Lay of the Land
Ibiza is only 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, which means that you can drive from one corner to the other in less than an hour—except, of course, during July and particularly August, when the tourist traffic is at its peak. The island’s contrasts are compelling, especially its wealth of dramatic landscapes: from hilly interiors and lush farm valleys lined with olive, lemon, fig and citrus trees to a white ribbon of coastline with fine sandy beaches and deserted rocky inlets. Should you decide to stay in one of the gorgeous rural hotels in Ibiza’s center, the beaches won’t be more than a fifteen-to-thirty-minute car ride away.
East of the airport on the island’s southeatsern shore lies Ibiza town (in Catalan, Eivissa), perched on a hilltop and surrounded by white stone ramparts. This is the main town, a lively place known for its medieval Dalt Vila (High Town), a labyrinth of steep, narrow cobblestone streets and pretty squares packed with fashion boutiques, gift shops, art galleries, bars and cafés. On the northwestern coast is Sant Antoni, the mythic hot spot for young clubbers and backpackers and the heart of the rowdy scene, but there’s no need to ever venture to that corner of the island. Santa Eulària, a family-oriented, relaxed town on the eastern coast, is increasingly fashionable. The celeb crowd, own or rent villas in the wild northeastern section, in the Sierra Grossa near the village of Sant Joan de Labritja. On the southern shore are the lush hills around Sant Josép and the pine-shaded beach of Cala Jondal, also among regulars’ haunts.
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.