Ibiza, the festive Balearic Island
Ibiza, Eivissa in Catalan, is the largest of the Pitiful Islands and the most western of the islands of the Balearic archipelago.
Founded by the Carthaginians six centuries BC, Roman then Muslim, it was conquered by James I in 1235. This cultural heritage and its biodiversity have earned it the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ibiza, like its sisters in the archipelago, was a poor island that experienced a dazzling tourist boom from the 1950s onwards with the resumption of regular maritime links with the mainland. Beatniks first, then hippies, marginalists, deserters, unsubmissive will also come to settle there about fifteen years later before the real estate speculators land, preceding the jet-set.
Renowned for the beauty of its beaches and landscapes as well as for its festive and cosmopolitan qualities, it has become, especially from June to September, one of the major tourist centres in Europe.
Dominated by Mount Sa Talaiassa, which rises to 475 metres, the island has a relief of hills interspersed with valleys and high plateaus forming chains called Serra.
With its exceptional climate, Ibiza has numerous coves and golden sandy beaches with deep sea bottoms and intense life.
Defining itself as one of the world’s leading discotheque capitals and a must-see venue for world-renowned DJs, Ibiza has a significant number of discotheques and musical bars.
Ibiza, which has an international airport, is also served by boat from Mallorca, Deniá, Valencia and Barcelona.
Jet-set and discos in Ibiza
Rich and interloping, loving to play chic and trendy hippies, the jet-set arrived in the early 1970s. It is the beginning of the extravagant and sought-after parties that will result in the privatization of beaches, real estate speculation and an increase in land, concreting and the environmental disdain that accompanies it.
Dancing under the moon
After the hippy counter-cultures of the 60s and 80s, the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century marked the advent of electronic music which invaded discotheques and clubs on the island. Night establishments that pride themselves on being at the origin of the Balearic beat and Adlib fashion, from the Latin’ad libitum’ meaning’to satiety’.
Self-proclaimed international capital of discotheques, the island has the largest concentration of discotheques in the world, per inhabitant, in which the greatest DJs pass.
Among the best known and oldest to compete for the commercial leadership of the places of nights we can quote :
Le Pacha: : opened in 1973 in Ibiza city in an old finca, Le Pacha has a capacity of 3500 places. Little by little, a new posh and chic district, Marina de la Botafoch, was built around the Pasha.
The Privilege: : located in Sant Rafel (San Rafael), this disco had the name in the 70s. Bought by a disco of San Sebastian, it will take the name of KU (ké you), name of a Hawaiian divinity of war and prosperity. Held by Basques until 1992, it then became Le Privilège. In 2010, it had a capacity of approximately 10,000 seats.
Amnesia: : also located in San Rafael, it offered 7000 places to night owls.
The Space: in Platja d’en Bossa, San José. Created in 1989, the establishment can accommodate 5000 partygoers.
Ushuaïa Ibiza Beach Hotel: this discotheque-hotel concept is the most recent. Founded in 2011 by two French brothers, this disco replaces the “Fiesta Club Playa d’en Bossa”. It quickly became one of the most popular clubs in Ibiza.
With a capacity of 4000 seats, it reached 8th place in DJ Magazine’s “Top 100 Clubs”. Electronic music hall, internationally renowned DJs such as David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Avicili or Hardwell hosted parties there.
Ibiza’s musical bars
These musical bars offer concerts or outdoor events. Sometimes as big as the clubs, they often receive the same DJs but have to close at midnight, when the clubs are open.
Among the best known:
Lio, : ex Divino: is located on the edge of the bay near the Pasha of which it is the property. Cabaret restaurant.
Blue Marlin: : it is located in Cala Jondal, San José. Beach club with 5000 seats.
the Bora Bora. : Beach club, beach den Bossa.
Ushuaïa: : beach club also at Bossa beach. Outdoor club with a capacity of 10 000 places.
km5. : As its name indicates, it is located at km 5 of the Ibiza – San José road. Restaurant-bar.
the Destino. : Owned by the Pasha, the Destino has 3000 seats. Club-Hotel, concerts.
Some luxury hotels now also offer DJ services: Me, Gran Hotel, Nikki Beach…
Ideas of visits to Ibiza
Cathedral of Santa María
Plaza de la Catedral Plaza
Dedicated to the Snow Madonna, the Cathedral of Eivissa was built at the site of the Yebisah Mosque in the 14th century following the promise of Catalan troops to found a temple on the island when they would have taken it back. Initially in gothic style, sober and severe, it adopted a baroque style during transformations in the 17th century.
