Travel Guide "Ibiza"

General

Ibiza is one of Spain's great islands and the Spanish are cheerful, friendly and generally very helpful. Good manners in Ibiza are welcome everywhere and expected by most people. Ibiza, with its beautiful beaches, is undeniably a major-league cultural, lively and historic city, and worth a visit, whatever the time of year.

Of course, the Ibizencens speak Spanish on Ibiza, at least with the international guests, who speak the Castilian language. Among each other, however, the locals prefer the Catalan dialect, which became the island’s official language in 1991. But don´t worry, English, French and German are generally understood at most attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants that cater for visitors. 

History

The earliest known settlement on Ibiza was in around 4500 BC, when Neolithic settlers crossed from the mainland to tend their animals on Ibiza's fertile terrain. The first settlers to make a real impact, however, were the Phoenicians in around 650 BC. They named their settlement - modern-day Ibiza Town - Ibosim, after Bes, their god of dance.

Ibosim's ideal location on the trade route between Europe and North Africa had attracted the Phoenicians, and, after them, the Carthaginians. The main product they traded was salt, which remained the main source of income until tourism took over.

Ibosim became Ebesus when the Roman Empire superseded the Carthaginian Empire in 146 BC, and later Yebisah under the Moors, who came to the island in the tenth century AD and brought with them Arabic and Islam.

In 1235, when the Catholic King Jaume I of Catalunya conquered what he called Eivissa (today still the Catalan name for Ibiza), Spain finally staked its claim on the island. This claim was enforced far more ruthlessly after the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 18th century, when Castilian customs were forced upon the island, and it was renamed for the final time, to Ibiza. Spain, in commandeering this tiny island, had unwittingly acquired one of its greatest assets.

How the tourist age started. Regular ferries had been shuttling between Ibiza and the mainland since the end of the nineteenth century, but it was not until the 1950s that mass tourism really started to take off with the inauguration of the airport. Ibiza was seen as rather an exotic honeymoon location. The development of beaches, hotels and resorts continued through the 1960s, by which time Ibiza had earned a reputation as a hangout for hippies and those travelling on a tight budget.

By the 1970s, many of today's larger clubs had already established themselves as hippie venues; Pacha is one notable example, hosting wild parties that attracted travellers from all over the world. Now that last-minute holiday bookings have made the island so affordable and accessible about 1,5 million guests visit the island annually and the commercial power of Ibiza shows no sign of diminishing. 

Climate/Travel Period

Due to the Mediterranean Sea, which acts as a thermal storage system, Ibiza enjoys a subtropical and mild climate, with moderate winters and hot summers.  In winter temperatures seldom drop below freezing point and the day time temperatures still average cozy 15°C. In summer, the days are always sunny, but seldom “unbareably” hot. The daytime temperatures range between 27° to 29°C.

Each season has something unique to offer visitors to the island Generally wonderful sunny weather in June, July and August tend to be the peak of the tourist season in Ibiza – and when tourism slows down in September and October temperatures are still most pleasant and the ocean´s water most likely warmer than 22°C. 

Fewer sunny days occur in November, December and January, when Ibiza is at its most quiet. In spring, when the vegetation starts blooming the island is attractive for all those guests, who are not typical beach lovers, as fine, mild weather on most days allows for a relaxing, memorable holiday.

Das Klima im Jahresdurchschnitt:

 

Jan

Feb

Mär

Apr

Mai

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Okt

Nov

Dez

°C day temp

14,6

14,6

16,4

18,6

22,2

25,6

28,3

28,8

27,0

22,7

18,6

16,0

°C night temp

6,9

6,8

8,8

10,9

14,1

17,9

20,7

21,5

19,6

15,3

11,5

8,7

hours of sun

4,6

6,3

6,6

8,1

9,6

10,6

11,4

10,3

8,2

7,1

5,8

5,3

rainy days

6

6

6

5

3

3

1

1

4

8

10

9

°C water temp

14

13

14

15

17

21

24

25

24

21

18

15

Attractions

Whilst it is certainly true to say that the beaches and nightclubs of Ibiza make up an integral part of the island's main attractions, there is certainly much more to this Balearic island than simply sun, sand and partying.

Ibiza Town

Ibiza Town (Eivissa) really is the most fascinating part of the island, day or night, where you'll encounter a concentration of all the attractions, the magic and the eccentricities which have made Ibiza world famous. The fairytale architecture of historic Old Town Dalt Vila with its picturesque narrow alleys and spectacular views will captivate you.

