Budget Ibiza Is For Real – Spain
- DIY SPA THERAPY
Forget expensive spas – the rich, muddy earth from the cliffs around bays such as Cala Xarraca or Aigues Blanques in the north of the island can be turned into a perfect homemade mud pack. The treatment is simple: fill a bucket with water and mix it with the mud, cover yourself all over, bake yourself in the lbizan sun for 30 minutes until dry, and then dive into the sea to wash it all off.
- HISTORIC DALT VILA
Ibiza Town’s fortified hilltop was first settled by the Phoenicians and later occupied by a roster of subsequent civilisations. Tranquil and atmospheric, many of its lanes are only accessible on foot and it’s possible to walk the entire ramparts in less than an hour. The area is home to several of Ibiza’s key cultural sights including the contemporary art museum, housed in an 18th-century powder store and armoury. Good restaurants throng Placa de Vila.
- PARQUE NATURAL DE SES SALINES
This Unesco-listed nature reserve of marshes, salt pans and coast encompasses a wetland habitat for 200 bird species; 16th-century defensive towers, built to protect Ibiza from pirates; and two of the island’s best sandy beaches. It’s possible to walk into the park along a trail that runs from the southern end of Platja d’en Bossa and along the coast to Platja de Salines. Between August and October, the park is home to migrating flamingos (free).
Traffic-free Placa des Parc is the bohemian heart of Ibiza Town and this popular bar-café sits right on the square. By day it’s an enjoyable place for a juice (try an orange and carrot mix), a baguette, or a tapa or three. By night it’s a relaxed bar, with inexpensive combinados (spirit and mixer) and draught beer.
The rawest, least pretentious club in Ibiza, DC-10 in the south of the island is all about the music and has a distinctly underground vibe. The door tax is modest (for Ibiza) and drinks are reasonably priced compared with other big venues. Its Circo Loco session on Mondays is one of the best in Ibiza, kicking off early in the day.
- SA TRINXA
Clubs in Ibiza are notoriously pricey but plenty of the island’s beach bars have a dance vibe and resident DJs. At the southern end of Salines beach, Sa Trinxa is the island’s coolest chiringuito bar and there’s no entry fee (though the food and drinks aren’t cheap). It draws a crowd – hardcore clubbers, fashionistas, models and hippies-all soaking up the Balearic vibes.
The virtually untouched sandy bay of Benirras in northern Ibiza has high-forested cliffs and a trio of bar-restaurants. It’s a spectacular location for sunset and one that Ibiza’s boho tribe has favoured for decades. If you visit on Sunday, you’ll likely see an assembly of drummers banging out a salutation to the sun. It’s a popular spot; arrive early to get a parking space.
- ES VEDRÀ
The islet of Es Vedra rises like a volcano from the sea off Ibiza’s southwestern tip, setting the scene for a sunset vista. The 18th-century defence tower of Torre des Savinar looks out at it, and is the perfect spot to watch the sinking sun. If the 10-minute walk uphill from Cova des Mirador doesn’t take your fancy, book a table at Es Boldado for a meal overlooking Es Vedra. The rock of Es Vedra is associated with local myths and legends.
- SUNSET STRIP
The sunset hype over Sant Anton i’s rocky coastline has exploded in the past decade or so and the renowned chill-out bars here – including Café del Mar and Café Mambo – are now expensive and require advance dinner bookings (with a minimum spend) to reserve a space. However, you don’t have to enter the bars to enjoy the show: simply bring your own drinks and find a patch on the rocks close to your DJ of choice.
Travel from Singapore or Kuala Lumpur will require a flight to London first on British Airways or Malaysia Airlines. Then, take a connecting flight on Iberia to get to Ibiza. From Ibiza Airport, bus L10 runs to Ibiza Town, L9 heads west for Sant Antoni and L24 travels north to Santa Eularia. The island’s bus services are efficient and useful if you’re based in a town; check ibizabus.com for routes and stops. If your hotel is in the countryside or you want to explore remote beaches, the best way to get around is by hire car.
- WHERE TO STAY
Calador offers amazing views of Es Vedra, plus sunny rooms and apartments on the southwest coast. A pool and tennis courts are framed by a garden of palms, and the tower studio has an incredible terrace.
Housed in a restored town mansion, Vara de Rey is a boho guesthouse on a tree-lined boulevard in Ibiza Town. Suites have four-poster beds, crystal chandeliers and Dalt Vila views.
Right by lovely Cala de Boix, Hostal Boix couldn’t be further from the Ibiza madness. Simple rooms and an apartment enjoy direct access to the beach, but there’s also a rambling garden and pool to lure you back to the hotel.
- TOP BUDGET TIPS
Self-catering: There are a couple of good food markets on the island. Try the daily Mercat Vell in Ibiza Town (9am-9.30pm May-Oct, to 6pm Nov-Apr), or the authentic farmers’ market in the northern town of San Juan (from10.30am Sun).
Eating out: Look for the menu del dia (set menu), which often costs no more than US$12 for three courses; bocadillos (sandwiches) are also cheap lunch options (around US$2.50).
Clubbing: Discounted club tickets can be bought in advance online or from bars and merchants across the island. Use the Discobus to cut transport costs.
Sun-worshipping: Consider buying your own parasol for the holiday, as they cost around US$6 to hire per day.