8 Cocktail Bars to Savour Ibiza
We decided to find out just what makes Ibiza so special and toured the island in search of the bars with the most amazing views. The unique lie of the land and natural surroundings make any cocktail taste just that much better at the edge of the Mediterranean. The fact is that the simplest things in life are often the best.
Blue Marlin Ibiza
If you’re the type that likes to have a cocktail right on the beach and extend your stay well into the night, then Blue Marlin is the place for you. After 13 years in commission, it has earned its fame as one of the cutting-edge beach clubs on the Ibizan scene. They offer a busy weekly programme of events, a gastro menu committed to local sourcing and haute cuisine, and a broad selection of in-house cocktails. Pick one of their comfortable sunloungers and pamper yourself for a day.
Nassau Beach Club
Nassau is the only beach club in Ibiza that has made it onto the coveted international list of “The World Finest Clubs”. Here, exclusiveness and entertainment are guaranteed all day long. Whether in the lounge or on the beach itself, a cocktail always comes in handy to while away a relaxing time at the water’s edge. So, lean back and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience in one of the island’s most fashionable enclaves.
Nikki Beach Ibiza
Imagine reclining on a Balinese lounger within reach of the pool and the beach, and a select assortment of cocktails to taste. Couldn’t be bad, could it? Nikki Beach Ibiza has found its niche among the island’s beach clubs thanks to their excellent service and a gourmet menu based on international dishes. The club’s leisure offerings are one of their major assets in summer, as they feature themed events throughout the week.
Guaraná Salinas Beach Club
Surrounded by the unspoiled environment of the Ses Salines Nature Reserve, Guaraná is set in an exceptional location. While lying back into your hammock, you can spot Formentera on the horizon as you switch off and relax to the ambient music. Service includes a Mediterranean-style restaurant with freshly caught fish, rices and meat which are paired to perfection with all their cocktails.
If you prefer to stay in town, but still want to catch the sea breeze on your skin, your best bet is to head for Cotton Lounge Club, an elegant, sophisticated establishment with an open-air terrace and panoramic views of the island of Formentera and Ibiza’s south coast. What more could you possibly want? Well, from a traditional Bloody Mary to a Margarita de Guayaba, there are lots of options to choose from. The decision is yours.
A crucial meeting point for anyone wanting to see the best sunsets on earth, Kumharas is a bar-restaurant on the beach with peerless charm. Their hippy essence and respect for and inclusiveness of alternative cultures, as attested by their schedule of performances, make this an alluring venue. One standout feature of their decor is the pirate defence tower, a symbol of Ibiza’s history, of which there are examples across the length and breadth of the island.
The orange hues of dusk stretch across the sky above the huge terrace of Golden Buddha. This highly inviting chill-out facing the sea, with Balinese sofas and loungers, affords a privileged vantage point for some beautiful sunsets and a place to savour their vast array of exotic dishes from all over the world. Together with one of their acclaimed mojitos, of course – holders of the accolade for the best in Ibiza.
Fancy a cocktail made with fresh fruit inside the magical Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s walled precinct? S’Escalinata is worlds apart from what we have seen so far. It is more informal, casual and carefree than other bars and has something which exerts a pull on its guests. Possibly the fact that there are no chairs, as you have to sit on poufs and cushions that hug this structure, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The staircase affords views of the city at your feet.
Text by Maricarmen Cruz of Gastronomistas.commore info
Good Morning Ibiza and Good Night!
When it comes to lifestyle, Ibiza is unquestionably one of the world’s hotspots. All celebrities worth their salt make a point of visiting it in summer, but, what can you expect to find there other than between May and October? Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS dropped in on the Balearic pearl to see what brews out of season. We were amazed to discover that it is an ideal getaway for switching off. Ibiza offers the very best of slow tourism – idyllic scenery, trekking routes, fairy-tale villages and the constant friendliness of its inhabitants.
Good Morning, Ibiza!
If you have a penchant for welcoming the dawning day in the finest setting, we recommend you rise early – or stay up – and head for Cala s’Argamassa, very near Santa Eulària. This is definitely the key spot for for experiencing the Ibizan “awakening”.
