Top 13 Things to do in Ibiza

There’s so much to do in Ibiza that your holiday can end feel like being stuck in a whirlwind of parties and playas and mercadillos. I’ve asked the staff at Cafe del Mar for some wondrous things to do in Ibiza that will make any trip to the White Isle truly unforgettable.

THINGS TO DO IN IBIZA: DAY 1

MORNING

Starting the day at Cala Conta, get down there early to beat the high-season rush. Cala Conta is one of our favourite places to swim and snorkel, the fish are plentiful and the beaches are glorious. As I mentioned, it can get pretty busy in July and August, so feel free to bail out if it gets too packed- and we have the perfect location to decamp to.

LUNCH

By our collective opinion, one of the finest paellas on Ibiza is that made at Ses Roques.  Stunning traditionally made recipe Paella, conveniently located at a beachfront restaurant right next to Cala Conta. Una sabor magnifico. ses roques paella 5 day guide

EVENING

Cala Conta is just 20 minutes by scooter or car from the sunset strip, which means, of course, there’s no excuse not to catch the most famous sunset in the world, here at Cafe del Mar.  Grab a couple of mojitos, kick back and relax on cafe del mar things to do in ibizathe terrace and experience a rite of passage for Ibiza seekers that goes back nearly four decades.

Following the sunset, there’s a little time to collect yourselves before heading out to the grand finale.

PACHA

This season the legendary super club has laid on as eclectic a mix of house music as ever. Flower Power on Mondays, Solomun on Sundays, and in between you can on any given night catch David Guetta, Basement Jaxx, Hot Since 82, Bob Sinclar, Maceo Plex, Martin Solveig and Mark Ronson. Pacha opens at midnight but (across the board in Clubland) places don’t start picking up until 1-1.30am. Therefore it might be a good idea to take a little siesta after the Paella, to keep the batteries topped up for a long night of partying. guetta things to do in ibiza

 

THINGS TO DO IN IBIZA: DAY 2

MORNING

Rise and shine! What a night that was. So, you’re probably feeling a little fragile after staying up to irresponsible o’clock at the club. The cure is Cala Nova. Definitely, one of our favourite things to do in Ibiza is to snorkel off these beautiful shores.

Located right between Cala Leña and Es Caná, Cala Nova is long, with shallow waters that are ideal for young ones. One of our favourite places! If you’re feeling energetic, take a walk around the coves to explore Cala Leña and Es Caná. If not, no worries! Relaxation is the order of the day.cala nova things to do in ibiza

 

AFTERNOON

Speaking of which, you might as well pop back in to see us at Cafe del Mar in the afternoon. We’re open from 17:00 every day, after all. And besides, we miss you.

THINGS TO DO IN IBIZA: DAY 3

MORNING

Now that you are fully rested and recharged, it’s time to hit the hills. Ibiza is so much more than beaches and clubs. We also have some of the best hiking trails hike things to do in ibizaanywhere in the world. Check out some of the routes on Map My Walk and don’t forget to wear good shoes and take plenty of water. It’s a beautiful island to hike on, but the heat can creep up on you. Factor 50 is a mu st.

 

AFTERNOON

There is one reason to burn off the calories on holiday- and that’s to put them right back on again. Naturally, we don’t want to fill up on junk food so what we have in mind for you is a trip out to Ecocentro in Santa Gertrudis. They do great tasting and super healthy lunch time fare, with lots of vegan and veggie options. Plant power!

EVENING

We’re doing something a little different tonight (assuming it’s a Wednesday!) and that comes in the form of the psychedelic family friendly all night hippy pow-wow provided by Namaste @ Las Dalias. Entry is free before 2100, and the show goes on until 0500 with live performances and DJs. Something to get your squad in touch with their spiritual side!namaste things to do in ibiza

THINGS TO DO IN IBIZA: DAY 4

MORNING

One of the best and most rewarding things to do in Ibiza is to hire a mountain bike and head for the hills. On my first visit in 2015, I tried to do Cala de Bou to Es Vedra. It was fine on the way there, but after a sneaky beer at Cala d’Hort, I found my legs had stopped working properly and I had to push the bike up the hills on the way back. 

bikes things to do in ibiza

Rookie error.

On the other hand, you are much smarter than I am, so you can look here for a route that will take you up to the beautiful almond groves and vale of St. Agnes. The climb takes you 250 metres above sea level, but the best part is the return journey to Sant Antoni is all downhill!

Another great trip is out to Sant Josep. The route from Cafe del Mar will take you right around the bay to Cala de Bou before forging on to conquer the hill, atop which lies Sant Josep.

EVENING

Take the bikes back to the hire shop and I guarantee that you will find yourself in pina colada things to do in ibizathe mood for a Cafe del Mar frozen pina colada. It’s good to replace electrolytes, just like a sports drink; except it’s not a sports drink in any sense of the word at all and has rum instead of taurine.

They taste so good though, it would be rude not to include them on our list of things to do in Ibiza.

THINGS TO DO IN IBIZA: DAY 5

MORNING

It’s the last day of our guide on things to do in Ibiza- so it’s going to be a good one, we promise. Now, everyone knows about Es Vedra. Everyone wants to go. This is expected after all the islet is one of the most iconic sights in Las Isla Baleares, if not the world.

But there is a problem. Unlike many Ibizan treasures, Es Vedra is not a secret. One of the finest places to absorb the magical view is the beach at Cala d’Hort. It’s a cool, tranquil beach with three great restaurants. Of course, in the season the traffic is intense. es vedra things to do in ibiza

The solution is a scooter. A 125cc moto will set you back around 20 euros for a day and is powerful enough to carry two people. Getting up and down the steep roads to Cala d’Hort is no joke! These tiny bikes can be parked almost anywhere, avoiding the traffic congestion. 

