Ibiza (Catalan: Eivissa) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, 79 kilometres (49 miles) off the coast of the city of Valencia, in eastern Spain. It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. Its largest cities are Ibiza Town (Catalan: Vila d'Eivissa, or simply Vila), Santa Eulària des Riu, and Sant Antoni de Portmany. Its highest point, called Sa Talaiassa (or Sa Talaia), is 475 metres (1,558 feet) above sea level.
Ibiza is known the world over for its outstanding nightlife and beaches. However, while this reputation holds true, history and marine life also make it and appealing spot for those into heritage, water sports, diving and archaeology.
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When visiting Ibiza don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!
What to see
No visit to Ibiza would be complete without exploring Ibiza Town, home to the World Heritage listed Ibiza Castle (Dalt Vila). Apart from historic sites, churches and a necropolis in and around Ibiza’s old town, there is also a vibrant clubbing scene, including some of the island’s most famous night spots.
San Antonio is a clubbers’ paradise, offering 24-hour partying that is popular with the young British and European crowd. It is a photogenic town, and visitors can snap the best known landmark, a statue of an egg commemorating Christopher Columbus, or stroll along the Passeig de ses Fonts, the harbourside promenade, taking pictures of the gardens, fountains, harbour and ocean.
Santa Eulària des Riu is the southeastern region of Ibiza, known for countryside, hippy markets and beaches. The small, fortified harbour of Sant Carles de Peralta is a relaxing, pretty town. Visitors can explore the nearby chimneys and ruins of the ancient Carthaginian lead mine, snorkel at Pou des Lleó Beach or see the Torre d’en Valls pirate tower.
Ibiza’s northern region, Sant Joan de Labritja, is renowned for scenery and attracts visitors to some of Ibiza’s most stunning resorts, including beautiful Portinatx and family-friendly Cala de Sant Vicent with its sandy beaches and fascinating caves.
The Sant Josep de sa Talaia region, in the middle of the island, has the most beaches and coves on Ibiza. Apart from enjoying the beaches and World Heritage listed attractions, tourists can visit Ses Païses de Cala d’Hort to see the old Punic-Roman farm settlement or stop in at the World Heritage-listed Phoenician village at Sa Caleta.
Top Places to Visit
The World Heritage-listed Ibiza Castle (Dalt Vila) is Ibiza’s walled old town and can be entered through five different gates. The most impressive is the Ses Taules Gate, flanked by two Roman statues that are reproductions of ancient originals which are now housed at the Archaeological Museum. Within the walls and perched atop the mount sits the 12th century cathedral of Santa Maria d’Eivissa.
Visitors will be charmed by the whitewashed Puig de Missa church at Santa Eulària. This town’s cobbled streets and traditional buildings also house two museums. One is the Museum of Ethnography of Ibiza and the other is the Barrau Museum, dedicated to Laureà Barrau i Buñol, a Catalan painter who lived and worked in Ibiza from 1912 to 1932.
The port of San Miguel hides the fascinating Can Marça Caves, formerly used by smugglers and now a tourist attraction. Visitors can navigate the old smugglers’ paths to marvel at the cave’s rock formations, underground lakes and waterfalls.
No visit to Ibiza would be complete without visiting one of Ibiza’s pirate towers, lookouts built by locals to watch for pirates. The round Torre d’en Valls tower at Pou des Lleó is a fine example and offers stunning views of the coastline.
Ibiza and its waters are home to some unique natural environments, including the salt lakes of Ses Salinas National Park in Ibiza’s south. The area is rich in wildlife, and visitors may be lucky enough to spot a fishing eagle or the migrating flamingos that frequent the area during late summer.
Visitors to Cala dHort beach area can marvel at the mysterious, rocky island of Es Vedra, which some say is the remains of Atlantis; others claim it was the isle of the Sirens from Homer’s stories.
Ibiza is an island which has become dedicated to the entertainment of visitors, from the world famous nightclubs and large music venues to smaller restaurants and bars. Most of the action is centered around Ibiza Town and San Antonio, where predominantly British and European holidaymakers party the days and nights away with hedonistic abandon.
Ibiza Town is the ideal place for a night out. Home to some of Ibiza’s most famous clubs, including Pasha, Amnesia and Privilege, the visitor is spoilt for choice. For gamblers, there is the small but reasonably equipped Casino de Ibiza. Alternatively, a handful of live music venues are on hand.
