I know a lot of people who are completely lyrical about Ibiza. When I thought of Ibiza, my thoughts went right away to mega discotheques, hip beach tents with pimped babes and far too expensive (bad) rosé. It was time to check if my prejudices were right So last week I flew to the party island with my BFF and our two sons.
Where to stay in Ibiza?
As our 13-year-olds were not allowed to enter the music temples yet, we chose a hotel in the somewhat quieter Santa Eulalia del Rio. The town is half an hour from Ibiza city/airport. We set our eyes on Grand Hotel Palladium. I have to admit that the first impression was a little disappointing. You should not choose this hotel for the beautiful rooms. They are spacious and very neat, but the interior designer probably had a bad day. The dark, old-fashioned furniture did not honor the room. But come, we are not in Ibiza to sit in our room.
The hotel is not very big, so the breakfast buffet was not huge. However, everything we needed was there and the croissants, egg, fruit and freshly squeezed juice tasted delicious. My BFF has a slight coffee addiction and found the latte macchiato top. In addition, you get to enjoy a beautiful view of the sea from the terrace.
The hotel has a cozy swimming pool with good sun loungers and again a beautiful view. Also inside was a large swimming pool with jacuzzi, so during the winter this hotel is also a good choice.
The hotel’s restaurant has excellent cuisine. We enjoyed the seafood pasta, risotto with shrimp, and salad with chicken. The children loved the Penne Arrabiata and the hamburger.
The service was also great. When the kids wanted to order food at noon they were told that the kitchen did not open until 13:00. A few minutes later, the waitress returned with the report that it was not a problem and that the cook started earlier for them. Great service!
Since our return flight was late at night, we asked for a late check out. Here too we were pleasantly surprised. We were allowed to keep both rooms till we left at 5pm. No additional fee was charged for it. That way we could also enjoy our last day to the fullest.
So if you do not want to stay in the party zone, I can highly recommend Grand Hotel Palladium.
Where to eat in Ibiza?
One thing is for sure, you can have great food in Ibiza. Here are a few restaurants in Santa Eulalia del Rio that I would like to share with you:
- Can Xarc: has a very large, cozy terrace. The staff is super friendly and the paella was delicious. If you travel with small children, they can enjoy the bouncy castle.
- Boho House Las Dalias is located in the center of the town and has a charming terrace. It's great for a coffee or a little snack.
- Taco Paco: perfect when you need a break from Paella. Here they serve delicious tacos, a tasty hamburger with guacamole and so much more.
- In Ibiza town you can go to B-You for a fresh cocktail and the desserts make your mouth water.
- In the restaurant town of Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera you will find one cozy terrace after another. At Bar Costa however, there was a long line up (and we did not feel like waiting) because apparently they serve the best manchego cheese and Spanish sausages.
- So we drove to Sant Miquel to eat at Aubergine te eten. On the cozy terrace you will enjoy a healthy, crispy meal because the motto is 'from farm to table'. We can highly recommend the quinoa salad and the angus burger.
- If you’re wondering ‘is the food great everywhere?’, the answer is ‘No’. We made one wrong choice by eating at Grill Siesta Mar. It looked promising, but the shrimp and sea tongue and the gril mix were awfull.
Desiring a nice ice cream? Then you have to go to Sant Carles de Peralta because Viccio is in the top 12 of best ice cream parlors in Spain.
No time to waste? Buy a delicious sandwich with Spanish ham. If you're just looking for a snack bag with mini salami is perfect.
We had received so many tips from Ibiza experts that we could not possibly test them all. In a next blog post, I will share them with you.
What to do in Ibiza?
Ibiza is a great party island, but does it offer something else too? We rented a car and explored the island.
Santa Eulalia del Rio
The town where we stayed is the island's second largest city. It is a typical Spanish town with a pretty big city beach. There are many hotels, restaurants, and shops. At the edge of the town is a beautiful old bridge, Pont Vell. Along the Passeig Maritim you can take a nice walk from the hotel to the center. The road runs along the Riu de Santa Eularia.
