This beautiful island offers so much more than its reputation as the world’s clubbing capital suggests.
Ibiza (Eivissa in Catalan) is a name synonymous with excess. Throughout its history, Ibiza has attracted thrill-seekers and hedonists looking for an escape from normal life. Originally a favourite with hippies, nowadays the crowd is young people – and some not so young – who have two things on their minds…one of which is to dance to the beats from dusk till dawn.
Through it all the islanders have remained remarkably blasé about the scores of tourists who come every year and everyone is welcomed with open arms. If you visit in the summer, the clubbing scene can be hard to avoid. But a visit between October and May will show you an entirely different story.
The nightlife of Ibiza
Whilst not to everyone’s tastes, the clubs are the reason why the majority of the White Island’s 4 million tourists visit each year. From their origins in the 1970s as hedonistic places with the hippie ethos and an ‘anything goes’ attitude, they eventually came to shape the sound of dance music throughout the world. The ‘Balearic Beat’ gave rise to Acid House in the UK, which defined the 90s party scene.
Four of the original clubs from the 70s remain – Pacha, Privilege (Ku), Amnesia and Es Paradis. These are still considered some of the best around as their continued existence shows. What you’re looking for in a nightclub will dictate which ones you want to visit so you’re best doing some research before you go to find out what the real clubbers recommend.
Ibiza Town (Eivissa)
The capital of the Island is the obvious place to base yourself for any trip. It’s close to the two best beaches – Ses Salines and Es Cavallet – and brimming over with decent bars and restaurants. The town also has a fair few boutiques if you fancy a little shopping.
The best of the clubs can also be found in Ibiza Town, if clubbing is your scene, but it’s also handy for getting anywhere else. Sights to see in the town include the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Eivissa and the Punic Necropolis of Puig des Molins.
The other main ‘clubbing town’, Sant Antoni is a much seedier experience. It’s a sprawling concrete mass of bars and restaurants that are average at best. The only real reason to visit is for a couple of the really good bars and clubs – such as Café Mambo and Es Paradis – that are there, otherwise it’s best avoided.
If clubbing’s not your thing, you’ll have a much more pleasant time in Santa Eulària than in Ibiza Town or Sant Antoni. It’s perfect for exploring the North of the island, which is crammed full of delightful cove beaches (calas) that remain all but deserted even in mid-summer. Slightly inland the scenery is hilly and covered in dense pine forests. You’ll need your own transport to really explore this part but it’s very much worthwhile if you do.
Getting around the island
There are regular buses between Ibiza Town, Sant Antoni and Santa Eulària. Being Ibiza, there are also Disco Buses to take you round the island. Taxis are plentiful in the towns but if you’re at the beach they can be hard to come by so it’s best to make sure you don’t miss the last bus home!
You can hire a car, which you’ll likely need to do if you plan to explore the beautiful scenery around the island, reasonably cheaply. Bicycles and scooters are also available for hire in the main resort areas.