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Everyone knows that Ibiza is the clubbing capital of Europe. This hedonist's heaven in the Catalan Balearic Islands is well known for its clubs and for attracting the best house DJs in the world during the busy summer season. Before that, Ibiza was a hippie haven, attracting peace and lovers from all over Europe, and there is still very much an alternative vibe here, running as an undercurrent beneath the clubbing fever. What you may not know is that Ibiza is much more than just this summer bacchanalia. Whether or not the clubbing is your scene, there are many other things to do on this lovely island of pine forests and stunning sandy coves.
The north of the island is far less built up and spoiled by developers than the south, yielding some extremely lovely villages and towns and some idyllic coves far from the crowds. If you are looking for somewhere quiet to stay then Sant Joan may be a good option. His picturesque white-washed village sits on a hilltop and makes a perfect base to explore the many exquisite small sandy coves to the North. Cala d’en Serra is one of the more remote of these glorious beaches, and the waters off it are perfect for snorkeling. Benirràs is another beautiful bay, around 9km from Sant Joan. It has been colonized by hippies, and if that is your scene then this could be the perfect place to hold a drum circle as the sun goes down.
The east coast is also home to a number of astoundingly beautiful bays and it is surprisingly easy, especially outside the summer season but generally year round, to find one all to yourselves. Sant Carles is one of the more pleasant tiny villages around if you are looking for a more remote accommodation option. Be sure to take note of the lovely church in the town of Santa Eularia Des Riu which dates from the 16th Century. Passing between the rich reddish fields of the east, planted with carob, olive and almond trees, you will find yourself stumbling upon many quiet, untouched beaches. Cala Llenya is an excellent beach for families, while if you are looking for seclusion, tiny
Cala Mastella might be a better bet. If you have hired a car, you may enjoy driving the serpentine coastal road to the more remote north.
Ibiza Town is the most picturesque of the island's settlements, with a UNESCO listed old town with mediaeval stone walls and historic cobbled streets. Be sure to walk up to the Cathedral to take in the fantastic views.
If you are keen to avoid at all costs the clubbing scene and the unfortunate hooliganism and yobbishness that all to often accompanies them then the main towns and beaches of the west coast are probably best avoided during the main summer season, though will usually be much quieter and more restful between October and May. However, you would be foolish to avoid the island – as you can tell from the above descriptions, there is much more to Ibiza than you might expect.
571.6 km2 (220.7 sq mi)
475 m (1,558 ft)
Ibiza Town (pop. 49,516)
132,637 (as of 1 January 2010)
231.6 /km2 (599.8 /sq mi)
Famous Ibiza sunset
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