In the center, on the Passeig S'Almera (a kind of small Rambla) there is a small hippie market every day. On the corner of this rambla is Can Cosmi, the oldest bar of the island. Just a short distance away is a small, fancy marina.
When you approach Santa Eulalia you can see from a distance Puig de Missa or the church hill. On this hill is an old church of 1568 and two museums. The church was originally built as a defense against attackers. In one museum you will find everything about Ibiza, from salt to olive oil to fashion. In the other museum you will find works of art by the painter Laurea Barrau who lived in Santa Eulalia for a long time.
If you want to eat outside of the city, take the road to Ibiza Town (follow the signposts Eivissa) and turn right after a few kilometers (C733) towards Sant Joan de Labritja. This road has the 'Restaurant road' as a nickname.
Eivissa (Ibiza Stad)
The Dalt Vila is the historic center of the city, on top of a hill. It is one of the largest and most well-preserved fortresses on the Mediterranean Sea, and therefore a place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the city walls, halfway up the hill, you already have a beautiful view of the surroundings. At the top you will find Plaça de la Catedral, the Castell Almudaina, and the Ses Voltes palace. Furthermore, you can wander around the alleys.
Puig de Molins is also on the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1946, a donkey fell into a hole. Those getting him out discovered 3500 graves. In the 4th and 5th centuries BC the Carthagers buried their dead in the small, natural caves they found here. When there was no room left they dug their own caves.
Down in the city you will find plenty of shops and restaurants, and you can see many beautiful boats in the marina.
Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera
This is Ibiza's restaurant village. In the small, car-free center there are plenty of restaurants and a few nice hippie shops.
This village, 5 km north of Santa Eulalia, is a tourist attraction during the summer months. It is an artificial town that was dumped here in the 1970s. Just past the center you will find the entrance to Punta Arabi, the Hippie Market on the right. The market is open every Wednesday from 10 am to 7 pm. Nice to wander around, but it’s not the place for beautiful souvenirs. Everything is made in China. The hippies you see here are long overdue.
Sant Carles de Peralta
Carles is Ibiza's original hippie center. In the center of town, opposite the church, you will find Anita's Bar. Over the years, this place has grown into a true cult location. The hippies came here to post their letters in the wooden boxes in the bar. The only phone was located in the bar's courtyard. The hippies called from there to the home front to report they ran out of money again.
The restaurant is now called Can Pep Benet, but there is still a sign called Anita's Bar.
Just outside the village is the largest and most famous hippie market, Las Dalias. Unfortunately, the market was closed (only open on Saturday), but apparently you can buy real, local crafts over here.
The hippie market was founded in 1954 when a farmer started a kind of 'social club'. There were a lot of events and a lot of famous people came because the son of the farmer had a recording studio. The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Geldof, and many others came here. When the studio was destroyed by a fire in 1989, the farmer came up with the idea of launching a hippie market like Es Canar. It became a huge success, because during the summer months 20,000 visitors stroll along the 200 stalls every Saturday.
Some hippie facts
- The hippies are called Los Peluts (long haired) here
- They often stayed in the fincas in the south of the island. These have now been replaced by the mega discotheques.
- Most hippies left after a few years because they found out that it is difficult to live without money. Those who stayed (or most of them) live by the gratitude of wealthy parents.
We had some great fun and Ibiza is a great place for foodies. Nevertheless, I find the whole hype around the island somewhat exaggerated. Okay, there are beautiful bays and beaches, but they can not compete with other places I've visited. Furthermore, it doesn’t offer more than other places in Spain. The hippies you encounter are no more than a tourist attraction. A little sad if you ask me.
If you want to party all night long and go from beach bar to beach bar during the day, book that ticket to Ibiza soon. However, if you prefer something more than that, the world has a lot more to offer.