Ibiza is a magical island that – apart from the commercial areas – has an outstanding spirit. Hippie markets, mystical sunsets, extraordinary but traditional restaurant concepts, balearic flair, an enchanting nature, power places and of course great electronic music. Every year I am traveling to Ibiza in order to check out the best new hidden spots, parties, people and portrait them for you on tunes&wings.
This article is also available as podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes.
Already in my last years’ Ibiza article ‘On the trails of Ibiza hippies’ the main question was: Ibiza – the party or hippie island? People say you either love or hate it. Some also say that it has lost its authentic spirt. My mission in 2016 was to (re-)discover the magic of the island with all its beautiful people, parties and places. The bottom line was that the authentic hippie island still exists. Nor in Ibiza town with its commercial clubs, neither in San Antonio which reminded me of Ballerman. But these places are an exception to the outstanding beauty of the rest of the island.
So this years discovery journey had the mission to find out about new authentic places, parties and people on the island. On my list: tasty and innovative restaurants, interviews with local DJs, breathtaking sunsets and hunting for magnificent beaches.
Before I start with the travel guide, I’d like to give you an idea of how a perfect day on Ibiza looks like to me:
Breakfast @ Passion Café
Yoga & meditation @ Moon Beach
Hike to and sunbath @ Atlantis
Sunset @ Es Vedra
Dinner @ El Portalon
Fantastic chilled music @ La Granja on Fridays
On summer Sundays: the Woomoon festival and of course the hippie market in San Joan.
In the article below you’ll find out about those places and where they and many more are located.
After checking out all the smaller and outstanding boutique hotels last year, I travelled to one of the first hotels on the island this year, the stunning Hacienda Na Xamena. Back in 1970 the architect Daniel Lipszyc had the vision to create a place that is integrated into the existing landscape and natural surrounding. Which is incredible, considering there were no roads, water or electricity.
Build on the cliffs in the North of Ibiza, the view from the poolside leaves you speechless. Every room has its own whirlpool, either in the room or outside on the terrace. The indonesian decor and furniture perfectly fit the bohemian luxury style of this five star hotel.
The Spa ‘La Posidonia’ with its naturally based exterior parcours will be rebuilt and extended during this winters’ closing time. So it will be absolutely worth to check it out again next year.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the emerald green sea also while having dinner at the hotels’ Edén Restaurant with a light & locally sourced cuisine from the sea & the mountain.
Restaurants & Cafés
The island offers a great variety of healthy fresh food and local specialities such as seafood and vegetables. Many restaurants on the island cook with ingredients from local farms. That is also why the meals have an intense great taste. Although I am more a fan of the island apart from Ibiza town, my two favourite restaurants this year are located in the Old Town. Find out more about them below.
At first I got very confused when I arrived at the restaurant because I already passed by that place last time and I remembered that the critics I read weren’t that good. But I thought: ok, let’s give it a try. And it was worth it! It turned out that the restaurant opened this year but has actually the same name like its predecessor. The critics that you may find on the internet are probably for the old one as El Portalon nowadays knocked my socks off. I ordered fresh made pasta with tomatoes. You might think: pretty basic and thats true, but to me that is what makes a great cook. Being able to create a taste adventure with local basic food is why El Portalon convinced me.
One of the great persons behind the restaurant is Anne Sijmonsbergen and I am so glad I had the pleasure to meet her.
“Anne decided studying Eivissa’s food culture, meeting cheese-makers, bakers, bee-keepers, fishermen, herders and the fellow farmers who are leading Ibiza’s burgeoning sustainable food movement. El Portalon brings together all these projects into one place, serving sustainably grown and sourced food, in a way that fits seamlessly with the island of Eivissa.”
She also has her own farm that supplies local organic products to top restaurants and private chefs all across Ibiza. That also explains why I literally could taste the sunshine in the tomatoes. You can also feel Annes love to the nature of the island when having a look into her world-wide known ‘Eivissa: The Ibiza Cookbook’ in which she presents new modern Ibicenco cuisine.
The new up and rising hotel concept Los Enamorados is located in Portinatx which is in the North of the island. Rozemarijn and Pierre created an extraordinary place with so much passion that you could feel it in every detail. Fun-fact: every item you see or sit on has been selected & collected worldwide by them. And the great thing is you can buy everything that they have brought to the hotel.
‘Come and sleep, eat and wonder, drink and play, laugh and love. Los Enamorados restaurant, beach bar, boutique hotel, bazaar.’
This vintage design in combination with the sea side offers a fantastic scenery in which you can have a nice breakfast with good coffee and homemade pastries. The restaurant concept focuses on local produce and fresh fish caught by local fishermen.
Santa Gertrudis is one of my favourite places on the isle. A great community where it seems like everyone knows each other. Musset also embodies that friendly feeling and is a nice spot for having for example a smoothie, salad, pastries or fresh & healthy breakfast. It also offers a great selection of vegan and vegetarian food.
Passion Café is definitely my favourite breakfast spot on this Spanish isle. Acai bowl, turmeric latte, avocado bread and cold pressed juices give you the power you need for a great day on Ibiza. The Café has already six locations, so be sure one of them is right next to you and helps loading up your energy.
