General Information About Ibiza
Area: 571 sq km (220 sq miles).
Population: 142,065 (2016).
Population density: 246.9 per sq km.
Government: Since a parliamentary monarchy was introduced to Spain in 1978 the country has been divided into 17 autonomous regions. Ibiza is part of the Balearic Autonomous Community which has its headquarters in Palma, Mallorca.
Head of state: King Felipe VI since 2014.
Head of government: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey since 2011.
Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Generally, European plugs with two round pins are in use.
Ibiza, Catalan Eivissa, island, Balearic Islands provincia (province) and comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), Spain. Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic Islands. It lies in the western Mediterranean 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Majorca. The island was a strategic point of great importance in ancient times and was inhabited by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians. It has some notable archaeological sites, relics from which are housed in the Archaeological Museum at Ibiza city, also called La Vila. The island’s hilly relief, culminating in La Atalaya (1,558 feet [475 metres]), is truncated in the central northern coast to form a costa brava (rugged coast) with cliffs exceeding 800 feet (240 metres) and penetrated by calas (small coves). There are several irrigated lowlands, and the hillsides are intensively terraced. Agriculture is mainly of a subsistence nature, but almonds, dried figs, and apricots are exported. Salt produced by the evaporation of seawater has been the main export for centuries. Fish and charcoal surplus to local needs are also sent to the mainland.
Many of the inhabitants live on farms and small villages scattered throughout the island. Since the late 20th century the population of Ibiza has grown considerably, owing to immigration and the tourism that flourishes as a result of the island’s mild winter climate and its beaches. Ibiza city, San Antonio, and Santa Eularia del Río are the most populated places. The island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999 for its unique and diverse ecosystems. Area 221 square miles (572 square km)
Ibiza is one of the five Balearic Islands
Off the Western coast of Spain - best known, of course, for its year-round sun, sea, sand and clubbing
Every summer the place is mobbed by the young and beautiful international party-set, all searching for the ultimate in hedonistic fun-in the-sun. The innovative music scene in Ibiza has been so Influential that its trademark genre of chilled - out dance music has come to be known as ‘Balearic House’, and the place has made superstars out of previously anonymous DJs who have now been catapulted to celebrity status.
What began as small bars and underground clubs have spawned whole empires with international club nights such as Manumission and Pacha now global brand names.
Although the island’s huge tourist industry is geared unashamedly towards the 18-30 holidaymakers, Ibiza does in fact have a lot to offer families and the less nocturnally minded visitor.
For those who manage to tear themselves away from the intoxicating atmosphere of the beach and the 24 hour party scene (or who wouldn’t dream of ever finding themselves there in the first place), there is a wealth of history and culture to be found in the interior of the island and also in the ancient capital city of Eivissa - Ibiza Town.
Ibiza was discovered by the Carthaginians in 654BC, around the same time the Greeks came to the island and named it Pitiusas, which translates to pine-covered island.
The island was full of merchants and traders and was an important trading centre, with a large harbour and strong defences. The main goods traded was salt, known as White Gold.
In 123BC the Romans conquered Ibiza and named it Ebusus. The moors invaded in the 9th century and stayed for almost 500 years. In these days the island was called Yebisah.
Since then it has been invaded and conquered by the Catalans, and even at one point, pirates!
When to Go
The best times to visit are June and September, before and after the summer tourist onslaught, and in April, when wildflowers dot the hillsides and valleys. Locals and regulars are likely to admit that their favorite time of year is the mild, sunny winter, when the almond trees are full of snowy-white blossoms and the island is blissfully hushed.
Cars may be rented at the airport, which is five miles east of Ibizatown. Metered taxis run from outside the airport. Unless you plan to hole up at one resort or stay in Ibiza town, you will want to have a car to explore different beaches and try restaurants in various parts of the island. For local trips to the market or the beaches, renting a scooter is a popular option. Do not miss beach hopping to Ibiza’s far reaches by boat, and a day trip to the neighboring islands of Formentera and Tagomago.
Towns & Villages of Ibiza
Eivissa, otherwise known as Ibiza City, is the capital centre of the island. Situated to the south of the island, its one of the most picturesque cities in the Mediterranean, its old town has been awarded historic status by UNESCO.
It’s a fascinating city and holds a special charm, that attracts many visitors ever year, looking to see a more cultural side to Ibiza.
San Antonio is the second largest town in Ibiza and is at the heart of the islands clubbing scene, which some people call the ‘clubbing capital of the world’. It’s definitely not for the faint hearted!
