When to go to Ibiza
The best time to visit Ibiza
Around 4.5million travellers come through Ibiza airport each year, with around 50,000 a day on weekends in summer – no wonder they’re extending the terminal as I type! If you’re after a holiday full of sun and fun then of course summer is for you, but I prefer the tail-end of the season, when the weather is still great and everything is still open for business without the hectic pace.
I also love the off-season, or more appropriately, the three off-seasons! The island has so many facets that aren’t just about beaches and clubs and this is the time to discover them. You’ll find hotels are cheaper, direct flights, however, may be a bit of a problem, so be sure to check the prices and convenience of both before booking. You don’t want to book a long weekend, only to spend 10 hour traveling each way for connecting flights.
Spring – The prettiest scenery and fun festivals
Ibiza undergoes a beautiful transformation in spring as the island sheds her winter skin to show off the rich, vibrant colours of the landscape; many of the restaurants and hotels come out of hibernation to show off their seasonal makeovers from mid-to-late March - you’ll find great cheap deals at this time of year.
Easter (called Semana Santa) is extremely busy, culminating in a jaw-dropping spectacle of a procession through the streets of Dalt Vila with multiple religious effigies carried by pointy-hat-and-flowing-robe clad believers on Good Friday. Then the Eivissa Medieval Festival takes centre stage, a three-day event on the second weekend in May that sees the entire walled city of Dalt Vila step back in time and be taken over by markets and food stalls with live performers running through the streets re-enacting battles of old. Personally, it’s my favourite event all year.
Then, it’s all about the music. The International Music Conference is one for the serious music enthusiasts, taking place from May 25-27 in 2011 and bringing big-wigs and industry heavyweights from all around the world to plot the future of dance music. It also features loads of cool events, including a big concert in the walls of Dalt Vila. The last weekend of May heralds the “official” opening of the clubbing season, the Space opening party, one of the biggest events in the world’s clubbing calendar.
Summer – What it’s all about for most people
As the temperatures start to soar, the action heats up. The club opening parties continue through June (each individual party has its own event), then fall into a regular routine throughout July and August. The first weekend of August heralds the annual BBC Radio One Weekender, a series of huge events taking place across the island and broadcast live, from clubs and parties to sunset sessions including the world’s most famous DJs.
A few key events to look out for that aren’t clubbing related: the Ibiza International Film Festival in the second week of June, the second annual Ibiza Beach Polo Cup scheduled for June 13-18 and the Jazz Festival from August 26-29.
For those who don’t like crowds, it’s worth noting that in August the island is hit with a swarm of tourists and the price of just about everything rises accordingly. A huge percentage of visitors are Italians, celebrating Ferragosto and while I love their OTT lust for life and fashion sense, the groups of guys can be a bit overwhelming for girls at times.
Autumn – The wind-down to almost-ghost-town
You can feel the island breathe a collective sigh of relief when September arrives, as the temperatures drop to a much more comfortable balmy heat at night and the days are beach-worthy and bearable. Most visitors will be talking about the club closings, which begin mid-month, with the very last three big ones - Pacha, Space and DC10 - closing on the first weekend in October. You’ll find cheap deals in hotels but it’s at this time many of the island’s restaurants shut up shop too.
Halloween is practically a national holiday here on the island, with multiple full-scale fancy dress bashes taking place, none more notorious than Bambuddha Grove’s on October 31, where the entire restaurant is transformed into the set of a horror movie – impressive! And quite suitable, as afterwards the island turns into a bit of a ghost town for a few weeks, unless you know where to look.
Winter – A festive revival followed by total tranquility
A big chill hits the island in the first week of December, but the temperatures are still an average of about 16 degrees. Spirits are high – quite literally on the second Saturday of the month as San Mateo hosts its annual wine festival as the festive season kicks in. The entire town becomes a winter wonderland, decked in amazing Christmas lights, with a huge tree, a big Christmas market lining Vara de Rey and a funfair on the outskirts of Ibiza Town that runs until January 6.
New Year’s Eve sees huge parties in Pacha and a special one-off on New Year’s Day in DC10, and January 2 is another reason to party when annual retail sales kick off. You’ll find up to 80 per cent off in some stores! This is also, not surprisingly, a time when yoga and detox retreats are popular. In February, the island becomes covered in clouds of fluffy white – not snow, it’s the beautiful blooming of the almond blossoms, symbolising the end of the cold snap and time to come out of hibernation.