I can’t start this blog without going back to the start. The first place that left a handprint on my heart, my second home for many reasons.. Ibiza.
And not the mad, clubbing party island of Ibiza like its reputation may fool you but the laid back, care free, hippy chilled side to the beautiful white isle.
When I was a little girl (5 to be exact) my parents did the typical British all-inclusive 2 week summer holiday with me and my younger sister.. however for 1999 Ibiza was quite exotic. We went to a small place in the North of the island called Puerto San Miguel, little did we know how much this place and people would affect the rest of our lives.
Of course they fell in love with the place and came back the following summer, and the one after that and the one after that.
After a few years, a number of Ibizan holidays later, around the time I was 10 my parents found an apartment on the market, put an offer in and a few months later it was ours. We spent every school holiday at our little apartment ..Easter, whit, the week in October and best of all, the whole 7 weeks of summer holiday, it was safe to say I was always the most tanned kid going back to school in September.
Our apartment was perfect, small and quaint but with the most incredible view of the beach, bay and island. Although if you were last in the shower (usually me, as I was having far too much fun exploring) I guarantee you had an ice cold one. I used to arrive at the beginning of summer and start to worry about the day I had to leave. I never thought I would love a place as much and to be fair I have travelled the world and loved every minute of it but when I venture back to San Miguel it is a feeling of pure warmth and home within me
I spent summer after summer of my teenage years carefree on that island. I met so many friends, some I am still in contact with today but of course the locals that I made friends with are some of the best friends I have in my life. My very first best friend I met in San Miguel when I was 6 years old.. an English boy who had moved to the island just a few years before.. to this day he is still like a brother to me and I know he will always have my back. Its thanks to him I met my boyfriend Tjay (but more of that later).
During our holidays we explored every nook and cranny of Ibiza from the beaches, to the towns, to the mountains. Even one Easter I went with my best friend to the mountains and we picked fresh asparagus and oranges and took them home to our families. I probably fell in love every summer with some guy (boy) I’d met, or at least I thought I did. At 14/15 with that emotional soup flowing around your body its hard to know what you feel, some summers I swear I had fell in love with 2 or 3! The funny thing is I never thought I would actually come to meet ‘The One’ when I revisited in my 20’s.
At 16. After years of wonderful memories with my friends and family, in particular grandparents who are no longer with me, even now I walk along the beach in San Miguel and re-live the memories of the time spent with them there, my parents decided to sell the apartment so we could travel and see more of the world.. we had made a few trips during the time we still went to Ibiza …Florida, Italy and Canada and it opened their eyes to the fact that although it had been perfect for us to grow up there and gain life experiences that only few get to have, it was time to move on. I was heartbroken but looking back now I know that it was the best decision and the parts of the world I have seen because of it, is priceless.
After my parents sold and we began to travel to new and exciting places I still always felt a pull back and found any excuse to go.. I talked my grandparents into going back for their 50th wedding anniversary, as they wanted a few days away with the family to celebrate and where better than a place held so close to all our hearts. I dragged an ex-boyfriend there for a few days one summer and a few weeks after we broke up, the following year, I flew back myself to get over my heartbreak. It was the year I had turned 21 and I hadn’t seen my old friend for a number of years, I got in touch to tell him I was coming home, I had flights booked for in 3 days’ time but nowhere to stay. Being the amazing friend that he always was, he let me stay with him
During that 10 days I found myself again, the relationship I had been in previously knocked me down in so many ways but especially my confidence. It had been a long distance relationship with him living in the states and it was a long 4 years with no trust (on his side) even though I never gave him a reason for that. Jealousy comes through the door, love goes out the window as my dad has always told me and it is so true. I had been controlled, emotionally tortured and drained for years and now stepping off the plane, feeling the heat whack you in the face, smelling the pine trees .. I was home, I was free….My friend was working a lot as it was July and a crazy busy time for locals, especially those who work in restaurants, bars, hotels just as he had always done.(Don’t forget to check out Pas Des Illa in San Miguel for some amazing food, drinks and service with a smile).
So that trip I spent a lot of time alone. It has never bothered me being in my own company, sometimes when I’m exploring I prefer it as you can take it all in better. I walked for miles, I swam for hours, I lay on the beach and read book after book but I also found time to meet a few new friends.
