After hearing of a legendary island where you could dance till dawn every night to the world’s greatest DJs, I made a beeline for Ibiza in 2005, on a holiday that combined beaches, hippies, rave-athons and all the regular must-do experiences.
I returned home knowing I’d yet to scratch the surface of this magical island, promptly quit my job working as an editor in glossy magazines, packed up my belongings (including my cat!) and hotfooted it back to the Balearics and I’ve been here ever since.
In that time I’ve interviewed the who’s who of DJs for a weekly online TV show for legendary club night We Love… Space, written club reviews and travel articles for local and international press including Pacha Magazine and OK! Magazine, plus contributed to online guides including White Ibiza and Icon Ibiza, which meant getting to know the very best (and some of the worst!) hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs, beaches, spas and shops on the island.
The best thing about Ibiza is, it doesn't matter how long you've been here, there are always many more layers to be peeled off and amazing new things to be discovered. I'm still finding them!
Where I always grab a coffee: In the prime position of Montesol on the corner of Vara de Rey. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Ibiza and I love the way the bow-tie clad waiters (a throwback to the hotel’s heritage, surely) still actually pour the milk into your coffee at your table. I’m just as likely to pull up a pew here on a sunny afternoon for an icy cold (and cheap!) beer – well, it is Ibiza after all!
My favourite stroll: The cobbled streets and thick fortress walls of Dalt Vila never cease to amaze me and every time I walk out my front door, I’m in the heart of it all. Because you can’t actually drive up here, there’s no choice but to stroll to get to shops, transport or restaurants and I take different routes to my destination each time.
Fiction for inspiration: I’ve yet to find a book that truly captures the essence of Ibiza, perhaps because it’s something that can’t be put into words however The White Island by Stephen Armstrong is great to learn about the island’s rich history.
Where to be seen: The rooftop terrace at Pacha. Sure, there’s plenty of dance floor and DJ action going on inside, but up here is where dance music industry types mingle with celebs, DJs and Ibiza locals under the balmy, starry sky.
The most breathtaking view: Nothing beats gazing out as Es Vedra from the lookout point at Sa Pedrera at sunset. Truly magical.
The best spot for some peace and quiet: The highest point on the island, Sa Talaia is my secret escape. From here you have an a-l-m-o-s-t 360-degree view of the whole island and because it’s about a ten-minute rocky, bumpy drive up a very steep hill, very few people go there. You can watch planes flying in on one side and sunset on the other – the perfect place to get away from it all.
Shopaholics beware: Just when you think you’ve packed the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe, the beach boutiques present yet another must-have kaftan/necklace/hat/bikini. There’s something about buying beach fashion on the beach that gets me every time. Luckily, I live in the right place to wear it every day too!
Resort soundtrack: Ibiza Sonica Radio really is the soundtrack to Ibiza life. By day, it’s an eclectic selection of cool chill out, funk and soul, plus alternative and rock classics and then the pace picks up until the nightly club mixes, often broadcast live from Space or Amnesia kick in. 24/7 music from Ibiza, broadcast (on www.ibizasonica.com) all around the world for free. You can’t get much better than that!
Don’t leave without: Downing a shot of Hierbas. At the end of every meal and often in a bar, you’ll be asked if you want a “chupito” (shot). The answer, quite simply is, “si, por favor” and you’ll be rewarded with a complimentary shot of the local specialty liqueur, a chilled, syrupy blend of local herbs with an aniseed-esque flavour. Warning: Hierbas been known to cause crazy behaviour and memory loss if you drink too much!
My expert information
Famous for being the bohemian “side” of the island, San Juan’s lush green hills, rich flora and fauna and beautiful, ancient architecture provide a wonderful escape from the hectic beaches and nightlife scene (though it boasts its own unique, laidback culture and tranquil, quiet beaches too) and a fabulous place to unwind in peace. It’s also where the stars stay in deluxe villas and five star hotels hidden in the hills, to avoid the prying lenses of the paparazzi. Yes, it’s Ibiza, but not as you know it…Read more...
While the eastern resort of Santa Eulalia is far from sleepy, it definitely offers visitors the alternative of a quieter pace of life in Ibiza. For every busy beachfront dominated by high-rise hotels and chock-full of plastic sun loungers, there is a beautiful, unspoilt bay waiting to be discovered just around the corner. Attracting a largely German and British tourist crowd, plus a popular place for expats to set up shop, it’s also an area where it’s easy to find the creature comforts of home - if you can’t go on holiday without them, that is!Read more...
The west side of the island is best known for the concrete jungle that is San Antonio, Ibiza’s second largest town and many a person’s entry level into Ibiza holidays “back in the old days” of all-inclusive package deal holidays. These days it’s totally possible, not to mention preferable, to plan your own San An itinerary to suit your own taste and match your budget, and the surrounding beaches and bays more than overcompensate for the tourist trappings of the town itself.Read more...
Ibiza’s longest strip of sand has undergone a huge multi-million dollar facelift over the last two years, elevating the standards of what was once a tacky, tourist town to meet the standards of Ibiza’s visiting VIP elite. But Playa d’en Bossa is not all about the super cool beach party scene (though I wouldn’t blame you if you spent your entire holiday bar-hopping here), there are also some amazing new restaurants, cool hotels, fun things to do for families, great fashion and more. Read more...
Ibiza Town is so full of character, heart, soul, spirit and history… to me, this is the real Ibiza. Not only is it home to the amazing UNESCO World Heritage listed site Dalt Vila - a huge, walled fortress surrounding a cobbled street town (and coincidentally my home!) - it’s also the place where all the nightly summer action kicks off in a multitude of bars and restaurants in the port area. By day the jet set, yachting types and VIPs linger around the super cool Marina Botafoch area and just walking distance away are beautiful, laid-back beaches. Read more...