It’s not exactly an unknown fact that I have an ongoing love affair with Ibiza. From being a fun loving, free spirited twenty-something, to being a still fun loving, free spirited 37 year old, my love for the place grows each and every time I visit. Whilst my stamina may not be quite as impressive as it was back then, that’s not neccessarily a bad thing.
Why stay in bed or stuck on a sun lounger sweating out a hangover pretty much every day, when you can be a bit more sensible, and add exploring a BEAUTIFUL island into the equation? The best thing about Ibiza is, it’s lovely all year round too. Whether you want to explore the stunning natural beauty of Ibiza in the Spring, lounge poolside and party in the Summer, enjoy the still balmy weather and calmer pace Autumn time, or go for a refreshing body and mind detox in the laid back Winter, there’s something for all seasons.
I last went at the beginning of May, which is one of my favourite times of year to go. The weather is warming up nicely, hot enough to sunbathe in but not melt in, the locals are feeling revitalised and ready for Summer, and there’s just a lovely, laid back vibe all over the island.
This time around the explorers hat was well and truly on. The aim was to see as much of the island as possible. A common misconception about Ibiza is that it’s just the ‘party island’. Sure, there’s no better place to party, and of course we all like to let our hair down on our time away, but there’s SO much more to it than that. Trust me. So begins, the holiday…..
We flew out with Jet2 on their new route from Stansted. Their flights were super wallet friendly, on time, and with a cheery check in too. It really was a lovely start to our holiday, especially following a 4am wake up call! The cheeky glass of fizz at 7am at the Halo bar pre flight was a nice touch too. When on holiday and all that….
Having snoozed the whole flight, we picked up our wheels for the week. We booked our car through Norweigan’s online system, and got a really cheap deal for a ‘Fiat 500 or similar’. I was SO excited to whizz about in a nippy little Fiat 500!
Yeah. The elusive Fiat 500. We got the ‘or similar’. A Fiat Panda. We called her Tian-Tian, after the much loved furry resident at Edinburgh Zoo. Despite being rubbish on hills, frustratingly slow on acceleration and with a temperamental handbrake at times, we loved that little car. And for around 4.50 a day, we could hardly complain!
Once we were all checked in at our friends apartment near the lovely Cala Gracio beach, we headed to my favourite place on the island, Pikes Hotel. Tucked away in the hills of San Antonio, it’s an Ibiza institution. Built brick by brick back in the 80’s by the legendary Tony Pike (who FYI has THE best stories, none of which can be repeated here), it’s now been lovingly restored by Manumission and Ibiza Rocks royalty Dawn Hindle and Andy McKay. Pikes is a quirky, magical wonderland, a true one off. Chilled by day and raucous fun by night, it’s also host to THE best Sunday Roast on the white isle. I’d recommend booking a table for late afternoon, and arriving a little earlier so you can grab one of their delicious cocktails, have a dip in the pool, and take in the gorgeous surroundings. We’re talking Flamingos hanging from the trees and a neon pink tennis court. There’s even a crocodile on the roof of the DJ booth, and a bus stop by the pool.
If you fancy a bit of shopping during your time at Pikes, you’re in luck. Get that plastic ready for a battering. Rockett St George have recently redesigned Room 9, helped revamp Freddies Nightclub, and launched the Pikes Hotel Collection. From deliciously scented candles to cocktail kits, disco balls to statement neon signs, you can take a piece of your holiday home with you.
Santa Gertrudis based boutique La Galeria Elefante is offering up fabulously unique clothing and accessories by Silken Favours. You can also buy the stunning, fun and super chic True Rocks jewellery on site too. Their pieces will add the perfect punk edge to your boho Ibiza look.
Whether sunning yourself or shopping is your thing, once you’re done sit at your table under the pink bourganvillea bedecked shade of the courtyard, relax and get ready to eat and drink to your hearts content. The Sunday Roast at Pikes is unmissable. Juicy cuts of meat cooked to perfection, crisp, giant Yorkshire puddings, and scrumptious gravy, washed down with a glass (or 3) of top quality wine.
In the evening, how about having fun in a fancy dress boudoir and some bathroom karaoke presided over by the wonderful Sunny? The only problem with Pikes is leaving. Once you check in, you can never check out….
I won’t lie, we both woke up with a humdinger of a hangover. But, it was one well worth having. A day at the nearest beach it was. Ibiza is home to a cornucopia of outstanding beaches and cute little coves. Cala Gracio is a small beach within walking distance from San Antonio, and a great place to while the day away. There’s an inexpensive, lovely little restaurant on the beach which off menu, sometimes has the most delicious grilled Sardines on offer. Just ask!
