The island lies at almost the exact same distance between Barcelona on the Spanish mainland, and Algiers on the North African coast. It’s certainly not for any insignificant reason that Ibiza has become one of the worlds most sought after tourist destinations. It is a land primarily made up of exquisite beaches, green expanses and of course an abundance of sunshine. In recent times there has been some concern about the environmental effects of the tourist-friendliness of the island. But Ibiza is still a great vacation spot to get away from it all. Here are some factual tidbits to whet your interest.
1. An intriguing name
If you have ever wondered about the name of this place and found it intriguing, here’s something to make it more so. When Ibiza city was founded, in 654 BC, it was called IBSM (Ibosim). How’s that for exotic?
2. Santa Eulalia and San Carlos
Ibiza has many municipalities and each of these is a charming world unto itself. To experience the true magic and energy of Ibiza, you will need to break away from the well trodden tourist paths and embark on discoveries for yourself. One enchanting discovery will be Santa Eulalia, which has a lovely miniature town, and at its highest point stands the Puig de Missa, a beautiful church. This is a must-see both for the building’s own charm and the amazing views from it. Another secret that Santa Eulalia holds is the village of San Carlos, the last hippy bastion in Ibiza .
3. Local Specialties
Since Ibiza caters so much to tourists from far flung parts of the world, its cuisine too reflects this quality. Western style food is available everywhere, but if you suddenly want a taste of even Argentina or Mexico, you just need to head over to eat outs such as La Vaca Argentina or Tijuana and fill up to your heart’s desire. However, having said all that, it would be a great loss to leave Ibiza without trying out one of the island’s own specialty dishes such as the bullit de peix, an inspired fish dish, or the borrida de rajada. And for dessert, you simply must try the flaó (cream tart with fresh cheese, eggs, and mint). You’ll be glad you did!
4. Festa del Vi Payés
A wonderful event that features both on the culinary and social calendars of Ibiza is the Festa del Vi Payés in honor of Bacchus, the god of wine. What’s even better is that, in addition to the excellent wines that flow generously, sobrasadas (a heavily spiced sausage) and butifarras from the pig slaughter that just precedes this festival are grilled outdoors over wood fires. A perfect accompaniment for the wines. The Festa del Vi Payés (Country Wine Festival) was the brainchild of the enterprising small scale wine producers of the region who realized that bottled wine was beginning to take over the market, leaving little or no room for authentic indigenous wines. Over time, their efforts have paid off not only with increased sales of local wines, but also with the creation of a social event which attracts over five thousand people, to a village with a population numbering less than 400. You tell me if you would like to miss that!
5. Ibiza Nightlife
The greatest attraction of Ibiza is the nightlife and the fact that on the island the party never stops! The nightlife hotspots are concentrated in the Puerto de Ibiza (Port of Ibiza), also called La Marina and the West End of San Antonio. La Marina is chock full of bars and each of them is well worth a visit. A good place to refine your bar hopping skills. They are also a lot more inexpensive than the clubs. The hippie flea market which is just a little way off adds to the very local charm of this place. If you’d like to shake a leg at a disco, the island’s three premier haunts, Privilege, Amnesia and Space will not disappoint. So when you hear Ibiza calling, pack your bags and go! The island will bewitch your senses and weave its spell around you. It promises to be the holiday of a lifetime. Photo of Sunset at Cafe del Mar, San Antnio, Ibiza, by ST33VO