We also recommend a stroll around the quays and jetties of Marina Botafoch. The yacht harbour is graced with floating pleasure palaces of the international jetset regulars, who migrate to Ibiza faithfully at the start of each summer to indulge in their extravagant lifestyle. Some trendy restaurants and cafés invite to enjoy the fabulous view and the atmosphere.

 

Hippy Markets

A visit to one of the famous Hippy Markets is a must-see for every holiday-maker. But that's not the only market you can visit. There are many other happening all over the island so where ever you stay you can enjoy a fabulous shopping experience. The biggest Markets are on Wednesday in Es Caná and on Saturday in San Carlos.

At the markets you have an enormous variety to choose from: the most exotic batik wraps and clothing to tailor-made leather moccasins and a tantalizing variety of East Asian silver jewelry and trinkets. If you look around you can still find some of the original hippies, although most of them have grey hair by now!

 

Las Salinas Salt Flats

They are one of Ibiza's most famous landmarks. On the southernmost tip of the island, the salt fields have been in use for over 2000 years. As the water evaporates during the hot summer months, a sparkling layer of pure salt is left on the bottom of the lakes. In the evenings the salt flats are a most beautiful spot for sunset photos.

 

Can Marça Caves – Puerto de San Miquel

Breathtaking sea views as you descend the steep coast to the entrance. Following the ancient smuggler´s route you enter the stunning limestone cave. Mysteriously, stalagmites and stalactites have formed into figures, temples and rocket stations. At the heart is a spectacular Music & Light Show with a 30 ft. cascade of diamond-bright water. Open all year with hourly tours.

 

Cova d'es Culleram - San Vicente

The famous Cova d'es Culleram was discovered in 1907. This large cave was a temple to the goddess Tanoit during the days of the Cathaginian rulers and is located in the San Vicente area of Ibiza. The many treasures that were unearthed in the caves are exhibited in the Museu Arqueologic at Dalt Vila. The Cova d'es Culleram can be easily reached by car, and then by foot, and is well signposted.

 

Poblado de Balafia – San Lorenzo

The historic village of Balafia is regarded as being of great cultural interest by local institutions. It is a small cluster of houses that are all well-preserved examples of the Arabic influence and typical style of traditional Ibizan architecture in the 16th century.

You can get to the village by taking a turning next to the beautiful church of San Lorenzo. The houses are only a few meters’ walk away down the earth track. Two of the houses have impressive defense towers adjoining the main house, while another has a tower that is separate from the main building.

 

Es Vedrá Rock – Cala D´Hort

Es Vedrá Rock is a spectacular rock formation lying approximately 700m off the western coastline of Ibiza near Cala D´Hort. Already in ancient times Es Vedra has sparked the imagination of many people. It is said that Es Vedra is the rock of the Greek mythology, which wrecked Odysseus ship, when the sweet songs of the sirenes seduced him.

Probably the best views can be enjoyed from the pirate tower Torre del Pirata. It was built in 1763 and is located directly opposite of Es Vedra.

 

Atlantis – Cala D´Hort

Underneath the Torre del Pirata on the western coast lies the old quarry Sa Pedrera.

In the 16th century the stones for the fortification walls of Ibiza town were sawn out of the hard rock. The resulting bizarre structure above and under the water prompted the hippies of the 60s to call this place “Atlantis” and to worship it.

Some lived in the surrounding caves and left behind own rock art and interesting drawings. Today it is local custom to build a stone figure as a luck charm, so you will find these all over the place. Don´t forget to put on sturdy shoes, if you visit Atlantis.

Leisure Options

Ibiza is a dream holiday destination, no matter if you are old or young, if you are keen on sports or not, if you travel with or without children, in summer or winter. Active holiday makers and sun worshippers are in best hands on Ibiza, but also shopping fans, night owls, nature lovers, gourmet experts or culturally interested guests can indulge extensively in their favorite leisure activities.

Dream Beaches

Along the coast line of about 200 km, about 50 beaches invite for enjoying the sun and sea. Endless stretches of sandy beaches, scenic pebble beaches, cozy coves and hidden bays – the choice is yours. Beaches for small children, for divers, surfer, water sport fans, romantics or the party people, there is a beach for everybody.

