Once you’ve had time to unwind and take in some of the sights and culture of Barcelona, it’s time to get you (you and the BAE, or you and the girls) over to Ibiza. Barcelona is city and culture. Ibiza is just about anything you want it to be: culture, beach, wellness, dance, it’s yours for the taking.
Ibiza has been rightfully known for its over the top party scene–“clubbers” put Ibiza on the map, but there is so much more to this chic, sophisticated Mediterranean island. While we all love a good party, there’s no need to travel halfway across the world for a good time, but some of the hidden gems, the culture, World Heritage sites, the beaches and off the beaten path adventures I discovered in Ibiza are experiences you can’t replicate stateside, and that is what makes this place so magical.
Speaking of magic, Ibiza is known as the Magic Island for good reason. The “Spirit of Ibiza” dates back to the Phoenician times when the Carthaginians (modern day Northern Africa)came to the island as original settlers of Ibiza in 5thcentury B.C. and brought their spiritual beliefs with them. Tanit, the Carthaginian warrior goddess of the sun and the moon, love, prosperity, fertility, creation, destruction, infuses her spirit all over Ibiza. You will find Tanit hotels, drinks, tourist merchandise and her unique energy across the island; that special vibe that attracts many visitors to Ibiza is rumored to be Tanit’s spiritual energy at play. This energy juxtaposed with that of Bez, the Carthaginians god of protection and dance gives Ibiza that duality, that yin-yang vibe that makes this island perfect for whatever you’re seeking, from hedonism to wellness and yoga retreats, it’s there.
There is of course, the history, and lots of it for such a small island. Within the perimeter of the walls of the Dalt Vida, you’ll find Ibiza’s old town, which houses the Armory Court, the Bastion of Santa LLucia, one of the largest defensive bastions in the world, the Cathedral which dates back to the 14thcentury, art, archeology and other museums of interest and several other important churches. You’ll also find one of the most spectacular places to watch Ibiza’s famous sunset at Plaza del Sol. Grab a table or lounge on their beanbags and a cocktail to watch what some say is one of the best sunsets in the world.
Although wellness may not spring to mind when you think of Ibiza, the Tourism Board has sought to change that. The Ibiza is Wellness campaign takes Ibiza back to its Phoenician roots of spirituality as an island blessed by the gods. Ibiza’s topography, beaches, dramatic landscapes, complete with cliffs that plunge directly into the ocean easily lends itself to the peace and tranquility of an island that would draw those seeking to recharge. There are countless wellness yoga and meditation retreats, holistic centers and therapists to rejuvenate you mind and soul. If you’re down to nurture your body, Ibiza offers cycling and hiking trails, marathon and half-marathon and countless other ways to commune with nature and care for yourself.
Ses Salinas National Park, is one of those places that has it all. It is an expansive nature reserve turned World Heritage Site due to its ecological and cultural richness. You’ll notice sea salt, Ibiza’s White Gold, for sale, literally all over the island. This sought after version of sea salt is exported all over Europe. The Sa Canal area of the national park that has some of the richest concentration of salt of the water. Salt water makes for great buoyancy in the water and there are plenty of beaches where you can lounge, float in the water, and partake in water activities within the reserve. All Ses Salinas beaches offer beach chairs and umbrellas, showers, lockers, hiking among the pinewoods, sailing, paddle boats, paddle boarding, kayaks, great swimming and SCUBA diving with exceptional visibility thanks to the rich seagrass that grows in the water.
Not far from the Sa Canal, you’ll find Ibiza’s spectacular salt flats at Las Salinas beach, a large expanse of pale blue water and golden sand. The saltwater concentration’s reflection on the water makes this beach another spectacular place to watch Ibiza’s legendary sunset. If you’re game, stick around for the evening where DJs spins and the nightlife comes alive on the beach. If nude beaches are your thing, Es Callavet, another white sand beach is located at the south end of the park has a section of the beach is reserved for nudists. The privacy afforded by the sand dunes, and pine woods that Ibiza is famous for makes this a perfect place to chill (or get it in) with your man!
Of course, there are countless places to party and depending on the hotel you choose, you can start the party before leaving your hotel. I stayed at OD Ocean Drive, an art deco boutique hotel overlooking Ibiza’s Marina Botafoch, and short drive to the Dalt Villa, Ibiza Town (main shopping and dining area) and Ibiza’s famous Pacha nightclub. If you’re down to party, the hotel bar scene comes alive with a happy hour at the hotel’s Burger and Gin restaurant, where you can party with the local DJs until dawn in the summer months. If you’re looking to retreat, OD Can Jume is a short 15 minute drive to the tranquil and romantic countryside. The hotel, a former manor house is nestled among the orange groves, and offers couples massages, poolside cabanas, exquisite farm to table dining with fresh ingredients direct from the hotel’s garden. All OD hotels offer free wifi, breakfast is included (with most rates,) and use of their OD branded smart cars for a nominal charge.
Ibiza has much to offer, and I found Ibiza Spotlight, an online resource that was helpful in sorting out parties, social events to enhance your trip.
There is so much to choose from, Ibiza is that perfect destination for you to make it exactly what you want in a vacation.
How to get there: During the summer season, there are over 20 non stop flights from Barcelona (BCN airport code) to Ibiza (IBZ) to get you to Ibiza in about an hour, some as low as $30.
Lisa Bonner, a travel aficionado, is a veteran Entertainment Lawyer with offices in New York. Her work has appeared in theGrio, Yahoo! Travel, Ebony and Essence. Follow her on social media @lisabonner