The real nightclub centre of the island is Ibiza’s legendary San Antonio. Clubbers flock to this harbour town to visit super clubs like Eden on the waterfront or Es Paradís and its famous water party. There are also numerous bars and restaurants to choose from, covering almost every cuisine.
Space is a nightclub that has frequently won the International Dance Music award for the ’Best Global Club’. Situated at Platja den Bossa, in the Sant Josep de sa Talaia region of Ibiza, this venue offers visitors a stellar day (yes, it’s open in the day) or night out.
Outside the main towns of Ibiza and San Antonio, nightlife at the seaside resorts such as Santa Eulària and Portinaxt tends to cater to the preferences and tastes of visitors. With less in the way of nightclubs, there are nonetheless some good bars and restaurants that keep all ages entertained until late.
As Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, the traditional cuisine here tends to be Mediterranean with a strong Catalan influence. Dishes are generally high in vegetables and low in fat. With Ibiza being an island, seafood and seafood stews feature strongly, as do olive oil and almonds, which are grown throughout the Balearic Islands.
A typical meal might begin with burrida de ratjada, stingray with almonds, or one of the famous Balearic style vegetable and bread soups, such as las sopes mallorquines. Mains may include el guisat de peix (seafood stew) or coques - meat and vegetables wrapped in a square pastry - all accompanied by red wine or sangria.
One of the most famous dishes of the Balearic cuisine is caldereta de langosta, a lobster stew made with local lobster, garlic, onions and tomatoes. The Spanish chicken and seafood rice dish paella is also common.
Be sure to try local other local specialities such as sobrassada, a pork and paprika sausage, and ensaïmada, a coiled pastry made with pork lard, both typical to the Balearic Islands. In Ibiza, leftover pieces of ensaïmada are used to make a sweet desert called greixonera.
Maó is the local hard cheese and is similar to parmesan. Ibiza also produces its own herb liquor - Hierbas Ibicencas – which is made from about 18 local plants and packs a punch at 26 per cent alcohol.
Being a top tourist destination, Ibiza also boasts a vast variety of restaurants covering all cuisines, including Chinese, Indian, Japanese, German and Italian for those who don't fancy the local fare. There are also specialist vegetarian restaurants.
While it is one-sixth the size of nearby Majorca, Ibiza is over five times the size of Mykonos (Greece), or ten times the size of Manhattan Island. Ibiza has become famous for the association with nightlife and the electronic music that originated on the island. It is well known for its summer club scene which attracts very large numbers of tourists, though the island's government and the Spanish Tourist Office have controversially been working to promote more family-oriented tourism. Noted clubs include Space, Privilege, Amnesia, Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel, Pacha, DC10, Eden, and Es Paradis.
Ibiza is the home of the noted "port" in Ibiza Town, a popular stop for many tourists and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ibiza and the nearby island of Formentera to its south are called the Pine Islands, or "Pityuses".
Demographically, Ibiza displays a very peculiar configuration, as census agencies diverge on exact figures. According to the 2001 national census, Ibiza had 88,076 inhabitants (against 76,000 in 1991, 64,000 in 1981, 45,000 in 1971, and 38,000 in 1961). However, two years later, this figure jumped to 108,000 (Govern de les Illes Balears - IBAE 2004), and by the start of 2010 had reached 132,637. This rapid growth stems from the amnesty which incorporated a number of unregistered foreign migrants. In terms of origin, about 55 percent of island residents were born in Ibiza, 35 percent are domestic migrants from mainland Spain (mostly working-class families from Andalusia, and the remainder from Catalonia, Valencia and Castile), and the remaining 10 to 15 percent are foreign, dual and multi-national citizens of the EU and abroad (Govern de les Illes Balears - IBAE 1996). In decreasing order, foreigners are Germans, British, Latin Americans, French, Italians, Dutch, in addition to a myriad of other nationalities. This mosaic reflects the fluidity of foreigners living and moving across the island, in ways that render impossible to exactly quantify the expatriate population (Rozenberg 1990).
The Spanish composer and music theorist Miguel Roig-Francolí was born in Ibiza, as was the politician and Spain's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abel Matutes. Notable former residents of Ibiza include: English punk musician John Simon Ritchie (Sid Vicious), the psychedelic rock band Philiac, comic actor Terry-Thomas, Hungarian master forger Elmyr de Hory, American fraudster Clifford Irving, and film director/actor Orson Welles.