Whenever I tell people I’m going to Ibiza on vacation, first thing they say is: “Aha, you’re going to party.” Followed by a sly smirk. No. Au contraire. I’m going to relax.
So what can you do if you don’t want to go clubbing? Plenty.
I’ve been coming to Ibiza for four years now with my friend Susan. First time we came on a hula hoop holiday with a group of girls. We were supposed to stay in a tent on Camping La Playa, but the tents were overbooked, so we ended up in a bungalow and never looked back. Since then we always book a bungalow: it has its own kitchen, bathroom and toilet and a porch for chilling. They come in various sizes. The camping is located in Cala Martina, the hippie corner of the island next to the Punta Arabi hippie market which is on on Wednesdays. On Ibiza, many people tend to use the word ‘hippie’ loosely, often for commercial reasons. There aren’t that many ‘original hippies’ around anymore, but the vibe still lingers.
There are many creative, free souls on the island. Often times, you can find them with their wares on the various hippie markets that are held mostly in the high season. We like to go in June or September, when the temperatures are not soaring yet and it’s not too crowded.
Wednesdays: Punta Arabi hippie market. Get there early to avoid the biggest crowds. For jewelry, bags, clothes and knick knacks.
Saturday during the day, Mondays and Tuesdays at night: Las Dalias hippie market, San Carlos. Deemed the original hippie market. I prefer this one, because it feels less crowded and the setting is nice with both indoor shops and an outdoor market area.If you go there at nights, you can have dinner at the market. It’s close to a cute village too. Drink a hierbas (herbal liquor) in Bar Anita.
On Sunday, there’s a small, cute market in San Juan. In addition to buying artisanal products here, you can also have brunch, listen to music or drink a fresh juice.
Ibiza has a very steady sunny and warm climate. Perfect for a beach vacation! If you have a car, you can try lots of different beaches. We never rent a car, because we’re perfectly happy where we are. The beach at Cala Martina is a very laid-back stretch of sand with various restaurants and good facilities. We rent beach chairs and a parasol, because well, we’re on vacation and that’s just how we roll. I’m also very fair-skinned and don’t want to turn into a lobster.
Make new friends
One day when Susan was swimming and I was taking a nap (eat, sleep, repeat), I was woken by these little cuties. Ibiza is very child-friendly, so if you have small children, you will be welcomed warmly by the locals and you’ll likely find your children some new play buddies very soon.
Spend quality time with your friends and family
Before I came to Ibiza, I never understood why people would go to the same holiday destination year in year out. Now I do. Though the location is important, the atmosphere matters most. If you are relaxed (and allow yourself to be relaxed) you are in the right mind-set for good conversations and lots of laughs.
Being an island in the Mediterranean, Ibiza has lots of variety in fish (pescado) and seafood (marisco). Share a paella (rice with seafood dish) or order small dishes to share (tapas) like tortilla de patatas (potato omelet) and pan con tomate (toasted bread rubbed with garlic and tomato, finished with salt and olive oil). We love to eat at bar Chirincana, next to our camping. They have awesome salads and pizzas. They used to have ayurvedic food, but these days you can also order a hamburger, chicken or a pizza with ham. Passion Cafe is worth a special mention: it serves an extensive menu of healthy juices, smoothies, salads and bowls. The avocado fries are to die for! They have several branches on the island.
We stay close to Es Canar, which caters mostly to English and German holidaymakers. You can go there for a full English breakfast or a Frankfurter sausage, if you like that kind of stuff. Es Canar has a few small supermarkets where you can buy the essentials like water (tap water tastes disgusting, but you can brush your teeth with it) and bread. The fruit and veg on the island is delicious, especially the tomatoes and bell peppers. For home-cooking, you can manage to assemble a simple meal from what you find in the small shops. If you have a car, you can go to one of the larger supermarkets in bigger towns.
If you have car, you can drive around to go to secluded restaurants in the middle of nowhere. We were never bothered to do so, since there’s plenty of choice around where we stay.
Take a stroll in Ibiza City
Take a wander around the old town of Ibiza City (Eivissa’s Dalt Vila), shop there at night or sit on the terraces. There’s quite a bit of choice for restaurants in the city, and the gay area is super fun!
Do bingo or see a fake famous artist
Should you feel the urge to go out a night, you can do so in a non-hardcore way by taking part in a bingo session in Es Canar or go see an impersonator of a famous artist. Over the years we’ve seen the Four Tops, The Temptations (looking suspiciously similar to the Four Tops) Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow. The latter two on separate occasions obviously, because they are said to hate each other’s guts.
Take a boat ride
There are ferry connections from Es Canar via Santa Eulalia to Ibiza City and vice versa. You can also take a boat to nearby island Formentera.
Activities for the more adventurous
Should you feel up to some physical activity, you can do yoga or water sports like stand up paddling. Another option is riding a banana. Well, let’s not dwell on this.
Read a book, do a puzzle or gaze at the sea
As you may have guessed by now, I’m perfectly happy doing as little as possible. Apparently, relaxing is a skill as I noticed not everybody can do it easily, but I can safely say I have mastered the skill. Vacation is a chance to reconnect with yourself without any distractions. Read a book, do some puzzles or simply gaze at the sea and enjoy the sun.