Known worldwide for its irresistible nightlife, the island is often pigeonholed accordingly. However, travel a little further outside the city centre, and there is plenty more on offer. Uncover ancient ruins hinting at long-forgotten Mediterranean empires or find yoga classes and villages dotted among sandy coves, surrounded by rolling hills and pine forests. Ibiza is whatever you make of it. We’d know, having visited the island plenty of times. Our travel experts at Plum Guide are here to help you make the most of this island. From how to get there, where to stay, what to do and what to eat and drink, we’ve got you covered. This is our travel guide, Ibiza style.
General info about Ibiza
Aerial view of boats in the bright blue sea next to a beach in Ibiza, Spain
Nestled off the coast of the Iberian peninsula, Ibiza is the third largest in Spain’s Balearic archipelago. While it currently enjoys its status as the world’s number one party island, it also boasts a rich wealth of ancient history, delicious local cuisine, plenty of laid-back bolt-holes and stunning nature reserves. Despite its reputation these days, it first came into being a humble port town, founded by Phoenician settlers in 654 BC, before Carthage made it a regular stop on the trade routes, producing dye, salt, wool and fish sauce.
Best time to visit Ibiza
There isn’t a bad time to visit Ibiza. Even in the depths of winter, the weather remains mild by European standards. With a Mediterranean climate, the summers are naturally long and hot. If you’re searching for sun, then June, July and August will be best. Of course, with heat and sun come the crowds and more expensive flights, something you’ll want to bear in mind. Visiting in a quieter period, like the shoulder seasons or the winter, can be beneficial with much quieter attractions and lower prices.
How to get to Ibiza
Island of Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain
Ibiza is home to one large international airport just outside Ibiza Town. Direct flights operate from all over Europe and further. From Madrid, Barcelona or Valencia, you’re looking at a 45-minute to one-hour and 30-minute flight time. If you’d prefer to slow down and watch your carbon footprint, you can take a ferry from two main ports on the Spanish mainland. Sailing from Denia will take two or three hours, while sailing from Valencia is five to seven.
Top activities and attractions
Any online search of ‘travel guide Ibiza’ will naturally surface plenty of beaches. Set among the stunning Ibizan coastline, the well-known Benirrás in the northwest is famous for its unbelievably clear blue waters and laid-back bohemian feel. In Ibiza Town, Playa D’en Bossa is the longest stretch of sand on the island, the promenade offering plenty of entertainment, restaurants, and shops. Meanwhile, small rustic coves like Cala Gracio and Cala Gracioneta offer peace and serenity away from the crowds.
Landscape with Old Town Dalt Vila district of Eivissa
One way to explore more of the Ibizan coast and the many tiny islets dotted around it is to hire a private boat for the day. Sail around, discover hidden coves and beaches, snorkel, swim and relax while drinking in the sunset with a cocktail or two (or three). Additionally, the small island of Formentera just south of Ibiza is a brilliant day trip, only 30 minutes sailing from Port d'Eivissa.
We’d take a punt and say that most visitors to Ibiza don’t come for the history. The truth is, they’re missing out. Explore the old fortified town of Dalt Vila, a neighbourhood that sits on the hill above the port. Cobblestone streets lead to a 13th-century castle, Nuestra Señora de las Nieves. There’s also Catedral de Santa Maria de la Neu de Vila d’Eivissa, a 13th-century cathedral that’s quite the mouthful. Elsewhere around the island, look out for seven ‘pirate towers’ (watchtowers built in the 16th century for defence, refuge and communication) and Puig Des Molins, a Phoenician necropolis dating back to the seventh century.
Ibiza's Old Town, Balearic Islands, Spain
Ibiza is absolute heaven, not just for nightclubbers but outdoor enthusiasts too. Highlights include roaring around in large quad bikes and buggies, paragliding above towering cliffs and the blue waters of the Mediterranean, jet skiing for the thrill seekers and paddle boarding or hiking for those looking to take things a little slower. Pla De Corona is one of the most popular routes, offering 6.8 kilometres through the region of Sant Antoni, where you’ll find carob, olive and almond trees aplenty, supplemented with breathtaking views of sea cliffs and the islets of Ses Margalides.
Ibiza is packed with natural wonders, and we recommend taking a day or two for some scuba diving. The Cala d’Hort Marina Nature Reserve is a group of 15 islets just off the coast of Ibiza—it’s some of the best diving throughout the Mediterranean. There’s also Ses Salines at the southern tip of the island—a bird-watching paradise home to scenic, secluded beaches, vast salt beds and wetlands, all under protected status.