Now that you’re on track, we suggest you go to the north-east, the most protected and sparsely inhabited part of the island. It is also the wildest, most rugged area and is a must for photography, if you’re looking to capture the essence of the genuine Ibiza. You will come across forests of pine and inaccessible coves. A stroll through the minute – and very quaint – villages would be in order, notably Santa Agnès. On the edge of the village you take the Camí Plade Corona which leads to a fascinating field of almond trees – preferably, in February, when the almond blossom is spectacular.
If you happen to be on the island on a Sunday, a good option for day-tripping is to visit the Sant Joan de Labritja street market with its craft wares. The hippy atmosphere so redolent a few decades ago stills lingers here. The stalls are stocked with goods for all tastes, from Moroccan leather to designer fabrics. We recommend taking a seat in the Restaurante San Juan, as it affords views over all the goings-on in this picturesque street market, which opens from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The view also takes in the charming Church of San Juan, built in 1770.
From here, you can drive to Portinatx, the island’s northernmost point. On arrival, make sure you have a walk around Punta Galera, Punta des Moscarter, Punta d’en Gat and Cala d’en Serra. Then, the best thing is to return in an eastward direction, which takes you through such charming villages as Sant Miquel de Balansat and Sant Mateu d’Albarca. Their churches are the epitome of Ibizan religious architecture, which harmonises with the traditional stone and lime constructions. The churches are inviting, yet characteristically sober.
Good Night, Ibiza!
One of the most magical moments is dusk. There are sites for all tastes, but the best spot on the island – or, at least, the favourite among the islanders – is Cala d’Hort, a mere 11 km from Sant Josep de sa Talaia. From that point on the coast you can make out the beautiful and enigmatic islets of Es Vedrà, Es Vedranell and Sa Galera, which are said to give off a special energy – UFO sightings have been reported here. This V-shaped inlet is flanked by an open, uneven, rugged coastline with tall surrounding cliffs carpeted with pine and scrub. The beach has medium-grain white sand and mild breezes. The slope is gentle and the waters are crystal-clear, with a sandy seabed. There are three excellent seafood restaurants in the area. Cala d’HortRestaurant and Restaurante El Carmen are on the beach itself, while Es Boldado is accessed via the road running from Sant Josep. Don’t forget to bring along your camera or smartphone to capture the sunset. Here you will find that elusive desktop wallpaper that looks so good on your computer screen.
The other splendid sunset is to be had in Cala Comte. It provides a moving spectacle. People start massing silently along the coast at the prescribed time, generating a sort of ceremonial trance-like atmosphere in which everyone concurs in contemplation and introspection. The picture will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark in your memory.
Once the sun has gone down, it’s time to return to the built-up area for dinner. And, to round off the day, one of the best places to spend the night is the Hotel Simbad, which was completely refurbished in 2007. It’s a 10 minutes’ drive from Ibiza’s historic centre. One of its boons is the panoramic views of the sea and the castle to be had from its rooms. In high season you can also use the swimming pool adjoining the beach, but all year around they have a solarium and wellness centre which includes a heated indoor pool with a waterfall, a jacuzzi, gym, sauna and massage showers.
Ready to discover “the other” Ibiza? Check out our flights here.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS
A Legacy With Offspring
No less than 40% of the island’s population is concentrated in the capital, Ibiza. It is the venue for most social and cultural activities throughout the year and boasts the lion’s share of Ibiza’s culinary, sporting and leisure facilities.
Twenty-seven centuries of history are crammed within the walls of Dalt Vila in this ancient, sea-facing Phoenician capital. A visit to this site takes you on a journey into the past, essential to any understanding of the origins of the island. With their panoramic views of the sea, the Cathedral steps or the Old City Hall are hotspots for logging Instagram “likes”. The vantage point overlooks Es Freus, the strait that separates Ibiza from its sibling island, Formentera.
Business and leisure activities are concentrated at the foot of the walled precinct in Sa Penya, the old fishing quarter, as well as inLa Marina,the harbour, the central Vara de Rey boulevard, the lively Plaza del Parque and along the city’s main avenues.
