When you think of Ibiza, your mind is instantly drawn to its world-famous party scene and charged nightlife. From the pulsating music that swells out onto the strip from neon-lit nightclubs to the modern beach bars filled with sun worshippers enjoying a cocktail or two, Ibiza is known as the island of revellers, but that’s not all this compelling Mediterranean island has to offer.
For those looking for a more tranquil holiday filled with sightseeing, historic adventures and memorable evenings out, Ibiza isn’t usually the first place that springs to mind. But there’s more to this party island than meets the eye, with more travellers than ever, young and old, visiting the island to experience its cultural gems, gorgeous sights and quaint, old towns away from all the crowds and music.
We’ve put together a list of alternative things to do on the island away from all the bars and clubs, giving you a sneak peek of the hidden gems that are hiding behind the island’s glitzy façade.
What is there to do in Ibiza besides clubbing?
Outside of its electric nightlife and bougie beach clubs, what else can you get up to in Ibiza?
“There are a few things that make Ibiza such a special destination,” says travel blogger Annmarie Judge. “Firstly, the landscape is so beautiful, and I believe that the beaches are up there with some of the best I’ve seen in the world. Crystal-clear waters and white sandy beaches populate the coastline making it the perfect place for rest and relaxation.
“Food is another thing. Mediterranean cuisine puts a strong focus on fresh fish and vegetables and the flavours that they can bring out of simple ingredients are just amazing.
“What makes Ibiza truly unique, however, is how easy it is to escape the madness of the super clubs and night-time party life and almost forget that it even exists. From yoga retreats to romantic getaways for couples, Ibiza really does have something for everyone.”
Alternative things to do in Ibiza
Take the ferry to Formentera island
Just south of Ibiza you’ll find Formentera island, the smallest of the Balearic Islands. Annmarie told us why a day trip to this divine island is an absolute must.
“If you are visiting Ibiza, I would 100% recommend taking the ferry across to Formentera island. It is just 30 minutes away and is home to one of the world's best beaches, Ses Illetes. On arrival, there are plenty of options available for getting around the island from cars to bikes. Personally, I really enjoyed exploring the island by bicycle. At just €10 for the day, it is the perfect way to spend the day visiting some of the nearby beaches and quaint towns.”
Stroll through the quaint town of San Juan
Experience Ibiza’s eccentric boho side by visiting the charming town of San Juan, recommends The Mediterranean Traveller blogger, Steph. Here, you can experience Ibiza’s colourful culture and traditional day-to-day life.
“To get a sense of authentic Ibiza (and a hint of its original hippie vibe), head away from the beach and inland to its sleepy whitewashed villages for artisan markets and local foods. San Juan is the most atmospheric, and from here it’s only a short drive to the sea for an afternoon swim. Try the tiny cove of Cala Xuclar, a secluded spot to soak up the rays.”
Take a trip to Ibiza’s old town, Dalt Vila
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, history and architecture buffs will love exploring the fortified old town of Dalt Vila.
“Its winding streets and stunning views are so beautiful, and the atmosphere is really enchanting,” says Annmarie. “Little trinket shops and jewellery stores are scattered around the town and behind every corner, there is another hidden gem. Spend a few hours wandering the cobbled streets, recharge with a glass of vino and some tapas and finish off with a climb to the top of the town looking over panoramic views of the city and harbour.”
Travel blogger Kelsey from Kelsey in London also recommends a visit to the quaint Dalt Vila.
“Ibiza has a very unique culture and food scene which is often overlooked by party-goers who head to the island. Spend some time getting lost in the cobblestoned streets of Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s old town, dining at traditional Spanish tapas bars or you can head to an upmarket modern fusion restaurant. Wherever you go, it’s a foodie’s paradise.”
Take a load off at Cala Tarida
Looking for some beach fun away from the crowds? Kelsey recommends heading over to Cala Tarida, a long strip of white sand beaches that’s perfect for families and those looking for some quiet R&R on Ibiza’s shores.
“Head to Cala Tarida! If you don’t want to just chill out by your hotel pool or attend one of the infamous Ibiza pool parties, it’s well worth catching a taxi to Ibiza’s many peaceful beaches which boast the same vibrant blue water you’d expect to see in the Maldives.”
Polished Couture blogger Bethany also recommends heading to Cala Tarida, especially for its fantastic beach club.
“Although Ibiza is known for its world-famous party life, it also hosts some of the most picturesque beaches in Spain. Cala Tarida is one of the nicest beaches I've been to with white sands and turquoise sea waters. If you're looking for a quiet afternoon, the beach club, Cotton Club, is perfect. It's Instagram goals with white and blue interiors and a stunning view of the bay. They have a fantastic a la carte menu or sushi if you're feeling daring!”
Go searching for the Lost City of Atlantis
If you’re looking to go on an adventure with a touch of magic and mystery, you’ll want to go searching for Ibiza’s Lost City of Atlantis. One of Ibiza’s best kept secrets considered to be the gem of the White Island.
“For the ultimate off-the-beaten-track adventure, hop on a scooter in search of the island’s secret beach of Atlantis.” Says Sarah, travel blogger at My Veggie Travels. “Just down the track from the main viewpoint at Es Vedra, lies a unique rock formation that the locals have linked to the infamous Lost City. Incredible carved out caves and cliff faces make you feel like you’ve stepped into the set of an explorer movie, and the hike down offers magical coastline views.”
Watch the sunset at Cala Comte
Seeing a sunset on a beach in Ibiza is a rite of passage, but if you want to go somewhere a little more secluded, Sarah has a recommendation.
“If you’re hoping to clock one of Ibiza’s famous sunsets, but don’t want to fight the crowds around Café Mambo, Cala Comte makes for a stylish alternative. The bar overlooking the rocks here provides chilled out tunes as you watch the sun dip down below the waters."
Explore Ibiza’s charming heritage in Eivissa
Also called Ibiza Town, a trip to Eivissa is perfect if you’re looking to explore Ibiza’s age-old heritage. Close to Dalt Vila, Eivissa also boasts charming architecture and ruins that will enchant and delight.
“You can go any time of the day to see the real beauty of the old ruins and even venture up to the castle to see the breath-taking views of the bay,” says Bethany. “This part of the island is ideal if you would prefer a quiet date night. The food and drinks are exceptionally cheaper here, especially tapas! The whole ambience here reminds you of a traditional Spanish town. You’ll certainly forget you're on a party island!”
Get back to nature in Las Salinas
Love the great outdoors? Then an afternoon exploring Las Salinas is like nothing else on the island.
“Ibiza is known as Europe’s summer clubbing capital, but there’s so much more to the White Isle than booze and beats,” says Steph. “How about some of the best sandy beaches in Europe, coupled with laid-back bohemian vibes, rustic charm, and a beautiful capital?
“Mornings are the perfect time to enjoy peace and quiet at nearby Las Salinas, an unusual area of salt pans, sand dunes and wetlands. You might even spot a flamingo or two!”
Can we help you plan your perfect cruise to Ibiza? Contact the ROL Cruise team or find out more about visiting this stunning island on a cruise from Southampton.