Santa Eulalia is the third largest resort on the Balearic Island of Ibiza and is one of the more popular resorts for families, who don’t want to bump into the club lovers and hippies. You won’t find any all nightclubs here, just a charming and tranquil resort with a beautiful beach and an excellent choice of restaurants and accommodation.
The clubbing scene in Ibiza is now a huge
Business – some of the venues are among the largest, most flamboyantly impressive clubs in the world and every summer they attract top celebs and the best DJ’s on the planet.
Massive multinational super clubs such as Cream and Pacha rule the roost, but there are plenty of smaller venues, which play more experimental music to a varied but consistently energetic and Enthusiastic crowd
After the party (and before), you need to know where to go and chill out during the day; remember to bring your sunglasses, although nowadays they’re more ‘de rigeur’ on the club terrace at sunrise, than on the beach at midday.
Ibiza has some truly beautiful beaches and they are also among the cleanest in the Mediterranean, with the Balearics usually picking up prestigious Blue Flags from the EU Commission for the Environment.
Although some of them have been spoiled by ugly high-rise hotel developments and overcrowding, there are still some little gems hidden away, which you will share with only a handful of people, particularly if you go out of season or venture up to the north of the island.
We particularly recommend Benirras, Agua Blanca and Las Salinas beaches, but each has its own individual character and atmosphere and it is worth trying a few out before you decide where you’re going to perfect your golden tan.
The Gay Scene
The gay scene has been very influential in making Ibiza the party capital that it is today and the relaxed atmosphere that established itself in the swinging sixties has appealed to gay holidaymakers ever since.
Such is the influence of gay culture on the island that Ibiza has come to be known as the ‘Pink Island’, rather than its normal epithet the ‘White Island’ (which refers to the typical architecture found all over the island).
In the Sa Penya district of Ibiza Town you will find many gay bars, particularly at the end of Calle Mare de Deu or Calle Virgen.
Leisure & recreation
If you are looking for a sporting and active holiday, then Ibiza has lots to offer; there are plenty of options, such as h orse riding, there are a number of stables where you can enjoy a riding experience, exploring the island on horseback.
If golf is more your style, then the 27 - hole Club de Golf Ibiza is situated in Santa Eulalie. There are numerous dive centers at San Antonio, Portinatx and Cala Vadella, offering diving trips for both experienced and beginner divers.
For lovers of tennis and paddle, there are some very swanky sports clubs in Ibiza which have top-rate tennis and paddle courts, including the Ahmara Sport & Social Centre, Club de Campo & Club Can Jordi. These clubs also offer other facilities, such as badminton & squash, gyms and pools.
The local tourist departments throughout Ibiza have produced multilingual guides for those interested in discovering the history and culture of their chosen destination.
There are fiestas and cultural experiences taking place during most of the year; check with your tourist office on arrival. They will often also be able to give your discounted entrance tickets to leisure parks and other attractions. Don't be shy about asking!
The traditional cuisine of Ibiza stems from the cultivation of the rich farmland, hunting and fishing for centuries.
From the popular fried Ibizan fish to shellfish with vegetables and lobster stew, from fresh island lamb (either roast or in dishes such as panadera, freixurat, and trunyelles) to flavorsome pork sausages (sobrassades, botifarró blanc, botifarró negre, carn i xua, cuixot) and goats cheese with herbs
Many of the islands sweets and desserts make use of the lighter cheeses, herbs, honey and almonds.
The summer and beach season really in Ibiza gets going in May, when the temperatures hit the mid-twenties. During July, August and September, the temperatures soar to a sizzling 30-35 degrees.
During the autumn months, the weather is generally mild, but bring a jumper and a jacket, as the evenings can get chilly. The winter months, from November through to April, stay relatively mild, but it can get rainy and overcast.
Ibiza Culture and History
Ibiza History, Language and Culture
Ibiza has been attracting a cosmopolitan crowd for centuries – Romans, Greeks, Moors, Phoenicians and Catalans all visited the White Isle, some arriving to trade and relax in the clear warm Mediterranean waters, others with conquest in mind.
Due to its strategic position between mainland Spain and Africa, Ibiza was highly prized as a colony and trading post and was visited by the Ancient Greeks and later ruled by both the Carthaginians and the Romans. The island fell briefly into the hands of the Vandals, and later the Byzantines, before being ruled for many centuries by the Moors – who were in turn conquered by the Catalans in 1235.
Kings James I conquered the island in 1235 and ordered the deportation of the local Muslim population and Christian colonists brought in from Girona. The island maintained its own self-government in several forms until 1715, when King Philip V of Spain abolished the local government’s autonomy.
