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MINIGUIDE IBIZA

Here's our choice of 10 "must see" places from Ibiza:                                                                                          Printable version

 

1.-DALT VILA: This is perhaps the most representative image from Ibiza.  Dalt Vila means "high area of the city", and it is the old quarter found inside the wall. It has been declared World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1999.

We recommend accessing this area through "el Portal de sesTaules" (this name refers to "sestaules", the type of wood which was used as a drawbridge in order to defend the city). Then we find el Patio de Armas (Parade Ground), a room with ten rounded arches where the first hippy market of the Island was established.

The Tourist Office advises three possible routes to walk around this fortified city. Free brochures are offered at the tourist information desks so that you can have more details about these sites, but you can also visit them without a pre-determined route, simply walking where your curiosity takes you.

Apart from the wonderful entrance (SesTaules Portal) and the parade ground, you can visit the bastions ( 6viewpoints surrounding the wall, which offer panoramic views in all directions), de Vila square, Santo Domingo church, Ibiza Town Hall, the Cathedral, San Jose street, La Almudaina, Dalt Vila Castle…

The area holds many restaurants, shops and street artists. There is a very special atmosphere during the evening and night.

The second weekend in May the Medieval Fair of Ibiza is celebrated. For a few days, the city goes back in time to the XV century with great realism. Streets are crowded with knights, damsels, jesters, bird trainers, salesmen and artisans. All over the city we can discover tasty culinary options.

2.-IBIZA CITY (VILA): The Vara de Rey walk could be considered the most central part of the city. To the right, facing the Port, there is a tourist information office (it is not the only one) where all kinds of brochures and maps are offered, free of charge and very useful and interesting. They contain information about beaches, suggested routes around Dalt Vila, hippy markets, etc. Very close to this area we can find the Plaza del Parque(Park Square), very lively and full of bars, perfect for a rest. Generally speaking, this part of the town is very pretty. Walking, we arrive at the Plaza del Mercado (Market Square), where the market previously stood. Although some stands can still be found, the mainmarket is located in a more modern part of the city. In the same Market Square there is the “El Portal de SesTaules” and Barrio de Sa Penya very close to it. One of the most unique and crowded streets in this neighbourhood is Mare de Deu street, or commonly known as “la calle de la Virgen”(Virgin Street), full of shops and viewpoints. There we will find some stairs leading to barrio de La Marina (commercial port). Around its centre we find the obelisco a los corsarios (corsair obelisk), the only public tribute to pirates in the world.  During the late evening several hippy stands are placed in the area, and at night the most famous discos tend to offer their advertising parades, very original and colourful, giving life to the place. All pedestrian streets located behind the port also form part of the essential circuit around town.

3.-MARKETS: The main markets are Hippy Market and Las Dalias.

Hippy Market opens every Wednesday, normally from April to October, from 10 to 19. Address: Escanar, Punta Arabí

Las Dalias opens every Saturday in April from 10 to 20. They remain open until 18 during winter (from November to March). There is also a night market on Mondays and Tuesdays during peak season (from 19:00 to 1 am) and on Sundays in August (from 19:00 to 1 am), a special market for kids on Thursday nights and a special market at Christmas. Address Km. 12 CTRA. EIVISSA- SANT CARLES. The smallest one but perhaps the most charming is Hippy Market.

The truth is that nowadays there are not many true hippies left since most of them have become very commercial, but even so it is still worth visiting one of them at least. You can find a bit of everything: clothes, jewellery, silver, ceramic, craftsmen stores... it's very unlikely that you leave the place without having bought something.

In both cases we advise you to confirm times on the actual market's websites since there may be changes: www.lasdalias.es   ywww.hippymarket.es

4.-SUNSETS: You cannot miss the sunsets in the island. There are many ways in which you can enjoy them. There are some cafés or strategically-located bars where you can listen to some music while watching the Sun go down. Perhaps the most well-known is Café del Mar or also Kumharas. It is advisable to arrive some time in advance to be able to get a good view. Another option is to watch the sunset from some beach or cove, for example in SesVariades (San Antoni), Cala de Bou and perhaps the most popular of them all Playa de Benirrás, where the kettledrums sound until the Sun disappears. Just amazing.

5.-CUISINE:

We recommend the “bullit de peix” and the dessert “flaó” as typical dishes to try.

Bullit de peix: It consists of two dishes. The first one is a tray with different types of fish and Ibizan herbs, all covered with a sauce made of fish juice and soft aioli.  Then a thin layer of rice is served, which can be eaten directly from the pan.

A little lighter version is the Salmorra, which is the same but without aioli sauce (this is only cooked in certain places).

Flaó: mint, lamb and goat cheese pie (it has to be tender to be good). It doesn't go off quickly so it's a good option to take back home. There are several bakers in the island where they will specially wrap the pie for your journey back.

