Currently Sydney is shivering with 10-degree temperatures, meanwhile on the other side of the world, clothing is coming off, tans are getting darker and somewhere in the Mediterranean the bass is getting deeper.
You know where I’m talking about, an island where drug taking is an Olympic sport, foam parties occur daily and bohemian 40-something is standard issue. Ibiza is many things to many people. It was most certainly NONE of the above for me.
For the past 35 years I ruled out ever travelling to the island for fear of being forced to drink a bathtub of sangria with a tiny straw and being vomited on by the cast of Geordie Shore. This is difficult for me to write but this time last year I discovered. I COULD NOT BE MORE WRONG.
Ibiza is home to the best swimming experiences of my life. Not just one, but an aquatic smorgasbord of swimming with benefits. A spectacular wash of azure blues and dusty whites, ethereal lighting and an achingly hip soundtrack. The best swim for rock diving, the best swim for sunsets, the best swim with seafood on the beach, the finest sand, the best snorkelling. I could go on. Ibiza, please take me back.
For now I will just share some top tips on how to enjoy it if you’re a bit of a non-hedonist like me.
- Head North. When you fly in, get the hell out of town, ignore the signs to San Antonio and Ibiza Town and just head as North as possible. Our tranquil home for the week was a small eco-resort in a fruit orchard in the middle of nowhere, near the tiny village of Sant Joan de Labritja. I highly recommend.
- Don’t judge the nudity. Everyone is going to be naked or at least topless on the beaches. Even the Spanish equivalent of a middle-aged Country Road mum is going to get her gear off in front of you. No judging.
- You will learn to enjoy chill out dance music. I never thought this was possible. But it’s kind of like how in Argentina I found mullets to be attractive, sometimes the strangest things just work on location.
- A nightclub in Ibiza is basically cabaret show with a bass. Make sure you do it at least once, no matter how old you are.
- Adjust your body clock. No one gets up early here. Sleep in guilt free, eat lunch at 3pm and get used to eating dinner around midnight.
- Enjoy the sunsets. They’re possibly the best in the world.
- 40 is not old in Ibiza. The place is expensive and increasingly caters for the older crowd. British PM David Cameron and his family visited the week before us. Enough said.
- Make friends with someone with links to a superyacht. Even a cleaner. You’ll see ‘run abouts’ bigger than the Manly Ferry. Some people have too much money.
- Just go. You’ll not regret it. Promise.
WHERE TO SWIM:
Ibiza offers literally hundreds of swim options. You could swim a different beach every day for a month and not touch the sides. These are just some of the beaches I made it to:
Benirras – The popular cove shaped beach is framed by a sphinx shaped rock makes for a truly iconic Ibiza sunset. Popular with hippies, families and the former party crowd, Benirras is where Dave Cameron and his wife Samantha were only day’s earlier spotted eating burgers from a beachside fish and rice joint.
The beach is also one of the best spots for a delicious, long unadulterated swim. The kind where you float on your back for over an hour until your fingers wrinkle. The beach is packed on a Sunday when bongo drums line the pebbled beach and tap the soundtrack to a setting sun.
Cala d’en Serra (North) Bypass the busier beach of Cala Xarraca and drive until you see a small turn off for a dusty gravel road. You’ll catch a glimpse of a turquoise sea surrounded by deep green pine trees. There’s a small restaurant serving fish and rice above. Deck chairs are for rent, or just sunbathe on the rocks and swim for Spain.
Aigues Blanca’s (North) – long sandy beach, unique Ibiza spot. One of the island’s ‘official’ nude beaches. Worth the 10minute uphill walk back.
Sa Calera (south) – small pebbly beach not far from Ibiza airport and the nearby Hipsters at Blue Marlin beach club, home to a terrific great seafood restaurant.
Formenterra island – This smaller island off Ibiza is definitely worth a day trip and takes jaw dropping beaches (and beach bodies) to a whole new level. See above.
WHERE TO GO AT NIGHT FOR THE NON-PARTY CROWD
– La Paloma – Very popular and for a good reason. The vegetarian restaurant, which coincidentally also serves meat (very Spanish) has a gorgeous fairy-lit garden where diners sit around pastel tables, laid with antique mismatched dinner plates and jars of wild roses. So Ibiza. Near the village of San Lorenzo, http://www.palomaibiza.com
– Teatro Pereya, – a live music venue set within the lobby of the former theatre in Ibiza town. A good option if you’re not ready for a club http://www.teatropereyra.com/
– Lio – Pacha’s dinner/cabaret is more about the performance than the food but a flashy alternative for those who prefer a seat at a restaurant, over standing in a nightclub. It’s pricey.
WHERE TO STAY
Ca Sa Vilda Marge, Venda de Xarraca 10, Caretera de Portinatx,