What a difference a year makes! I last visited Ibiza one year ago on a solo trip with the intention of doing yoga, focusing on wellness and reading a book… I chose A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which happened to be one of the best, most heartbreaking and raw books I have ever read. Not the best choice when spending a lot of time on your own and you are putting the pieces together after ending a relationship with whom you thought was the man of your life. Take it from me, not a good idea!
One year on, I decided to plan another trip there with a group of three girlfriends – one of them whom I was lucky to meet on another more fortuitous yoga solo trip to Tulum. Determined to make the summer last as long as possible and several emails and google spreadsheets later, we decided on the weekend of Labor Day.
The island of Ibiza (or Eivissa in Catalan) forms part of the Balearic islands – an archipelago that includes Majorca and Menorca. The city was initially a port town founded by the Phoenicians and has seen its share of Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans since its founding around 636BC. You will still see remnants of this historic past in the stone watchtowers placed in strategic locations and the old walled city in town which is worth a visit. Its current association with music and clubs started in earnest in the 70s as “flower power” hippies (for lack of a better term!) flocked to the unspoilt island and the first modern clubs still in existence today – Amnesia and Pacha – opened their doors.
I was a tiny bit concerned that Ibiza would be mostly tailored to the “clubbing as priority” contingent, but after a little bit of research, I realized that the island has grown up along with some of its visitors and you can choose to have a country-type holiday buying organic vegetables and fresh fish to cook in your villa or be a night owl and make music and clubbing your daily plan. We managed to strike a great balance between all of these and you can too.
One friend came from the tundra (ok not quite but almost!) in far Eastern Russia, another came from Seattle via a series of connecting flights, and another one from NY (we both had the easy trip there!). We had an incredible few days filled with morning coffee chats in our lovely terrace, fresh fish and rose over long lunches, and a couple of nights out dancing wearing skimpy outfits.
Time, perspective and company make a whole world of difference. I am myself a different person now, and I am #grateful and #blessed to have spent this time with these women I admire and can learn from. Thank you for being part of my new memories of this island. May the summer be as long as we make it!
Transport: Do rent a car. Taxis are very unreliable, there is no uber (as of the time of writing). Especially if you are staying outside the town centers, the car will give you flexibility to drive around the island and visit the different beaches. Be aware Ibiza is quite a big island so 30-45 mins drives are par for the course.
Reservations: Reserve everything. I am a stone’s throw away from being obsessive compulsive, but no one wants to be disappointed. Lunches are long and people take their time so waiting around for an opening could be more painful than you’d imagine.
Stay: We rented a villa in San Josep de Sa Talaia, about a 10 min drive from the airport and close to the old town. We thought the location was excellent to explore the west side of the island while being close to the biggest clubs in town
Amante: The set up of this restaurant is incredible – over a cliff, with 3 levels offering stunning views of Cala Longa. We had the freshest branzino to share and afterwards, you could move to the comfy couches with a pitcher of sangria de cava. To take advantage of the view, I suggest you go by day
Blue Marlin Ibiza: Part beach club and part restaurant, this is a great option for those wanting to party but also wanting to wake up the next day before noon as it closes at midnight. There is a DJ, cannons throwing out smoke intermittently and dancing on tables late at night, but you can also have a relatively quiet, delicious meal under the trees. Get the cigalas if you like seafood – the sweetest freshest langoustines local to the area
El Chiringuito: Be careful because every bar/tapas place could be called a chiringuito but this is the one you are looking for. Reminiscent of Club 55 in St Tropez, this is an all white, airy restaurant with top notch food, and beautiful people both as patrons and as staff. We went for lunch but it’s open for dinner with a DJ playing loungey, upbeat music. It is a mix of families, couples, friend groups. The sun loungers in front are reserved throughout the summer if you are interested, though you can perch yourself in the public beach after overindulging. This is on the wide expanse of beach at Es Cavallet
Juan y Andrea: In Formentera, a laid back feet in the sand sort of place. They will come and pick you up in a zodiac if you come by boat which just sets the tone for the experience you will have. The best flash fried calamari, friendly and professional service and a delicious salt baked fish to share… life does not get much better than this
Rent a boat: The #boatlife is the best life. It is most definitely not cheap but an absolutely unrivaled way to enjoy the turquoise waters around Ibiza and travel to Formentera for the day. We rented it for 8 hours which was perfect, especially if you consider lunch in the island. Most operators will include a few drinks and we were lucky to have Luigi from Calabria as our skipper at Smart Charter, who took great care of us with a mix of contagious energy and professionalism on our appropriately named boat, Great News. Not to be confused with the infinitely inferior Good News
Sunsets on the West Coast: This is almost an event in and of itself. The sun sets around 8 30pm in late August and we watched the sun go down from Sunset Ashram, a laid back restaurant and bar in a small inlet overlooking rocky islands in the horizon. You can pick up cocktails and drinks at the bar and head to the small sandy beach where a mix of locals and tourists lie on towels while others perch on the rocky cliffs. As per the sunset, even the iPhoneX does not do it justice ; ) so take a couple of pictures (which you will never see again!) and then enjoy the end of another glorious turn of the earth