Arguably the most attractive of the Balearic Islands, Ibiza and Formentera, locally known collectively as Las Islas Pitiusas (The pine Islands) have their own independent culture from their larger cousins, Mallorca and Menorca. The island of Ibiza boasts an incredibly diverse history, having been, at various times, host to Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans – indeed the popular resort of San Antonio, now known as Sant Antoni de Portmany, was a Roman naval port called Portus Magnus.
The old walled city of Ibiza is also one of the oldest walled cities in Europe and the local Ibicencos are well aware and proud of their traditions – hence, over the last few years they gone to great lengths and high expense with renovation works, both sympathetic and traditional, to preserve not only the walls but also the Dalt Villa, the old city within.
Ibiza has been judged largely by its world renowned nightlife, which has resulted in an unfair reputation. To take a car ride around the island is an experience that will not be forgotten! Ibiza has a superb coastline and boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean – Cala Basa, Cala Moli, Cala Tarida, Cala Vadella, Cala Conta, Es Cubells and Cala D'Hort to the south-west, Les Salinas to the south, Portinatx to the north, Cala Llonga to the north-east to name but a few. If one is looking for golden sands, turquoise and deep blue sea, set off superbly by the superb green of the pine trees that the island is famous for, then Ibiza can offer it all.
Away from the coast and inland the beauty continues – green pastures, pine covered hills, a complete assortment of plant, shrubs and trees, including olive, almond, vines, mimosa, pepper, beech; the list is endless. The bird life is as varied, with many local species, as migrants, pausing on their way to the north in the spring and the south in the autumn.
The island boasts three major centres – Ibiza Town which is a bustling, cosmopolitan centre with superb shops catering for all tastes and styles; a busy port with ferries to the mainland, Mallorca and Formentera; two superb marinas and of course the Old Town, now beautifully preserved with its tiny cobbled streets and some of the best restaurants in Europe! Sant Antoni, with its reputation for the night-life, boasts some of the best clubs on the island (if that is what you are after!); a smart yacht club, plenty of quality shops, a superb recently completed frontage with fountains that works to music and the best sunsets on the island – to sit on the terrace of one of the wine bars, drink in hand and watch the sun slowly set behind the island of Conellera (reputedly Hanibal's birthplace) some 3 kilometres in the bay is a superb experience! Finally, Santa Eularis des Riu to the north-east, once the "hippie" centre of the 60's and now a very attractive town with its old castle perched on the hill above, hosts some of the best restaurants on the island and a modern marina.
Smaller towns and villages all have their own individual charm and character – San Miguel with its small attractive port; San Jose with arguably one of the best "tapas" bars on the island as well as a church, literally to die for; Santa Ines with its small square and its wonderful bars spilling onto the pavements and serving their special "bocadillos" which are out of this world.
There is a myth in Ibiza that if the island takes to you, then you will fall in love with her and always return.
Formentera Island is just off the South East coast of Ibiza. A stunning and untouched gem with beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. There are many stunning secret coves and unspoilt deserted beaches accessible only by private boat. Enjoy sunset at one of Formentera's few isolated beach bars like The Blue Bar or Las Banderas. Visit the world famous 'healing' mud pools, an absolute must for the kids. The crystal clear waters and white sand beaches around Formentera rival the Caribbean and Thailand.