Explore the secret, party-free sides of Ibiza, Spain: Wellness, cuisine, family-friendly beaches and more

5d ago

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Ibiza has a reputation as a party destination — an exotic Spanish isle where bronzed, carefree youth dressed in white dance the night away to EDM beats.

And it is.

But it’s also a luxury wellness destination, a family-friendly beach island, a boho-chic yoga and meditation escape, and a magnet for foodies and oenophiles keen to indulge in farm-fresh food and organic wine.

A beach cove in Ibiza. (Photo by Helena GH/Getty Images)

Ibiza’s less-documented charms provide even more reason to add this magical Spanish island to your bucket list — even if you hate electronic music and would never wear white.

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Ibiza’s party scene is a separate entity

If you’re going to Ibiza to party (or specifically not to party), it’s important to understand the lay of the land. Known for its pubs, sunset lounges and bars, the (in)famous resort town of San Antonio is one of the largest areas where the notorious “Brits abroad” flock to drink, dance and be merry.

Playa d’en Bossa is another party town, home to some of the island’s iconic clubs like Ushuaïa. It’s also known among AvGeeks as an incredible spot to plane watch (it’s moments away from Ibiza Airport).

There are a few clubs just outside of Ibiza Town and dotted around the island, too, but most are concentrated within these two areas.

If you’re in the market for boat parties, they typically depart from either San Antonio or Playa d’en Bossa. LGBT partiers should head to Calle de la Virgen (also known as Carrer de la Mare de Déu) in Ibiza Town for nightlife.

Ibiza Town. (Photo by Benjamin De Jonge/EyeEm/Getty Images)

But outside of these “party” areas, the rest of Ibiza is relatively unspoiled. Forested hiking spots, secluded beach coves, gorgeous hideaway villa rentals and beautiful hotel spas are perfect for visitors looking to enjoy the island outside of its famed party scene.

Ibiza’s hotels take luxury wellness seriously

Legendary pool parties at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel or O Beach Club are what may come to mind when you think about Ibiza’s swimming pools. But these parties are limited to a few select hotels. For the most part, the island’s swimming pools are tranquil infinity pools on rooftops and spa-inspired hydrotherapy havens for travelers who want to relax in a high-end, restorative setting.

Take the brand new Six Senses Ibiza, a BREEAM-certified resort on the island’s northern tip that features pool suites and beach caves on its 20-acre slice of paradise. The hotel offers seasonal cuisine, wellness treatments, sound healing and spa treatments that incorporate herbs from the on-site organic garden. Guests can even participate in the Longevity with Rosebar program, designed to restore energy by using biohacking, sleep therapy and healing energy, among other treatments.

Whether it’s sipping on CBD-infused refreshments or getting a spa treatment in the massage catacombs, Six Senses Ibiza feels joyfully hedonistic, yet sophisticated and stylish at the same time — the very definition of Ibiza.

Opulent resort spas are popping up all over the island. The Revival Spa by Clarins at the Aguas de Ibiza Hotel combines sea and nature elements so guests can experience Mediterranean-inspired wellness. Incorporating both plant science and hydrotherapy, treatments aim to both relax and energize guests, from services like sweet and salt exfoliations to wood therapy massages.

The Clarins Revival Spa at Aguas de Ibiza. (Photo by Aguas de Ibiza/Facebook)

7Pines Ibiza‘s (a Destination by Hyatt Resort) Pure Seven Holistic Spa offers a special “relax” tour that guides guests through the ultimate spa circuit rejuvenation, including stops at the spa’s two saunas, an ice cave, a steam room, a pediluvium (put simply, a foot bath) and a special shower circuit. From nourishing body wraps to unique local rituals such as the Fig Essence — a body and mind treatment that includes lunch — you’ll come out feeling renewed.

Related: 9 of the most amazing spas worth traveling for

Yoga and meditation retreats abound

Ibiza has become a wellness superstar, offering not just luxury spa treatments, but also yoga and meditation retreats. Many hotels on the island, from budget to luxe, offer daily yoga and pilates classes, such as the adults-only Sol Beach House in Santa Eulalia and the trendy OKU Ibiza.

For yogis that want to deepen their practice, or even just frazzled parents and stressed-out professionals, a vacation centered specifically around yoga and meditation might be an even better call.

At Mikasa Hotel, a 16-room boutique hotel and yoga center, guests can dedicate time and energy to their own health and wellness by syncing with specific moon harmonies during daily yoga and pranayama sessions. Ibiza Yoga is another retreat that offers daily yoga 365 days a year as well as rustic accommodations, like open-air pagodas and garden casitas. For those that prefer drop-in classes, Amante Yoga offers seafront yoga and breakfast daily.

Ibiza provides a glorious setting for practicing yoga. (Photo by Luca Sage/Getty Images)

If it’s deep meditation you’re after, Ashram Ibiza offers retreats at its San Miguel Villa in the Ibiza Hills several times a year, focusing on meditation, sound healing and yoga. Conscious Being retreats focus on both yoga and mindfulness, and are located in a whitewashed villa overlooking the ocean.