My friend introduced me to some people on the island at the time some lovely girls from Denmark, a couple from France and two brothers from Belgium. We all went to a birthday party together, drinks flowed and new friends were made. I made plans to head to the ‘Las Dalias’ Hippy Market with my new Danish friends the next day. There are a number of hippy markets held over Ibiza and on different days so there is always chance to catch one.
The biggest markets are the Punta Arabi Hippy Market on a Wednesday in Es Cana and the Las Dalias on a Saturday in San Carlos. There is also a night market held at Las Dalias on a Monday and Tuesday.
Ibiza has strong artistic routes dating back to the 60’s where artists, painters and designers headed to the island to experience the unique atmosphere. Visiting one of these famous markets brings this all together where you can purchase or just browse the endless stalls of hand-made clothes, jewellery, artefacts and more. The markets can be crowded and very hot and sweaty underneath the canopies of material.. it’s always nice to find the little stall that sells the drinks and ice creams. During that time back on the island I met T.jay, one of the brothers from Belgium.
He had been coming to the island with his family since he was a baby, we had both been in San Miguel every summer for the past so many years and we had a lot of mutual, local friends, yet we had never crossed paths. There was an instant connection, his smile and his eyes were so kind I couldn’t not be pulled towards him. He started to meet me in an afternoon and invite me to eat lunch with his family or take a boat out on the sea, head for a swim or just go for a drink. There was no denying the attraction and connection was there, I was just scared being so new out of a 4 year relationship.
He made me laugh and feel special and in those 10 days I completely fell for him. I left the island after a whirlwind romance and couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing him again. I spent the year working on myself and my career and the following year I returned but this time to stay with him.
It had been a year, I was scared, what if he didn’t recognise me? If we didn’t feel the same? If it was awkward? I was staying with him and his family for 10 days. I landed and he picked me up at the airport, I ran straight to his arms and knew I didn’t need to worry about anything. We spent the 10 days growing and falling in love on the island that means so much to both of us.
5 years later we are as strong as ever and we still visit every summer together, no matter what our plans or whether its for 4 weeks or 4 days we find the time to go to the place we met, the place that has so memories both together and separate, the place where we will probably get married.. our Ibiza.
So here our some of our tops Picks and Places on the Island …
- Benirras Beach
Whether you go by boat, car or foot Benirras is a must see on the island, situated in the north of the island and famous for its sunsets and hippy drumming Sundays makes Benirras a key beach on the island. It is a beautiful beach with a picturesque view to a rock formation known as Cap Bernat or as the locals call it, ‘The finger of God’. Reached by car, follow sign posts for San Miguel and it is a further 10 mins from there. However the road to the beach closes on a Sunday afternoon in anticipation for the hoards of people that head to the hippy party at sunset every Sunday. If you have ever seen ‘Kevin and Perry go large’ Benirras is a filming location for a key scene (poo in the sea) I promise you wont be finding a floater when you visit. The water is crystal clear and has been the location for one of my midnight dips many a time.
There is nothing more liberating than swimming in the warm ocean with the thousands of stars and the moon above shining down. There is nowhere in the world that I have experienced a more visible night sky and can’t count the amount of shooting stars I’ve glimpsed in Ibiza.
It is beautiful and clean, when I was around 11 years old I found a message in a bottle washed up on that beach. It was April time and I still to this day remember the drawing of the house on the paper inside, a cat and a little girl sat on the porch and a note saying “Hello, From 7 Shane way”. That was it, forever ingrained in my memory, it’s something I often think about and would love to have known where in the world it had come from. Nowadays we tend to head to Benirras by boat on a Sunday. Often with friends taking there boats, we tie up next to each other with some bottles of wine and snacks.
The constant drum and chatter in the background from the people and party on the beach behind, the beautiful pink and orange filling the sky until the giant ball of fire disappears behind the horizon and the cheers fill the air. The experience is unlike any other in the world.
There are car parks at the beach and also restaurants, one called Elements. I went there a number of years back with my friend. The food is fresh and Beautiful, we sat for hours with a view of the sea, juicy melon to start, a gorgeous fresh pasta and of course chocolate and ice cream to finish. It was lunch time and my beautifully sculptured chocolate tower took less than a minute to melt and fall, all the more reason the get it eaten. A little on the pricey side for the likes of a nice bottle of wine but the food and location is worth it for a little treat. There is also a bus service that runs from San Antonio, Ibiza town and Santa Eulalia if you cant reach it by car or boat.
