i rented a car today and drove around the island in an attempt to further see what else it has to offer other than its famous clubs and parties. once you leave Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni / San Antonio, you could easily think you’re on well, what it really is — a small Mediterranean island.
sidebar: renting a car i originally wanted to rent a scooter but given that my scooting experience is minimal and so many people warned me about how dangerous it was to drive a scooter in general on the island, i switched to a car at the last minute. yes, it was a horribly expensive car at €86, but that’s what you get for only knowing how to drive an automatic. i have to say, though, having air conditioning and knowing i wouldn’t scrape myself up from a scooter fall were great. be warned that they will hold an obscene amount of money on your credit card (in my case, €600) if you don’t take their full coverage insurance, but they refund it right away when you return the car.
there are lots of handy signs posted to guide you from town to town, but sometimes they’re not enough. Google Maps GPS on my phone worked well.
you won’t see many (if any) TOWIE-esque youth who come here for the nightclubs, but rather more mature people (like myself, ahem) and families with small kids on their summer holidays. going in, it was hard for me to imagine a “regular” Ibiza, but there are gyms and driving schools and everything else regular towns have. truly a world away from the booming clubs.
i roughly followed this itinerary, but in reverse since i’m staying closer to where the driving tour ends. the island is hilly and dotted with small traditional villages, farms and vineyards, even livestock — quite a change from the concrete sprawl of the larger towns.
a stop at the beach
the driving guide was right (confirmed by my experience and talking to a couple people) — Aguas Blancas is one of the best beaches on the island. it’s secluded and you’ll need to hike down (and back up) a very steep (paved) walkway to get to the shore, but i don’t think i’ve had a better beach experience. (note that i’m not a beach person, so take that with a grain of salt. however, it was quiet with strong cool breezes. perfect for lazing the day away, which is what i did for over three hours.)
it’s €3 to park a car at the lot (or you can try to find a spot at the turnoff and avoid the charge, but you’ll have a lot more to walk, and trust me, you don’t want to walk any more than you have to after climbing that hill) and €15 for a set of two lounge chairs and an umbrella with no time limit (or, you can bring your own stuff, of course, and find a spot you like and make yourself at home).
oh, and yes, be warned that, being a typical European beach, many women choose to go topless. (EEEP!)
one of the places recommended in the itinerary was Bar Costa in Santa Gertrudis, a place famous for their bocadillos (sandwiches) de jamon serrano. it was delish! this place was pretty popular, with all of the outside tables full with locals and visitors (and local cops dining inside, so you know it’s good), even during mid-morning. i’m not a big olive oil fan but whatever type they brushed the bread with made it amazing. it’s just a shame i stuffed myself with the hotel breakfast probably just an hour before this. (but of course i managed to stuff the entire bocadillo…)
the guide also recommended Anita’s Bar (made famous during the hippie days of Ibiza) in San Carlos. good cortado, mediocre service (or, maybe you have to be proactive to get good service?). also quite busy.
oh, and i can’t forget Miretti’s gelato shop in Santa Eulalia. you know i can’t resist ice cream, especially Malaga (rum raisin) gelato. for between €2 and €3 (depending on what you get it in) you get up to three scoops of yummy. i think that’s a pretty damn good price for a fancy ice cream place in a small resort town, no? tip: order cones or cups inside and sit down at one of the tables outside, or sit first and order a fancy ice cream dish off the menu with the waiter (i sat looking around clueless…).
resort towns and final thoughts
yes, Virginia, there are resort towns that welcome families with kids (and pets), senior citizens (quite a number, actually!), and well, people for whom clubbing isn’t their main reason for visiting and just want a nice warm beach destination.
at Anita’s Bar i shared a table with two people from Vienna who asked me if i would ever come back to Ibiza. i think if you’d have asked me yesterday, i would have said no, but after seeing today what else the island had to offer, from small villages to secluded beaches to all-in-one-place resort towns, i’d definitely consider it (no promises when there are so many other islands in the Mediterranean to check out!)