Sightseeing

For such a small island Ibiza has plenty to show you on your holiday; beautiful beaches, enchanting countryside, history and culture wait to be explored. The best way to see Ibiza is certainly to hire a car and spend your excursions cruising around the island at your own pace.

Inland you will find beautiful white washed villages, each with their own ancient church. Explore the narrow lanes, browse the local shops and then, perhaps, enjoy a lazy lunch on a shady terrace with panoramic views.

Water Sports

Water temperatures range from 18º C in May to 26º in August making the island ideal for all sorts of water sports.

Most of the larger beaches have kiosks where you can rent pedaloes or have a go on a banana boat. There are also several beaches offering waterskiing and jet skiing (San Antonio Bay, Cala Bassa, Playa d'en Bossa, Santa Eulalia) or parasailing. Occasionally you can hire a Catamaran or surfboard and their a several sailing schools, yacht and motor boat rental companies.

Ibiza is also a popular resort for both amateur and professional divers. Dive locations include cave dives and wreck dives. The cargo ferry Don Pedro, which sunk in July 2007 near Ibiza port is now open for recreational diving.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, cycling and tennis are probably among the most popular outdoor activities on the island, as well as walks along the scenic coastline or rejuvenating in wellness and spa-facilities, but there is basically something for everybody, when looking for body exercise.

All beach fun sports as beach volleyball, badminton and Frisbee can be enjoyed, as well as horseback riding, climbing, mountain or quad biking or more unusual sports as paint ball combats, paragliding or piloting a cart car on a race track.  Golfers can pursue their favorite hobby at Roca Llisa, near Cala Llonga

Cultural Experiences

Ibiza is steeped in history. Many different nations have colonized the Island in past centuries. They added their architecture and building skills, their lifestyle and their traditions to the Spanish heritage, thus contributed to the Ibizan character and culture of today. 

The narrow, winding streets of Dalt Vila, full of picturesque nooks that seem to be suspended in time, are a good example of all there is to discover. Full of bohemian ambiences and romantic spots, the old quarter with intricate streets and well-preserved Renaissance ramparts hosting art galleries, museums, restaurants with creative and traditional cuisine, little bars and trendy shops all the way up to the cathedral and the castle is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Many historic and traditional sites attract culturally interested guests. Beautiful old monasteries and churches on the island are full of medieval artifacts and artworks. Several archaeological sites are exceptional evidence of former Phoenician colonies.  The Northern African influence can even be discovered in the local music.

Numerous museums, galleries and exhibitions invite for cultural journeys and the colorful weekly market days and craft markets have a long tradition, as well as the folkloric groups of the many villages, preserving the traditions of the Ibicencan culture. The folk dances, the traditional music and costumes are passed on from generation to generation and are an integral part of every fiesta.

Shopping

The vibrant shopping scene and the trendsetting boutiques in Ibiza's Port will set your pulse racing. Designer labels, sophisticated sunglasses and watches, shoes and handbags, handmade leather, your favourite perfumes, wines and spirits and more are all to be found at very competitive prices.

Epicenter of the shopping scene is certainly Ibiza town with the most trendy boutiques selling latest designer wear and a wonderful array of evening craft stalls in the port. Still, also San Antonio and Santa Eulalia are getting trendier by the minute. Upmarket designer shops and boutiques selling unique fashions plus wonderful accessories delight the international clientele.

The Hippy Markets are a also a must-visit for every shopping fan, as they can browse amongst handmade jewelry, handcrafted souvenirs and unique clothing.

 

Restaurants

When it comes to restaurants Ibiza has become renowned for having the best in style and flavours. Whether it's a simple beach side lunch or a sophisticated candle lit dining, you'll be spoilt for choice, also in the way of quality, ambience, service or value

The traditional Ibicencan menus with age old recipes for rabbit, lamb, fish and chicken will delight you. Also sample fresh sardines on a sandy beach, or relax over tasty tapas in a picturesque country village.

Nightlife

If it's nightlife you're after, you've come to the right place: world-class clubs, hip djs, hot bands, a cosmopolitan mix of clubbers, locals, freaks, old stagers, fresh faces, a wide range of sexualities, and the full alphabet of celebrities. You will find it all in Ibiza town, in San Antonio, as well as in the prominent holiday resorts along the east coast.

The Privilege, renowned to be the biggest nightclub worldwide is located between Ibiza Town and Sant Antonio and provides space for 10.000 partygoers. Many other famous clubs as the Space, Amnesia or Pacha in Sant Antonio, Platja d´en Bossa and Sant Rafel are also worthwhile a visit.