- Es Vedra
Es Vedra is a small rocky island of the southwest coast on Ibiza and is part of the Cala D’Hort nature reserve. The island is uninhibited and protected, therefore inaccessible to the public, this is nothing to worry about though, as the most spectacular thing about this island is the view from the cliff tops of Vedra towering 400m out of the Mediterranean.
There are lots of myths and legends surrounding Es Vedra.. Most popular of these is that Es Vedra is the third most magnetic place on earth just behind The North pole and Bermuda Triangle. There is no evidence to support this, yet navigational instruments are massively affected when in the vicinity of the island.
Es Vedra is also rumoured to be the birth place of Ibiza’s own Goddess Tanit, home of the sirens and sea-nymths who tried to lure Ulysses from his ship in Homer Odyssey and the tip of the sunken city of Atlantis. Another belief is that some of the rock from Es Vedra was used to build the Pyramids in Egypt. The limestone rock found on the island is claimed to have the same concentration of energy as the Pyramids, Stonehenge and Easter island. It is a very popular place on this earth for claimed UFO sightings with some even believing that there is a secret under water alien base after strange circles of light have been reported in the water. One thing is for sure when you visit Es Vedra is that it really is out of this world.
Whether you believe the stories or not, the mysterious Es Vedra pulls you in with its magic and throws a sense of calm and peace over you, it is impossible not to feel the energy emanating from the rock. It is a place filled of positive, healing energy thus a popular location for meditation, yoga and spiritual reflection.
I personally love Es Vedra, I always make sure I visit at least once when I’m back on the island, no matter how many times I’ve been before it still sends tingles down my spine. It is beautiful at any point of the day, early morning is peaceful and tranquil, and the majestical pink and orange sunsets are out of this world.
After parking up, it is just a few minutes, walk down a slightly rocky dirt path, the pine trees filling your nostrils and the sun warming your skin there is a feeling like no other when you reach the viewing platform, the sight of Es Vedra literally takes your breath away. It can become a bit crowded on that platform, especially at sunset with everyone trying to get the perfect selfie, if your sensible and unlike me wear better shoes than flip flops there are two further areas to view the amazing island from. Growing up in Ibiza I just went bare foot but please have your feet in mind if you want to reach these places.
The first is a cave below the viewing platform, to the left is a little path and a bit of climb down, there awaits you a hidden cave, carvings on the wall and even some crazy patterned covers and material left on the floor. Actually a perfect location if you’ve had a bit too much sunshine and want to relax without the blazing rays.
The next location is the tower. Up to the left, around a 30 min ascend is Torre de Savinar, a deserted Pirates tower. The experience can be quite emotional once you reach the tower and watch the sky change from pink, to orange, to purple and into an array of twinkling stars. One visit me and Tjay climbed to the tower with a picnic and a bottle of wine, sipping bubbles with my best friend, as the sun lit our faces and our eyes feasted on the wonderful sights below, we climbed there to be alone and that we were not. Hundreds of green speckled lizards, that you find all over the island, decided to join our little picnic and nick a few crisps. They were climbing all over our feet, legs and arms trying anything to get to the food. We’ve joined by cats in that area and also seen dolphins just below. The area is not only known to attract human energy but animal too.
Another incredible location to take in the wonder of Es Vedra is from the water. By boat of course, anchored up with a picnic and not forgetting the wine. (For me its not a picnic without vino). Bobbing up and down on the waves, jumping in the fresh Med for a cool off, feeling the magic wash over your skin and into your body.. Leaving a lifelong impression on your heart.
Ibiza’s baby sister is the incredible island of Formentera, the smallest of Spain’s Balearic islands, just 20km across from Ibiza and less than a quarter of the size. Formentera is best known for its stunning unspoilt perfect white sand beaches with its sparkling crystal clear waters, some of its beaches are considered some of the most beautiful in the world.
