Ibiza may be best known for trance and house, but whatever branch of dance music makes you want to move, this sun-drenched Mediterranean isle remains one of the best places in the world to hear it. The party scene is concentrated in the south of the island, in Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni, where a string of world-famous super clubs host sets by leading DJs from across the whole range of dance genres. Through the day, the party spills out onto fabulous white sand beaches studded with cafes and bars.
Ibiza is definitely not a day-trip location, and at the very least you’ll need a long weekend to fully embrace the experience. On the other hand, it is probably advisable to limit yourself to a week on the island, lest your serotonin levels never recover. There are no direct flights from North America, but it’s easy to catch a connecting flight from any major European hub city, including with the discount airlines.
Even if you don’t plan on sleeping much, you’re probably gonna want someone to leave your bags and take a shower during your time on the island. Through its decades as a top holiday destination, Ibiza has evolved a handful of famous and fabulous hotels, each with their own distinctive style. Ibiza Rocks is the place to be for hardcore party-goers, with live gigs every Wednesday night bringing a new rock flavor to the island’s music scene, as well as DJs every Friday and pool parties speckled across the rest of the week. Alternatively, Es Vive is an iconic hotel with a unique art deco style, that will charm you from the moment you step out onto its white-hued terrace. And those seeking luxury can stay in the upmarket and elegant Gran Hotel.
If you’re gonna dance 'til sunrise, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you’ve got some solid fuel to burn before hitting the bars. Luckily, Ibiza has an excellent culinary scene, mingling the indigenous pleasures of Mediterranean cooking with a host of excellent international chefs. The two come together in style at La Cava, a swish and funky tapas bar in the heart of Ibiza town, with a menu of playful twists on traditional tapas. Alternatively, enjoy a hearty and delicious brunch or late lunch at the elegantly designed Deco restaurant. And for fresh fish and seafood, you can’t get much better than Restaurante Sa Nansa, with its lovely palm-shaded patio seating.
While sightseeing, shopping and water sports are all well and good, the easiest way to recover is to simply flop down on the soft white sand of one of Ibiza’s exquisite beaches. There, you can soak up the sun’s rays and listen to the warm Mediterranean softly lapping the island’s shores. Well on some you can – on the most popular, such as uber-trendy Las Salinas, bars blast out music throughout the day, and most people have been careful to shed their hungover faces before hitting the sand. A quieter vibe can be found via a walk to the far end of Playa d’en Bossa, which is free of bars and frequented by souls looking for a more chilled-out atmosphere. And be sure to get up in time to catch the famous sunset at the Cafe del Mar, on the Sant Antoni seafront.
After a night immersed in the lights and beats of Space, Pacha or Sankeys, you need some immersive afternoon activities to realign perspective and return to reality. Fortunately, Ibiza is well-supplied with daytime entertainment for the tired, hungover or worse. It’s frequently forgotten, but the island is dotted with some beautiful and historic small villages, the most magnificent of which is D’Alt Vila, a weave of white houses and cobble streets enclosed by castle walls and battlements. Another option is to take a casual stroll around the Hippy Market, where you can pick up clothing, crafts, jewelry and other artisan goods. Or if you’re really feeling energetic – or just need a more forceful blast to get your serotonin firing again – you can hit the Mediterranean for some water sports.
At the heart of the Ibiza experience is the super club, its walls luminous with laser-cast light and the whole place gleaming with the sweat of innumerable dancing bodies. Legendary venues such as Space have seen countless wild and ecstatic nights, where inhibitions have been thrown aside and the worries of adulthood forgotten in a maelstrom of dancing, talking, tripping and seduction. Other top clubs, with dancefloors spread across several levels playing a range of electronic beats, include Pacha, Sankeys and Ushuaia Beach Club. If you’ve strong preferences between house or drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep or breakcore, then it’s always worth checking out what’s on in each place before forking out the hefty entrance fee.