People often think of Ibiza as a tiny island filled with famous nightclubs, partygoers, and loud music. During the summer months, Ibiza Town and other hot spots may be crowded, but the small island of Ibiza isn’t as small as we may think. There are 210 kilometers of coastline to explore surrounding a 571 km2 surface area with countless activities, attractions and stunning nature covering it. Many visitors decide to focus on other things like rejuvenation, yoga retreats, adventure holidays, hiking, scuba diving, historical sites, lounging on white beaches and much more. There are plenty of things to do in Ibiza when you don’t feel like clubbing!
1. People Watch with a Soothing Coffee on Plaza del Parque
Right next to the historical city wall in the heart of Ibiza Town is a charming square. The bars and cafés lining it makes for a perfect spot to perch to people watch, read a book, or plan the rest of your holiday. You can also snack on traditional tapas with a drink while admiring the beauty of this historical place which used to be a marketplace in the 16th century.
Throughout time it’s been a place for people to meet, trade, and socialize and it still has that friendly and charming atmosphere. Many cafés have been family-owned for generations, with owners who take pride in their work, food, and service. Don’t hesitate to ask for travel advice from them as they’ll probably be happy to talk about their beautiful island and the history of the square. This is a place to slow down from the bustle of the masses of tourists if it’s during high season.
2. Visit Santa Eulalia for a Walk on the Beautiful Paseo
On the east coast of Ibiza, you can find the quaint town of Santa Eulalia which is steeped in history and beauty. Right on the beachfront along the ocean, is the Paseo Maritimo, or beach promenade, which is a lovely spot for a nice walk either daytime or evening.
It’s also lined with charming bars and restaurants where you can find lovely restaurants using fresh, local produce to produce delectable dishes. As Santa Eulalia is an old fishing village, you’ll be treated to the freshest seafood.
Even during the bustling summer months, you’ll find Santa Eulalia tranquil as the locals have a peaceful way of life and people are in general more relaxed. While dining by the oceanfront, you can try to catch one of Ibiza’s spectacular sunsets while enjoying a glass of local wine until the stars starts coming out in the sky, creating that magical Ibizan feeling.
3. Experience a Tiny Slice of Heaven at Cala Bassa
One of the most beautiful coves on Ibiza is Cala Bassa which is situated on the west coast of the island. This is where you can find those postcard-perfect, crystal clear, shallow waters flanked by the typical Ibizan rock faces and white sand. It can be a popular destination in the summer, but it’s well worth it just to lounge out all day on a sun lounger, enjoying the fresh sea air with a nice book.
The Cala Bassa Beach Club is situated here where you can enjoy wonderful cuisine and drinks on the beachfront. You can even try the most famous local dish, the Bullit de Peix which is a traditional fish stew normally made with rockfish, vegetables, and a special sauce tinted in yellow by saffron. Cala Bassa is a place you can spend your whole day lounging and rejuvenating, and the beach club even offers massages.
4. Hike to the Best Viewing Point of the Mythical Es Vedra
Mirador des Vedrà is probably the closest and most direct view you can get of Es Vedra from the island. Draped in mystery and legends, there are countless stories of people experiencing mystical and spiritual experiences while admiring this islet in the ocean. It attracts tourists from all over the world who have reported experiencing unimaginable bliss, out-of-body experiences, and even UFO sightings.
Getting to the viewing point by foot from the closest bus stop, Sant Josep, takes around 2-3 hours. It’s a hike across rugged terrain and some steep up-hills so make sure to bring shoes and clothes fit for hiking, sunscreen, water, snacks, and perhaps a mat or a blanket to sit on while admiring Es Vedra. You can get maps of all the hiking trails on the island either from the tourism office or online. Once you reach the cliff trail, you’ll be mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty. And reaching the viewing point will make the hike worth it even more as you can admire spectacular panoramic views.
5. Go Horseback Riding Out in the Wild Nature of Ibiza
It’s not the first thing you think about when someone mentions Ibiza, yet horseback riding is engrained into the history of the island as it was used as transportation by the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. It was also a status symbol and they have lived side by side with man helping with agricultural work, transportation, and sometimes military missions.
Today, most of the horses on Ibiza have very little work except for excursions. But the centers in Horse Valley and North Ride Ibiza make sure that the horses are treated with tender loving care. At North Ride for example they don’t use a bit, and they spend time before the excursions letting the riders brush the horses and get to know them. In this way, the rides are an enjoyable experience both for the horses and the riders. Their center is between San Joan and Portinatx in the wildest nature of Ibiza with spectacular sea views. This will definitely be an unforgettable adventure so remember to take photos.
6. Explore Ibiza’s Secret Caves by Boat
There are many hidden caves only reachable by the sea around the 210 km coastline of Ibiza. Some were said to be used by pirates and smugglers in the past. Today, you can explore these caves by taking a boat tour. There are several companies offering this, so it’s best to do some research beforehand to see what caves and areas attract you. The caves vary in size from very large with stalagmites and stalactites, while some are just narrow tunnels.
The beauty of the boat tours is that you can snorkel in the crystal clear, turquoise waters inside or outside of the caves. There’s an abundance of underwater creatures ready to greet you while the spectacular cave formations will mesmerize you.
7. Discover the History and the Cultural Scene of Ibiza
If you enjoy contemporary art, MACE (The Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art) is a place you would enjoy. It’s situated in the Dalt Vila area in Ibiza Town so you could see both on the same outing. The museum is in a gorgeous, restored 17th-century neoclassical building and MACE opened its doors in 1969. The majority of the artists are locals exhibiting eclectic contemporary artworks, sculptures, paintings, and some multimedia installations. The genres lean towards expressionist and abstract art.
After your art visit, you can head to Dalt Vila, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a history spanning 2500 years. When you enter the impressive “Upper Town” which is the Catalan meaning of Dalt Vila, you’ll feel like you’re entering a museum, with history engrained into every wall. The strategic placement on the hill made it an effective fortress for protecting the city against invaders like pirates. In the Medieval ages this was a vibrant trading epicenter for the Mediterranean and the city’s surrounding walls took centuries to build.
The tourist office will gladly give you a guide to Dalt Vila for free so you don’t miss any of the secret spots. The Cathedral of Santa Maria is absolutely worth a visit with its Gothic architecture and a beautiful view from the terrace. You can head to the central square, Plaça de la Vila, for a lovely spot to relax with a coffee or a local meal like Sofrit de Pagès or Flaó. If you climb all the way to the top, you can visit the Ibiza Castle from where you can enjoy breathtaking views while imagining the watchmen being on the lookout for pirate ships.