Best Beaches in Ibiza (Part 2): Es Portitxol

 

Read Part One of our series here: Best Beaches in Ibiza: Es Canaret

You could do worse than to click play, before reading on. 

There is a place where we can go. It’s a bit of a hike, but you don’t expect to find the best beaches in Ibiza by stepping out the hotel door, do you? This beach though is not to be attempted by the faint of heart or the unfit.  I am not joking; the climb back up is steep. There is no Chiringuito at the bottom. There are no deck chairs. The beach is pebble. There is a slight chance the water will be full of medusas. You need to carry everything you need on your back.

To find Es Portitxol, truly one of the best beaches in Ibiza, you must be brave.

The route takes you along narrow cliff paths with very little to prevent you plunging to your untimely doom.

Still interested? Well, dear and intrepid traveler, do I have a story for you. Last year my then girlfriend (now future wife) and I ended up living on a collection of houses known as Urbanization Isla Blanca. To get here you need to drive from San Miguel towards San Mateu- but not take the turning to San Mateu. Stay on the road, which will have a sign post for Portitxol, pass by Can Suleyetas on the left (who do a great menu, by the way), and wind your way up the steep cliff.

Follow these directions to Urbanizacion de Isla Blanca first.

Following the road through Isla Blanca, you come to the end of the line.

The end of the road is,  quite literally, the end of the road. It disintegrates into rubble, which has a low wall to prevent you reaching the foot of the cliffs in record time. Still, this route is impassable to all but off-road vehicles.

best beaches ibiza es portitxol 2

Even if you are driving such an unnecessary gas guzzling monstrosity, you will only get half way down. In any case, the walk is too beautiful to miss out on.

Ibiza is an island of breathtaking views. Es Vedra. The sunset from Cafe del Mar. Dawn breaking at the highest point of the island, Sa Talaia. The route to Es Portitxol rightly sits among these sites as one of the most beautiful sights on the planet.

Starting so high above the sea, we receive the gift of stunning drops, and cliffs that frame beauty itself. Outwards, we are high above a pristine blue glass sea. The sandstone of rocky outcroppings flash white with the gentle spray of the waves.

From here on, it’s  like stepping backward in time.

Naturally, you will look down and to the right. This appears to be the right direction to take- after all, you can see the path winding downwards. There is a hill that splits the view into to two- surely, one side or the other must be Es Portitxol.

This assumption is what led to our party taking three attempts on three separate days to actually find Es Portitxol. If you’re truly keen to find the best beaches in Ibiza, you cannot be faint of heart.

If you wind your way down, passing the smokestack inexplicably placed in the middle of nowhere and go left, you will find yourself tantalisingly close to the sea, but with no access at all. Or rather, no way to get back up again, should you slide down the sheer cliff. On the other, there is a pleasant hike down to the water’s edge and some large rocks to laze around on. It’s a joyful way to spend a day, for sure. But it is not Es Portitxol.

Es Portitxol is reached by taking an unlikely looking route to the left before you begin what looks to be the logical descent described above. The path is narrow. You will discount it as a possibility for anyone less sure-footed than the average mountain goat.

This is the path you want.

best beaches ibiza es portitxol 1 

 

Scared yet? OK, good. The narrow path takes a good ten minutes or so to traverse, and believe it or not I have seen motorbikes parked above Es Portitxol itself. The pictures don’t do justice for how barking mad, or brave, or both, that is. Aside from my hyperbole, this path is only a metre wide. Fine for foot traffic, but a motorcycle? If you are reading this, you Ibicenco Evel Knievel, make yourself known. I would buy you a jarra any time.

So now we are at Es Portitxol. it’s protected from waves by a near perfect circle of land, eroded away over millions of years by water alone. Here you find an aquamarine lagoon, filled with fish. The only competition for the best basking spots comes from other adventurers, of which there are few, and the brightly coloured wall lizards.

While relaxing on the pebble shores of Es Portitxol, you can contemplate the time before mass tourism. Before, all of us. The fishermen’s huts are still in use today, in the same way as they have been for generations. Centuries ago, Moorish, Roman, and Phoenician sailors would have weighed anchor, no doubt marveling as we do at the natural beauty of this part of the world. Did they rank the best beaches in Ibiza, as we do? Maybe they did.

This is one of the great things about living in Ibiza.

While the island is a modernised tourist magnet in many ways, a reason why Ibiza is so popular is the beauty. Some would dare to say that the natural environment is more important than the super clubs. 

best beaches ibiza es portitxol 4

The bright colours, the shallow descent into the water and the suntrap shore. Can you imagine a more perfect combination? As an excursion for your holiday, it is a commitment. Again, you do need to be physically fit enough to make the journey. If a beach is not complete without a bar with music- then maybe this is not for you.