At San Antonio Bay, in front of Ibiza´s most legendary beach bar Café del Mar, it is still customary to meet in the early evening and to celebrate the spectacular sun sets together by chilling with a cool drink to ambient sound. On Sundays we also recommend a trip to Cala Benirras, where locals gather in the evenings to beat the drums – and it is certainly also a thrilling experience to join one of the  Goa-Parties in the mountains, taking place with every full moon.

Travel Tips

Getting to Ibiza

Every day, thousands of passengers from all over the world arrive at the islands' airport. The airports of Mallorca and Spain often act as stop overs for the European airlines. If you prefer to arrive by sea, there are also regular ferries to Ibiza Town and San Antonio leaving every day from Barcelona, Valencia, Denia and Palma de Mallorca.

Entry requirements

To enter Mallorca, Europeans only need a valid passport or ID-book. Children under 16 must carry along their own child identity card or be registered in the passport of one parent.

Customs

Quantitative restrictions for importing or exporting tobacco or alcohol have been abolished within EU countries! But be careful. If you exceed the following quantities, you will have to convince custom officers that your goods are still for private use only! Quantities should not exceed: 800 cigarettes, 200 cigars, 400 cigarillos, 1 kg tobacco, 10 l spirits, 20 l other liquors up to 22%, as well as 90 l wine (with max 60 l of sparkling wine) and 110 l of beer.

For Swiss visitors and their duty-free shopping the following amounts still apply: 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250gr tobacco, as well as 1 l spirits or 2 l liquor and 2 l of wine, 50 g perfume or 0,25 l Eau de Toilette. 

Language

English is the foreign language the Ibicencos probably understand and speak most. However, most Ibicencos are delighted, if a traveller makes an effort to speak their native language. A few words might already be enough to get a better, amicable service in a restaurant or bar. So for example “Good morning” in Eivissenc is not “buenas dias”, but “bon dia”, “Good day” is “bona tarda”, “Please” is “si volz” and “Thank you” is “gracies”. Try it!

Medical Care

Thanks to the large number of foreign visitors the medical facilities on Ibiza are excellent. There are several good-quality hospitals and numerous private and public healthcare providers. Travellers should check that they have all the necessary documentation with them before travelling (e.g. a European Health Insurance Card) and it might also be a good idea to obtain a medical and travel insurance.

Drinking Water

You should always prefer bottled water to tap water. The tap water might be harmless by and large, but it tastes salty and has usually been treated with many chemicals. You can use it for brushing your teeth, but if you are thirsty, we recommend bottled water, even if the 2l and 5l water bottles account massively for increasing Mallorca´s garbage piles.

Clothing

In winter, temperatures can drop to 0°Celsius, so don´t forget warm pullovers.

In summer you will seldom need more than a shirt/T-shirt and short pants, but you should dress properly, when going down-town. The locals on the party island are patient, but don´t like scantily dressed tourists in the streets – and it is also not appropriate to visit restaurants and bars half-naked.

By the way: Officially it is not allowed to undress completely on the beach, although you might get more complaints from indignant sun worshippers than any problems with the local authorities.

Restaurants

Lunch time for locals is usually around 14h00 and dinner not before 21h00. It is considered to be not polite to join other guests at a table, even if only one person occupies a large table. When entering a restaurant, wait for the waiter/waitress, allocating table for you. To choose a table yourself is also impolite.

Tipping

In bars and restaurants it is common to leave a tip of 5-10% of the invoiced amount. “Keep the rest” is not the appropriate way to tip. Just wait until the waiter returns with the correct change, then leave the tip behind on the table. 2,50 Euro are well received by maids and about 1 Euro make a taxi driver happy.

Trading Hours

On weekdays shops are generally open from 09h00 – 13h00 and from 16h00/17h00 – 20h00. On Saturdays they do not reopen after siesta time. Supermarkets are the exception to the rule. They remain open during all lunch times, on Saturdays and in season some even open up on Sundays.

Pets

If you want to bring your dog or cat to Ibiza, all you need is a health certificate (max 10 days old), and a rabies vaccination proof (not older than 12 months, not more recent than 1 month). But be aware: Dogs are not well received on most beaches, at most restaurants and most guest houses. Taxi drivers might even refuse their services.

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