PLACES OF IBIZA
WITH A VERY SPECIAL ALLURE
Ibiza is the beautiful island par excellence, boasting some of the most alluring corners in the Mediterranean. The following places stand out for their rare, unspoiled beauty which will take you unawares, leaving you completely lost for words.
If you have a special thing for the White Isle and are keen on nature or photography, you can’t afford to ignore this piece which brings together some of Ibiza’s most irresistible beauty spots. Corners which have managed to remain unsullied and intact (at least, most of them) to be discovered by curious travellers who have fallen for this island – like you.
1-Number one has to be . . . Es Vedrà.
The mysterious colossus, unchanged over the ages, is moored off the southwest coast of the island. It has been and remains a source of inspiration for countless artists, the seed of innumerable legends, the refuge of an exiled friar as well as a herd of wild goats. It has now become the iconic symbol of Ibiza, a place of endless enchantment in whose vicinity you can breathe lasting peace and serenity.
It’s worth recalling here a description by friar Francisco Palau in a letter he penned on Es Vedrà itself (letter no. 115) on 1st August 1866: “This mountain is an islet to the west of Ibiza, completely separate from the main island, which rises up out of the watery depths towards the sky; there are no inhabitants other than myself. The main hermitage lies two leagues to the south [the east, in fact] of the island and the friars, who have a fishing boat there, bring me over, drop me off by myself, and then head back. Just below the summit there is a spring, and the caves in the rocks are my cells. I retired here ten years ago and have as much solitude as I could wish for. ”
2-Las Puertas del Cielo (The Gates of Heaven)
This is the top of a gigantic cliff which look out over the sea near the picturesque almond groves of Santa Inés. The original name given to the extraordinary spot was “Sa Penya Esbarrada” (‘the Terrifying Cliff’), and the remains of an old Muslim settlement are found in some scanty ruins nearby. It was renamed ‘the Gates of Heaven’ by hippies who came to gaze over the endless sea and enjoy its amazing sunsets.
Although one of Ibiza’s smallest hamlets, the unique location of Es Cubells on the edge of a massive cliff provides it with spectacular views across the southern horizon. The special beauty of the setting is complemented by a charming church founded in 1864, thanks to the grit and determination of the Carmelite friar Francesc Palau, to whom it is dedicated.
4- The church of Sant Miquel de Balansat, in the municipality of Sant Joan de Labritja
A stunning whitewashed church built on top of a hill, which differs from other island churches in its cruciform plan. Just beyond the courtyard stands a full-size statue of poet Marià Villangómez, one of the most important names in Ibizan letters.
5- Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera
This bustling village in the heart of Ibiza has grown up around a group of typical Ibicenco dwellings and a whitewashed church built at the end of the 18th century. Here you can take your pick of picturesque bars and restaurants, as well as craft and antique shops. It has a serene, bohemian ambience which gives it a singular charm.
6- The cave of Es Culleram
This is an important Punic sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Tanit, where ritual sacrifices were celebrated in far-off ages. It is located in Sa Cala de Sant Vicent, 150 metres above sea level, hidden among forests and mountains. The cave served as a home and refuge in prehistoric times, i.e. the Bronze Age. Under the rule of Carthage between the 5th and 2nd centuries BC it became one of Ibiza’s leading religious centres with offerings made to Great Mother Tanit. The shrine was perfectly organized, with attendant priests who moved there during times of ritual celebration.
The ancient walled town overlooks the older part of Ibiza Town, and literally means “High Town” in Ibicenco. The citadel is contained within imposing Renaissance walls and in 1999 was declared a world Heritage Site by UNESCO. It was, and to some degree remains, the centre of local government, both commercial and cultural. Inside the walls of Puig de Vila (Town Hill) are some of Ibiza’s most important buildings. Here you can appreciate the traces left by various cultures and civilizations that have passed through. As both a symbol of the island and its greatest cultural asset because of its timeless allure, you simply can’t afford to miss it.
8- The La Marina neighbourhood
La Marina extends from the foot of the town walls to the harbour. It was once the fishermen’s and boatbuilding quarter, and today is one of the busiest and most picturesque barrios in Ibiza Town. Wherever you feet wander you’ll come across its unique beauty, with narrow alleyways of whitewashed houses and colourful shop windows.
9- The sunset of Benirràs and its drums
For something quite magical, this is a spot where the authentic hippie atmosphere once typical of the island can still be found. The beach at Benirràs deserves a visit above all for its popular drum party that takes place every Sunday afternoon during the summer. It all started spontaneously when a group of hippies chose this corner for the magical light reflected from the bay as the sun sinks in the sky. An event you really can’t miss.
These are some of the most charming as well as best-kept secrets of the island, which I’m sharing with you here so that together we can help preserve them for the future.
I hope you enjoyed the whistle-stop tour.
See you soon!