A great wave of peacefulness hits you when you draw near the island, the only way to reach it is by boat from Ibiza. Zooming over the waves, as the outline of the island comes into view on the horizon, excitement bubbles up inside knowing your nearing the most perfect, tranquil location to relax and forget the stresses of life, jumping into the crystalline water there literally washes your worries away.
You can stay on the island or just as easily go for the day, ferries run every day from Ibiza port, there are lots of boat excursions, from Playa den Bossa, that take you there or rent your own boat and find your own adventure.
One of my favourite ever days in my many years of loving Ibiza was taking a speedboat out onto the Mediterranean with my boyfriend, a picnic in hand and of course some Cresta Rosa (literally the best sparling rose you will ever find, all just for €3 in most of the local supermarkets). We started out at our home port of San Miguel and began a round trip, Weaving in and out of the coast, wind in my hair and the sun on my face, under arches of rock and finally around the corner and past Es Vedra. From there we head straight out to sea with Formentera in our sights, on our crossing the waves got slightly too big and started to come over the front of the boat, but honestly other than get salt water in my mouth because I couldn’t stop laughing, I just enjoyed a nice cooling down. On arriving at the beautiful clear blue waters, nipping in and out of all the harboured boats we found our spot and anchored up. My whole body was aching to feel the salty magical sea water on my skin so before the anchor hit the sand I was in. Its not very deep where we parked up and you can see the sand on the bottom as well as a couple of wonderful fish hanging around. As soon as I jumped and the water engulfed me i felt free and happy.
Back onboard we popped open our favourite pink fizz, unwrapped our foil covered serrano, tomato and cheese bocadillos and just took in the beauty of our surroundings, I sat thinking to myself life cant get much better.
After a bit too much sun and way too much fizz, salt dried hair and an achy face from smiling all day, we headed back. The sun setting over the Ibiza as we returned home was just the cherry on top of the cake.
Whatever you do when you visit Ibiza, whether its for a few days or a few hours, don’t miss out Formentera.
- Dalt Vila
Originally called Ibosim, once one of the most important coastal cities of the Med, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1999, Dalt Vila is one of the most beautiful and interesting ‘old towns’ there is to explore. The best way to explore its hidden treasures is on foot, There are a couple of set routes that you can follow but I always find wandering and ‘getting lost’ is the best way to see it in all its glory.
There is the castle and walls, a cathedral, monastery and several museums, all surrounded by buzzing restaurants and trendy bars, quaint little shops and perfect cobbled streets. You can loose yourself in the maze of narrow alleys and passageways, there is the perfect mix of old and new and a sense of the real Ibiza. People drinking mojitos sat outside a swanky bar next too a row of houses with washing hanging across the street, it is just unexplainable until you see it for yourself.
One of the most popular sights is the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Eivissa, dating back to the 14th century, and located at the top of the Dalt Vila, it is the highlight of the town. From below I always imagine the Volturi from Twilight are living up there, but if you can manage to walk/climb up to the top the views are sensational.
- Flower Power
One of my favourite evening things to do is the Flower Power party at Pacha. Ibiza is famous for its night life and clubs and if party is your thing then San Antonio and Playa D’en Bossa are the places for you. I much prefer to sit in a bar and watch the sunset, drinking reasonably priced cocktails and chat away with friends. It makes me sound old but at 26 I am way past the coming home at sunrise, my body cant handle the hangover. Don’t get me wrong places like Amnesia, Ushuaia, Privilege can be a lot of fun, especially if its your first time. But to me the constant bang of the base and paying 25 euros for a single Gin and Fanta lemon is not my idyllic Ibiza. That being said ‘Flower Power’ at Pacha is a night you wont forget.
A hippy heaven with its outdoor area covered in tie die blankets and crazy painted walls equipped with beanbags and chairs to sit and chill in the midnight heat, everyone feeling chill and screaming peace & love. Inside is like you stepped back in time to the 70’s .. hearts and peace signs hanging from every inch of the ceiling, dancers in Flared brightly patterned pants dancing on the podiums, John Lennon and Yoko Ono sitting on a bed being pulled through the dancefloor, On one I even had Robert De Niro come up to me while I was having a drink and ask “You talkin to me?”.
