Ibiza’s Top 15 Beaches – as voted by Ibiza Residents

Ibiza is famous throughout the planet for it’s music and clubbing scene but nothing defines the island as much as it’s natural beauty and right in the middle of this is it’s amazing beaches.

After news that Illetes on Formentera was voted the ‘world’s best beach’ by the powerful Trip Advisor website I think it’s time to highlight the 15 best beaches on the White Isle as voted for by the island residents themslves (and they should know).

15. ES PORTITXOL

On the north coast of the island close to San Miguel is this crescent shaped hidden gem that is the stuff of dreams. It’s remote location means that it’s difficult to find so is usually deserted all through the summer so it’s a real getaway from the maddening crowd. The only drawback is that it’s so well protected by the high coastline that there’s very little breeze making it like an oven on a hot summers day.

14. CALA SALADA 

One of San Antonio’s premier beaches is a joy with it’s pebble and sand beach and traditional restaurant serving delicious Spanish food at reasonable prices. Access via a steep hill from the northern side of San An and you won’t be disappointed with this beautiful cove. 

13. CALA LLENYA

On the north east coast, 10 mins drive from San Carlos, lies this lovely sandy beach that is well worth the effort to get there. A favourite with families this beach is relatively quiet even in the peak season and is surrounded by green pine trees. Delightful. 

12. LAS SALINAS

One of the major beaches on the white isle, this mile long white sandy beach is part of the Salinas National Park and has it all. Large car park for easy access, excellent frontline restaurants, clear blue waters and a rocky walk to the watchtower for when you’re feeling energetic. Favoured by the beautiful people but please note that it’s anything but relaxing during peak periods with ticket sellers and club parades a plenty. Very Ibiza. 

11. ES CAVALLET

On the northern side of the arrowhead that makes up the southernmost point of island is the uber cool Es Cavallet. Over 1km of fine white sand with views to Ibiza Town and Formentera this picturesque stretch is a popular gay hangout and is an official nudist beach. There’s also some excellent restaurants where the rich and famous can usually be spotted. Definitely worth a visit even if just for the selfie. 

10. CALA TARIDA

This resort beach is nearly 1km long and has a traditional holiday atmosphere with families, sunbeds, watersports, shops, bars and lots of other things thrown into the mix. This sheltered bay has amazing clear waters, a lovely stretch of sand and is favoured by continental Europeans. 

9. CALA XARRACA

Just to the west of Portinatx is the small but perfectly formed bay of Cala Xarraca. It’s ideal for snorkeling with its clear waters and has magnificent views out to sea. There is also a mud bath that’s said to have special soothing powers and a traditional family owned restaurant serving delicious local dishes. What’s not to like! 

8. CALA BASSA 

Nestled only 15 mins drive from San Antonio and San Jose is the amazing Cala Bassa beach. Accessible by boat, car or bus this bay is one of Ibiza’s most popular places especially amongst locals. The creation of CBBC (Cala Bassa Beach Club) a few years ago caused much consternation locally but there’s no denying that it has taken the product to another level. While some complain of inflated prices others enjoy the several restaurants and tree lined bars that the beach club has to offer. The beach is a sandy paradise with turquoise waters and watersports. Life doesn’t get much better than lobster paella in the shade at CBBC on a hot summers day.

7. BENIRRAS  

Get your hippy vibe going and join the in-crowd on one of Ibiza’s most famous hangouts. Benirras beach is located east of San Miguel and attracts a weird and wonderful crowd that only the white isle can offer. The beach itself is pebbles and sand with sunbeds and surrounded by several good restaurants. Sunday is the day when the drummers descend on the beach and begin their musical ritual at sunset. This should be on your Ibiza bucket list! 

6. CALA VADELLA

Underrated by many (but not by Ibiza residents) this wide stretch of beach is ideal for kids with it’s shallow waters and gentle slope. Surrounded by beautiful green countryside and with restaurants and a popular dive school close by this delightful bay ticks all the boxes. 

5. CALA GRACIONETA

This bijou beach paradise is one of Ibiza’s smallest but is simply breathtaking in its beauty and deserves to be in the top 5. A small white sandy beach surrounded by rocks and turquoise blue sea will stop you in your tracks and feel like you have gone to heaven.  Because of its size it does get very busy during peak months but there is a top notch restaurant on the beach that serves delicious food and gives some well needed shade.

