Destinations Europe

Ibiza, The Magic Island

Although 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 the so-called ‘White Isle’.

Blissed-out Balearic paradise with a party heart

Ibiza has exerted a potent pull on the world’s wandering spirits for centuries. The Carthaginians were the first settlers to be drawn to its shores, and in the ensuing years the Moors, the Romans and even pilfering pirates all took turns to stake their claim on this magnificent island in the Med.

Such checkered heritage no doubt contributes to the mesmerising melting pot of influences visible on Ibiza today, not to mention its reputation as a cradle for everyman. It was, and remains, entirely without discrimination – a place for free thinkers to doze and dream.

Consequently, it’s been home to everyone over the years, from creatives fleeing suppression to hippies on the hunt for limitless liberty – and while these days it’s probably most famous for its dazzling sunsets and thundering nightlife scene, that quintessential bohemian spirit lingers. Whether on a beach, a dancefloor, or a yoga mat, few are able to resist its unmistakable magic.

Ibiza’s modest population is swallowed whole by the seven-million-odd tourists that arrive en masse each year, and nowhere does sunset chilling or boho-glam style quite like the White Isle.

It’s an altogether more likeable, grown-up place held together by a combination of fiercely proud Ibicencos, expats and dreamers writing the next chapter in this island’s strange and varied history.

Ibiza is renowned for its phenomenal offering of nightlife and all-year-round feel-good vibes. As a paradise for lovers of music and dance since the 1970s, the island provides a level of clubbing that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world.

With top-name DJs, live bands, VIP rooms, luxury yachts moored off the coastline and sunset parties most evenings, you can be sure to find the perfect night out in Ibiza. The island offers relaxed beach clubs, chill-out sessions, special salsa evenings, cocktail or wine bars and everything in between. However, the reason why Ibiza is famous is that it’s home to several of the biggest superclubs on the planet. Music icons such as Pete Tong, David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Carl Cox perform regularly here, drawing huge international crowds.

A short history of Ibiza’s nightlife:

The 1970s – The first clubs open
The first ever discos and clubs on the island opened in the 1970s when tourism flourished. At the same time, the ‘flower power’ revolution descended on Ibiza, attracting hippies from across Europe for its unspoilt natural beauty, spiritual energy and laid-back pace of life.

Amnesia was the birthplace of the Balearic beat, being the first club to open on the island in the mid-1970s. A young philosopher named Antonio Escohotado signed a lease for a beautiful 18th-century country finca which, over the years, underwent a spectacular transformation to stand as one of the island’s most iconic establishments today. Originally named ‘The Workshop of Forgetfulness’, Escohotado soon discovered that the Greek word ‘Amnesia’ captured everything he wanted and more. The entrepreneur had a strong desire to create a place that people would go to forget about their problems, indulging in an unknown world that was far away from their ordinary routine.

Pacha followed in 1973, just a small farmhouse with a bar and dancefloor surrounded by countryside fields. The Urgell brothers, Ricardo and Piti, had found success in a small club in Sitges and decided that it was time to venture to Ibiza to try their luck with Pacha. For the locals and young Spaniards, there was an enormous gap in how they had fun, feeling the cultural void of the Franco Regime. Pacha offered them something completely different, standing as a symbol of freedom, where one could cross the threshold of scrutiny, let down their hair and dance.

Shortly afterwards, Ku Club joined the burgeoning nightlife scene, now known as Privilege. Starting as a simple community swimming pool which still stands in its main room, in the 1980s the venue became the star attraction for the island’s first hedonistic crowds, with Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones being just some of their most famous guests.

The 1980s – Celebrity status
This was a precedent for all things to come, as gradually the reputation of the clubs spread across the world, attracting the rich and famous who wanted to experience the island’s unrivalled nightlife scene. Pikes Ibiza is especially famous for its star-studded list of clientele. George Michael filmed his video for Wham’s ‘Club Tropicana’ here in 1983 and Freddie Mercury hosted his raucous birthday party in 1987. Queen’s frontman invited over 700 guests in a party that has gone down in Ibiza’s history, with Bon Jovi, Tony Curtis, Naomi Campbell, Boy George and Spandau Ballet being just some of his attendees.

From the 1990s – Europe’s party capital
Rave music became popular in the 1980s, with Balearic house pushing forward in the 1990s. Today, the island’s offering of music is a daring and eclectic mix of musical styles that have led the island to become one of the most fascinating places to visit in the world. New clubs have opened and old ones closed, replaced by more contemporary concepts, but Ibiza’s place as Europe’s party capital still hasn’t been challenged.

A night out in Ibiza is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to be missed!

