In the 10 years since musicOMH was founded, we’ve never written about or reported from the Balearic island of Ibiza. An oversight, perhaps, but then again we’ve never written about or reported from Diego Garcia, Vladivostok or Slough either. But of course they’re not renowned clubbing capitals recently grabbing at indie bands to supplement the ravey sunkissed frolics, are they?
Raver-of-sorts Jamil Ahmad was so excited about his upcoming trip (*tsh-boom*) to the island that he penned this feature all about it. In amongst it all you’ll find five-of-the-best Q&As with DJ Hell and Alfredo, the odd history lesson, party tips and some pretty pictures. By the end of it you’ll have been there, bought the t-shirt, had it ripped it off you and raved about a bit.
Depending on who you are and what you’re looking for, the experience to be had on Ibiza may conform solely to its biggest draw – clubbing and partying. Or perhaps it might involve rolling across the expanses of its beaches, outlying towns and World Heritage grade landscape.
Here at musicOMH we’re caught somewhere between the two, truth be told. With that in mind our focus on the best of the island for 2009 might be a little chameleonesque. Bear with us though. This took ages to write, and even longer to edit.
Ibiza is the third largest of the four Balearic Islands, 80km off Spain’s eastern coast. Along with Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera the region first developed as one of the Mediterranean’s major trade routes under Phoenician traders and later the Carthaginians who founded Ibiza town in 654BC (remnants of their settlements can be found on the island to this day).
The centuries which followed saw the islands change hands under Muslim, Christian, Catalan, British and Spanish rule, with the fortunes of its inhabitants spanning the whole gamut of economic boom, political upheaval, famine and war.
The current makeup of the islands as a magnet for tourism owes much to the rise of Ibiza in the sixties and seventies – a haven for arriving hippies, travellers and vagrants whose easy living, carefree attitudes and hedonistic lifestyle gave way to a mecca of sorts, which nowadays is an annual convergence of millions.
The main hubs of the islands are Eivissa in the south and San Antonio to the west where the majority of tourists stay. Both are clustered with resorts, beaches and nightlife (more of that later). The high season is between June and August, when temperatures are scorching and the clubbing season is in full swing.
If you’re looking for something less intense and more tranquil, head to the east for Santa Eulalia, Ibiza’s third largest resort and a good destination for families and those seeking a quieter holiday. Alternatively, visiting in May and towards the end of September means temperatures are milder, prices more reasonable and it’s less busy if you do feel like going out.
During the day there is plenty to do across the island. There are dozens of sandy beaches which are now mainly tourist traps but if you’re prepared to look, some off-the-beaten track retreats remain.
Throughout the 18 kilometres of natural sandy beaches, fringed by crystal clear waters, the majority have bars, restaurants and the chance to do all kinds of water and outdoor sports. The island is a popular spot for diving with courses easy to find, as are tours around the sea beds including the National Park of Las Salinas with its prairies of Posidonia which are a world heritage site.
Back on shore there are some notable sightseeing spots. Close to Port de Sant Miquel, coming from the south, Cova de Can Mara is a collection of underground caverns spectacularly lit by background lights.
Another World Heritage spot comes in the form of D’Alt Vila, an old walled town in which the Romans were the first to fortify. Nearby is the Museu Arqueolugic, the archaeological museum is next to the 14th century cathedral at the top of the hill in D’Alt Villa, overlooking the city. It houses a fine collection of ancient relics, with a particular emphasis on objects from the Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman periods.
For those who enjoy walking, the Ibizan coast has enough to keep you wandering for days on end. The 4km hike between Sant Josep to Sa Talaia takes in one of the highest points in Ibiza. The trail starts in the village of Sant Josep and climbs quickly to Sa Talaia. It is well-signposted, passes by charming rural houses and traverses pine forests. Nearby you can also drop by the rural Punic-Roman settlement of Ses Paoses de Cala d’Hort, the site of both Punic and Roman cemeteries; medieval churches and even sample traditional Ibizan folkdance.
For more information visit the Council of Ibiza’s tourist site www.ibiza.travel/en