A note on pronunciation: Portitxol is a Catalan word, so to the English eye it can appear tricky. The easy way to say it is PAW-TI-SCHOL. No longer will you be ashamed to ask for directions!

 

 

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Best Beaches in Ibiza: Es Canaret

 

Everybody asks me at Café del Mar, hey, you live here- where are the best beaches? Well, good news, everyone! Today we’re going to look at one of the best beaches I’ve ever found on Ibiza. 

I was reading through some Diario de Ibiza articles the other day, brushing up on my Spanish, when I came across a story that really grabbed my attention. With a little bit of further investigation through Google Maps, I grabbed my camera and my trusty 50cc scooter and headed to the north of the Island on a great adventure. On a quest to visit them all, I search religiously for the best beaches, the secret beaches, and I’m happy to report my findings to you. No charge!

The article I read I will summarise for you here- hopefully, I get the story true enough. According to the writer in Diario, there are three types of man. The Essential Man, who lives according to nature, builds his own house and bothers little with the outside world. Then there is The Insatiable Man, who fuelled by ambition grabs opportunities and forges new paths. Finally, comes The Introspective Man, who reflects and works in metaphor.

Ancient History of One of the Best Beaches of Ibiza

What has this got to do with a secret beach, I hear you cry into your mojito, just tell me how to get there. Well, patience, I’m getting to that. First, we need a history lesson about Es Canaret.

Many moons ago when I was young and you were even younger, there was a farmer by the name of Bartomeu Torres d’en Marçà. He is The Essential Man in the story. In years past he owned the land close to the cove, growing vines, making wine and keeping chickens and rabbits on an islet a couple of metres off the coast. Why risk your animals wandering off when you can keep them on Rabbit Alcatraz? Practicality embodied. 

islet in the cove of Es Canaret
This island: inescapable if you are a chicken

After Bartomeu came a retired World War II army captain, who bore the preposterously archetypal German name of Siegfried Otto. Arriving flush with post-war currency, (he owned the business that printed Deutschmarks back then, and Euros today) Otto began construction with Teutonic efficiency. While Otto lived on the island for thirty years or more, he battled with the local authorities as he demanded sole access to Es Canaret- which was repeatedly denied. The robust Ibicencans also denied Otto his last wish, to be buried on his land, and so for the last twenty years, he lies in the cemetery at Sant Joan.  So ends the tale of The Insatiable Man.

Into modernity… and beyond

Cue the third and final tenant of the land, the famous architect Germán Rodríguez Arias. With a history of minimalist architecture, Arias reshaped the buildings to something more fitting for the cove, as well as installing gardens unlike any on the island. Reflecting and working in metaphor, Arias is the introspective man, standing between his predecessors and linking both. That’s how it goes in Diario, says a lot about the quality of Spanish newspapers- far superior to the English ones. It’s like poetry.

OK- enough of the back story. The beach of  Es Canaret is 60 metres of sand and gravel, overlooked by the white tower of Herr Otto. The waters are crystal blue, some of the most spectacular on the island. The natural protection of the cove ensures that the waters are calm and usually free of jellyfish. Doesn’t that sound like the one of the best beaches ever?

How to get there

From Sant Joan, take the road north to Portinatx for about 2 kilometres. After a very steep curve, you will see the entrance to the Ca sa Vilda Marge farmhouse on the right. In front of this, there is a paved road to the left- this is the road you want.

Follow this road and pass some dirt paths until the tarmac forks two or three kilometres later. Then, take the road on the right (the sign reads ‘Xarraca’) and then turn on the third dirt road on the left.

Still with me?

If you’re on the right path, the road has should have a low stone wall to the left, and forest to the right. As you near the coast you will reach the entrance of a house. There you have to turn right until you reach a parking lot next to a water tank, 200 meters ahead. Park your car or scooter, there is no road from here on.  

best beaches ibiza sendero publico peatonal

Behind the water tank is a path that leads to the cove, it will be marked with wooden signs reading ‘sendero publico peatonal’.  I had to look that one up, but I am reliably informed that this is ‘public footpath.’ Basically, you get to this sign, and you’re nearly there.

Remember to bring water, some snacks and sun lotion; the heat can be prodigious. When you finally arrive, you are greeted by a glorious, secluded and quiet beach even in high season. Es Canaret provides some of the best snorkeling on Ibiza. Even so, the only competition for spaces on the beach will come from other intrepid adventurers (who are kindred spirits and friends on your quest for the best beaches) and those who have simply sailed east from Bennirás and found the cove from the sea.

If you have fortitude and adventure in your heart this summer, go and find Es Canaret. It truly is a wondrous place to spend the day.

Get the directions

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