4. CALA NOVA 

This north east coast beach has become increasingly popular since Atzaro opened their chic beach ‘club’ a few years back putting this unspoilt and shallow bay firmly on the map. Close to Es Cana and Cala Llenya,  the surrounding scenery is naturally pine clad and has a choice of food places from plush to easy. 

3. AIGUAS BLANCAS

Making the top 3 is this locals favourite that’s rarely overcrowded even in the busy summer months, Aiguas Blancas continues to surprise and delight the many that venture here every year. It’s nudist friendly and has that hippy vibe that Ibiza is famous for. Don’t be put off by it’s steep access, this just makes the experience that little more memorable and well worth the effort to see this natural beach that has been unspoilt with time. No sunbeds here just a couple of cool eateries and amazing views for your social media updates. 

2. CALA SALADETA 

We’ve already covered Cala Salada but what about its smaller sibling that comes in 2nd on our list? Drop down to Salada then make your way right over the rocks until you come to this beach haven. Saladeta is for the beach connoisseurs who want a white sandy beach overlooked by pine clad nature at its very finest. Busy during the summer months and very international with a surprising lack of Brits, Saladeta is old school beach loveliness and nothing else. No beach clubs or food places although the hawkers will be round offering their overpriced mojitos and fruit but this just adds to the fun. Simply irresistible. 

1. CALA CONTA 

Top of our list is the perennially popular Cala Conta which is nothing short of heaven on earth and my personal favourite on the island. A wonderland of walks in the winter then a beach paradise with stunning clear waters during the hot summer months Conta is up there with Europes finest. Not only that but it looks over several small islets that just add to its allure. Throw in good bus connections, ample car parking, one of Ibiza’s coolest sunset bars, a couple of class restaurants and you have the complete package for an incredible day and evening at the beach and really that’s what it’s all about!

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This post was first published by MAN IN SAN AN by Martin Makepeace

The Natural Wonders of Ibiza: Ses Salines

The Natural Park of Ses Salines, also known as Las Salinas, is a protected area located encompassing parts of South East Ibiza, the North of Formentera and the sea and islands in between. It covers an area of 6,000 hectares, of which 13,000 are marine. The Natural Park encompasses the wetlands of Ses Salines in the south of Ibiza, s’Estany de Peix and s’Estany Pudent, in northern Formentera, es Codolar, Las Salinas and Es Cavallet beaches in Ibiza; and the Peninsula des Trucadors of Formentera, where the beaches of Illetas and Llevant are situated.

The maritime space occupied by the Natural Park of Ses Salinas also includes Es Freus, the strait that separates Ibiza and Formentera, in which you can find a stretch of islands of which Espalmador is notable for its central lagoon. Mud bathing in the margins is now prohibited however viewing access is still permitted using the designated routes.

Ses Salines has held the National Park designation since 2001, although it has been a natural reserve since 1995. In the map insert on the page at the end of this article the red areas are designated as ‘natural reserve’ and the green ‘natural park’.The Oceanic Posidonia prairies found in much of its length were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The Importance of Salt

For centuries, the most important industry in Ibiza was the extraction of salt. This seasoning was very precious in times when it was used to preserve meat over long periods of time. Ibizan salt was, and is, of excellent quality and the people of Ibiza took advantage of the industry at their disposal.

The salt mining began in Phoenician times several centuries B.C.  and continued and improved with the various civilizations that passed through the island. Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims and Catalans all capitalised on the island’s natural saline resource.

Salt was a spice of utmost importance. In fact, the word salary derives from salt, a mineral used in Roman times as a payment system.

The Christians created and divided most ponds at Ses Salines Natural Park, which we see today through a system of locks. This irrigation system enabled them to spread the water over larger areas with very shallow depth, facilitating the evaporation of water and maximising salt extraction.

The location of Ibiza, in a strategic point in the Mediterranean Sea, and the paramount importance of the salt was the basis of Ibiza’s economic survival over several centuries.