The performances put on randomly During the night are so professional and so much fun.. Usually a rendition from the amazing dancers to ‘All you need is love” by The Beatles mixed in with “Love is in the air” is performed, and you can do everything to stop yourself from getting up and singing and dancing but its impossible, even if you just clap along its so captivating, especially after a few drinks that all you can do is smile and enjoy it.
The drinks are expensive, one time that we went I bought a vodka plus mixer and 2 beers and it was almost 50 euros.. so make sure you drink beforehand. The queues can also be quite long so make sure you book tickets before hand as flower power only happens once a week. I’m lucky and have friends who used to work there so we never have to queue but I would if I had to because the night is so worth it. Make sure you explore all the nooks and crannies and even the upstairs outdoor terrace for just a hit of warm air and a sit down on a sofa to just relax. All in all it is one big hippy party filled with colour, free spirits, good vibrations and the music and themes from the 60s and 70s. A real unique experience and I know I have unforgettable memories from my nights there and I hope you will too. The party is magic and throws out a lot of surprises, you really have to see it to believe it .. Flower Power is held every Wednesday night from May – Oct.
Namaste to most people is a greeting, I bow to you, the divine in me honours the divine in you but to the people of Ibiza Namaste means a big hippy party. Every Wednesday during summer an iconic party takes place at the Las Dalias Hippy market in San Carlos. It brings the place to life with colour, music and good vibes.
The best experiences at Namaste have been when I have attended with a big group of friends, if you haven’t already guessed I love the hippy vibe in Ibiza and the way of life just calls to me. We spent the night relaxing on big rugs and cushions around a fire pit while people drank, smoked, chatted with a hum of music and a buzz of energy around. The inside area turns into an air conditioned club, heaven if you need to escape the humidity of the night, but as you step through the doors you are hit with a trance music beat that you just have to move along to.
If you are looking for the most chilled out party with people of any age, no judgement on what you wear or what you do, a place to sit and chat to friends with a cocktail or dance the night away, then Namaste is for you.
No not the lost city…although it is a little secret spot and can be difficult to find but once you do it is breath-taking. Atlantis is a name given to the small cove of Sa Pedrera, part of the Cala d’Hort nature reserve. If you choose to venture there, it really is ‘the journey to Atlantis’ .. it is not the most straightforward place to reach, you will have to climb and sweat a bit to reach it, but once you do you have your own paradise that not a lot of people know about, don’t know how to reach it or simply don’t want to face the journey down.. as what goes down must come back up and trust me the going up is much more strenuous and there is no cold pool waiting for you to cool off in, unlike the descent.
Atlantis is an old sandstone quarry that was used to build the walls of Dalt Vila, what they probably didn’t know back then, is when they extracted the blocks of sandstone they were creating a new wonder. The cuts left in the rocks created the perfect slanted, wonky walls that when the seawater washes over become serene pools of bliss.
There are no words to describe Atlantis and justify the beauty, even pictures cannot show you just how wonderful this place really is. It has to be seen with your own eyes and the feeling of bathing in the pools as the waves crash over will never leave you. To find Atlantis follow the directions for Cala d’Hort from Saint Joseph de Talaia, just before you get to Cala d’Hort you will see signs for Torre des Savinar and a branch off the road to take you to a carpark.
From there you can walk down a rough path, very steep in parts and after around 30/40 minutes you will reach the majestical cove. Little tip, don’t wear flimsy flip flops like me, I had to take them off because my bare feet were much safer but of course its Ibiza and the floor is like stepping on lava in the midday heat, take some comfy shoes and don’t miss out on an adventure of a lifetime. Of course you can reach the cove by boat too but personally the view of the turquoise pools coming into sight on your decent, passing by hippy artwork carved into the stone and the relief of dipping in the refreshing water after the hike down is so much more thrilling and worth it. Pack a bag with water, you will need it, possibly beers and a picnic like we did but please take your rubbish home with.. Look after Ibiza and Ibiza will look after you.
- Ses Salines
A childhood favourite of mine. During our long summers spent on the island my parents would always make sure to take us to mine and my sisters favourite beach. We would pack up the car with towels, rubber rings, bat and balls, bocadillos and my favourite Lays crisps, the ones in the green bag (Receta Campesina), please try them if you haven’t before, even now I bring bags of them home in my suitcase. Ses Salines or Las Salinas is a natural park of soft white sands and crystal clear waters
Just a short 10 minutes’ drive from Playa D’en Bossa or Ibiza town, easily reachable by car, bus or bicycle. Salines is the southernmost tip of the island, named after the salt lakes in the south, it is considered one of the islands most incredible beaches.