Dalt Vila can easily be toured in half a day. We met Shana Dominique Lacroix next to the boats moored in Ibiza harbour and she explained that the best panoramic view of the Old Town is to be had from alongside the Boas de Ibiza residential complex, designed by Jean Nouvel, on the opposite side of the docks (Paseo Juan Carlos I). While strolling along the dockside on our way to the walled city, we came across a monument dedicated to corsairs. Ibiza was a strategic point in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, as from there the whole south-east of the Iberian Peninsula could be defended against surprise raids by Turkish pirates.
Opposite the harbour, between Plaça d’Antoni Riquer and Plaça Sa Tertúlia, is a street market which begins after Holy Week and offers all kinds of craft wares, jewellery and leather goods. It is best to visit it at night time, when you can also have an ice-cream or a cold beer in the harbour area. It opens from 5 p.m. until the early hours. Nearby is Es Mercat Vell, with its Roman temple aesthetic, where you can enjoy fresh food and buy cut flowers. Open every day except Sundays.
Shana explained how the luxury marina had been relocated at the foot of the Old Town. This is one of only seven examples of such an oddity in the world. The fact is that a mooring in Ibiza’s exclusive harbour costs from 6,000 to 7,000 euros a day in high season (July and August).
Within the Walls
It is well worth strolling through the randomly laid out streets here and, on our walk, we came across medieval, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. The austerity of the Gothic Cathedral is surprising. A rewarding stop is the Dominican Convent, in Renaissance style. It houses the tomb of Guillem de Montgrí, who drove the Moors out of Ibiza and Formentera in 1235. It was then that Catalan was adopted as the main language, although it gradually morphed into Ibizan over the centuries.
In Dalt Vila, culture vultures will be able to quench their thirst in the Contemporary Art Museum, with paintings, engravings, drawings, posters, photographs and videos by such prominent contemporary artists as Bechtold, Floris, Broner, Micus, Zush/Evru, Flanagan, Vedova, Schlosser, Hausmann, Le Parc, Tàpies, Gordillo, Dmitrienko, Hinterreiter, Vallribera, Broto, Faber, Tur Costa, Echarri and Portmany. Also worth visiting is the Puget Museum, dedicated to the work of the acclaimed artist, Narcís Puget. You can now also visit an exhibition devoted to the work of his son, the recently deceased photographer, Narcís Puget Riquer.
Ibiza was designated a World Heritage Site in 1999, by which UNESCO recognised the need to preserve the historical, cultural and natural assets which make this island unique, although especially on account of four complexes:
1. The Walled Precinct of Dalt Vila. The best preserved fortress in the Mediterranean. In the 16th century, Philip II ordered the island to be defended tooth and nail against Berber assaults. He had the old medieval walls converted into an impregnable, fortified bulwark.
2. The Puig des Molins Necropolis. The world’s largest and best preserved Phoenician-Punic necropolis is located in the ancient Roman settlement in the city centre. On display are over 2,500 hypogea or underground chambers where the deceased were buried along with their belongings and tools, in preparation for the afterlife. This is also where the bust of Tanit was found. The goddess of love and fertility, she is identified as the goddess of Ibiza.
3. The Phoenician Settlement of Sa Caleta, in the environs of the Ses Salines Nature Reserve, was the earliest Phoenician settlement on the island, dating from the 8th century BC. The site is fenced off but you can still see the layout and the way life was organised in those times.
4. The waters around Ibiza and Formentera are exceptionally clean and transparent on account of abundant, well preserved underwater meadows of posidonia which promotes seabed biodiversity and the development of indigenous species of marked scientific value. The waters and islets of Es Freus, within the Ses Salines Nature Reserve of Ibiza and Formentera, are ideal for diving.
A large medieval market is held on the second weekend in May each year to celebrate the anniversary of Dalt Vila’s designation as a World Heritage Site.
But, not all is world heritage in old Ibiza. Other assets have emerged over the last few decades and, while they may not be as edifying, they are nevertheless equally essential. For instance, there is the broad slew of culinary offerings available in a host of restaurants, many of which can be found on the Calle de Santa Cruz. We can recommend La Oliva, which features Mediterranean cuisine with some Asian flourishes, where you are sure to bump into the odd celebrity. Then there is the Plaza del Sol, with amazing views of the harbour.
Why wait to explore Ibiza’s Old Town? Check out our flights here.
Special thanks to the Fundación de Promoción Turística de Ibiza.
Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUISmore info