A BACKPACKER’S GUIDE TO IBIZA
From hippie hangout to party paradise, wellness mecca and ostentatious arena of opulence, Ibiza is an island that has for a long time been in the world’s imaginations. Now it’s famous for its clubbing scene, for the decadence of the rich and famous and the wannabes who make their way to the middle of the Mediterranean every summer to indulge in their every hedonistic desire. Ibiza is the place where the world’s best DJs play to the beautiful people every night of the week, where the parties don’t stop because the sun has come up.
And while this party paradise stereotype is true, it’s not the only Ibiza. This is also one of the world’s most beautiful islands, sheer cliffs and hills, Spanish countryside with pine forests and low rock walls surrounding fields of flowers that give way to dazzling arcs of white sand and perfectly turquoize water. Ibiza’s natural beauty is the real main attraction here and the reason why people from around the world felt drawn to its rocky shores — the unbridled, all-day-and-night is just a very delicious bonus. For these reasons, and many more, Stoke Travel likes to pass the summer months in our Ibiza Beach Camp, our little patch of perfect on the shores of the Mediterranean.
FACTS ABOUT IBIZA
Population of Ibiza: 132,000
Tourists to in a year Ibiza: 7.1 million
Languages spoken in Ibiza: Spanish, Catalan, Ibicenco, practically every language on Earth
Price of things in Ibiza: club entry €50, drink in the club €15, bottle of water in the club €10, ecstasy €10, glass of wine outside the club €2, menu del dia lunch with wine €15, all you can drink beer and sangria at the Stoke Travel Ibiza Beach Camp €10
Times things happen in Ibiza: everything is constantly happening all the time in Ibiza, day and night, but things particularly heat up during “the season”, which runs from June to September.
Average summer temperatures in Ibiza: high 30°C, low 22°C
Average winter temperatures in Ibiza: high 16°C, low 10°C
GETTING AROUND IBIZA
Walking around Ibiza: walking from town to town is impossible. The settlements on the island are pretty spread out. Once your in town, either Ibiza Town or San Antonio, walking around is easy. There are also some longer hikes around the island if that’s what you’re going to Ibiza for, but we seriously doubt that it is.
Biking around Ibiza: very doable, as the roads are mostly flat(ish), but there is a lot of traffic to contest with. You could conceivably bike to the different villages around the island, but you wouldn’t bank on making it there and back. More of a way to do a tour of the island than a way of getting around on a day-to-day basis. The heat in summer also makes this option unappealing.
Public transport in Ibiza: there is a bus that runs regularly from the airport to Ibiza Town, and from there you can grab a bus to pretty much any part of the island, for about €1.20. The bus service is pretty good, and runs all night with special party bus services. Make sure you check the schedule so you don’t find yourself stuck.
Taxis in Ibiza: plenty of taxis in Ibiza and splitting one with some friends, or strangers, after the club is a surefire way to get yourself out of the disco zone and into your bed as quickly as possible. They’re not cheap, but split between a few of you it won’t break the budget — and will seem reasonable compared to the drink prices in the clubs. Just be aware that during the busiest periods there may be a bit of a wait for taxis, because the island is so full of party animals.
Driving around Ibiza: this is the way to get around if you want to explore the beaches on all sides of the island. There are plenty of hire cars available that aren’t too expensive, just make sure you follow our guide to renting a car in Europe. Driving around the island is easy, save the traffic, with main roads running from north to south and east to west. With a car you’ll be sure to find yourself in some pretty interesting, off the beaten track type spots around the island. Just make sure you’ve gotten some sleep before you jump behind the wheel. Also, renting a moped is an awesome way to see the island if you’ve got the skills to navigate the windy, narrow roads. It’s not the safest way to get around, but it might be the most fun.
IBIZA ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS
Where to stay in Ibiza: the main tourist ghettos are Playa d’en Bossa, for the electronic music party crowd, and Sant Antonio, for the ‘aving it large British sun, sex, substance abuse and steak and two veg holidaymakers. These areas are full of tourists, touts, billboards and noise, a good place to have an inauthentic experience and pay top dollar for it. Ibiza Town is the island’s main city and has many of the hallmarks of any Spanish city, plus plenty of beautiful people, higher prices and lots of all-white clothes. Stoke Travel’s Beach Camp is located near Es Canar, in the northeast of the island, far enough away from the madness to have an authentic, beautiful beach and chill experience, but close enough to go absolutely mad in the clubs every night and most days.
Couchsurfing in Ibiza: good luck. This is one of the most touristy islands in the world and any spare beds here are offered up at top dollar. Anybody offering you a free bed is either a super nice soul, a weirdo, or a creep. If you want to try your luck, then go for it (but please be careful).