Not many DJs can hold down two parties on different days and clubs in Ibiza and get away with it. But that’s precisely what David Guetta does, and has been ruling Ibiza for over two decades now. We count a ridiculous 35 dates played in Ibiza for David Guetta this season ’21. BIG is as popular as ever.

As long as Flower Power is around, the summer of love continues and climaxes every Wednesday at Ibiza’s iconic Pacha nightclub.

People of all generations visit the party to revel in the hippy vibes and throwback tunes, making it one of the most fun-filled parties on Ibiza. Over-the-top performances and decoration characterise the 39-year-old party and have helped it keep up a mammoth residency at the island’s very own cherry club.

Known and praised for its unique and crazy parties, elrow has taken the clubbing world and completely transformed it into its own psychedelic, energetic, chaotic world. You simply cannot resist it. After taking Amnesia by storm, the party has, in recent years, marked it’s territory all over the island including the outdoor phenomenon Ushuaïa.

ANTS 🐜 always stood out amongst the predominantly EDM residencies at Ushuaïa, and is a mainstay of the club since it relaunched in 2013. Despite new underground competition from Dance or Die, the party is still one of the most popular on the island. Its production is one you simply have to witness yourself. 🐜

The colony is back for four selected dates this summer, the party is sure to be one of the most amusing fiestas of the season.

Outside the nightlife hubs of San Antonio and Playa d’en Bossa, lies a vast, arid, arrestingly beautiful Spanish isle speckled with farmhouses and almond trees that bloom white in winter.

The interior is still relatively undeveloped, the hamlets of Santa Gertrudis and San Miquel remain quaint, and the pine-fringed north coast is rough and ragged. Even Ibiza Town and its Unesco-protected core, Dalt Vila (old town), retain much of their charms and quirks, despite the seasonal avalanche of tourists.

Ibiza and Formentera are home to the largest living organism in the world: large seagrass meadows of Posidonia, a Mediterranean endemic plant that has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO and it’s responsible for the pristine turquoise waters in the islands that are perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.

There’s no shortage of beaches in Ibiza and all of them are dreamy in some way. Expect sandy beaches surrounded by nature, amazing cliffs and turquoise crystal waters: go ahead and swim with the little fishies – beware of jellyfish too!

The best way to get to the beach is by your own rental car or by private boat. The most famous ones – like cala Comte, Ses Salines or Benirrás – can be also reached by public buses.

After many visits to Ibiza, these are the beaches I’m happy to come back again and again:

Cala Comte

A must-visit. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in Ibiza, with fabulous views to the islands and crystal clear waters.

Cala d’Hort

A lovely beach with a stunning view of the mystical Es Vedrà. From here you can enjoy one of the most striking and breathtaking sunsets of Ibiza.

Aigües Blanques

A sandy beach that it’s perfect for sunrise – you can get a free mud face mask.

Cala Saladeta

The perfect postcard beach. You need to witness it with your own eyes.

Ses Salines

Named after the salt lakes nearby, this beach is a convenient option for its location, to the airport and Ibiza town and its beach club.

Cala Bassa

If you’re planning to spend your day in the beach club, you’ll love Cala Bassa, a beautiful beach surrounded by trees.

Punta Galera

Don’t expect a sandy busy beach – Punta Galera is a rocky site mostly frequented by nudists. It’s also an awesome place to enjoy the sunset.

Cala Xarraca

A secluded beach with some of the clearest waters in Ibiza.

Sa Caleta

Expect clear waters and dramatic red cliffs.


The place to go on Sundays to experience the island’s most famous sunset.

There, hundreds of hippies celebrate the crepuscular light with the sound of the drums.

Visitors in search of hidden treasures among the touristy knick-knacks can scour the hippy markets at Las Dalias (Saturdays, Carretera de San Carlos Km 12) and at Punta Arabí (Wednesdays, Avenida Punta Arabí s/n, Santa Eulalia Del Río).

If you really want to see all the aforementioned beautiful places in style and on your own terms, then you’re better off renting your own mode of transportation for a few days. Many of those hidden beaches and secret views are either too difficult or just flat out expensive to get to by bus or taxi.

Renting out your own car, quad, buggy or whatever will not only give you the freedom to explore the island in its entirety, it’ll give you an exhilarating thrill while you’re at it. If you’re not sure where you’d explore, then you can go on a number of different guided tours, each with their own unique mode of transport, that’ll take you to the island’s hotspots as well.

Whether you’re traveling with friends or alone, it isn’t difficult to make friends in Ibiza, as everyone is quite friendly and Ibiza is full of interesting people from interesting places, so you never know who you may run into or what kind of shenanigans they may lead you to afterwards.

Going off script from your itinerary, after meeting new people, is all part of the fun of being in Ibiza and it will make your experience all the more unforgettable.

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