The White Isle takes a break from partying in winter and spring but there is still plenty of fun to be had at its cool bars, restaurants and famous market
Es Cavallet – a kilometre of beautiful sand, dunes and wild rolling waves – is one of Ibiza’s official nudist beaches. It is home to the Chiringay bar, the high-end La Escollera restaurant and also one of my favourite places to eat, El Chiringuito, which has DJs, views of the sea and good food. Seafood and meat mains start at around €25 and there are also excellent sharing plates, fresh oysters, big salads and a great selection from the wood fire grill.
• Playa Es Cavallet, elchiringuitoibiza.com
Arty party house
B12 is a spacious and stunning contemporary art gallery with high ceilings and huge open loft space on the edge of an industrial area by the Pacha roundabout in Ibiza Town. The gallery has brought some much-needed modernity to the island’s arts and events scene. There are cool happenings taking place year round, from pop-up fashion shows and record label parties to sculpture exhibitions and even some really good after-hours parties running until dawn. Entrance is either free or around the €10-15 mark, so it’s great value for a night out.
• Calle Antonio Planells Ferrer 1, b12gallery.com
Established in 2002 by Croatian-born Lana Love, there are now seven Passion Cafés across the island, including one on the marina in San Antonio (reopening in spring) and one in Santa Eulalia (open all year). There’s an emphasis on organic, healthy food: favourites include breakfast pancakes, homemade granola, açaí bowls, vegan burgers, innovative salads and raw food dishes. After a hard night’s DJing I always have one of their pure, cold-pressed juices (around €8) to get my energy levels back up – I like the Super Detox, made with apple, spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger. These cafes always make you feel ready for the next Ibiza adventure.
Get with the beets
Wildbeets is a plant-based cafe-style restaurant in the village of Santa Gertrudis in the middle of the island. Dubbed “the Notting Hill of Ibiza”, it’s open all year and the menu is full of creative, raw vegan goodness, and some warm plates too. One of the most amazing things I’ve ever had was its dairy-free mango cheesecake. Its signature dish is the beet ravioli, wafer-thin marinated beetroot filled with cashew cheese. They also have great cold-pressed juices and healthy elixir shots. At €7 for a glass of juices and €12-18 for main courses, it’s not the cheapest on the island but you really do get what you pay for at Wildbeets.
• Carrer Venda de Llatzer 9, wildbeets.com
The Club Tropicana hotel
Pikes, in the hills to the north of San Antonio, is the famous boutique hotel and celebrity hangout where Wham! shot their Club Tropicana video in 1983. A lot of stars stayed and partied here during the 1980s, including Grace Jones – who famously had an affair with founder Tony Pike – and Freddie Mercury. These days it’s run by Dawn Hindle and husband Andy McKay, who own the Ibiza Rocks brand and were half of the Manumission club night team. The club room is a very intimate space holding just 150 people, but outside there’s a cool pool area and a pink tennis court where parties are held. It also hosts art exhibitions, open-air cinema nights and themed food evenings. Seek out host Sunny Ramzan and ask if he will let you into his dressing room boudoir. This is a treasure trove of costumes and trinkets, and a must for selfie addicts.
• Doubles from €139 B&B, pikesibiza.com
The famous hippy market at Las Dalias, just south of the village of Sant Carles de Peralta, has stalls selling local art, jewellery, clothes, leather ware, ceramics, crystals and Ibiza oddities. Open on Saturdays in the winter and for three days and four nights a week during the summer, it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island, so even if you’re not into shopping you can sip a cold beer while people watching. I have held my club night Wax Da Jamhere, and the venue is aslo famous for having local bands and world music events such as Namaste. It’s the oldest live venue on the island – celebrating its 65th year in 2019 – so it really was the forerunner of the club scene in Ibiza.
• Only open in summer, lasdalias.es
In the past, the port of Santa Eulària des Riu was regarded as a locals-only town, but in recent years some really great restaurants, bars, shops and hotels have popped up – and are about to be joined by a stylish 162-room W Hotel . The town is the gateway to some great beaches, villages and restaurants in the north. Cala Pada is a lovely little beach a few minutes’ cycle out of town that’s empty in the spring.
My favourite club
For a straight-up club tip I would recommend DC10, in the fields behind the airport. It’s famous for the Circoloco techno party every Monday which feature huge DJ lineups, as does Paradise every Wednesday brought by UK DJ/producer Jamie Jones. There are no VIP tables – this place is for clubbers, where music rules supreme and nobody goes home until the last record has been played.
• Entrance €35-€50, Carretera las salinas, km 1, Sant Josep de sa Talaia, dc10-ibiza.ibiza-clubs.net
Back street boogie
Tucked away behind the main taxi rank in Ibiza Town, Malanga Café is a great alternative to the big club vibe and is open all year round. A favourite among locals, you’ll find a lot of the Ibiza resident DJs dropping by to play a real cross-section of music throughout the week. The place only holds around 100 people which makes for a great atmosphere when it goes off. Admission is usually free and the bar prices are also reasonable – €2-3 for a caña (small beer). It’s open until dawn, which makes for an interesting walk of shame home.
• Carrer Carles V, 11, local 15
Urban In Ibiza is an exciting event organised by Paul “Dizzi” Saunders, a former London promoter, in September. Each year it goes from strength to strength, with young artists showcasing their work alongside internationally established names. The event involves a lot of street/contemporary art on canvas combined with live painting and workshops featuring artists including Inkie, K-Guy, Jim Starr, Ben Allen, RYCA and Scott Gray. It takes place at venues such at Atzaro Agroturismo and HEART, and there are always great DJs and live music alongside the art.
The only direct winter flight from the UK is with British Airways from London City, but Vueling and Iberia fly via Palma, Madrid or Barcelona. Airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and Jet2 start flying direct to Ibiza in spring or early summer from various UK airports.
When to go
Ibiza is blissfully crowd-free in winter and beautiful in spring, when temperatures start to rise (highs of 22C in May). The clubbing season runs from late May to October.
Ibiza isn’t cheap but avoid tourist haunts and you can eat at a taverna for around €15. Entry to top clubs can cost €60, with drinks from around €12.