In the interest of making our travel guide to Ibiza the best, we’re giving you a few hidden gems here. Sol D’en Serra is our way of escaping the crowds. Nestled in a secluded cove protected by beautiful hills rising all around, the calm, crystal-clear water is perfect for swimming. If you’re looking for a sunset spot with amazing cliff-top views, hike down to Cala d’Albarca, a remote cove that can only be accessed by trail, keeping it relatively quiet. Meanwhile, check out the market happening at Las Dalias every Saturday. It’s full of colourful and eccentric clothing, bags and jewellery.
Best areas to visit and stay in
Narrow pedestrian streets in Ibiza old town centre
The obvious choice, Ibiza Town is the capital of Ibiza. For food, nightlife, beaches and everything in between, this is the key central location for anyone staying in Ibiza. With excellent transport links (both the airport and ferry terminals), it’s highly convenient, and there are some pleasant surprises, such as Dalt Vila (mentioned above). You’ll also find an eclectic mix of small boutiques and high-end fashion stores alongside renowned restaurants and bars.
Playa D’en Bossa
We can’t ignore it. If you’re here for the best nightclubs in the world, Playa D’en Bossa is the place to stay. Just a short drive south of Ibiza Town, this is the longest stretch of beach in Ibiza, explaining why all the biggest clubs and bars are set up here. You’ll find renowned DJs playing to huge crowds every night in some of the best-known clubs, including Ushuaia and Hi Ibiza. Whether you get any sleep around here is anyone’s guess.
Sant Antoni de Portmany
San Antonio, Ibiza
Also known as San Antonio, this is a town on the island's west coast. While quieter than Ibiza Town and Playa D’en Bossa, there’s still vibrant nightlife and plenty to see and do. Situated on the west coast, enjoy some of the best sunsets in the Mediterranean with plenty of beaches to do just that. A promenade runs from the harbour to S’Arenal and Es Pouet—both great for swimming with their calm, shallow waters. It’s also the main harbour for ferries to the Spanish mainland.
The most northern bay on the island, Portinatx, started life as a tiny fishing village. To this day, it is a much quieter and more laid-back town—the perfect place for couples. There’s some excellent snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as three special beaches S’Arenal Gros (the largest), Playa Porto and S’Arenal Petit (much more secluded). You’ll find all three offer plenty of restaurants, bars and sunbeds.
Sant Josep de sa Talaia
The Sant Josep Church in Ibiza
Sant Josep de sa Talaia is the municipality on the island's west coast and one of the best areas to base yourself. It’s well known for its stunning landscapes (including the highest point in Ibiza, Sa Talaia), as well as its traditional charm and a local community with a family-friendly atmosphere. In addition, there’s direct access to Ibiza Town and the many beaches you’re craving. Cala Jondal, Sa Caleta, Cala Tarida and Cala Moli are just a handful that we can recommend.
Eating out in Ibiza
Ibizan cuisine is largely as you’d expect, with a few delicious surprises. As a working fishing island, it’s one of the best places in the world to try fresh, locally-sourced seafood. On top of this, you’ll also find plenty of tapas, other Spanish treats, and lots of other western options, given its popularity among tourists.
A plate of paella with the sea in the background in Ibiza
Local delicacies include paella de marisco (a classic, simple seafood paella bursting with flavour) and sofrit pagés (an authentic Balearic stew using a mixture of chicken, lamb and Ibizan sausage). Sweet tooth? You’ll love ensaïmada (small, sugar-dusted Balearic pastries sometimes filled with chocolate, cream or sweet pumpkin). In terms of drink, you should try hierbas Ibicencas, a very traditional local spirit flavoured with aniseed.
Where to find food
If you’re looking for local produce (we’re in the Mediterranean, so think cheese, olive oil and cured meats), there are plenty of local markets around. For example, Ibiza Town is home to several fresh produce markets, such as Mercat Nou and Plaça de la Constitució, while most other villages and towns have their own, often once on a Saturday or Sunday.
In terms of eating out, you’re spoiled for choice. There are countless restaurants serving all budgets and tastes, and many of them offer stunning dining locations on cliff tops and beaches with gorgeous sunset views. Keep your eyes peeled for less formal trattoria (simple, home-cooked dishes) and lots of bakeries and tapas bars for small snacks and bites to keep you going.