I’ve swum with dolphins in the Bahamas, stayed in the Amanjena in Marrakesh and floated in the Dead Sea in Jordan. But for me, Ibiza has the real magic.
As former Travel Editor of The Observer
, people often want to know my favourite place on the planet. When I say Ibiza
they often look disappointed to say the least. I’ve swum with dolphins in the Bahamas, stayed in the Amanjena in Marrakesh and floated in the Dead Sea in Jordan. But for me, Ibiza has the real magic.
Let’s clear up one thing straight away. Ibiza may be famous for its clubs, but it is easy to holiday on the island and never set foot in one. You don’t have to drive far out of Ibiza Town or San Antonio and Ibiza becomes the paradise that has long attracted hippies, writers and artists over the decades, and the odd wizened travel journo.
The first thing I love about Ibiza is the smell. The island is covered in wild bushy rosemary and lavender. Almost every dirt track down to every small cove is surrounded by it. It’s the smell of Neal’s Yard Remedies au naturel. Seek out Cala Oliveira, Cala d’Hort and Cala Mastella and you’ll know what I mean.
At Cala Oliveira you can clamber up the side of the rocks and park yourself on a private ledge if you fancy an all-over tan. At Cala d’Hort, a nature reserve, I once swam alongside a stingray (it also has the best sunsets on the island). Cala Mastella is all about the crystal-clear waters you often think you have to fly much further than two hours to experience. It also has the best fish soup on the island. El Bigotes (a fisherman with a big moustache) serves his catch boiled with rice daily in a shaded shack at the side of the beach.
And then there’s the food produced on the island. Enormous water melons, wild honey and barbecued lamb or chicken marinated in that wild rosemary I was talking about earlier. It’s really good. If you want a slow afternoon drink watching the world go by, try Anita’s (a converted post office consisting of tables under an enormous shady tree in the hippy village of San Carlos) or head early evening to Santa Gertrudis, the village full of small cafes serving nothing but bread drizzled in olive oil with jamon and lots of wine. Who needs clubs when you have all this?
Stay at the beautiful, laidback 10-room Can Curreu
near San Carlos.