Despite the stereotype, Ibiza is not always sound tracked by thudding music drifting out of nightclubs until dawn. Over the past decade, the island has been building a firm reputation as a natural paradise – and deservedly so.
Most of Ibiza wakes to a blue horizon where clear waters and cloudless skies blend together. Trees huddle on rocky cliffs, looking out to sea and the odd cactus punctuates carpets of red and white wild flowers. Although the island can be driven top to bottom in under 45 minutes, there’s still plenty to explore. Hire a car in Ibiza with easyCar to uncover Ibiza’s secret pockets.
Dive into world heritage waters
Ibiza’s natural appeal revolves around its blue, dazzling sea. The postcard perfect ocean can reach up to 26 degrees in the summer, irresistible to the island’s visitors – whether they are troupes of walkers and explorers or late night partygoers.
Diving centres are scattered all over the island: there is Active Dive in San Antonio or the Diving Center in San Miguel. Around the coast, diving conditions are superb but the real heart of Ibiza’s diving culture can be found to the west of the island, where a cluster of islands make up the Cala d’Hort Marine Nature reserve. Here, find some of the Mediterranean’s most spectacular diving – whether you are experienced or just a beginner there is something for you. The Las Salinas National Park, commonly referred to as The Salt Flats, is another mind-blowingly beautiful diving destination, stretching from Ibiza to next-door island Formentera. The sea grass that grows here has earned the site World Heritage status.
Imagine it’s the 1960s at the island’s hippy markets
The 1960s were when Ibiza was rocketed into the limelight as a destination for the rich and the glamorous. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan have all been through here in the past. The island’s cultural roots are most noticeable in its flamboyant hippy-markets, which were once a meeting for the island’s quirkier visitors – from the peluts (the long-haired hippies) to the Vietnam draft dodgers, en route to India. Today, these markets sell handbags, clothes, art and jewellery, alongside a heavy dose of nostalgia. The original hippy market is Hippy Market Punta Arabí, taking place every Wednesday throughout the summer. Contemporary hippies also gather at Las Dalias night-time market or a San Jordi, a car boot sale popular with locals as well.
Ride into the canyon at Horse Valley
On the north side of the island, is the natural park Es Murta. Here, in a canyon spanning 30 hectares, find wild horses roaming free. This place was originally created to rehabilitate horses that had been badly treated. Now, it is also a riding centre and one of Ibiza’s most unusual attractions. Horse Valley offers treks on horseback – the rides range from two hours to a full day and it’s a great way to reach untouched corners of the island. Combine your trek with boating, scuba diving or swimming with the horses.
Explore the Cueva Can Arca Caves
Only in Ibiza would a natural wonder be lit with neon and strobe lighting. Descend into the underground caverns of Cueva Can Arca in Puerto San Miguel and find stalagmites, stalactites and eerily still pools of green-lit water. This place was once used by smugglers to store contraband. At the centre of the dense network of caves is a breath-taking 30ft-tall waterfall, accompanied by a music and light show.
Beach hop by bike
In the winter, nearby Mallorca is the British cycling team’s favourite training spot because it has such perfect conditions. Ibiza is not much different. Mild winters and dazzlingly beautiful autumn and spring seasons, attract cyclists from all over the world. The island is criss-crossed by routes – choose the romantic shoreline or weave through the whitewashed villages. Cycling season in Ibiza is at its busiest in May, before the temperatures start to rocket up for summer. You can still find cyclists on the island during the summer months but they’ll emerge at dawn, making the most of the cool morning air and deserted roads.
Out of the island’s 30 or so cycling routes, Route 19 is Ibiza’s iconic highway for bikes. It wraps around the northern part of the island – 18 miles long. With the warm wind in your hair, ride along the hot tarmac, past majestic cliffs, silver sprayed waves and the villa of famous DJ, David Guetta. Try the Ibiza Travel website for route maps. If you don’t want to bring your own bike over, rent a ride from Kandani or Ibiza MTB.