Disclaimer: George and I stayed in an All Inclusive hotel for seven nights in June 2015 and, bearing in mind this was our first visit to Ibiza, our view is probably quite limited. However, we did get out and about during our stay so, I’ll do my best to give you our Ibiza low down…
George and I stayed in Cala Gracio, which is about 2km north of San Antonio. Our hotel was on the Cala Gracio beach; a short five/ten minute walk along the beach road to the big name cafes in San Antonio: Mint Lounge, Cafe del Mar, Cafe Mambo, Savannah Beach Club etc. A bit pricey; we paid €38 for a jug of Cava Sangria in Cafe del Mar, although you’ll find food and drink to suit most budgets. However, along the beach path between Cala Gracio and San Antonio there are many other beach-front cafes and bars offering cheaper alternatives and two-for-one deals.
A further five/ten minutes walk along the beach path you’ll arrive in San Antonio proper. There is a lively strip of clubs, bars and cafes along the beach (Passeig de la Mar) that range in price and atmosphere, from chill out to pumping bass lines; something to suit everyone. Along the main beach-front road (Avenue Doctor Fleming) there are the usual array of shops, resort bars and restaurants to suit every budget and, in the roads leading off the Av Dr Fleming there is a standard mix of shops, bars and clubs with PR’s offering shots and two-for-ones etc.
By far the best thing about San Antonio is the sunset; facing west you are treated to a stunning sunset on the water each evening (strangely!). It has been a bucket list item of mine to sit outside Cafe del Mar at sunset (hence the €38 Sangria) and it didn’t disappoint; the atmosphere, the music, the people and the Sangria! …but, forget about being served food at sunset. We were lucky enough to get a table (it’s busy at this time for obvious reasons), we brought the Sangria with us from the bar, which was just as well because, once seated the menu never materialised and neither did the waitress. We shot the sunset, finished our drinks and headed into San Antonio to eat, which probably saved us some money.
A quick note about shopping in San Antonio: there are lots of little shops and boutiques in San Antonio. Most of the clubs have shops around the island, including San Antonio; there are some nice little boutiques and LOTS of holiday tat shops. However, if you’re a shopper and, you’re after some new clobber then head to Ibiza Town…
Room with a view (Fiesta Tanit, Cala Gracio) – click on the picture above to read our review on Trip Advisor
Cosmopolitan Ibiza Town is in the South East of the island, about 6km from the airport. You’ll find shops, bars and restaurants to suit every budget and taste but, by far the pull for us was the shopping and Dalt Vila, the walled old city of Ibiza.
Head to Passeig Vara de Rey, in the heart of Ibiza Town and, as you wander the square and surrounding streets, you’ll find all the shopping and entertainment you could possibly need, all the way down to the waterfront. Premium High Street brands, including Religion, Zara, Guess & Mango sit alongside the big club shops (Pacha, Amnesia) and Spanish/Catalan boutiques. When you’re done in town head into Dalt Vila via the Ses Taules Gateway. Within the walls of the old city you’ll find a wonderful mix of street performers, boutiques, cafes, bars and tiny residences. Overall shopping is a little cheaper, compared to prices at home; we also benefitted from a strong pound/weak Euro.
TIP: Wear footwear with grip!
Sensible footwear is highly recommended inside the walled city of Dalt Vila; the large cobbled stone floor is smooth as glass. I was wearing flat gladiator sandals, which made the Ses Taules Gateway (the entrance into Dalt Vila) quite an adventure, particularly on the way out, which is downhill. Once inside there were one or two areas, deep inside the heart of the walled city, that were far too steep and smooth to even attempt.
George and I visited Ibiza town in the evening, arriving about 6pm. Most shops are open until 11pm and sunset in early June is around 9 so it’s not really dark until almost 10pm. Once we’d shopped ourselves silly we ate in a little Italian pizzeria just outside the Ses Taules Gateway and enjoyed a view of the street performers mingling with shoppers and diners.
From Cala Gracio we took a bus to San Antonio (recommended as it takes you straight to the bus station). From San Antonio bus station we caught a bus into Ibiza Town. Dead easy and a few euros each.
Ibiza is famous for its Hippy Markets; it’s one of the islands’ main attractions. In amongst the hand-tooled leather goods, handmade clothing & fine jewellery you’ll find live music and fresh food. You can also find thrift and vintage stalls and, of course the standard holiday tat. We were really disappointed to see a number of fake-goods sellers, selling the sunglasses and handbags usually sold by individuals along the seafront, with legitimate stalls. Despite this, it is definitely a lovely way to spend a couple of hours.
George and I visited the oldest and largest of the island’s market, in the grounds of Punta Arabi in Es Canar. To get there we bought an excursion from our hotel; expensive at €23 each but, by far the easiest way to get there from Cala Gracio, unless you have your own vehicle.
Clubbing in Ibiza.
Ibiza is home to the big name clubs, most of which are either on the outskirts of Ibiza Town or somewhere between San Antonio and Ibiza Town. Buy tickets online! Tickets to Pacha cost us €35 each, compared to €50 on the door and, DEFINITELY drink before you get there. The clubs don’t usually open until 11pm/midnight so fill your boots in the bars and then stick to soft drinks whilst there. Although, having said that, two cans of Red Bull did cost me €28! We did our homework before we travelled to Ibiza so I knew exactly what club and which club night I wanted to go to.
Pacha’s Flower Power night was our club night of choice, to hear all about it click on the picture below to go to my main Ibiza post Ibiza: Our Spiritual Holiday Home?