Spain is fortunate enough to mother a handful of world renowned cities bursting with flavor, culture, history, art, salsa, sangria, nightlife that puts even NYC to shame, and beaches that provoke pure bliss. There is truly something for everyone, especially for those that seek out its tiny isles floating in the Balearic Sea.
While the glamorous Mallorca, to the west of Barcelona, appeals to most travelers as the ideal Spanish island getaway, don’t skip on energetic Ibiza. The tiny island to the south is like the little, wilder, sister of the two. Hailed for its lager-than-life parties, newbies to Ibiza can quickly become overwhelmed with excitement and exhausted by non-stop partying. But there is actually so much more to Ibiza than clubs and festivals.
With just 48 hours to explore, there are numerous ways to check off all the indulgences you should allow yourself on this 222-square-mile island off the coast of Spain.
Whether you travel to Ibiza by ferry (which will cost you eight hours on the water) or by plane from Barcelona (a cool 45 minute flight), you’re instantly transported to paradise upon arrival. Check in to The Giri Residences or Atzaro.
Lunch at La Paloma.
With your first night in Ibiza many hours ahead of you, it’s only right you spend the day relaxing at Cotton Beach Club. Luxe sunbeds and beachfront VIP beds will have you in a state of pure bliss as you sip on champagne, munch on seafood tapas, and work on your Spanish glow, all with a first-class view of the Balearic Sea.
Stop over and visit the famed Hippy Market for some quick shopping before dinner. Browse handmade items and goods from local vendors for the most authentic retail experience you’ll find on the island. Or shop at Elephante to support international NGOs and local artisans.
Dinner at La Luna, then grab some drinks at Cafe Mambo and watch the sun go down as the music turns up. Café Mambo features rotating DJs that spin live as you dine. The perfect predecessor for the party you’re about to endure.
No visit to Ibiza is complete without experiencing the intense nightlife culture (to some degree). Check out the party at Ushuaia to mingle with the crowds as mainstream DJs blast electrifying EDM music. Head over to Space Nightclub, one of the most iconic venues in Ibiza (if not the world), where you can get the VIP treatment with bottle service and rub elbows with celebrities at the table next to yours. And if your trip lands you in Ibiza on a Monday, you cannot miss Circoloco’s Monday night rave, the most iconic underground techno party in the world.
After partying until the wee hours of the morning, you deserve to sleep in. Set your alarm for 11:00am and catch the noon ferry to Formentara – another Spanish island, just 30 minutes south of Ibiza. Head to Port Esportiu Marina d’Eivissa to board, and let the wind blow through your hair and cure your hangover as you set sail.
Once you’ve arrived to Formentara, rent a moped for exploring the island. Follow the street signs and maps to the Trucador Peninsula – where you’ll find the most beautiful beaches around. Get ready to bare it all, as most sunbathers are lounging sans tops.
With bronze skin and salty hair, head back to the port to catch your 4:30pm ferry to Ibiza. Stop and grab a refreshing cone of gelato at Geckolateria Formentera to hold you over until dinner.
Sunset and cocktails at Sunset Ashram–one of the best views of sunset on the island.
There is no other dining experience quite like Lio Ibiza. Get dressed in your best attire and head there for the show and an exquisite dinner. There’s not a proper way to accurately describe it – part cabaret, part live entertainment, part restaurant, part club, part social experience–but whatever you do, do not leave Ibiza without going to Lio.
Where To Stay:
Where: Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay, Cami ses Feixes, 52, 07800 Ibiza, Islas Baleares, Spain
Why: Hand-crafted ceramics and soft touches make you feel at home, with the beach as your backyard and luxury as a way of life.
Learn more: http://www.nobuhotelibizabay.com/en/default.html
Where: Carretera Forada a Sant Mateu KM 1, 07820 Ibiza, Spain
Why: Get to know a different side of the island, in the midst of this farmland property that focuses on agriculture and sustainability.