During the early 20th century members of the avant-garde and, in particular, the Surrealist movement were drawn to Ibiza where they established alternative lifestyle communities based on intellectualism and creativity that were to later lay the foundations for the influx of hippies and beatniks during the 1950s and 60s. All of these influences are still visible and celebrated today, as seen in Ibiza Old Town, which exudes a thriving artistic heritage as well as a number of weekly craft markets held across the island.
The arrival of democracy in the late 1970s led to the Statute of Autonomy of the Balearic Islands and today the island is part of the Balearic Autonomous Community, along with Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera.
In recent years Ibiza has been associated with its famous club scene (infamous if all tabloid newspaper stories are to be believed) and the modern invasion of international party people that ritually descend on the island during the summer months, although the government is keen to attract more salubrious tourists and has passed local laws requiring all new hotels to be five-star and all nightclubs to close by 0600 at the latest.
Though Ibiza has long been synonymous with fun in the sun hedonism, a trip to the island is not all about sultry clubs and all night raves – away from the bright lights there’s a quieter side to this destination. But first to the merrymaking, because make no mistake this Spanish island is one of the premier party destinations in Europe. During the summer superstar DJs arrive en masse to spin the vinyl and keep revellers dancing until the morning light.
Ibiza Town is a hotbed of late night revelry. The municipality is home to the world–famous clubs Pacha and Amnesia, which share quaint cobblestone streets with more traditional attractions such as Santa Maria d’Eivissa Cathedral.
Sant Antoni (San Antonio) is the real clubbing capital, though. The so-called ‘Sunset Strip’ is renowned for its rowdy clubs, but there are sophisticated alternatives nearby with chic bars offering expensive cocktails and exquisite sunset views.
Its reputation as a party island is notorious, but Ibiza has reconnected with its 1960’s hippy roots in recent years, with more laid-back parties and a burgeoning arts scene.
Those seeking quiet time or craving a bit of culture are also well catered for: Ibiza is blessed with sandy beaches, limpid waters and alluring coves, not to mention an abundance of picturesque towns and villages.
Families are also well catered for in relaxing resorts such as Santa Eularia des Riu (Santa Eulalia) and Es Canar (Es Cana) on the northeast coast.
Whether you’re there to dance till dawn, relax on a beach, imbibe the culture or hike amidst the greenery, Ibiza is a rite of passage for every discerning traveler.
Did you know?
- In 1969 the feature film More was filmed on the island and features a soundtrack by Pink Floyd including a track called Ibiza Bar
- Large areas of the island as registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous God’s Finger in Benirràs Bay
- Ibiza is one of many places thought to have been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, and a monument in his honour can be found in Sant Antoni
There is no official religion, but the majority of the population is Roman Catholic.
Spanish life has undergone rapid change in recent decades and many of the stricter religious customs are giving way to modernity, particularly in the cities and among women. In spite of this, traditions remain strong; hospitality, chivalry and courtesy thrive. Handshaking is the customary form of greeting between men, while women to whom one has already been introduced may be greeted with a fleeting kiss to either cheek. Normal social courtesies should be observed when visiting someone’s home and a small gift is always appreciated.
The evening meal is taken late, generally 2100-2200. Smoking in public places including is banned but many of the bars and clubs are a bit lax about this and most have terraces where you can smoke too. However enforcement of the ban is getting stricter all the time.
Language in Ibiza
While Castillian Spanish is the principal language of most of Spain, on Ibiza the official language is Catalan which has its own local dialect known as Ibicenco. Road signs are generally in Catalan, though maps are generally in Spanish with occasional Catalonian translations so visitors should be prepared for places to have two slightly different names.
Ibiza is part of the Balearic Islands, which were populated by Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and the Spanish. Isolation and a lack of trade through much of history meant the island’s residents were traditionally poor farmers, craftsmen or fishermen. This changed dramatically when Ibiza began to attract large scale tourism. The food, habits and culture reflect a close relationship with the land and sea and a strong Catholic influence. An influx of bohemians in the 1930's and 1960's added another dimension to the artistic side of the island.
Ibiza is part of modern Catholic Spain with a culture largely reflective of that. However, Ibiza’s historic isolation and occupation by various ethnic groups, including Moorish and Roman people, has left its mark on the architecture, art and cuisine. The Catholic calendar and turning of the seasons are the main drivers behind many of the community events, but the people’s love of family and food help make Ibiza a pleasant and interesting place to visit any time of the year. The unusual geography and the myths around such landforms like Es Vedra give a mysterious and interesting dimension to this sandy paradise.