The Universitat, the highest political body of Ibiza for centuries, was responsible for managing the industry until the War of Succession in 1715, when it became part of the Crown. In 1871, Ses Salines were acquired by a Mallorcan company, now under the name of Salinera Española (Spanish Salt Mine), which continues to operate economically to this day.

Currently, the salt extracted at Ses Salines Natural Park is used for many purposes: Domestic cooking salt (both in rock and fine varieties) and dishwasher salt. It is also exported in large quantities to  Northern Europe (Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, UK, etc.), for use in salting roads during  winter.

From the beach of Las Salinas you can see the loading bay of Sa Canal where the salt, which still remains the largest export of Ibiza after nearly 2,800 years, is shipped.

Vegetation and Fauna

The Natural Park includes all of  the different ecosystems found in Ibiza. The park’s diversity warrants it’s status as one of the most important natural habitats in the Mediterranean.

On land there are 178 species of plants including Mediterranean pinewoods, coastal savins, plus Arthrocnemetum Fruticosi and halophilous plants.

The underwater meadows of Posidonia Oceanica are particularly important. Considered by many as an algae, it is a marine plant that provides shelter to many aquatic creatures and plays an important role in  oxygenation, water filtration and defence against coastal erosion. It is the Posidonia that results in the quality and clarity of water in the beaches of Ibiza and Formentera. This ecosystem is considered the world’s largest living thing.

Ses Salines is important to many birds on their migration. Up to 210 species pass through Ses Salines each year. The most famous and  anticipated are the flamingos who rest and feed in the lagoon for several days each year, to the delight of Ibizans. Other important species include the black-winged stilt, the shelduck, the snowy plover and sea birds including Audouin´s gull and the Balearic shearwater.

The richness and variety of the ecosystems found in the Natural Park of Ses Salines, including the sandy beaches, rocks, dunes, marshes, lagoons and cliffs are a very important part of the wealth of our island.

The mystical island of Es Vedra

As many of us know, Ibiza has a reputation for being an island of mysteries and without a doubt, the greatest one of all is the beautiful and majestic Es Vedra.

Standing at almost 400 metres high, this uninhabited rock island made of limestone is situated 2km off the west coast of Ibiza, in the Cala d'Hort area.

Shrouded in myths and legend, Es Vedra is said to be the third most magnetic spot on the planet (after the north pole and Bermuda Triangle). Some geologists claim this is not the case, yet there is no denying the way navigational instruments tend to go haywire in the vicinity of Es Vedra, and it is almost impossible to get a direct compass reading. Even homing pigeons get confused whilst flying over the island, often completely losing their sense of direction.

Popular myths surrounding Es Vedra include that it was the home of the sirens and sea-nymphs who tried to lure Ulysses from his ship in Homer's Odyssey, and also the birth place and holy island of the Phoenician goddess, Tanit.

It is further said that part of Es Vedra was used to build the Pyramids in Egypt, as the limestone rock is claimed to hold a maximum concentration of energy, similar to that of the Pyramids, Stonehenge and Easter Island and, certainly, many people become conscious of a mysterious force that surrounds the area, making it a favourite place for meditation and other spiritual practices.

But perhaps one of the best known myths surrounding Es Vedra is that it is, in fact, the tip of the sunken civilisation of Atlantis. The natural cave of Atlantis, in the bay directly opposite Es Vedra, can be visited by the more persistent of visitors…its precise location is a closely-guarded Ibiza secret and to reach it involves quite a challenging trek. There are no signposts and no maps to Atlantis, but those who do manage it are rewarded by its peaceful and spiritually inspiring ambiance, and beautiful art left by previous visitors, including an image of the god Shiva, proclaimed protector of the cave temple.

Many people claim to have seen UFOs hovering above Es Vedra, and some even believe that there is a secret UFO base under the sea, with Es Vedra being a gateway or navigation beacon. Unidentified Swimming Objects have also been reported to lurk in the surrounding waters, and circles of light emerging from the sea have often caused local fishermen and many boat captains to avoid the area.

Still this mysterious and beautiful rock, which stood in for the volcanic island Bali Hai in the 1958 musical, South Pacific, is generally considered to have positive healing and creatively inspiring energy.

