SIX secrets Ibiza has been keeping from you
By Rebecca Dent
I make no secret of my love for the white isle, if I had a drum to bang and pom poms to wave then I’d be a very noisy, highly uncoordinated Ibiza cheerleader. As someone who has clocked up around 15 or so visits over ten years (one for five months) my favourite hobby is converting the unconverted. I recently introduced a friend for the first time and made sure she had this list of things you simply HAVE to do. They’re not particularly wacky or weird but most people usually miss out despite the whole island being only 31 miles across.
HOW TO FIND YOUR INNER PIRATE
Ibiza is famed for its sunsets and for good reason! The burnt orange skies are breathtakingly beautiful and despite a few inconsiderably parked boats, it’s impossible to have a bad view. Some people clap, some people cry, but those in the know escape the crowds at Café Mambo for a different, dare I say, more ‘spiritual’ experience. If you have a car, crave adventure and don’t mind getting a bit lost, then seek out the abandoned pirate watch tower. At the top of a cliff overlooking Es Vedra, a giant rock rises out of the water, casting its shadow on the shore below. It’s thought to be the third most magnetic point on earth after the North Pole and the Bermuda triangle. This odd magnetic field affects electrical equipment, compasses and upsets birds’ sense of direction. Local folklore says a witch used to live here but you may recognise the island from the cover of Mike Oldfield’s Voyager album. The musician lived on Ibiza in a house facing the magical Es Vedra and word has it that Noel Gallagher lives there now. If climbing the rocky steep path isn’t your thing, or you only have flip flops, chill on the lower rocks with the hippies who stop by for a chant and a dance; it’s just as magical.
WHERE TO SUNBATHE ON A HIDDEN BEACH
In the same area as the pirate tower is the elusive Atlantis beach,famed for its beauty and enchantment. Only the really brave (or really stupid) attempt the torturous climb down a sheer cliff face to find it. Those who have reached the sandy shore all say it’s well worth the expedition. There are weird and wonderful rock formations made thousands of years ago, mystical caves and no one else around, giving this patch its well-deserved mysterious appeal. If you want to find the hidden cove of Atlantis, you can either take your pick of blogs on the net that go along the lines of ‘follow the trail of stones to a rock’ (clue it’s quite near the pirate watch tower.) Or, if like me you prefer to cheat and get salty from the sea rather than sweat, boat charters by affordable companies like Ibiza Med can help you out for the right price.
HOW TO FIND THE RAVE IN A CAVE
Of course no trip to Ibiza is complete without a good dollop of dancing. Fear not, there’s still oodles of cool away from the suns-out-guns-out-posse. tiNI and the gang at No Name Bar is a fab little party, where you can boogie with the sand between your toes until midnight when Ibiza moves indoors. Ibiza’s music laws have become very strict in recent years so you won’t find a single speaker outside at 00.01 thanks to hefty, strongly-enforced fines. If you’re really into getting your Sherlock on, you might be able to sniff out a rave in a cave, the ultimate jackpot for exclusive party vibes featuring a mega sound system and amazing acoustics. Yep – literally in a cave! The catch is, you’ll have to befriend a few locals first because these parties are all about who you know and more importantly, who they know…
WHAT ALL THE LOCALS ARE EATING
For such a small island, the standard and the choice of restaurants, takeaways, snacks and even nibbles is incredible. It seems every month another of my friends has discovered a new favourite-yet-previously-unknown top spot. Ibiza still holds the crown for the best food I have ever eaten, and it’s the same for pretty much all of my friends, lots of whom have now decamped there permanently. Eating alfresco inside Eivissa Castle walls is worth the extra euro for both the food and atmosphere. For a very special occasion, Las Dos Lunas is a exclusive and beautiful restaurant, frequented by the well-heeled Spanish jet set and set in a exquisite garden. For something less likely to bankrupt you, my current favourite has to be Kumharas in San Antonio Bay. It’s quirky and ideal for those bragging Instagram snaps without compromising on quality. If you want to be ‘proper Ibiza’, opt to dine outside in the tunnel cave, sitting on thai-style mats. The food is always creative and delicately prepared but it’s the unique dining experience and atmosphere that I love. Meanwhile, in the adjoining outdoor bar, belly dancers and fire spinners dazzle the relaxed crowds who sip on mint-packed mojitos. If you’re looking for a quick bite, head to Pennsylvania Burger, just off the west end strip. The family-run business sell high quality handmade burgers, cooked in front of you to order. Don’t go in there expecting a chat – there is always a queue out of the door! If you’re into burgers and going to Ibiza, you could do a lot worse than checking out this burger blog. Mmmm….
HOW TO GET PAPPED ON A BOAT
Playground of the rich and famous, Formentera, is Ibiza’s little sister. Only 30 mins from the Island, Leonardo DiCaprio is regularly spotted moored just off its shores with pal Bradley Cooper, alongside P Diddy, One Direction and Kate Moss. Basically, if they’re beautiful and famous then they’re very likely sunning themselves on a super yacht adjacent to one of Formentera’s immaculate white sandy beaches. Sadly, for us peasants it’s less ‘yacht’ and more ‘ferry’… The island is largely inaccessible and the only way to get to it is by boat from Ibiza, making it worth the effort – especially if you’re looking for peace, tranquillity and rustic romance. There are options to hire small yachts if you club together with a group of mates (or randoms you just met yesterday on the beach). It’s well worth a little splurge to live like a rock star for the day. You’re looking at around €200-€300 each for a group of eight. Plus, there is a man whose job it is to swim between boats with a waterproof backpack selling instant mojitos! (we want that job!) We’re guessing he’s a lot healthier than we are, but what the hell – we’re on holiday!
WHY EVERYONE IS GETTING ON BOARD
No, not on a surfboard – this is Ibiza, not San Diego. Everyone is super laid back here so enjoy the calm seas from a much more stable, stand-up paddle board. Paddle boarding is a far more relaxed affair than surfing and ideally suited to the chilled out surf. In fact, once you get the hang of it it’s the ideal transport for exploring Ibiza’s little nooks, crannies and sea caves. You can have lessons, hire boards for your own little adventures or go on a guided excursion. iHoppers also do a Full Moon tour and sunset sails and we can confirm the sundown looks pretty awe-inspiring from the water.