A long, wide strip of white sand bordered with the famous pine trees and caressed by the shallow perfectly clear waters is just the idyllic location to relax in the sun with a good book, have a paddle out to sea ( I say paddle as the water is barely touching your knees for meters, as you walk into the med) or grab some lunch at the cool restaurants.
As you walk further down the beach the hum of people chatting and laughing while they eat and drink along the beach front becomes quieter and more tranquil, however wander too far and you will enter the rocky entrance to the water and is also the start of the nudist beach. If you don’t want your white bits on show, or to see an old wrinkly bum you have been warned.
- Santa Eularia
Santa Eularia des Riu is a beautiful town on the east coast of the island, the third largest resort on the island and very popular with families and those looking for a quieter experience.
The gorgeous promenade lining the sandy beach, was another favourite locations of my parents when we would spend time on the island as a family. There is an exclusive yacht marina and some of the best resturants on the island.
I personally love to walk along the path that runs alongside the beach and round to the marina, following the sea with your eyes, stopping for a bite to eat and partaking in a little bit of shopping, Santa Eularia has it all. There is a much more slow and relaxed vibe here and is definitely what always draws me in for a visit.
- Cueva Can Marca
Back in my home town (second home) of Puerto San Miguel are the Can Marca Caves. Originally used by smugglers to store contraband, Cueva Can Marca is over 100,000 years old.
The large system of caves were used up until the mid 20th century, later the caves were made fit for tourist, with lights, stairs and handrails being added, enabling you to walk through and see the magic of the caves.
Illuminated in colours you will see the formations of stalagmites and stalactites, as well as a few surprises along the way.
There are tours every 30 minutes and can be heard in Spanish, English and French. It really is a great chance to see something you would never imagine would be part of Ibiza and to also escape the summer heat for an hour, its like stepping into perfect air conditioning.
All in all Ibiza is a pretty incredible place, whatever you end up doing you will have fun. I truly believe what I said and if you love Ibiza, Ibiza will love you. The island likes to throw out surprises and good energy. Last year me and T.Jay were hiking down towards the island in San Miguel, to see our friends at Pas Des Illas and have some of their amazing sangria! It’s quite a way from where we stay in Nax Xamena together and so we were a bit hot and sweaty and ready for a cold drink, when these two fancy cars pulled up, it’s a bit of a dirt road down the island so on top of being hot and bothered and just in our swimwear, we were a bit dusty too.
The two cars were filled with people and they told us to hop in, wanting to reach the island as soon as possible, we did. There were already 5 people in the second car so we hopped in the first making the 4 become 6. At the beach we drank with them and chatted for hours.. what a gorgeous bounce of energy this group of people had, it pulled us right in. After a few hours they told us they wanted to see something cool, they didn’t know the area that well and so we decided to take them to one of our favourite look out spots – The Hellipad in Nax Xamena. The views up there are incredible, sea and cliff tops on both sides. We all squoze into the cars and headed up. That’s when the magic happened
They put the most hypnotic meditation music on, blasting from the cars speakers and they began an energy dance .. flowing to the north, the east, south and finally the west over and over. All calm and smiling in the most surreal surroundings me and T.jay joined them. In that moment all our energy fused together and it was powerful, these people we had just met felt like friends of years. We took the power of the island and spread it.. afterwards we said our goodbyes, not before they performed me and T a ‘Gracias’ dance for the best day, and we never saw them again but I will remember that day forever.
Leaving Ibiza here for now, but it’s never the end I will always be back to the island finding new people and new adventures to share.
Merci Natalie pour ce beau voyage à Hawaï. Reportage et ressenti très différents par rapport à la Crète, sans doute…
Loved all the articles…esp Ibiza . You have a unique style of writing that draws the reader in. Can’t wait…
What an wonderful blog! Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories with us! Continue to amaze us!!
We were in Panormos this year and have booked for next year -a special place . Your blog has refreshed…
Félicitations pour l’ écriture de ce récit ainsi que pour les belles photos. On a l’ impression de participer à…