Where to sleep in your car in Ibiza: you probably can, but you don’t want to. First you have to have a car that’s big enough to sleep in (most hires are small), then you have to find a place where the police won’t move you on, which means in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have to get there sober and then spend the night all alone, in the middle of nowhere, just so you can have a cramped sleep, while the whole world rages around you…
Camping in Ibiza: a great option! There are a few campgrounds around the island, Camping Cala Nova and Camping Laplaya are both located on the northeast of the island and offer beautiful bays to swim in and very dusty, pine tree covered plots to set up a tent and sleep in. Camping Laplaya is where the Stoke Travel Beach Camp is and is a short walk from the hippie market and has an onsite bar that absolutely goes off. On the other side of the island there’s the option of staying in Camping San Antonio.
Airbnb in Ibiza: this is a good option if you’re coming out with a big group and want to rent a private villa somewhere. This is a very nice option, a fancy option and you will feel like a really cool guy or girl staying in this kind of place. You will also likely be far from the action and have to take taxis to go out and return home. It’s worth having a look, but beware that it’s Ibiza which means that prices are often astronomical.
Best Hostels in Ibiza: there are some hostels around the island, but they are expensive and it might be a bit tough sharing a room with strangers when everybody is getting so constantly messed up all the time. That said, there are rooms available, so if you follow our guide to finding cheap accommodation you might snag something.
Best Hotels in Ibiza: what do you want? There are some of the best and finest hotels in the world here, and some of the worst. The thing they have in common? They’re all overpriced! This might not be the best place to treat yourself to a hotel stay.
IBIZA FOOD AND DRINK
What to eat in Ibiza: ecstasy! Nah just kidding, maybe ketamine is a better option. But in all honesty there is a lot of great food out in Ibiza, which fits into it doubling as a sort of glam, health and wellness zone for people who like to treat themselves after they’ve partied to death’s door. Some of the best food here comes from the sea, which makes sense considering that Ibiza is an island surrounded by it. Try the seafood paella, which isn’t exactly an endemic dish, but is one that you’ll find in abundance here, or the revamped fisherman’s stew that’s known as bullit de peix. Sofrit pages is an option for the more carnivorous party animals, as it’s a stew filled with chicken, lamb and Ibiza sausages, namely butifarra and sobrasada. And for your way home from the clubs, there’s always a trusty kebab just around the corner.
Best places to eat in Ibiza: there are so many options and depending on where you are there are going to be some very good, and very average options. We recommend that you do your research depending on which part of town you’re in and make a dining decision based on your budget. Also, always make sure you know how much everything costs before you order it, especially drinks, as just going with the waiters’ recommendations can really blow a hole in your bank balance (they often work on commission with drinks, so it’s in their best interests to upsell you). Some of our favourites include the fancy Amante oceanside club on the eastside, the Giri Cafe in the north of the island with lots of produce grown on site and an emphasis on health, Peter Pan in Ibiza Town’s old quarter for Italian inspired seafood, and Villa Mercedes in San Antonio for a reasonably priced seafood heavy lunch menu.
What to drink in Ibiza: water. Make sure you drink plenty of water. If you get the chance to drink free water then take it with both hands because you can’t drink any of the tap water on the island. And when you’re drinking alcoholic beverages, try and do the majority of your intake outside the big clubs, because once inside you’ll be paying a lot for them. We find a nice jug of sangria, or tinto de verano is the perfect thing to get the party started, especially if shared with chums on a sun-soaked terrace.
Scams and crime in Ibiza: given the massive influx of tourists arriving each summer in Ibiza, it’s no wonder that there are some scammers about looking to fleece you of your hard earned. Some of the scams to look out for include villa scams, where you’ll unwittingly book nonexistent or underwhelming accommodation, scams involving fake club entry and people selling you shitty drugs. Like always, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Ibiza is expensive, so if someone’s offering you the deal of a lifetime, it’s likely you’re getting ripped off. There are also pickpockets in operation, so make sure you do what you can to avoid them by following our guide to not getting robbed.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN IBIZA
Best Ibiza beaches: oh there are some absolute stunners, and you’re best bet is exploring a new one every day you can, choosing where to go based on the predicted wind (if the wind is coming from the south, go north, if it’s an east wind, then the west coast for you, etc.). Here’s a list of some of our favourite beaches: Cala Benirrás in the north of the island is a beautiful little cove fringed by some long cliffs. It’s famed for its hippy markets and drumming circles, but the beautiful water, quaint shacks and awesome snorkeling are what gets us.
Aguas Blancas is an official nudist beach at the bottom of some pretty steep cliffs. The sand is the drawcard here, fine and white, and it’s a bit of a secret(ish) spot favoured by locals.
Platja de ses Salinas is at the south of the island and the nearest gorgeous beach to Ibiza Town and the tourist ghetto of Playa d’en Bossa. It’s a longish beach with plenty of sand, clear water and some fun beach bars. There are plenty of beautiful people on this beach, so try and be as hot as possible.