So next time you are visiting Ibiza, make a wish as soon as Es Vedra comes into view, and let the island's magic do its work. Then as you leave, a salute to Es Vedra (preferably by drumming) will ensure you will always be welcome to return!

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON IBIZA SPOTLIGHT

Ibiza Sunsets - Here are 8 of the Best Spots on the Island!

Ibiza is home of the best and most amazing sunsets of the world. The beach might be the perfect place to watch wonderful Ibizan sunsets. Find a spot in one of the many coves around the balearic island, listen to hippy drums and enjoy a chilled meal under the sun rays. The sparkling sun setting over the turquoise waters won’t leave you indifferent. Being expert island connoisseurs we have selected the best local spots to close the day at dusk. Here are the most magical venues to gaze the sundown in Ibiza.

1. SUNSET ASHRAM - DIRECTIONS >
Possibly the best seaside restaurant for closing the day. Hippy-chic vibe, cool DJs and fusion food. Enjoy the spectacular nightfall under the candle light and the summer breeze.

2. EXPERIMENTAL BEACH - DIRECTIONS >
A delightful and private atmosphere for enjoying amazing sunset views in a sophisticated beach club. Dance your troubles away under the evening sun.

3. BENIRRAS - DIRECTIONS >
Famous for its idyllic scenery and sunsets, Benirras offers a wonderful environment of bright green waters and rocky sand beds. Experience Sunday sunsets to the sound of hippy bongo drummers. Families with kids love it! Such an authentic and amazing experience at Ibiza. Totally a must.

4. COTTON BEACH CLUB - DIRECTIONS >
This stylish restaurant with a vaporous white lounge and panoramic terrace offers astonishing views of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. A perfect Ibiza sunset chill vibe.

5. HACIENDA NA XAMENA - DIRECTIONS >
This exclusive spa and resort is set high on a cliff surrounded by a stunning scenery. Its natural hanging pools merge with the rock for you to enjoy the sun kissing the sea at the end of a long day.

6. CALA D’HORT AND ANCIENT TORRE DEL PIRATA - DIRECTIONS >
This is one of the most magical and laid-back golden beaches on the island with an idyllic view of the rocky formations of Es Vedra and Es Vedranell. Climb up to Torre des Savinar, also known as Torre del Pirata, labelled as the most beautiful location on the island. An ancient tower emerges inside the natural reserve of Cala D’Hort hanging from a cliff.

7. KUMHARAS - DIRECTIONS >
Colorful and psychodelic, this free-spirited venue has Indian style terraces to relax and breath an exotic atmosphere in front of the Ibizan sunset.

8. HOSTAL LA TORRE - DIRECTIONS >
A magnificent local hidden place with impressive sunset views. Watch yachts and sailing boats navigate in this very quite area. It is the perfect sunset spot to relax in a calmed area.

These recommendations first appeared on Bonder & Co.

Three of the Best Restaurants in Ibiza

KM5

Five kilometres on the road from Ibiza Town to Sant Josep (get it?), KM5 is a long-standing fixture on the Ibizan food/party circuit. One of the original hybrid restaurants of the early 1990s, this multi-functional space houses five bars, a restaurant, a nightclub, a boutique and an art gallery, all within the grounds of a converted finca. It’s a place where you can sip cocktails whilst perching on a cushion, surrounded by swathes of silk in the Bedouin tents; graze on Argentine, French and Ibizan specialties in the candlelit dining area, or party ‘til dawn, dancing to tunes supplied by resident and international DJs. Or, like us, you can enjoy all three...

Address: Ctra Sant Josep km 5.6; Tel: +34 971 308 575.

Cipriani Downtown Ibiza

Ibiza’s latest restaurant hotspot boasts an interior as sleek and glittering as its clientele. With plush fixtures and more teak than a luxury yacht, it’s the new upscale favourite for the Ibiza Marina crowd and fantastic for people-watching. A fleet of white-coated servers attends to every need before it’s as much as perceived, making it very easy for a bottle of prosecco to disappear before you can say ‘refill, please’. The menu cleverly blends haute Italian comfort food (beef carpaccio, heavenly gnocchi) with Japanese delicacies (sashimi, black cod), and the drinks list stars what may be the best Bellini ever made. Served in an icy champagne coupe, it’s a fitting coda to a sun-soaked day living it up on the White Isle.

