Ibiza – home of the hedonistic all-nighter and a clubbing scene famous the world over. However, despite its reputation as THE resort for young partygoers, the White Isle has plenty of natural beauty, history and culture on offer for those who care to look. Here we take a look at a few suggestions of things to do in Ibiza for tourists who would rather discover the quiet isle than the inside of a nightclub.
Hit the Beach
Ibiza’s glorious beaches are a big draw for all types of tourist. From the family-friendly beaches of Cala Llonga and Es Caná to the isolated coves and bays of Cala Xarraca and Es Portitxol, there’s such a wealth of breathtaking coastal idylls around the island that it can be difficult to choose where to lay your towel. Many are walkable from the main resorts in Ibiza, some require longer hikes, and others still can only be reached by car or even kayak. My favorites include Es Cavalet Beach, Cala Tarida, and Sol d’en Serra bay.
Climb a Mountain
Ibiza’s highest point is found in Sant Josep, and a relatively easy 2.4 km walk will take you straight to the top of Sa Talaia. The sunsets from the pinnacle are truly awe-inspiring, and views across the sea during the day are not too bad either. For quiet hikers, spotting the native wildlife is a great way to spend an afternoon, and highlights include the common genet—a crepuscular, cat-like animal with striking spots and dense fur originally introduced from Africa.
Explore the Old Town
The average tourist town in Ibiza suffers from a real shortage of history, culture, and architecture. However, there are options on the island, and anyone looking for something altogether more sophisticated then Old Town will not disappoint. Dalt Vila, is it otherwise known, was declared a World Heritage site in 1999 and offers a wealth of medieval architecture along its labyrinthine alleys. The castle and old cathedral are both highlights but so too the Museum of Contemporary art which showcases some of the artistic creativity that emerged on the island in the 1960s.
Spelunk a Cave
Escape the midday heat and explore the subterranean delights of Puerto de San Miguel. Spectacular rock formations and an eerie illumination of the natural stone give the caves of Can Marça a suitably haunting atmosphere, and as you dive deeper, you’ll learn about the unsavory history of the many smugglers who used this place as a stash house.
Walk in the Footsteps of the Phoenicians
Located about 10 km west of Ibiza Town, the ancient ruins of the Sa Caleta Phoenician Settlement are a must-see for history lovers seeking things to do in Ibiza. Established around 650 BC, the settlement is typical of other Phoenician architecture built in the Mediterranean, however, its historical importance has been acknowledged, with the site now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bang a Drum
Head to Benirras on a Sunday and you’ll find a dedicated collective of drummers playing out the sunset. The ritual goes back to 1991 when hundreds of people gathered to protest the first Gulf War. An annual event was created to celebrate the Day of the Drums which was, sadly, canceled due to safety concerns around the growing number of attendees. Now, a smaller group hypnotically bangs a drum each and every Sunday. Bring your own or simply cut loose and dance.
Visit the Hippy Markets
Long before the White Isle became a clubbing Mecca, Ibiza was a refuge for the counterculture of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Some of that alternative ideology has remained on the island, and the many hippy markets give you a chance to take a little slice of Bohemia back home. Handcrafted jewelry, clothes, souvenirs and locally grown food are all on offer, and you’ll also likely find a few people still living the nonconformist dream.
Walk the Wetlands
Ses Feixes is an unassuming patch of land just on the edge of Ibiza Town. However, this protected area boasts hundreds of years of agricultural heritage and now serves as a delicate habitat to a wealth of endangered flora and fauna. Dating back more than 1000 years, the area was cultivated by the Moors whose advanced irrigation techniques were so successful that the land was farmed right up until the 1950s. Take a peaceful walk through the wetlands and spot indigenous and migratory birds alongside hedgehogs, reptiles, and bats.