Cala Comte a popular beach on the westside of the island, which makes it a great place to watch the sunset, snorkel, or get the party started with the hordes of soon-to-be-sunburnt punters.
Ibiza sights: the whole island, and 90% of the people on it are absolute sights, but if you’ve got a hankering for some real sightseeing check out Dalt Vila, the walled and elevated old town in Ibiza Town, with narrow cobbled streets and amazing views, Punta Arabi Hippy Market where you’ll find all manner alternative arts and crafts and other chakra-aligning wares, the island of Formenterawhich is like Ibiza, but smaller and quieter and maybe nicer, watch the sunset over Es Vedra, an amazing tall, sheer cliffy island off the southwest coast, or maybe take a walk and find your own self-discovered hidden beach.
Places to catch Ibiza sunsets: Ibiza is renowned for its sunsets and you’re more or less guaranteed of a breathtaking one as long as you find yourself on the beach facing west. That being said, there are a few spectacular spots to get to if you can: Es Vedra. If there’s one sunset spot to tick off your list, it’s this one. You can do it from one of two places; on the beach at Cala d’Hort or find your way to the hidden lookout by ‘La Torre D’es Savina’.
Cafe del Mar/Cafe Mambo, Sant Antoni. Probably the most famous spot for sunset on the island, and also one of the most expensive. If you can’t afford the drinks at either of the waterside venues here, join the hundreds of other tourists who congregate each evening on the rocks in front of these cafes and have a party of their own, complete with fire twirlers, drinks from the supermarket and one of the best sunsets around.
Cala Comte. Watch that big orange ball sink below the horizon at this unique beach not too far from San Antoni. Get there early so a) you can find a car park, and b) enjoy a swim in the beautifully clear turquoise waters.
Chirincana, Es Canar. If you find yourself on the east of Ibiza come sunset, this is a great bet for sunset. Grab a reasonably priced cocktail from the bar and watch the sun set over the hills of Santa Eulalia. If you’re here on a Wednesday or Sunday (during the summer months), you’ll get some live music and party atmosphere to go with it.
Ibiza districts: Ibiza town/Eivissa is the only real city on the island, complete with plenty of shopping options, a historic old town, complete with cobbled streets, traditional houses and the Dalt Vila fort, a big port that will take you almost anywhere in the Mediterranean, as well as nice bars and great nightlife.
San Antonio is where the hens/bucks parties congregate, drunk brits abroad make utter nuisances of themselves and the iconic sunset goes down every day. It’s quite trashy but can be good if you know the right places.
Playa den Bossa is the main party strip, with a big, long, kind of dirty sandy beach filled with lots of people from all walks of life. Home to the famous Bora Bora beach parties on Sundays in summer.
Santa Eulalia is one of the bigger towns on the island, located on the east side, where life is a bit slower. Locals mix among families on holiday and hippies selling their wares. Stoke Travel’s Ibiza Beach Camp isn’t far from here.
IBIZA FESTIVALS AND PARTIES
Ibiza music festivals: Ibiza doesn’t have too many music festivals, mainly because of the fact the the best DJs in the world are playing every night of the week. The season does kick off with a single day music festival called IMS Ibiza towards the end of May. This festival is held within the walls of Dalt Vila.
Ibiza clubs: there are so many clubs in Ibiza, being somewhat the flag bearer for the international electronic music and party scene. The clubs range from the big — like Amnesia, hosting everything from EDM to techno, Pacha, over 50-years old and still going strong, Privilege, only the biggest nightclub in the world, and Ushuaia, an open-air pool club for the glam — to the small — like Pike’s, a quirky hotel for disco and funk fans, Sankey’s, a British clubbing institution found in Ibiza featuring everything from drum’n’bass to house to techno, and Las Dalias, n the heart of hippy-Ibiza this place doubles as a market and hosts all sorts of music. Most popular nights are Wednesdays and Sundays.
Ibiza boat parties: these are a fantastic way of getting value for money and ticking a few things off your list in one go. Often, for one price, you’ll get a great party, all of your drinks included, a few nightclub entries for after and you get to see stunning Ibiza from the sea.
Ibiza cultural Festivals: like a lot of Spain, most of the towns and villages in Ibiza will host their own fiestas throughout the year where the streets are closed and the locals come out to play. If you’re lucky you might stumble across one, like the Fiesta de Santa Maria, on the 5th of August, that celebrates the island’s patron saint with food and wine.
Want to join the fun in Ibiza with the gorgeous, experienced and fun loving team that pulled this guide together? Then book as soon as possible for the Ibiza Beach Camp, Stoke Travel’s little slice of Balearic paradise, perched on the shores of the Mediterranean, far enough away from the madness to be paradisiacal, but close enough to rage every night.