Address: Ibiza Gran Hotel, Paseo Juan Carlos 1, nr 17, 07800; Tel: +34 971 599 050.

Sa Capella

Housed in a converted 16th-century church, Sa Capella's stone-walled, candlelit interior perfectly mirrors the rustic cuisine on offer. Featuring the likes of simply prepared Ibicenco dishes such as line-caught salt fish served with organic vegetables, the food is outstanding, and the atmosphere is romantic and peaceful - quite unusual for Ibiza. It’s an ideal choice for a night off from all the madness.

Address: Carretera San Rafael, Santa Ines 5 km 0.6, San Antoni de Portmany, Ibiza; Tel: +34 971 340 057.

This article first appeared on ELLE UK

Five of the Best Beach Clubs in Ibiza

Amante

Of all the beach clubs in Ibiza, Amante has probably got the most spectacular setting - carved into its own private bay on the east side of the island. Run by a former DJ from the UK, Amante has all the Ibiza elements perfectly in place: great sound system, some of the island’s freshest food cooked on a smoky Josper grill, and beautiful white day beds to lounge on after you’ve eaten your fill.

Address: Sol Den Serra, Near Cala Llonga, Calle Afueras SN, 07849 Santa Eularia Des Riu - DIRECTIONS

Jockey Club

A perennial favourite with the party set, this beach club on the popular Ses Salinas reserve serves up great fresh seafood and pizzas, magnums of crisp rosé and cocktails to a lively crowd. Hang out in your best bikini on the stylish terrace and dance on the sun loungers as the music gets louder and louder... and louder.

Address: C/Restaurante Jockey Club, En Playa De Sas Salina, 07830 Sant Josep de sa Talaia - DIRECTIONS

Blue Marlin

If you like your champagne on ice, your lunch served by a male model and a car park full of Aston Martins, then Blue Marlin is the Ibiza beach club for you. An institution on the island, this is one you dress up for and the one place where heels-on-the-sand is (just about) acceptable. To say the staff are attentive is an understatement - in fact, they’ll probably know what you need before you do. The food here is delicious, too, the cocktails expertly shaken and although a night here will set you back a pretty penny, there are few better places on the White Isle to see or be seen.

Address: Cala Jondal, 07830 San Josep de Sa Talaia - DIRECTIONS

Chiringuito on Es Cavallet

On the furthest southern reaches of the Salinas national park, find El Chiringuito on Es Cavallet beach; an oasis of white drapes, jugs of cava sangria and beautiful waiting staff to attend your every whim. A more pared back exponent of the luxe Ibiza beach dream, you'll still find plenty of reason to wear your best kaftan as the crowd is chic without being showy. The food is a classic Mediterranean display of fresh seafood, San Daniele ham carved off the bone and inventive salads all washed down with signature cocktails. Book in for the day as you won't want to leave.

Address: Playa des Cavallet s/n, 07830, Sant Josep de sa Talaia - DIRECTIONS

Ushuaia

There’s no two ways about it: Ushuaia has been party central since it opened back in 2011, and with a poolside capacity of up to 5,000 people, it’s not hard to see why. They've got some of the hottest in-house DJs playing round the clock and the infamous Swedish House Mafia nights are a must. There’s even a second pool with LED lights and underwater speakers. If this all sounds a bit much, and partying with 5,000 people isn’t really your style, you can always go all out and hire your own private VIP box, complete with high-tech gadgets, mini bar, a bath and a hydro massage tub.

Address: Carretera Playa D'en Bossa 10, Playa d'en Bossa, 07817- DIRECTIONS

This article first appeared on ELLE UK

Review: Nassau Beach Club

The Nassau Beach Club, which opened its doors in 2008, is a comparative 'veteran' amongst the other beach bars in Playa d'en Bossa. It is a unique, vibrant and beautiful venue which combines both Balearic charm and modern qualities; fused together to bring the island an original and perfectly suited beach-side hangout.

Home to a beach club, restaurant and Tepanyaki lounge, Nassau also has its very own fashion boutique and makes the perfect party venue hosting their own events throughout the season.

