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Articles Blog

Ibiza, Spain

Karyn Planett

You Say Ee-beez-ah, And I Say Ee-beeth-ah

Yet in Catalan, it’s Eivissa. So there you have it.

Just know that whatever you say, it is hot hot hot here in this little dollop of Heaven known as the Balearic Islands. Hot as in… look good and take a good look at all that eye candy strutting about like wafer-thin waifs catwalking at those trendy Paris Fashion Week blowouts.

So, whether you’re a Brit, a Spaniard, or a visitor from afar it matters not one whit what you call this trophy island when you step ashore into the swirl and twirl of sizzling days and even sizzlier nights. This is a hot spot and playroom for fat cats and big players who’ve just stepped ashore, toned and tanned, from their mega-yachts. This is your day to join in the party of free-spirited revelers that’s been going on much longer than it takes you to say … ohmygoodnesscanyoubelievesheworethatlittlenothingintothisrestaurant. Even a fellow named Norman Lewis wrote about all this in his 1959 piece, The Changing Sky.  He said, “Annually Ibiza’s Bohemian plant is pruned back to the roots, and with each new season it produces a fresh crop.” That’s your cue to go forth and blossom.

On Another Note

Certainly you can party away the day along with the tribe, or you can explore the other face of Ibiza. The old one. So, begin in Dalt Vila, so worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage nod. You know, according to some historians, this island was first settled in 654 BC by the Phoenicians. The Romans, Greeks, Carthaginians, Vandals, Byzantines, Moors even the Norwegians all left their marks here over time, for the Balearic Islands (that’s Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera, and a few others) served as important Mediterranean trading ports. Today, Ibiza is considered a member of the Balearic Autonomous Community for Spain, a province really. 

Imagine, all this fighting over a jagged bit of rock not even 250 square miles big. You could squeeze ten Manhattans here and still have room for a teeny bikini or two.

Well, all this tugging and pulling by distant powers left a rich mixture of residents (not counting the famous ones like Sid Vicious and Orson Welles) as well as languages. Elvissenc is the traditional dialect heard not only on Ibiza but also on neighboring Formentera. Having said that, virtually every language is spoken here by visitors from the world over who have longed to spend a few days on Ibiza.

But if you want even more Ibiziana, play the soundtrack from the 2012 movie The Dark Knight Rises. Kudos to you if you remember there’s a song entitled “Bombers Over Ibiza” and it’s got a great beat and easy to dance to.

Here’s another interesting bit of trivia, though please ask a local whether they think it’s true or not. Some claim that after the North Pole and the Bermuda Triangle, Ibiza’s tiny Es Vedrà Island is the most magnetic point on earth. It’s just a rocky chip of land jutting out of the sea really though it was large enough to be used as a backdrop for some of Hollywood’s Bali Hai. Ah, we digress.

Getting Serious About Time Ashore

You can start with a stroll past the 16th-century walls of the “upper town” of Dalt Vila. Built by Philip II, these stone structures are powerful indeed. Overlooking Ibiza Town, Dalt Vila retains its medieval feel and architecture. The Gothic-style Cathedral of Santa Maria dates back to the 13th century and is noted for its baroque nave. The area known as Sa Penya is a maze of winding passageways with worn-with-time pavers underfoot.

Further afield are the tiny villages of Santa Gertrudes, San Lorenzo de Balfia with traditional houses called casas payesas, and Santa Eulalia, home to the Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla. Other villages of note are Es Cubells, among the smallest, and San Jose with its Church of Sant Josep de sa Talaia. Another place worthy of a visit is Santa Eulalia, long important to painters and writers who stroll the seafront promenade and wile away the afternoon in the central square.

Should you need some sustenance from all these adventures ashore, simply sample little nibbly bits called tapas, traditional guisado soup, paella (that glorious serving of saffron rice with seafood or meat cooked slowly in its own rich broth), or something called sofrit pages. This is a typical Ibicenco serving of lightly spiced meats and sausages cooked with garlic, potatoes, and a light dusting of cinnamon and saffron. Thanks to the Phoenicians who introduced several varieties of grapes including tempranillo, monastrell and malvasía, there are fine wines to be had. Sangrias are also nice on a warm afternoon. So, too, fresh juices known as granizados that are equally refreshing.

Mustn’t push away from the table, though, without a bit of greixonera pudding or a type of cheesecake called flao that’s served with herbs and honey. All too soon it’ll be time to return to the ship and that dreaded treadmill to undo the hedonistic damage done ashore here in that temptation known as Ibiza.

                                                                             Karyn L. Planett