Ibiza, Ibiza, Ibiza… one of the most misjudged and misinterpreted places on this beautiful planet.
Ibiza… the club paradise… the island of freedom… the land of never ending after-parties, insane beach parties, unforgettable sunsets, all the beautiful bays, the top DJs from all over the world, Cafe Del Mar, Pacha, Amnesia… peace, love, freedom, music, happiness, hedonism & carpe diem… did I miss anything why Ibiza is famous for?
In order to understand the less-known face of the island of course we needed to come back off season. When the tourists are away, when the famous clubs are closed, when suddenly the speed limits and radar controls are not needed, when the beaches are not for parties, but for romantic walks, when besides the locals just a few weekenders are around, when Ibiza is just one of the Balearic Islands.
So what is worth to do if we happen to arrive to Ibiza out of season? Believe me, there are plenty of interesting places to visit as well as cool things to do, that are usually forgotten by tourists, as those simply don’t fit into the party vibe during the high season.
1) Enjoy the silence
Yes, I know that it sounds very contradictory to mention silence in relation with Ibiza. I had the chance to visit this island in the peak season too, so when we came this time, I was as well pretty much surprised how silent this island could be without the tourists. Walking around the city center, in the narrow streets of Dalt Vila, the square of the Cathedral, we haven’t seen more people than a couple of locals, some bikers, and of course random cats were all around. 🐈
Not to mention out of the capital, where it’s hard to find any bars that are open during the evening. It definitely has its beauty to have your own bottle of wine and admiring the stars on the sky, while listening the waves of the sea, and nothing else is disturbing you.
2) Visit all the “Cala”s
Wherever you go around the coast, you will find a cute bay in every 5km distance or even less. Cala d’Hort, Cala Comte, Cala Tarida, Cala Salada & Saladeta, Cala Benirràs, Cala Xarraca, Cala de Sant Vicent… – just to mention the most famous ones. You can’t be mistaken whichever you choose, but worth to mention that if you desire to watch the famous Ibiza sunsets, it’s worth to stay on the western coast, between Cala Comte and Cala d’Hort. 😉
3) Enjoy the mixed architecture of the almost empty capital
When you visit Eivissa (the name of Ibiza in Catalan), the capital in peak season, you can get so distracted by the crowd of tourists, and all the attractions around, that you might miss to look around and realize how diverse and beautiful architecture this town has. Starting from the white-washed walls of the fishermen houses and terracotta rooftops of the old town, to the ancient villas all around, and the huge medieval walls all around Dalt Vila.
Also worth to mention that large portions of the island are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and thus protected from the development and commercialization of the main cities, such as the Renaissance walls of the old town of Ibiza City which were awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999. They are one of the world’s few Renaissance walls that were not demolished, and part of the medieval wall is still visible.
4) Take a look on Dalt Vila and the port from a cannon perspective
I think one of the best views one can get is from the top of the Renaissance walls, where the cannons are located. One side there is the sea, other side is a spectacular view on the port, and on the left the breathtaking view on Dalt Vila, the historical old town with the cathedral on top. Unforgettable!
5) Discover the tombs in the Necropolis
Puig des Molins, the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza, is located in the heart of the capital, easy to reach by walk and also worth to mention that on Sundays the entry is free of charge. The museum has two floors, also with English educational and informative videos, and outside you can visit the remains of the Necropolis itself, look into the old tombs, and discover the underground caves. The museum preserves researches and exhibits the remains belonging to the historical past from both the islands of Ibiza and Formentera.
6) Visit the Phoenician settlement of Sa Caleta
Sa Caleta is located about 10 kilometers west of the capital. It’s picturesque bay with terra-cotta cliffs all around by itself is definitely a must visit anyhow. But once you are around it’s worth to take a short walk and observe the Phoenician settlement and the Spanish Civil War machine gun nests are also nearby.
The large Phoenician settlement was uncovered by archaeologists during the 1980s and 1990s. The site was declared a World Heritage Site in December 1999. It consists of an urban area with streets and a small square, conventionally referred to as ‘neighbourhoods’. The Phoenicians who first settled here had arrived from the Iberian coast around 650 BC, and settled here for a couple of centuries. The remains are mainly out of simple stone buildings.
7) Eat a bocadillo de jamón at Bar Costa while admiring the beauty of Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera
At the geographical heart of the island you can find the village of Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera and one of the best spots to have a tasty breakfast there is definitely Bar Costa on the main street. You can choose delicious bocadillos from jamón serrano or manchego cheese and their coffee is as well best in town.
Once you are around it’s worth to take a look on the tiny village, it’s not more than couple of streets and a whitewashed church, a cluster of bars, and some artistic shops, but all is organized and painted super nicely.
“The village is also a home for many new residents from Europe and beyond who have brought a different, more Bohemian style of living. Many artists, sculptors and musicians have settled here over the years and their works are everywhere – in galleries and most famously in the Bar Costa where penniless artists in the hippy era would swap paintings for food and now hanging art competes with hanging hams for space.”
Net-net, Ibiza is indeed beautiful even out of season. Its landscape, all the little bays, the architecture, the history are all worth to discover. All the influence from the Phoenicians, Punics, Romans, Arabs, Catalans left a very complex and interesting imprint on the island, that it’s definitely worth to explore.
On the other hand we may also say that Ibiza’s history and today are perhaps not so different, either. People from many races and countries arrive to the island each year, take what they want, leave their footprints and then depart. The locals must have been used to this type of behaviour for thousands of years. No wonder that the islanders are famous for their tolerance. 😉