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Ibiza packs a dazzling variety of sights into a few square kilometres. Don’t miss its most emblematic landmark, the limestone islet of Es Vedra which stands just to the southwest of the island. Rumoured to be the third most magnetic spot on earth, Es Vedra has an undeniable air of mystery, especially beneath a full moon. The fifteenth-century walls of Dalt Vila, in Ibiza Town, enclose a UNESCO World Heritage site which is home to the city’s Italianate cathedral and the Contemporary Art Museum. The nearby village of Sant Rafael, which is renowned for its artisan pottery; visit the pedestrian plaza in Santa Gertrudis for a lazy breakfast of coffee and pan tostado, toasted bread with tomato and olive oil.
Ibiza is famous for hippie chic, and there is no better place to find it than the weekly market at Las Dalias, in Sant Carlos. A musical hotspot since the 60s, Las Dahlias is a typically eclectic mix of restaurant, bar, bazaar, music venue and social centre. Pick up handmade jewellery, traditional Ibicenco sandals, boutique clothing and unique homewares. Ibiza Town’s Mayurka sets the standard for designer fashion, and you can pick up stylish basics at Zara, Mango and Replay. The labyrinth of shops near the port in Ibiza Town buzzes till the wee hours of the morning: come here for funky club gear, leather goods, vintage shops, sunglasses and sexy beach wear.
Ibiza’s best restaurants are often deceptively humble beach huts. If you can get a table at Es Xarcu count yourself lucky – they catch their fish fresh to order – while Es Boldado serves up fresh seafood with and an incredible view of Es Vedra. Or follow the signs to Sa Punta, just past Talamanca, and get the best fresh-grilled sardines on the island at the no-name fish shack by the sea. Head inland for typical Ibicenco fare: grilled meat and farm-fresh salad. Cami de Balafia in Sant Llorenc is a local favourite. Ibiza Town boasts great tapas at El Zaguan, while nearby El Pirata and Bella Napoli offer great views of the harbour and fantastic pizza. For the best breakfast on the island, head to Croissant Show in Ibiza Town.
Stop at La Plage or Sands on Playa d’en Bossa’s for a refreshing afternoon beer. When the sun goes down, head to Ibiza Town for a pre-dinner drink in the Placa del Parque – favourite DJ hangout Sunset Cafe does terrific cocktails and fresh juice; neighbouring Harry’s Bar is famous for its sangria. For a taste of Ibiza’s wildlife, head to gay haunt Sa Penya, just beneath the walls of old Ibiza Town: Lola’s Bar serves up killer mojitos and lots of eye-candy. It’s also a great place to pick up discounted club entry, as are Base Bar and Rock Bar – located minutes away, next to the harbour. For a more tranquilo experience, head north to Sant Carlos and join the locals at Anita’s Bar, which is famous for its homemade version of local speciality liqueur hierbas.
For the ultimate in luxury indulge at Mirador de Dalt Vila, located in the heart of Ibiza Town’s fortified walls, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site. For similar views without the price tag try the chic El Corsario, overlooking the port. The island also boasts a tempting array of agrotourismos – farms which have been converted into luxury accommodation. Atzaro is famous for its tranquil grounds and indulgent spa, while Can Marti is a working organic farm that offers plenty of outdoor space and privacy for families. For cheap and cheerful proximity to the clubs and attractions of both Ibiza Town and Playa d’en Bossa book a room at the Hostel Vara de Rey, Hostel Talamanca – which has a gorgeous open-air seaside restaurant – or the newly refurbished Poseidon III apartments in Figueretes.
Ses Salinas nature reserve, on the southernmost tip of the island is a peaceful, pine-scented sanctuary for numerous rare birds and Ibiza’s native lizards. Enjoy the rural interior of the island with a stroll past the vineyards of Sant Mateu, or wander past the famous almond groves of Santa Agnes. More adventurous hikers will enjoy hiking the rugged north coast of the island, such as the popular route to the lighthouse at Portinatx.
No trip to Ibiza is complete without sampling its famous nightlife. For the best of its world-renowned clubs visit We Love… Space on Sundays, which has six rooms of music, and lose yourself on the laser-lit dancefloor of Amnesia, which was voted The World’s Best Club. If you crave great music in a more sophisticated setting Underground, just metres away from Amnesia on the Sant Rafael roundabout, is a famous for its top-notch DJ sets and relaxed atmosphere, or get a taste of how the locals party at Aura, on the road to Sant Joan.
The Ibiza Rocks Hotel is ground zero for live music. Thanks to its revolutionary music policy hip hop stars like Dizzee Rascal and indie heroes like the Klaxons are an essential part of the island music scene. Guarana in Santa Eularia is a lively seaside bar offering a great mix of house DJs and bands, while the red velvet curtained Teatro Pereyra in Ibiza Town has live music every night of the week. For 24-hour house music and the latest club info and gossip (albeit in Spanish) tune your car stereo to Ibiza Global Radio on 97.6FM.
San An’s West End, where they filmed infamous reality series Ibiza Uncovered, a show that prompted Daily Mail moral panic thanks to depictions of young Brits high on sex, drugs and cheap booze. The West End is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tiny – just a couple of streets of tacky bars, blazing neon and inebriated teenagers – but it gave the island a reputation it is still struggling to shake.