We were delighted to recieve this guest blog post about the lesser know side of Ibiza from Georgina Porteous who recently moved to the island with her husband. Georgina can be found here on Linkedin
Away from the bright lights and dance beats of San Antonio and the crowds and traffic of Ibiza Town, the Balearic gem of Ibiza still possesses peaceful, secluded hideaways along her majestic coastline and within her sun drenched centre.
The idea of a large warehouse heaving with a mass of scantily clad clubbers jostling for space on a laser thrashed dancefloor has me breaking out in a cold sweat. I’m a horribly shy person. I’m not keen on crowds, cringe at the sound of heavy traffic and am a big fan of my own solitude. So since moving to Ibiza, it has been my task to seek out the quieter side of this beautiful Balearic Island.
Discover the quiet side of Ibiza
“The quiet side of Ibiza” may sound like an odd juxtaposition but despite what the past two decades of misleading press may say, it’s not all about the hedonistic non-stop party. Unspoiled inland villages, undeveloped coves, and wild, beautiful countryside still exist, perfect to relax and re-centre oneself.
Treasured Beaches of Ibiza
Just before the family resort town of Portinatx, on the northern tip of Ibiza, you will come across Cala Xarraca and Cala Xucla, two beautiful, unspoiled coves. Surrounded by pines and rocky outcrops, they are true Mediterranean treasures. They can get busy, but nothing unmanageable. There is also a great 4.5 km hike along the coast from Xarraca to Xucla, which then heads inland through two beautiful densely wooded valleys before returning to Xucla.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/joseeivissa/4816428178/ – Cala de Hort
Es Xarcu, on the east coast, is a quiet, rustic cove perfect for peace and tranquility, plus the restaurant here serves the best fresh seafood, taken off the boat that morning. Pou des Lleo, 5 km east from San Carlos is another small cove that rarely gets busy. It is flanked by charming fishermen’s huts and is a great place for snorkeling.
To enjoy the famous Ibiza sunset, most people line along the ‘sunset strip’ of San Antonio. Instead, skip this ritual and take a short drive north on to Cala Salada, a sandy, serene cove with no tourist developments. The sunset here is sublime; it’s the perfect place to watch the sun sink into the horizon behind the islets Sa Conillera and Bosc and you can even swim to a gentle, private cove nearby.
A special hidden oasis called Sa Pedrera, affectionately known by locals as Atlantis, is an island secret, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you the exact location. However, I will give you some hints as I trust those that take the time to seek it out will appreciate and respect this concealed treasure. Atlantis is an old stone quarry that has created a cove, near Cala Vadella and is only accessible by boat or a steep and sketchy hike from above. Make your way to the Torre de Savinar, the old watchtower above Cala De Hort that has the most fantastic view of the mystical Es Vedra, a dramatic rock formation bursting up from the ocean. Continue past the tower and down the cliff for half an hour. There is no clear path, and it’s not a climb for the fainthearted but you will be rewarded.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/baturraibiza/267407000/ – Cala Xarraca
The Red Earth
Of course, the stunning beaches are one of the major draw cards for many of those boarding flights to Ibiza, but instead head inland to discover Ibiza’s wooded, hilly countryside. Wander through authentic Spanish hamlets dripping in bright pink bougainvillea, hike up pine-covered mountainsides and bask in scents of pine, rosemary and orange blossom.
Sant Joan, the last village before you hit the northern tip of the island perfectly encapsulates the greener, more peaceful side of Ibiza. It attracts those after an alternative, natural way of life and has a calm, simple beauty to it. Almond and olive groves carpeted with poppies and rockrose, aging white villas and pine-covered, red earth mountains surround the village and provide amazing countryside for exploring on foot and bicycle. This area is truly special and if it’s peace and quiet you are after, you will find it here.
Santa Agnes is a charming little village just north of San Antonio and here you can get a real taste of Ibicencan farming life. Time seems to stand still and there is not much here other than a church, a supermarket and a few cafes, but this only adds to its appeal. Again, the surrounding area is a nature lover’s paradise and the smells of oranges and lemon groves mixed in with dusty rich soil must be good for the soul.
Where to stay
In terms of accommodation, Ibiza boasts some beautiful resorts that specialize in luxurious privacy away from the crowds. You will pay more for them obviously, but they are a real treat.
Hotel Hacienda Na Xemena is perched 180 meters above crystalline emerald waters, in the heart of a nature reserve. Rooms have a breathtaking view out to the horizon, and sipping cocktails from the hotel bar, while watching the golden sunset, surrounded by Balinese inspired décor and water features will have you feeling like a movie star hiding from the world.
Atzaro is a rural retreat, nestled in its own orange grove in the countryside between Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia. Decorated in Asian, African and Ibicencan décor, it is the perfect antidote to stressful city life. Relax at the Spa, meditate in the chill out zone or soak up the sun around the pristine pool. The key here is to do as little as possible.
If you are on a budget, it’s a little known secret that Restaurant del Carmen, on Cala de Hort has several basic rooms that can be rented. The beach itself gets very busy in the day, but by evening the crowds disperse and you are left with peace and tranquility, and the most amazing views across to Es Vedra to wake up to.
If you want to be close to historic Ibiza Town, look for a place in Talamanca. It’s a short walk into the city, but attracts a much quieter, slightly older crowd and the beach is superb.
Ibiza is unfortunately a misunderstood island but if you take the time to discover her hidden, natural soul, away from the beats and bright lights of the tourist epicenters, you will discover that she is still the idyllic Mediterranean escape that has been attracting artists, nature lovers and peace seekers for years. With new luxury routes to Ibiza reflecting the change in the type of holidaymakers visiting the island, there has never been a better time to visit.