‘The Passion Café philosophy is to create good, natural, wholesome food using the very best quality ingredients we can find. Our food is unadulterated and unadorned. We source locally grown produce as much as we can and go organic whenever possible.’
Boris, Christian and Vanessa are real foodies and well known on the island. They run the Ibiza Food Studio, The Finca and Taller de Tapas with so much heart and soul that enjoying an evening at one of their spaces is a fantastic experience. From the well selected staff to the products they use, everything works hand in hand like a symbiosis. My evening at Taller de Tapas, located in the Old Town of Ibiza made me feel like I am enjoying an evening at a friends place. The interior, setting and environment is designed like a private dining place where you can see the chef cooking your dishes in front of you. All on point, local and fresh. Be brave and let them decide on the menu for you. Trust me, they know your taste better than you think and I promise you will be overwhelmed.
‘Ibiza Food Studio is an incubator for ideas, a school where skills are learnt and taught, and a showcase for artists that create dishes in order to be thought-provoking, informative and change your perception of eating. Not just consuming – but sharing. The food is only as good as the ones you share it with.’
Ibiza offers many hidden treasures apart from the popular beach clubs and ‘packed like sardines’ bays. Some of them need a short hike to get there, but the reward afterwards is pure beauty, peace and a fantastic energy. As there are so many wonderful beaches, I decided to write a separate article in which you’ll find gorgeous beaches with crystal clear waters: Ibiza’s magnificent beaches.
One add on this: If you’ll be on Ibiza for more than five days, my recommendation is to rent a catamaran with friends and visit Formentera. You don’t even need to leave the boat when you’re hungry. Chezz Gerdi is a restaurant located on the coast of the small island and that delivers tasty pasta, pizza and salads directly to your boat.
Events & Music
Already last year I had the chance to enjoy a wonderful time at La Granja, a pure and heavenly place I immediately fell in love with.
‘La Granja is a farmstead set among Ibiza’s pastoral inlands and run in collaboration with Friends of a Farmer, an international association devoted to the cultivation of art, crops and inner gardens. La Granja aims to preserve the natural beauty of the island through local initiatives and programs supporting organic farming. Here, among the heady scents of ficus and figs, is the real Ibiza. The one untouched by time and tourism, the one of rambling roads, brooding mountains and peerless ocean vistas.’
Also this year I had the great pleasure to get on the list for the sundowner event on Friday evening. Enjoying local food and tasty exceptional drinks while watching the sun going down and listening to the organic sounds combined with electronic vibes of local DJ’s.
Unfortunately I was too late this year for attending the Woomoon festival, but I have to admit that to me this is still the best musical happening on the island. It takes place on Sundays in June until September. Located at Cova Santa, a venue that was built around an old cave, the label celebrates with its nomadic underground artists, for example BLOND:ISH, Feathered Sun, Hraach, Rampue, Satori, Valentin Huedo and many more.
The parties I attended this year: the Afterlife closing party at Privilege, the Circoloco party with Kölsch and Adriatique at DC10 and the Sven Väth afterparty at Km5. DC10 and Km5 were ok, but nothing that captured my heart or put goosebumps on my arms.
I never went to Privilege before, but by looking at the line up for the Afterlife closing party, I actually expected a lot: Solomun, Recondite, Rødhåd, Vaal, Tale Of Us, Mind Against, Dixon, Nina Kraviz and many more. I thought ‘Wow, this is going to be THE night.’ Well, it wasn’t. To me it was more one of those bad examples of how commercialisation of the music and the island destroys the feeling that touches your heart when listening to electronic music. The scenery and people didn’t fit to the essence of and the feeling about techno music. I really tried, but couldn’t really ‘feel’ it in this scenery. I had the feeling people were only there because of the party and not because of the music, which made me really sad, because the line up was actually high class.
You’ll get more insights and details about the scene back then, now and where it could lead to in the future in interviews with Valentin Huedo and DJ Pippi.
Valentin Huedo is a real Ibicenco. Born on the magical island in the 80ies, he is one of the artists that is determining influencing the current sound on Ibiza. Among many other great things, he is resident at a festival that captured my heart already during my last years’ stay: the Woomoon festival. In this podcast he shared with us his view on the scene, its development, the current parties and where he thinks it is leading to in the next years. He is also talking about his personal hotspots on the island and about his remarkable career as DJ, producer and radio broadcaster.
DJ Pippi is a real institution on Ibiza. Back in the 80ies he was actually one of the DJs that created the Ibiza sound. In this podcast I am talking with the Italian guy about his life on Ibiza, the scene back then and nowadays, his favourite spots on this magical island and stories with Sven Väth. Listen to our inspiring talk at the port of Ibiza Town and get first hand insights about everything that is going on here in the electronic music scene and the work of DJ Pippi.
The bottom line 2017 is that I definitely will be back in 2018. Ibiza got me with all it’s power places, the indescribable nature and original & authentic happenings & people. New restaurant concepts and parties are already on my list and I can’t wait to be back, this island almost feels like home.