Learn more: http://www.lagranjaibiza.com/
Where: Carretera Sant Joan KM 15, Ibiza
Why: Focused around agrotourism, the resort ensures your stay is quality in every sense–from environmentally saving practices to its listed activities to its rooms embracing royal style.
Learn more: http://www.atzaro.com/en/
Where: Calle Principal 3 – 5, 07810 San Juan, Ibiza
Why: A hidden getaway with an artsy character and quintessential Mediterranean setup–from open patio space, to rich and colorful accents.
Learn more: http://thegiri.com/
Where To Eat & Drink:
Where: Carrer de Vara del Rey, 07820 Sant Antoni de Portmany
Why: When the pre-party is combined with food, you get dinner at Cafe Mambo. Live DJs spinning while you eat and sip pitchers of sangria.
Learn More: www.cafemamboibiza.com
Where: Calle Can Pou, 4, 07812 Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, Islas Baleares
Why: Since Chef Prasuna learned her Italian cookery from her mother, you can bet the food is soulfully unique, bringing you into this kitchen of generational recipes with a twist.
Learn more: http://palomaibiza.com/
Beso Beach Formentera
Where: Playa de Cavall d’en Borràs (Illetas), Parque Natural de Ses Salines, 07860 Formentera
Why: A tranquil, off-the-beaten-path eatery focused on creating a menu of raw foods; no additives here!
Learn more: http://www.besobeach.com/
Where: Sant Miquel de Balansat, 07815, Ibiza
Why: If you love a good grill, the coal grill is what makes the homegrown vegetables and quality sourced meats a standout on La Luna’s menu.
Learn more: http://www.lunanellorto.com/en/
Where: Puerto Deportivo Marina Ibiza, Passeig Joan Carles I
Why: Hands-down, the best dining experience I got in Ibiza (maybe even Spain). It’s the perfect combination of entertainment, music and delicious food.
Learn More: www.lioibiza.com
What To See & Do:
Where: Avinguda Punta Arabí, s/n, 07840 Santa Eulalia del Río
Why: A melting pot of different cultures from all over the world featuring over 500 vendors and craftsman, it’s the perfect place to shop and find sorts of hidden gems.
Learn More: www.hippymarket.info
Where: Balearic Islands
Why: Formentera features some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain, with crystal clear water and a view of the ocean lined with mega-yachts.
Learn More: www.formentera.es/en/the-island
Where: Carretera San Miguel, Km 3.2, 07814 Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, Illes Balears
Why: An international collection of fashion, trinkets and treasures all supporting charities and NGOs from all corners of the world.
Learn More: https://www.lagaleriaelefante.com/
Where to Party
Ushuaia Beach Hotel
Where: Platja d’en Bossa, 10, 07817 Sant Jordi de ses Salines
Why: An open-air venue with plush couches, pool and bottle service to take your day-party to the next level.
Learn More: www.ushuaiabeachhotel.com/en
Where: Platja d’en Bossa, S/N, 07817 Sant Josep de sa Talaia
Why: An iconic dance club part of the nightlife scene, it’s a must-visit when in Ibiza.
Learn More: www.spaceibiza.com/en
Wax Da Jam Party
Where: Las Dalias Market, San Carlos
Why: This is for the alternative crowd–with a mixture of guest DJs and live music. The event is hosted every Thursday night, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Learn more: https://www.ibiza-spotlight.com/night/promoters/wax-da-jam
Where: DC10 Nightclub: Diseminado es Moli, 9448, 07818 Sant Josep de sa Talaia, Illes Balears
Why: Save your Monday nights for this underground techno scene; it’s not one to be missed for those desiring a fist-pumping, all-night experience.
Learn more: https://www.ibiza-spotlight.com/night/promoters/circo_loco_i.htm
Where: Camí Sa Vorera, S/N, 07820 Sant Antoni de Portmany, Islas Baleares
Why: A rotating list of events could mean you’ll be rocking out any night from Monday to Saturday. Checkout the weekly listings in advance or ask a local before deciding on if this is the spot for you.
Learn more: http://pikesibiza.com/