From April to October: Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm – 5 pm to 8 pm, from 6 pm to 9 pm in July and August. Free admission.
Museum of Contemporary Art in Ibiza
Ronda Narcis Putget
The Contemporary Art Museum is housed in a 17th century building in Dalt Vila, the historic centre of the city. The museum offers an important collection of engravings, plastic art from the 1960s, works by famous and not so famous artists from Ibiza or not, as well as numerous temporary exhibitions.
Open Tuesday to Friday: 10 am to 2 pm – 5 pm to 8 pm from April to June. 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm in July-August, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm from October to March. Every weekend from 10 am to 2 pm. Closed on Monday. Free admission.
Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and Formentera
Plaza de la Catedral 3. Via Romana 31.
The museum’s permanent exhibition shows 3000 years of history of the two islands from prehistory to Christian reconquest. The museum occupies several buildings in the Dalt Vila district of the city’s historic centre. Very complete, it is divided by themes: prehistory, Phoenician, Punic, Roman, Muslim.
Walls of Dalt Vila
Dalt Vila Zone
The walls surrounding the old town, whose construction lasted forty years, were erected in the 16th century to protect the city from Turkish attacks. Each corner is endowed with a defensive bastion and several doors allow access to it, the main one being that of Ses Taules. The site of the ramparts is classified heritage of humanity.
Portal of His Taules
Zona Dalt Vila
Situated between the bastions of Sant Joan and Santa Lucía, the Portal Ses Taules built at the end of XVI is the main passage point to reach the ramparts of the old Ibiza. A drawbridge replaced the boards used to cross the ditch.
The statues on either side of the door, which is topped by the royal coat of arms, are replicas, the originals of which can be found in the archaeological museum. Open every day from 10 am to 5 pm.
Plaza del Sol.
If this gate gives access to the ramparts, it also allows the communication of the Plaza del Sol with the Reina Sofia park through a tunnel 50 m long. Dating from the 16th century, this portico surmounted by the coat of arms of the crown of Aragon is still endowed with its original wooden doors.
Castle of Eivissa
Plaza de la Catedral Plaza
Standing on nine square towers, the Almudaina, now adjoining the castle, was a fortified enclosure housing the siege of the’ wali’, the Muslim governor of the island. While the current building dates from the 16th century, excavations have uncovered remains of buildings dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries.
Santa Eulària de Ríu
The largest municipality after Ibiza, this is where the Ethnological Museum of the Pitusas is located. In addition to farmland with almond trees and beautiful beaches, there is a rich monumental and artistic heritage in the form of a bridge and remains of a Roman necropolis, a 16th century fortified church erected on the Puig de Missa.
Located in the northeast of the island in the municipality of San Joan de Labritja, this quiet bay is surrounded by cliffs. Three beautiful beaches attract tourists: Portinatx, at the bottom of the bay, is the largest, S’ Arenal, the most isolated and smallest, then Porto Beach surrounded by hills and pine forests.
In the village of San Joan de Labritja, one can see, built after the reconquest in the 13th century, the church of Sant Miquel fortified over time to fight against the incursions of pirates while vestiges of Punic and Muslim origins dot the hinterland.
San Josep de sa Talaia
Situated 15 km inland from Ibiza, San Josep de sa Talaia takes its name from the highest peak of Ibiza, the San Josep which from its viewpoint at 475 metres offers magnificent views.
With 80 kilometers of coastline, the village has the particularity of having the greatest number of beaches and coves of all the island. Cala Comte, Cala Vedella or Cala Bassa, with their crystal clear waters and pine forests descending from the hills to the sea are among the best known. It is also home to the two unique nature reserves of Ibiza: Ses salines and Cala d’ Hort.
A small historical patrimony completes the quiet charm of San Josep. In addition to several churches of medieval origin, the archaeological site of the Phoenician village of Sa Caleta is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Numerous hiking trails, which can also be ridden by bike or horse, allow you to get a better understanding of these different sites, which are also made up of old guets towers and the splendid natural cave of Cova Santa.
Once upon a time Ibiza
If David Guetta-style shows in front of tourist beds in fluorescent flip-flops and sunglasses have replaced guitar evenings around a joyfully shared fire, the fact remains that Ibiza still has privileged places still under the seal of “Peace and Love”.
If the image of Ibiza which comes in priority is that of charters disembarking tourists eager to dance around swimming pools, it should not be forgotten that this small Mediterranean island was for a long time one of the privileged destinations of hippies in the same way as Goa, Kathmandu, San Francisco or Chefchaouen.
