The turn tables are spinning as a new season of all-night revelry on the island of Ibiza rolls around again. For the tiny White Isle that houses just 150,000 permanent residents, the arrival of nearly 4 million people each summer is a strain that weighs heavy on the island’s natural resources. Go slow and opt for Ibiza’s quieter side where small hotels, sustainable restaurants and artisanal shops offer an alternative to the hedonistic clubbing scene. Here’s how:
Where To Go
You’ll likely arrive by plane, into the south of the island where crystalline white sandy beaches are within striking distance of the airport. Move away from the masses who crowd into the resorts around Ibiza Town and head north to golden sands and wilder shores. Many of the best places to stay are inland, around the original 70s hippie town of San Carlos or Santa Gertrudis – Ibiza’s answer to Notting Hill that’s known as ‘the heart of the island’.
Where to Stay
La Granja is an achingly chic farmhouse with just five bedrooms and a stand-alone guesthouse set within ten acres of secluded land. Farming is taken seriously with a high-tech, sustainable water management system allowing over thirty varieties of fruit and vegetables to grow on-site from beetroot to watermelon and fresh herbs, all of which are later served to guests at the communal table.
Close to San Juan, the ‘last village in Ibiza’, lies Can Marti, a sustainable hideaway where donkeys roam the almond groves and the organic breakfast comes straight from the permaculture garden. Beyond the walls of the traditional whitewashed finca there’s a yoga platform, freshwater swimming pool, and mountain bikes for guests to borrow to explore the nearby beaches of S’illot des Rencli and Xarraca.
Right up in the North, Los Enamorados is a boutique Beach Bar with nine rooms, each with a view of the sea. Sleep on eco Coco-mat beds, dine on fresh seafood caught by local fishermen, pick up vintage crockery at the shop and enjoy spa treatments in the boathouse at this laidback spot in the romantic harbor of Portinatx. A former fishing village, the bay is now a haven for windsurfing and snorkeling.
If you’d like to dip a toe into the party scene around Ibiza Town, Les Terraces is a small and romantic hotel a 10-minute taxi ride from the centre where guests can take cookery lessons or recharge with an outdoor massage by the pool.
Eating and Drinking
Wild Beets ticks every box for Ibiza’s wellness crowd serving up a raw, vegan, gluten-free, organic and plant-based menu. Moreover the food is delicious and pulls visitors to Santa Gertrudis from all over the island. Another inland Ibizan institution is La Paloma. As you might expect from the Italian-Israeli owners, the Mediterranean ingredients have a Middle Eastern touch, think tomato salads and barbequed chicken shawarma.
In San Juan in the north, The Giri Café is a haven for al fresco dining. Laze on loungers in the shade with a cocktail made with berries and herbs plucked straight from the flower beds, before sitting down to eat at tables tucked into corners of the charming garden. In the evening, Lamuella is the place for a treat. The organic Asian-inspired menu includes scallop sashimi and langoustine Vietnamese pancakes. For sundowners on the beach hit The Agave Bar at Cala Bonita where ice-cold cocktails are infused with syrups made with foraged herbs and the house spirit, mezcal is distilled on the island.
Las Dalias, the Saturday morning market in the original 60s hippie town of San Carlos, whilst tourist-heavy should be on every holiday hit-list. For fabrics, vintage clothes and antiques make a beeline for the San Jordi flea market. The San Rafael Market, in the heart of the pottery region is the place to pick up pretty ceramics as well as fruits and veg. For organic food, San Juan’s Sunday market is where you’ll find homemade jams, raw honey, Ibizan salt, cold-pressed olive oil, local soaps as well as artisanal jewellery and local arts and crafts.
The best independent shopping is to be found in Santa Gertrudis. Sluiz is a treasure trove of colourful goodies and the ideal place to pick up unusual presents. Shop for silk dresses and one-off statement pieces at fashion boutique, The Rose. And don’t miss La Galeria Elefante - a sustainable concept store with an eclectic mix of homewares, fashion and vintage lace fabrics.
Things To Do
Outdoor activities abound - there’s everything you can think of from hiking, biking, swimming and snorkelling to windsurfing, sailing and horse riding. But perhaps most popular of all is yoga. There are a whole host of yoga retreats to choose from but you can dip in-and-out at Hot Yoga Ibiza, a mecca for yogi’s who flock to the airy studio for good vibes.
Casita Verde is an eco-education centre and a hub for sustainable living. Open to the public every Sunday 2-7pm, take a tour of the off-grid farm with its alternative living spaces made from recycled materials like bottles and wood. Learn how to live a more sustainable life with cookery demonstrations and soap-making workshops using aloe vera from the organic plantations, then relax listening to live acoustic music over a homemade vegetarian lunch.
Hire a solar powered catamaran for the day from La Bella Verde or take the ferry to the neighbouring island of Formentera. Just 22km long, rent a bicycle and explore boho beachtowns dotted along the coast’s legendary, crystal-clear waters. Stay for the weekend at the Gecko Hotel and Beach Club, the island’s first plastic-free hotel situated in a prime position on the pretty Playa Migjorn sands.
For decades Ibiza has been a melting pot of artists, creatives, beatnik musicians and the world’s most beautiful people. Find it documented in Ibiza Bohemia, Assouline’s coffee table book that’s soaked in the island’s intangible hippie chic charm.
By Daisy Allsup for Antibad.
Image above : Lulu Ash