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Are people still falling for the notion that Ibiza is just a party island? If so, more fool them. While the clubs are still there – and still fantastic if that's your bag – this stunning Mediterranean island has far more to offer. Great beaches, mild year-round temperatures and gorgeous landscapes make it a perfect choice for family holidays and romantic breaks alike. And if you’re prepared to shop around, you can pick up some really cheap deals too.
The south of the island is home to clubber's Ibiza, with the nightlife of San Antonio and Ibiza Town going on late into the night. The famous Sunset Strip of San Antonio is one of the best spots on the island to watch the sun go down, but you’ll need to arrive early if you want to secure an outdoor seat at the famous Café del Mar. In Ibiza Town, Playa D’en Bossa offers crystal clear waters combined with lively beach bars. Away from the beach, perched on a hill, is the ancient walled fortress of Dalt Vila – full of churches, cathedrals and museums, all accessed via a tangle of cobbled streets.
Further up the southeastern coast is the family friendly Santa Eulalia, Ibiza’s third largest town. Much of the beach is man-made, but its waters are shallow and inviting. Take a stroll to the glitzy marina or enjoy a meal on the Calle San Vicente, known as the Street of Restaurants. A few miles out of town, you’ll find Nikki Beach club – perfect for a spot of luxury reclining by the pool in a cabana. Or head further around the coast to the hippy markets at Es Canar.
The north of the island is a complete contrast to the often frenetic south. Here you’ll find a more relaxed pace of life, with yoga and wellness retreats galore. Stay at one of the traditional fincas that have been converted to B&Bs and relax on one of the many beautiful beaches. Cala Llenya is never crowded, even in peak season and offers shallow waters and shady pine trees to stretch out under. It’s also home to an intriguing flea market, with plenty of trinkets to fill your suitcase. Sunset at Benirras beach is an Ibizan ritual, accompanied by the sounds of bongos.
July and August are peak months for Ibiza, with clubbers descending on the island for the party season. Bargains can be had, but you may have to trade down on accommodation to get them. May and June, when the weather is still warm and sunny, can be far cheaper. To save money visit during September and October. You're still guaranteed plenty of sunny days and high sea temperatures, but without the crowds.
During the winter, Ibiza takes on a more relaxed vibe as temperatures cool. There’s plenty of potential for a cheap holiday at this time of year and it’s a perfect time to explore and enjoy the cultural side of the island.
A summer-spanning mix of bands, DJs and parties, the Ibiza Rocks festival in San Antonio is one of the best live music events in the Med. Expect big names and bigger nights.
This unusual festival celebrates the miracle of Santa Eulalia, a church that collapsed into the sea hundreds of years ago; fortunately, not one of the congregation was hurt, hence the party!
Ibiza Airport, located 7km (4.3 miles) from Ibiza Town, is the only international airport on the island. Hiring a car in Ibiza is easy and cheap, with many of the big name companies, such as Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz and Avis, present at the airport. It only takes an hour to drive from one side of Ibiza to the other, and having your own car will give you the freedom to explore tiny villages and hidden coves most mainstream tourists miss.
The island has an extensive and regular bus service, with half-hour connections between all major resorts and many popular beaches. During the summer, buses run from 7am to 10pm, at which point the disco bus takes over from midnight until 6am, taking clubbers to and from all the major clubs and resorts.
For an alternative way to get around, small ferries run from the major resorts to nearby beaches several times a day. Popular routes include San Antonio to Cala Conta, Cala Salada and Cala Bassa; and Ibiza Town to Playa d’En Bossa, Cala Llonga and Figueretas.
Hitting the clubs? Get your tickets before you go to avoid long waiting queues and tickets at higher prices.
By law, you should have your passport on you at all times. You might even be asked to show it when paying by debit or credit card.
Take the ferry from Figueretas to blissful Formentera, Ibiza’s beautifully undeveloped little sister. There’s a quicker boat from Ibiza Town, but it’s more expensive.
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