Explore Ibiza’s natural landscapes

From golden sand coves to rocky cliffs and wooded pine forests, Ibiza’s scenery is stunning. The north is dense and wooded, perfect for those who want to escape the crowds and immerse themselves in nature.

A 30-minute hike along a stunning coastal path leads to the secluded cove of Es Portitxol, where turquoise waters are flanked by rocky hills. Other spots for a scenic trek include the Punta Grossa lighthouse — those with vertigo shouldn’t attempt this one — and the rocky beach cove Caló de’n Jaume.

Es Portixol cove in Ibiza. (Photo by Balate Dorin/Getty Images)

For those staying south, consider taking in a sunset overlooking the mystical Es Vedra rock. Admire the rock from down below at the Cala d’Hort beach, or walk up to the Torre des Savinar, known as the pirate tower, to enjoy the views from higher up.

You could hike up to Ibiza’s highest point, Sa Talaia, which is close to 1,640 feet above sea level. Start off in the main square in Sant Josep village, then follow the road as it becomes a hiking path. Or, if you want to see the famous pink birds of Ibiza, visit the Ses Salines Natural Park, home to marsh-like salt ponds and a colony of over 800 flamingos.

Travelers can also enjoy Ibiza’s beauty from the water. Skip the booze cruise and charter your own boat (with or without a captain) to cruise around Ibiza and Formentera, stopping at remote beach coves and taking in the varied topography each island offers.

Ibiza is more family-friendly than you think

Ibiza has numerous vacation rentals perfect for families. In fact, VRBO offers close to 300 “family-friendly” houses on the island, which can sleep groups of four up to groups of 20. Airbnb offers more than 400 homes on the island that also can sleep groups of all sizes.

Ibiza’s many beach coves are home to sandy beaches and shallow waters that are ideal for families with small children. Cala Longa is a favorite among families as it has a small playground directly in the sand, quiet waters ideal for kids, plus amenities like shops, restaurants and beach chairs for rent. And early risers get the worm in Ibiza — some of the best beaches and coves remain near-empty until midday, when the partiers stagger out of bed and get moving.

Many of Ibiza’s beach coves have shallow waters perfect for children. (Photo by Gonzalo Azumendi/Getty Images)

Children and adults alike can marvel at marine life at the Cap Blanc Aquarium, which is located inside a natural cave. And for more family cave fun, the Can Marça Caves provide the perfect respite for any sunburned families that need a cooling, child-friendly activity.

When traveling to Ibiza with your family, consider visiting during the quieter shoulder seasons like May or September. Hotels and rentals are more affordable and the majority of the tourists have gone home, but you’ll still have pleasant weather and sunshine.

Related: Ibiza, Mallorca or Menorca: How to choose the right Balearic Island for your vacation

Dine and drink your way through Ibiza

Ibiza’s dining scene ranges from vegan smoothies and farm-fresh, organic fare to Michelin-star gourmet cuisine. For farm-to-table bites, Aubergine by Atzaró offers a rural, countryside-inspired dining experience that feels both rustic and modern at the same time. This is where you should go to sample the best of Ibiza’s homegrown gastronomy, with its seasonal offerings, a healthy kids menu and even kombucha.

For lunchtime farm food, visit Numero 74 L’Atelier, which has a menu chock-full of locally-sourced items like tapenade made with Ibiza’s olives, as well as locally raised chicken and fresh salads. It’s also a hub for creative workshops like weaving, cooking, flower crowns or macrame.

Farm-fresh dining at Aubergine by Atzaro. (Photo by Aubergine by Atzaro/Facebook)

ASAL, located in the Ibiza Gran Hotel, is a newcomer to Ibiza’s trendy dining scene. Chef Mario Sandoval, also of Michelin-starred Madrid restaurant Coque, has created a menu of Mediterranean delights that diners can enjoy inside a sophisticated white cave, designed by celebrated Spanish architect David Alayeto, or outdoors on a garden terrace. The newly-renovated Amalur is TPG’s top pick for a romantic dinner in the countryside, infusing timeless Italian fare with Ibizan culinary details.

Vegan or gluten-free? Ibiza is the island for you. It’s a haven for plant-based diners, since many of Ibiza’s restaurants cater to those with dietary restrictions. Check out Ve Cafe, part of the newly opened W Hotel, which offers options such as vegan muesli, sugar-free wine and plant-based Buddha Bowls. At the “flexitarian” dining hub Natural Pau, diners graze on vegan pizza on the restaurant’s charming garden patio.

Travelers can tour and taste at the island’s only organic winery, Can Rich, which offers varietals such as crisp rose and aromatic vermouth.

Bottom line

The iconic Es Vedra rock and Torre des Savinar. (Photo by David Navarro Azurmendi/Getty Images)

Ibiza is an island that offers so much more than just nightlife. From delicious cuisine to stunning natural wonders, the island’s intrigue appeals to families, solo travelers, yogis, vegans and more. So consider visiting this summer — just be sure to book a hotel or home rental outside of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa if you’d prefer a more tranquil vacation.

Featured image by amoklv/Getty Images.

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