Ibiza, the 1930s
The history of tourism in Ibiza begins in the thirties, despite a notable opening up. At that time the boats carrying Catalan pigs on the island were much more numerous than those carrying passengers. The first bus on the wrong roads in Ibiza did not appear until 1923.
In 1930, the island had about 30 000 permanent inhabitants and the crisis that raged, damaged the Ibiza Hotel, the first high-end hotel wishing to promote tourism in the island. First by a few hundred and then a few thousand in the 1930s, tourist numbers fell during the civil war (1936-1939) and the bloody repression that broke out in Ibiza and elsewhere in Spain.
Ibiza, island of refractories and artists
The Spaniards who frequented Ibiza after the civil war were often opponents of the Franco regime, foreign artists, an artistic bohemian seduced by its landscapes, the tranquility that reigned there and the gentleness of its climate in which blew a libertarian atmosphere at affordable living costs.
Among these artists: the writer and art critic Jean Selz, who in 1932 discovered “women in silk suits, feet wearing aloe vera sandals, braided hair and barded breasts with twelve gold chains…”. Or Prévert, Camus, the German sculptor Krause…
Fallen into oblivion and economic stagnation after the civil war, it is from the 1950s that shipping lines regularly link Ibiza to the continent again. A family tourism develops, artists take a residence, marginal and deserters complete the 14 000 travellers officially declared in 1955.
The’60s and the “peluts”
During the 1960s, Ibiza saw the first American beatniks arrive, often described as individualistic and sometimes violent. Some are former deserters or rebels from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Joined by deserters or more peaceful rebels, the first hippies landed on the island from 1965. Young European travellers, on their way to Chefchaouen in Morocco, stop there on the way, conquered by the places, many settle down.
A second wave, of which many Americans from anti-establishment circles settled on Ibiza and in lesser numbers on the neighbouring island of Formentera in order to live a community adventure according to their concepts.
Artistic personalities such as Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell sometimes stay there and mingle with these young people whom the inhabitants have called the peluts, the hairy ones. Chevelus who are far from unanimous among the ibicencos, the inhabitants, for whom they represent a totally depraved youth.
Despite the threats of expulsion, the arrivals continue and the psychedelic parties continue on the beaches. Sexual freedom, nudism, handicrafts, experiences of organic agriculture, rejection of authoritarian codes as well as clothing, community experiences, study of oriental wisdom and astrology… Ibiza becomes the centre of European, even world hippie culture, despite local media talking about them as”herd thin and amoral”,”social waste” or”slag of unsuitable”…
Nevertheless, from 1969 to 1974, 8,000 to 10,000 young people joined Ibiza each year. These heterogeneous pacifist gatherings, endowed with many polyglot thinkers and personalities at the level of higher education were executed by a Civil Guardia overflowing day and night.
This one multiplied harassment and collective persecutions, vexations and humiliations. However, some of the inhabitants who saw consumers in them were all reliable and enthusiastic, praising their agropastoral experiences, and urged the administrative and police authorities to be more understanding and flexible.
The first crises
Believing themselves too persecuted, certain groups peacefully invested the north of the island of Formentera. The religious and civil authorities panicked the population, very conservative, by describing the hippies as diabolical and depraved groupings.
A first violent confrontation between 300 hippies and all the security forces took place in July 1971 in Santa Eulàlia then, during the summer which followed, with commandos of the Guardia Civile patrolling by bicycle on Formentera.
The 70s saw the hippie gatherings break up and diminish. Some of these young people decided to return or go into a more comfortable working life and others stayed. Since hippies never formed strong communities, they settled alone or married, sometimes with inhabitants, founded families and more or less merged into the indigenous mass.
In those who remained few refused to lose their creative independence, whether in organic agriculture and pastoralism, crafts, arts, clothing or decoration.
These diverse activities have since prospered and the hippie craft activity has developed with local demand and tourism increasingly important to the point of releasing a significant economic resource.
Find the hippie culture in Ibiza
Not to be missed are the markets of Es Cana, San Carlos and the village of Sant Joan in the north of the island, which offer hippie handicrafts. There are babouches, tunics with flowers, jewels as well as local crafts.
For the lovers of authentic festivals, the tam-tams always resound on the beach of Benirras with the atmosphere baba cool and the scents of pinewoods.
As for the village of San Carles located to the east of the island, it hosts the Anita Bar, considered the oldest hippie bar on the island as well as a craft market, Las Dalias, which has become very popular with tourists.
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