from Nikki Beach. Good news when you seek the tunes, but not so if your idea is pure relaxation.
6. You can only book ahead when you want to party.
Not true! All tickets for clubs and parties are on sale on-site and plenty of other dealers offer lower prices just in the vicinity.
Beach Clubs offer beds but generally for a price depending on the popularity of the location. Occasionally they may offer a bed as long as you pay a minimum for drinks/food. Or they may offer a bed for a fixed price. Finally, the biggest money drain is both a fee for the bed as well as a food/drink minimum. It’s difficult generally to find this information on the internet, so it can be tricky.
Furthermore, a location may attempt to up their look of popularity by initially suggesting it’s booked out, but eventually offering up some spots.
Word to the wise: They won’t necessarily tell you what you’ll have to pay – be sure to ask up front!
Santos Suites in Playa den Bossa asked for a minimum per person, and it was a nice change of pace in the South Beach-like area. They played Ibiza-style music throughout the early afternoon, then a DJ came on a bit later.
Experimental Beach at Cap Des Falco at Las Salinas is located within the salt mines and they offer a decent price for sunbeds as well as excellent drinks and tapas. The music continued throughout the afternoon in a relaxed reggae style. Also a great place for a sundowner.
Blue Marlin at Cala Jondal on a Sunday is wild. The Beach Club is open throughout the day every day, and on Sunday evening get there for drinks and sunset at the party zone. Next door at Yemanja Beach Restaurant take a break from the party and enjoy a nice meal on the beach. Make sure to grab a stamp at Blue Marlin before you leave though! (No entrance fee)
Nikki Beach is located in the south eastern city of Santa Eularia des Riu. The options are day beds including champagne or sun beds for a much smaller fee. The atmosphere was relaxed, though music played continuously with a DJ starting up mid-afternoon. Enjoy meals and drinks from the restaurant or at the sun bed.