Ibiza is famous for its nightlife, but the island has more to offer than just its club scene.
The smallest of the three major Balearic islands, Ibiza was first discovered in 654 BC by the Phoenicians who named it ‘Ibossim’, meaning ‘island of pines’. Away from the tourist areas, many parts of Ibiza are World Heritage sites and their picturesque scenery is popular for filming and photo shoots.
The island has a strong hippy background, dating back to the 1930s when many liberals escaped to Ibiza as a result of General Franco’s fascist rule. In the 1960s, Ibiza became a mecca for hippies as hoards of them swarmed to the island, attracted to its bohemian culture.
Although the club scene briefly took over as Ibiza’s identity in the late 1990s, its hippy roots are now re-emerging with a new ‘hippy chic’ breed of tourism – with the elite seeking a part of the barefooted, kaftan-wearing, yoga-practising lifestyle. The hippy movement is still evident on the island, with two major open-air hippy markets taking place every week at Es Cana and Las Dalias, along with Sunday evening bongo sessions on Benirras beach.
In the late 1990s, Ibiza gained a notorious reputation from the fly-on-the-wall Sky TV show ‘Ibiza Uncovered’, which depicted the hedonistic clubbing scene of drunken shirtless Brits waving cans of lager. Although the club scene is still an important and thriving part of Ibiza tourism, this is only part of what the island has to offer. Tourism in Ibiza has now given way to a more upmarket breed of tourist and is fast becoming the playground of the rich and beautiful – in fact, it has often been referred to as ‘the new St Tropez’. Luxury villas and multi-million pound yachts, belonging to the so-called ‘wet set’, are changing the face of Ibiza to capitalise on its bohemian vibe, with yoga retreats and 5-star minimalist hotels.
From September onwards, the tourist season dwindles considerably, most of the big clubs close down for the winter and the island becomes an altogether quieter and different island.
Ten things you never knew about Ibiza…
1. In the 15th century, Nostradamus predicted Ibiza would become the Earth’s final refuge.
2. Ibiza Town is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
3. Pacha is the island’s oldest club and the only one to open all year round.
4. The island of Es Vedra, off the south-west coast of Ibiza, is the third most magnetic place on earth, after the North Pole and the Bermuda Triangle.
5. Privilege features in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest nightclub, with a capacity of up to 10,000.
6. There is a legendary ‘hidden’ cove called Atlantis, whose location is kept a closely guarded secret by locals.
7. The island is approximately 25 miles long and 12 miles wide, with no destination on the island more than one hour’s drive away.
8. The famous Egg monument in San Antonio represents its claim as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus, containing a model of his ship, the Santa Maria.
9. According to 2005 statistics from the Balearic Institute, just over half of Ibiza’s population were not born on the island.
10. Ibiza is known as ‘the white isle’ due to its traditional white-washed architecture.