Other typical dishes are the “el sofritpagés” (stir-fried vegetables with potatoes and meat), pagesa salad (with potatoes) or crostons salad (bread).

We can also recommend other sweet options like orelletas and graixonera.

There are some products which are typical but not exclusive from Ibiza, such as the sobrassada and the empanadas (meat pie or peas mainly eaten during Holy Week)

The typical liqueur is Ibizan herbs which like most of these liqueurs, has a very strong taste (although there are variants) and is only tasty for those who are used to it. It tastes better with some ice.

6.-SHOPPING: What to buy in Ibiza? Besides everything we can find in street markets, we specially like Ibiza's traditional jewellery as well as the Adlib fashion. The word Adlib comes from the Latin “ad-libitum”: "the way you like it", "freedom". The clothes are mostly white, made with natural fabric and very comfortable to wear. The motto is: dress comfortably but smartly.  Although it is said that this fashion has been inspired on Ibizan's traditional white clothes, the truth is that there is no real connection between them. However, sales began in the 70s from the island and since then these clothes have gained a place in the world of fashion both nationally and internationally. We also find varied wicker objects (hats and mainly baskets), costume jewellery and clothes shops with quite original garments, very different from what we can buy somewhere else (we need to know how to look...)

7.-ARCHITECTURE: Another good option is to visit some of the little villages nearby and contemplate their characteristic architecture, buildings integrated with the landscape and constructed with existing natural resources. The constant invasions the island has suffered throughout the years have given the buildings a military, religious and defensive aspect. The main constructions we can find are: Churches, farmhouses, defensive towers, refuges, fountains or wells.  Some sites to recommend are Santa Eulália Church (Puig de Missa),  SantMiquel  or San Antoni de Portany (the oldest one) among others. You will find Santa Eulália on the way to the markets, so perhaps it is a good idea to visit it if you are planning to buy something there. It is a small town by the seaside, quiet and nice. The farmhouses were built by adjusting its profile to the terrain; this is why they are so irregular. The building process started with the kitchen housing a large chimney to continue with the rest of the house depending on the economic capacity of the family. The windows are usually small to keep the house fresh. Some houses such as Ca´nAndreu in SantCarles have become a museum and can be visited.

8.- SANTA GERTRUDIS: Even when there are many small charming villages on the island that can be visited, Santa Gertrudis deserves a special mention and is a must-see site! It is located approximately in the centre of the island. It is the most lively and beautiful part of the village (where the church is) with pedestrian streets full of bars and restaurants to eat and have dinner at reasonable prices.

9.-BEACHES: It is very hard to recommend something since there are some many and so beautiful... the choice of beach greatly depends on whether you come with children or not, or whether you want a restaurant nearby or something a bit more isolated. In any tourist office, you will be able to obtain free brochures with the main 56 beaches in Ibiza; their location, characteristics and even pictures. It's really useful! 

10.-PARTIES AND DISCOS: Even though we don't think it is the best thing the island has to offer, we cannot forget it's one of its main attractions.

List and address of some of the main discos:

PACHA has many room featuring different music styles. It's ideal for those who dislike electronic music or who are just looking for more options to spend the Ibizan night. The reason for its beauty lies in the fact that it is an old farmhouse with refurbished rooms and terraces which create the different areas (Ibiza city). Two years ago, PACHA opened a cabaret restaurant club not far from the disco (PaseoMarítimo) where people can enjoy a good show. However, it is not easy to get a table, even though access to the restaurant is not cheap. If you don't want to have dinner there you can always go for a drink (pay for entry)

SPACE Playa den Bossa (San Jordi) www.space-ibiza.com

PRIVILEGEUrbanización San Rafael s/n (San Rafael).Described as the biggest disco in the world.

AMNESIA Ibiza motorway to San Antonio Km.5 (San Rafael) www.amnesia-ibiza.com

USUAIA Actually it is a recently refurbished hotel reinvented with a brand new concept. From 16:00 until midnight the Hotel turns into a disco. In the swimming-pool area there is a large stage from which music is played and there is also a light show.  People who are not staying at the Hotel can also access the place once they have paid the entrance fee.

If you're the quiet kind, you can also enjoy the night-life without going to a disco.  Some entertainment areas to spend the first hours of the night are Plaza del Parque and some bars in the centre of town. The island also offers several quality musical events such as the Jazz Festival, usually celebrated during July at Santa Lucia bastion (Dalt Vila).

These suggestions do not try to be a professional guide but some recommendations based on our own experience and, as such, very subjective.  There is, of course, a lot more to do and see, so this is mainly some help for the people who are visiting the island for the first time.

We really hope you enjoy your trip and most importantly, that you come back.

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