As a freelance photographer, I find myself travelling a lot for work. Recently I found myself in Ibiza for my job and it was as interesting an experience as you would imagine.
Previously, I’d had the same impressions of Ibiza as many of us. Sun, sea, music, partying… and that Vengaboys song! In fact, visiting the island in May allowed me to see it at a time when most of the clubs haven’t yet opened for the year and the buzz has yet to start. In order to show this alternative side to the island, I’ve put together some of my favourite photographs from the trip and a list of my top recommendations.
Watch the magnificent sunrises and sunsets:
What struck me most about my first day in Ibiza was how stunning the sunrises and sunsets were. I have to say that I think that they’re the most beautiful natural displays to be found in Europe. During the summer months, the west side of the coast – with its numerous cafes and bars, offers the best location from which to enjoy these spectacular views.
Famous sunset cafes on the island include Cafe Del Mar, Mambo and Kumharas, while The Sunset Strip offers a whole stretch of viewing venues. If you prefer a more central spot then San Antonio Bay is also a great place to catch the sunset all year round.
Visit Ibiza’s beautiful beaches
Renting a car is relatively inexpensive and I had heard great things about Playa de las Salinas. Driving across the island is pretty easy, though you do have to take things a bit more slowly when driving along some ‘rustic’ routes. Playa de las Salinas may be Ibiza’s most iconic spot and is also renowned for having been used as the centre of the salt trade by the Carthaginians.
What happens here, as with most beaches on the island, is that after the water evaporates a layer of salt is left behind. This effect, added to the crystal clear blue waters and pale sandy beach and natural reserve (including a pine forest), makes for some magnificent and unmissable scenery.
Located on the island’s southern tip, Las Salinas is only a 30 minute bus ride away from the town centre. It’s no surprise that this must-visit spot is a favoured haunt of celebrities and footballers!
Visit the Old Town of Ibiza
This picture captures a view of Ibiza’s walled Old Town area, Dalt Vila (literally the Upper Town) which is enclosed within an old castle fortress.
When I was walking through the small streets I was astonished by the sight of small cathedrals, Roman ruins, and the city walls (classed as a National Monument). That’s before even mentioning the plethora of local restaurants, convents and boutiques.
A must do: Take a walk in the streets of Ibiza Old Town after midnight and enjoy the wonderful, almost fairytale, vision of these sights illuminated. Also, you’ll be able to see the club parades in which nightclub staff give you a glimpse of what to expect if you decide to dance the night away!
Enjoy traditional Spanish paella and tapas…
One of the main reasons for visiting Ibiza (and Spain as a whole) goes beyond partying and sun worshipping. It’s the food!
I began my Ibiza culinary journey with paella, a dish was born in Valencia hundreds of years ago as a meal for farm labourers. Saffron is the key ingredient used to both flavour and colour the rice, giving it that distinctive yellow appearance. As an Italian, saffron is close to my own heart, being the main ingredient in one of our traditional risotti, Risotto alla Milanese. Seafood is a common paella ingredient, but if you’re not a fan, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy paella – there are also rabbit or chicken versions available.
….And some wine and cocktails too!
Drinking in Ibiza can be quite an expensive leisure activity, particularly in the island’s nightclubs. A better option may be to enjoy a drink first in the cocktail bar of your choice… and then hit the nightclubs later!
There are countless bars in Ibiza but I ended up at Sunrise cocktail bar, one of the island’s most popular gay and lesbian venues. The cocktails there are ridiculously good.
Like many other bars in Ibiza, Sunrise offers a wide range of fruity cocktails with homemade tequila.
Heading for a big night out or just having a quiet one?
What would Ibiza be without its pulsating nightlife? Nothing is comparable to the super clubs of Ibiza and once you’ve visited for yourself, you’ll realize just why it has become such a hub for people who love to party.
Privilege club has a capacity of around 10,000 people (according to the Guinness Book of Records it’s the world’s largest nightclub), Pacha is the jewel of the island and runs year-round, while Space invented the concept of the day-club.In Ibiza you can definitely party day and night!
Even if you’re not into clubbing, you can still enjoy Ibiza’s nightlife.
I visited the unique bar, Itaka, which is a great place in which to listen to live music. This picture shows an artist performing traditional Spanish music.
The place itself is very modest, but the old fashioned Spanish look makes it distinctive and definitely worth visiting. It’s an untouched little paradise, aside from the chaos of the streets.
What I’ve discovered about Ibiza is that whether you’re looking for a quiet family break or even if you’re single and looking to mingle, Ibiza can suit both types of holiday.
Have you experienced the two sides of Ibiza? Have any recommendations of your own? Let us know in the comments below!