 

EVENING

Finish your day at the beach and the big rock out to sea, a sumptuous repast is DJ cafe del marconsumed and the scooter is returned. Then there’s little better way to complete the list of things to do in Ibiza than to go back to your home away from home. Yes! Back to Cafe del Mar. The Lounge is open until midnight with resident and guest DJs playing all night. What more could any of us want?

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Correfoc: The Fire Run

To Dance With the Devils….

For all Ibiza’s well deserved and legendary status as the global leader of dance music, there is another event that, for me, is better than any superstar DJ or secret villa party.

You never forget the night of your first correfoc.

A corre-what?

Well; to talk about the Correfoc on Las Islas Baleares, we must, of course, begin our story in Norway in the year 1107 at the court of King Sigurd I. These times -in the aftermath of the First Crusade to conquer Jerusalem- were ones of great upheaval in the Mediterranean. Much of Spain was controlled by the Berbers of the Almoravid Dynasty (from what is modern day Morocco). Although technically the land was split into independent taifas (territories), the rulers were weak and the threat of invasion by the bellicose Christians led to a great annexation by the Almoravids of these smaller states.

King Sigurd set off on his own crusade (with a skaldic poet to record his deeds) and promptly started fighting almost everyone he met along the way. Working his way at sword point around the Iberian coast, his longships eventually had to pass Las Pituisas- The Balearics. Imagine, the next time you are sat at Cafe del Mar that amongst the yachts, sleek longships are paddling.

His army passed by Formentera, where they noticed a great number of Saracen pirates had made a base. Located in a cave high on a cliff and well defended, it seemed a fortress. Being of Viking stock, Sigurd attacked anyway. Using ingenious tactics to overcome the pirates, he made off with large amounts of booty.

formentera cave correfoc
Interestingly, there is a ‘Cap de Barbaria’ on Formentera…. Berbers, or Barbarians?

Nordic Sagas of the Balearics….

skald poetry correfoc

The poet Halldorr wrote this verse to commemorate this part of the campaign.

“The highly renowned marker of slaughter-wheels (shields) came with his fleet to Ibiza. The chieftain of battle was eager for glory. The eighth storm of weapon points (a battle) was yet later stirred up on green Menorca, where the King’s host reddened their arrows.” 

From this part of the saga we can see that Sigurd of Norway visited the Balearic Isles, killed a lot of people, and then carried on his way to the Holy Land. Once there he decides to do some more fighting, eventually returning to Norway by land; undefeated and with a splinter of the True Cross for his trouble.

This was the first Christian assault on the Balearics, which at the time was a strategically critical location in the Mediterranean. From the islands, one could raid across a huge area of Southern Europe and North Africa. The potential for piracy on the seas was also not lost on the Berber occupants, and for centuries they were a thorn in the side of both the Christians to the North and rival factions on the Barbary Coast.

Inspiration.

King Sigurd’s battles showed that a conquest of the islands was at least possible. Therefore, in 1114 another crusade by the Count of Barcelona and his allies destroyed Ibiza’s defences, laid siege to Palma on Mallorca, and captured the ruler of the taifa, taking him to Pisa in chains.

Count of Barcelona correfoc
Visitors to Barcelona might know Count Ramon Berenguer III from his statue

This did not wrestle control of the islands from the Berbers. However, the Catalan crusade finally ended the piracy that the inhabitants of the islands had perpetrated. It would not be until 1235 and the Reconquista by the King of Aragon that the Balearics would be brought into what we might consider the beginnings of modern era Spanish control.

So what has a Norwegian king and the crusades have to do with 21st Century Ibicencos setting off fireworks and dressing as devils?

Not so much- except that without these events, and the subsequent Catalan suzerainty over the islands, the Ball des Diables might not have crossed the waters to Ibiza. The first recorded event of this kind- a clear precursor to the Correfoc- was in 1150. By the time of the Reconquista, the event seems to have been a popular occurrence at court.  Imagine a sort of play that takes place in-between meals. Like an intermission featuring devils and acrobats, and we’re getting close.

At some point in the mists of time, the Ball des Diables moved outside, adopted by the church. A regular feature of catholic Corpus Christi events, it is likely that the Correfoc/Ball des Diables persisted as part of the Catalan lifestyle until the times of cultural repression under General Franco.

A Correfoc -literally ‘fire run’- was popularised again in Catalonia and the Balearics during the 1980s. During this time, a great wave of rediscovery for folklore and history took place. Accompanied in the modern age by a team of drummers (Batucada) that take their musical influence from Latin American Samba, local people revitalise an old tradition with the spirit of modern Catalonia.

The bateria of drummers pound out deep rhythms as the devils dance and spray sparks at you. The smoke of spent gunpowder hangs thickly in the air amid the screeching fireworks. Leering and capering devils, horned and wrapped in cloaks show their wrath.

The tale is that of good versus evil. In the towns across Ibiza young people will brave the ‘fires’ of the devils to show their bravery. Historically this is likely to have been an important rite of passage- for boys and men at least.

I first encountered a Correfoc with complete surprise, at the Fiesta of Sant Carles in November 2015.San Carlos Ibiza

 

It remains my favourite event anywhere on the island. At first the beautiful town square. One side is a village green reminiscent of the small towns back home in England. On the other side, cobbles, and on the festival days, a stage is erected. Pleasingly, a bar is present too.

With carnival stalls with tests of skill and a barbecue, the fiesta appeared to be a regular village fete.

And then, the drums. And then, the fireworks and the fusion of pagan and Christian. Then, the dance in the fire. To see Correfoc is to look into Catalan culture. Whether it is the large Correfoc in Barcelona or the more intimate displays on the islands, it is not to be missed.

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