What to do to experience a different side to Ibiza

The mere mention of Ibiza and images of nightclubs, foam parties and general debauchery tend to spring to mind.

While the Balearic island has rightly gained worldwide acclaim for its superclubs such as Pacha, Space and Amnesia – it does have a tender side. The resorts of Santa Eulalia and Portinatx have been family holiday favourites for years and through a little exploration you can discover a much different side to Ibiza.

It’s not all clubs and cheap booze and with that in mind, here is our alternative guide of what to see and do in Ibiza.

Visit Las Dalias Hippy Market

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Photo credit: Ronald Saunders via Flickr

As the sun sets on the northern town of San Carlos one of Ibiza’s quirkiest attractions comes to life. Las Dalias Hippy Market has been a fixture in this corner of the island since 1954 and took on its hippy vibe in the 1980s.

It is less of a simple shopping venture and more of a celebration each evening. The market hosts concerts and other live entertainment, sells a range of handmade clothing and jewellery as well as dishing up delicious hippy-inspired island food providing an evening full of fun.

Learn the history of Dalt Vila

DalVilaIbiza

In Ibiza’s Old Town is a picturesque piece of the island’s history. Dalt Vila (translated as ‘Upper Town’) is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and a reminder of Ibiza’s origins. Wander around the cobbled streets of this relic of bygone era stopping for a bite to eat at one of the quaint cafes.

At the top there is the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows, a 16th century church that has sustained the test of time. Here you can gaze out on magnificent views of Ibiza Old Town and bask in the sea air.

Take a trip to Formentera

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Photo credit: Travelbusy

You haven’t seen paradise until you have been to Formentera. A short ferry ride from Ibiza and you will think you have arrived in a different world. The ocean is a vibrant blue unlike anything you have seen before, there is not a cloud in the sky and all you can hear is the whistle of the breeze passing over the trees.

Formentera is the ying to Ibiza’s hedonistic yang. Life goes at a slower pace. There are no crowds, no constant hum of drum and bass – it’s just you and nature. Take a dip in the inviting Mediterranean waters and bask in the overwhelming beauty of this genuine jewel of the Balearics.

Learn to scuba dive

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“What did you do when you went to Ibiza?” your work colleague enquires when you return to the office. Wouldn’t it be great to reply with “I learnt to scuba dive”? The island has a host of incredible diving spots and a huge amount of schools to teach you everything you need to know to master the art.

Then you can get on with discovering the underwater paradises in the likes of Don Pedro and Dado Pequeno and saying hello to the fascinating marine life.

Spend the day in Cala Llonga

Calallonga

Sandwiched between Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia on the island’s east coast is beach resort of Cala Llonga. Despite its diminutive size it has immense character and is perfect for a family day out. The popular beach is flanked by rolling green hills creating a unique scene while tourists and locals frolic in the sea.

Easily accessible from the larger, nearby towns it is an excellent day trip destination.

Sample food in incredible locations

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Everyone has that holiday story where they had the best meal ever – so it’s time to make one for yourself. Explore your surroundings and you will find a host of interesting restaurants serving delicious local dishes in dramatic locations.

Head to the bay of Talamanca and enjoy fresh seafood caught that morning and gaze out on to the Mediterranean at Sa Punta Ibiza. Perhaps watch the sunset from Elements in San Juan while you dine on steak – you won’t be able to stop talking about it when you return home.

Meet creatures of the deep at Aquarium Cap Blanc

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Photo credit: Ivo Schwalbe via Flickr

Watch duelling lobsters, shoals of tropical fish and the obligatory octopus at Aquarium Cap Blanc. This cosy family attraction showcases all the creatures of the sea in their natural habitat. The aquarium sits within an old Smuggler’s grotto a short distance away from San Antonio.

Once used as a lobster storage tank by fishermen it is now a recuperation centre for injured sea turtles and provides a great family activity.

Take the tourist train

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What better way to see the delights the island has to offer than on the Ibiza Tourist Train! If you’re staying in Santa Eulalia, Es Cana, Es Figueral, Portinatx or San Miguel you can hop on this happy little train and explore your surroundings.

For a couple of euros, you take in the scenery of the fishermen’s cove of Pou des Lleo, stop by Cala Mastella, see the village of San Carlos or head to the bay of Cala Boix. Trust us, if you’re holidaying with young children it is all they’ll want to do.

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