If you’re up for fancier fare, go for a walk along the rocks to the right of the beach, and keep walking until you come across Cala Gracio’s little sister, Cala Gracioneta. Here, you’ll find the stunning El Chiringuito. It’s a tranquil hidden gem, the perfect spot for a top notch Paella and a jug of Sangria.
Monday evening was officially a ‘rest’ night, so we watched the sun set from our balcony, then got a good nights sleep, ahead of a day of exploring.
This was a special day. It was my boyfriends birthday and I wanted to take him somewhere that would take his breath away. So, off to Cala D’Hort we went. Not only is Cala D’Hort one of Ibiza’s loveliest beaches, it’s also home to stunning views of a giant jurassic rock island rising majestically out of the beautiful crystal blue mediterranean sea. The mysterious island of Es Vedra. It’s said it was once home to sea nymphs and sirens who tried to seduce Ulysses away from his ship in Homer’s Odyssey. Another myth is that Es Vedra was the birthplace of the Phoenician goddess, Tanit. There’s even been UFO sightings over the island, and it’s claimed that part of Es Vedra was used to help build the pyramids in ancient Egypt. Whether all or none of this is true, there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s a magical place, and you’ll instantly be drawn in by it’s magnetic, mystical presence.
We enjoyed the views of the island, then took a scramble across the rocks and fishermans huts, then took the steps up to Es Boldado, a restaurant perched right on the cliff edge of Cala D’Hort. We feasted upon a platter of perfectly cooked, freshly caught fish then made our way back down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon. It was such a wonderful day, tainted only by the fact that Tian-Tian stalled halfway up the very steep hill as we left the beach. My fault entirely for attempting it in second gear. A hillstart, several angry beeps from other drivers and a wheelspin later, and we were on our way! Oooops.
That evening, I treated the bf to a birthday dinner at one of the most loved restaurants in Ibiza, the legendary Sa Capella. Set in the stunning ruins of a medieval monastery, we dined on Suckling Pig and Steak, and had far too many shots of the individual bottle of home brewed Hierbas (a traditional Ibicencan spirit) presented to every table. My eyes lit up when I realised we could just free pour the stuff! Suitably merry, we tottered home and were tucked up by midnight. See, you CAN have an early night in Ibiza. Just say YES to the chupitos, I guarantee a couple of those will have you sleeping soundly! Check out the beauty of the place, and the food, in this slideshow.
After a solid 10 hours kip, and a couple of strong Coffees, we jumped in the car and went off for another day of exploring. We headed to Cala Llonga for a couple of hours, enjoying a picnic lunch and a cracking ‘Green Yogi’ power juice from Papaya which overlooks the beach. Feeling suitably rehydrated and sunkissed, we then went on to our next destination – the Hippy Market.
We were meeting up with my Heart co-host Jk, his lovely wife Charlie, son Noah and bump for the afternoon. Hilariously, we’d all settled on trips to Ibiza, in the same week, and even ended up on the same flights! As if spending 6 days a week with each other isn’t enough?! Ha.
When in Ibiza, you must check out one of several markets dotted around the island. Las Dalias is a great one, over in San Carles, but we chose Hippy Market Punta Arabi, in Es Canar. It started back in 1973, and is a winding maze of hundreds of stalls selling all sorts of pretty trinkets.
You can pick up some gorgeous things, from stunning printed silk dresses, to bohemian jewellery, sparkling crystals that twinkle beautifully in the sunlight, local artwork, vintage clothing, tooled leather bags, it really is a Magpies paradise! Add to this some live music, and a bustling atmosphere, and you’ve got the perfect afternoon out. Well worth picking up some souvenirs or gifts for loved ones back home. WAY better than taking back a stuffed Donkey. It’s open Wednesdays from 10am.
Of course, all this shopping makes one hungry. Our next stop was a little further north and inland to the picturesque little village of San Lorenzo, home to the Instagram dream that is La Paloma. The setting of this rather excellent restaurant is just outstanding. It’s surrounded in lush greenery, everything’s painted in pastel blue, and both the grounds and restaurant are decorated with lots of unique artifacts. To top it all off, the food is delicious. It’s a fusion of Italian recipes, mixed in with other cuisines, and they use as much organic and locally sourced produce as possible. The calamari we had was superb. It was fresh, tender, and cooked in a tasty tomato based broth rather than deep fried. I can still taste it now. Heavenly. this was followed up by Osso Bucco, a particular favourite of mine. It was wonderful. The meat fell off the bone, and the Risotto was bang on, in both consistency and flavour. The only thing I’m sad about is that we were too stuffed to eat dessert.
Here’s a few of the photos I took of the STUNNING La Paloma below, it should be enough to whet your Ibiza appetite ahead of part 2 coming before the end of the week! Featuring some beautiful beach recommendations, THE best sunset spots, and more – I’ll let you know when it’s up!