Ibiza: The Party Island!
Ibiza, along with Majorca, Minorca and Formentera, is part of the Spanish archipelago known as the Balearics, a small group of islands about 215km from Barcelona and the Costa Brava across the Mediterranean sea. Known as "The White Isle", Ibiza is renowned for its natural beauty, sandy beaches, picturesque Old Town - and world-famous party scene. During summer clubbers congregate from the four corners of the globe to dance all night - and sometimes all day too - at superclubs like Pacha, Privilege, Amnesia, Space and DC10. Chances are that if you're reading this, you're planning on joining them! Read on for tips on Ibiza's attractions, nightlife and on getting to the island by air or boat from Barcelona.
Life on Eivissa (as it's known in Catalan/Spanish) takes place predominantly in the two major towns of Sant Antoni and Eivissa Town. Sant Antoni is a bustling resort town made infamous not so long ago by TV documentaries such as Ibiza Uncovered, which charted the drunken antics of holiday makers running riot... and whilst there is a tacky element to the plethora of low to midrange high rise, tattoo parlours and bars offering cut price drinks, there are some must-see places too. After all this is the town where the legendary Cafe del Mar is located: every night, in what has become one of the island's most celebrated rituals, assorted clubbers, hippies and jetsetters come to see the sunset over the Mediterranean as DJs play chill out tunes from Cafe del Mar, Cafe Mambo and other trendy bars overlooking the sea. Those who can't afford the expensive drinks at the cafes, sit on the rocks instead and simply enjoy the vibe, created by the tunes, people and hippy entertainers such as fire jugglers and bongo drummers.
On the other side of the isle, Ibiza's Old Town is undoubtedly a much more beautiful base for a stay. The majestic Dalt Vila fortress sits atop the city, below which winding medieval cobbled street unravel. This is where the locals live and hang out, and as well as more traditional cafes and restaurants you'll also find hip boutique stores, art galleries and trendy bars (including gay bars!). The Old Town harbour is also the epicentre of the Ibiza sailing scene, and this is where celebs pull up in their super yachts, adding more than a touch of glamour to the island's capital.
Above: Raise your hand if you love Pacha!
If you thought that the nightlife in Barcelona was crazy, then you're going to be blown away by the mischief and the mayhem and the madness that makes up the Ibiza party scene. Superclubs like Pacha, Amnesia, Privilege, Space and DC10 have become legendary venues for dance music fans across the world and every year superstar DJs take up residence or make flying visits to rock parties that often last from dawn til dawn. Nights out don't come cheap however, with some of the biggest clubs charging an eye-watering 50 euros for entry (drinks are ridiculously-priced too) so it's a good idea to space out visits to the big name nightclubs with beach parties on the likes of Playa D'en Bossa or simply bar-crawling in Sant Antoni. There's always something going on and you can often get reduced tickets from sales reps on the street/beaches as well. Just save up some cash!
Getting to Ibiza
There are two ways to get to any island (we're not including swimming) and they are by plane and by boat. Regular flights leave from Barcelona to Ibiza / Eivissa and in fact they can be considerably cheaper than going by ferry, provided you book in advance. Flying week days or off season will also seriously reduce your costs, just as flying Friday night / Saturday morning in July / August will increase them! (Many Barcelonins head over to Ibiza for the weekend during summer). Who flies? Try these guys: www.vueling.com, www.spanair.com, www.iberia.com, www.air-europa.com, www.ryanair.com. It's also worth keeping an eye out in your local travel agent or online for all inclusive deals to Ibiza with flights and accommodation as these can often work out cheaper when packaged together.
Taking the ferry is the alternative to flying, and whilst it's harder to get a great deal, and it is often the best option if you're booking last minute as flight prices may be sky high by then (pun intended). Ferries leave every day from Barcelona port, normally late at night (around 11pm) and timed to arrive in Ibiza Old Town Port at around midday the following day. (A long journey but you save a night's accommodation at least). The following companies operate the ferries: www.trasmediterranea.es, www.balearia.com, www.iscomar.com.
Ibiza Party Trips (from Barcelona)
If you're based in Barcelona (or passing through on your travels through Spain) and you fancy a hedonistic weekend exploring Ibiza's nightlife - together with a massive crew of other pretty young things - then be sure to enquire about the "Ibiza Party Trip" as recommended by none other than Barcelona Life ourselves! Setting sail EVERY WEEKEND between end of May and September every summer, this wild adventure on the White Isle involves taking the night ferry out of Barcelona on a Thursday night, spending three days going absolutely crazy on The White Isle, and then returning - exhausted - on Sunday night (arriving Monday morning) to the mainland. In fact there's the option to stay longer if you wish!
The itinerary varies, but whatever the exact details are, you'll be nonstop hellraising with an up-for-it international crowd, starting from the moment you get on the boat. A typical package might include return ferry tickets and two nights'accommodation in comfortable bungalow-style apartments at an amazing beach-side party resort (or, as a cheaper alternative, at a "hippie" campsite); plus you'll get meals provided and several parties (such as pool and foam parties) organised just for your crew - with free drinks included! The trip is organised by one of Europe's most notorious travel companies and they'll also sort you discounted entry to some of the top clubs, so you can also spend your nights raving to the tunes spun by the world's biggest superstar DJs.
Naturally the trip comes with an serious health warning, but it's fantastic value for money and, if you make it back alive, it will definitely be one to tell your grandkids about. There's limited space on each trip so drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org asap and we'll tell you how you can book your place on this wild wild weekend! For a little more info with reviews and testimonials head to this page.
More Ibiza Tips
We'll come back with some more tips about visiting Eivissa soon. For now, did you know that the islanders actually speak a dialect of Catalan as their native tongue, with Spanish as their second language?