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6 things to do in Ibiza that don’t involve partying…well maybe

So one day you’re downing sunset shots surrounded by screaming teenage Brits, heaving to a pumping soundtrack of the latest commercial house. You think, ‘God I’ve got to get out of this trashy mess! I need some sleep!

Fear not. The next day (or hour) and a mere 15 minute drive down the road you could be taking meditation classes from an Indian yogi, enveloped in absolute calm and pristine surroundings.

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Ibiza doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking of holidays involving quiet rural retreats, getting back to nature and relaxing the mind. But nothing could be further from the truth.

One of the most remarkable things about this very special island is its ability, even in the limited space it has, to offer visitors a hugely broad spectrum of experience.

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Whatever kind of holiday you’re on, whatever your age or inclination, there will be something for you to enjoy, for this island as I’m led to believe has very special energies.

So for those of you who fancy something a little different here is a list of some options.

Visit Atlantis (Sa Pedrera)

This area was until recently something of a secret hideaway with the occasional hippy spending years living among the caves.

It still retains a sense of otherworldliness and there are plenty of interesting characters to be found lurking among the coves.

The coastal stroll passes fantastic man made rock formations around the old quarry, reminiscent of a submerged ancient city, hence the nickname.

Here huge cubes of stone were removed to build the fort in Ibiza town and over the centuries artists and sculptures have carved faces and mystical beings out of the remaining rock and surrounding cliffs.

The area is also great for snorkeling or rock climbing if that takes your fancy.

Atlantis is not the easiest place to find but that is probably a good thing. If walking from Cala D’Hort go over the hill and take a left onto a small path, in the distance you should see the offshore island of Es Vedra. Soon you will reach a large defensive tower and from there you have wonderful views down to the coves below. Keep on the path to the left around the mountain and eventually there will be multiple ways to descend.

Have a very special lunch at Casita Verde

Ecological centre Casita Verde
Casita Verde

This charming ecological centre is located in a pristine valley near the village of San Jose.

Since 1993 they have been creating what is now an ideal example of a completely sustainable lifestyle.

Visitors are welcome on Sundays, where you will be treated to a sumptuous lunch of vegetarian food and given a tour of the entirely eco-friendly property.

You can also learn how to make drinks and skincare products from local plants such as aloe vera and carob. Then relax and enjoy a variety of acoustic live music sessions. Visit their website for details of how to get here.

Hike up Sa Talaia

The highest mountain in Ibiza is not so huge, but it does tower nearly half a kilometre into the sky (475m). Taking into account the small size of the island this makes for some stunning views.

From the top you can just about see Ibiza town, San Antonio and everything in between, the stunning white coves and hilly hinterland laid out before you in stark contrast.

To get here from Sant Josep de Sa Talaia (to where there are regular buses) first get to the main square with the church. Take Sa Talaia road until you pass the cultural centre Can Jeroni from where the asphalt should turn into a country track. Ask in the village before you leave if in doubt or check out

There are numerous tracks and off shoots from the top and following any one of these will bring you down somehow, although you will probably get lost along the way, which is half the fun.

Remember to try and head back before the last buses at about 8 though, or you’ll end up hitchhiking home. Of course if all this sounds unappealing you can also drive to the top!

Watch the sunset at Es Vedra

Sunset at Es Vedra, Ibiza
Flickr: Federico Capoano

This uninhabited island off the south west coast is part of the Cala D’Hort nature reserve and makes an impressive sight jutting 380 metres out of the sea.

The rocky island is shrouded in legends, from being the home of the sirens who tried to lure Odysseus to his death to housing a secret UFO base.

Fishermen tell of strange lights emerging from the sea and others claim this is one of three unexplained energy points in the world, the Bermuda Triangle being another.

Either way it is one of the most spectacular spots for sundown, away from the mayhem that is San Antonio.

You can get even closer to the island by walking from Cala D’hort uphill towards the defensive fort, a popular spot on a full moon, when you may just spot something spooky yourself.

Phoenician Ruins

Having recently arrived on the island, the Phoenicians names it Ibossim, in honor of their god of dance and music. Similar gods continue to be paid homage to nightly across the land.

They left their mark all over the island, yet almost the only remaining ruins are to be found at the far end of Sa Caleta and are called La Poblado Fenicio.

Interestingly they were one of the first settlements to have world heritage listing, so they must be worth a visit.

Head past the airport towards signs for Sa Caleta, which is between Es Codolar and Cala Jondal in the south, from there it is a 10 minute scramble down to the ruins, where beautiful views and a cooling dip also await you.

Yoga, meditation and stillness within

Yoga and wellness Ibiza
Flickr: Shayan (USA)

Many claim this island has ‘transformative healing energies’ and you can find out for yourself at one of the multitude of mind calming options offered by ‘Ibiza yoga retreat’ and ‘ibiza yoga’.

They offer courses in stunning surroundings to totally immerse yourself in a yogic lifestyle, including meditation, healthy eating and massage. There are even occasional visits from Indian gurus teaching their thing.

If this is a bit up scale for you there are more yoga classes, meditation courses and alternative therapy sessions than you can poke a stick at, just search on the internet or ask around on the island.

After all this health and wellbeing you might just be ready to get back to the debauchery.

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