Combining the worlds of science and food, the restaurant's menu is inspired by the 'Cocina Autor' or 'molecular gastronomy' movement which allows the Chef to experiment with these elements – whilst producing quality food of course, resulting in unconventional yet tantalising dishes. The Tepanyaki Lounge also offers a more relaxed chill-out setting and serves up a range of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine plus a selection of cocktails served up by Nassau's very own professional cocktail connoisseurs.

Located far enough away from the centre of the resort and Bora Bora to keep the rowdy party crowd at arm's length (it is located 200m past Space, at the end of the resort after the Hotel Club Bahamas), this idyllic stretch of wide beach, despite usually being busy, still remains a chilled place to catch some rays. Sunbeds are never an issue either as there is an army of loungers available with waiter service if you don't like to leave your spot, add in the easy car parking and valet service and new nearby shower facilities and, well, Nassau has it all.

This review first appeared on IBIZA SPOTLIGHT

Review: Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena

Hacienda Na Xamena is one of Ibiza’s most romantic hotels, with fabulous sea views, and a buzzing restaurant. The showpiece of the hotel is the Cascades, a series of heated outdoor thalassotherapy pools linked by waterfalls on different levels. Simply spectacular.

Location

Simply spectacular. The hotel is built into the side of a cliff, concealed by pine forests all around, with fabulous views of the Mediterranean in all its glory. In the north-west corner of the island, it is 10 minutes’ drive from the village of Sant Miquel and half an hour from the airport.

Style & character

There is a lot of boho-shabby-chic gorgeousness going on in this traditional Ibizan structure and there is no doubt that it is dead romantic, but at the same time it was nothing like as smart as I expected and felt a bit old-fashioned. To be fair, it has been open for more than 40 years and was the first five-star hotel on the island. Built by Belgian architect Daniel Lipszyc, it is now run by his son, Alvar, who is gradually refurbishing the property. There is a curving outdoor pool, a smaller one and a good-sized indoor pool too. The loungers are a bit crammed together but there is more privacy on an upper sun terrace. The showpiece of the hotel is the Cascades, a series of heated outdoor thalassotherapy pools linked by waterfalls on different levels, seeming to tumble down the hillside. Gazing at that view while your body is gently pummelled by jets of seawater is a blissful experience – but you do have to fork out an extra £30 for the strictly-timed, 45-minute privilege.

Service & facilities

All the staff I encountered were friendly and pleasant but the service wasn’t five-star standard by any means, particularly in the restaurant.

Rooms

Nearly all the 77 rooms and suites have sea views. Those in the Eden category have large hot tubs in private gardens but some are overlooked. I stayed in 506, a superior double which was big and bright with an oval whirlpool bath by the window and a small terrace with that all-important view. Décor was all white with a silver sofa, lending a 1970s disco vibe. The rain shower had a glass wall so you could see across the room to the sea beyond. Toiletries were nothing special and I was dismayed to see a useless 1980s-vintage hairdryer – alongside an ultramodern Hansgrohe illuminated make-up/shaving mirror. I was really surprised to find detachable hangers in the wardrobe too.

Food & drink

Breakfast is served until 11 am in a pretty space by the pool with outdoor tables. There is an excellent buffet spread with lots of local produce and eggs cooked to order – although service was slow and there seemed to be quite a few mix-ups. The open-air lounge with its cushions shaped like giant lizards is a fabulous spot to sprawl while watching the sun go down with a cocktail or two before ambling into the Eden restaurant with its rustic tables on a series of terraces. The hotel has a small organic vegetable garden and is aiming to use more of its own and local produce. Guests can do cookery classes with the chef, choosing their ingredients from the garden to prepare their dinner. I liked the sound of several dishes on the menu, such as king crab with avocado and tomato tartare and the traditional bullet de peix fish stew. Unfortunately I only tried the ludicrously-named ‘ludic menu’ (£40), which changes daily and - according to the waiter - comprises all local produce. I wan’t overly thrilled with hummus and a few other bits and pieces to start, followed by a piece of salmon and a duck parcel served on the same plate with nothing else, with a rather school dinnerish bowl of mushy fruit and ice cream for dessert. Other diners were clearly enjoying their meals, however, and the place was full with a lovely buzzy atmosphere.