Today’s guest article explores the family friendly side of one of Europe’s most popular beach destinations – Ibiza, Spain. If you’d like to share a story from your travels, send us a message by using the contact us form.
Should You Add Ibiza To Your Family Travel List?
Found off the eastern coast of Spain, Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic Islands and is one of Europe’s – if not the world’s – favourite travel destinations. This is most likely due to its welcoming Mediterranean climate, great seafood and a wealth of different things to do.
Depending on your mood, you could have a totally relaxing break or one filled with water sports, exploring and adrenaline. Of course, there’s the nightlife to consider, but anyone who thinks all Ibiza amounts to is hedonism and hangovers is missing everything that makes the island special. There’s definitely a party side, but it’s fairly isolated to a few of the more popular coastal towns and resorts – and hitting the dance floors isn’t mandatory unless you want it to be.
If you look a little deeper you’ll find beautiful scenery and untouched rural landscapes whose cuisine, culture and activities are ripe to explore, as well as beautiful (and often empty!) beaches and coves with local bars and restaurants that are a world away from the hustle and bustle of Ibiza Town and San Antonio.
Ibiza is definitely somewhere you should think about heading with the family. If you head inland or to the island’s northern side you’ll find a totally different vibe. Neon signs and thumping bass give way to tranquil natural beauty and picturesque coastal towns, and you can choose the level of modern amenities to suit you.
Some towns offer larger supermarkets and numerous restaurants, while in some of the smaller villages you’ll be able to enjoy total isolation from the outside world.
And if you’re looking to entertain the kids you’ll be spoilt for choice too. As well as fantastic beaches where you soak up the sun and play in the surf, you’ll find a whole host of stuff that make great day trips. There are water parks, amazing underground cave systems, aquariums, horse riding, ziplining and a whole host more – though it might not keep the attention of little ones for long.
Ibiza is also jam-packed with UNESCO World Heritage sights, where you’ll find everything from the remains of ancient settlements to acres of wetlands and impressive natural rock formations.
Nobody is more aware of the divisive nature of the island’s clubbing scene than the locals, and as such they’re fully aware of the big difference between those that visit to their island purely to drink and dance and those who have slightly more discerning tastes.
If you’re out to discover the real side of the island, you’ll find the locals friendly and accommodating – but bear in mind there’ll be very little (if any) English spoken the further you go inland, so it’s worth brushing up on your Spanish before you go.
You can’t really talk about Ibiza without mentioning the party scene, which has been a feature of the island since at least the 1980s. If you really feel like partying you’ve come to the right place – but this is definitely one night when you’ll want to hire out a babysitter for the kids.
Head into Ibiza town or San Antonio and you’ll be greeted with a huge choice of packed bars and clubs, many offering incredibly cheap drinks promotions.
It might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s certainly an experience!
While some of Ibiza’s beaches may well be packed with exhausted partygoers topping up their tans, as with the rest of the island there’s plenty of alternatives if you’re happy to go looking (a car hire is endlessly useful here, especially if you’re travelling with children!).
The island’s north side tends to be a bit rockier and bays are slightly fewer and further between, but this also means you’ve got a better chance of finding somewhere wonderfully deserted.
If you don’t feel like striking out and finding your own private cove, here’s a couple of suggestions to get you started…
Cala Conta is found on the island’s west side, not far from San Agustin. Great for little ones as it’s a Blue Flag beach with a lot of shallow water that’s perfect for paddling!
Cala Jondal is found in the south-west, about 30 minutes’ drive from Ibiza Town. Secluded and exclusive, its laid-back atmosphere is perfect for relaxation, and there’s some great snorkelling to be had here too.
Portinatx is a beauty spot in its own right, and it’s well worth the journey to the north of the island to enjoy some time there. It can get quite busy, but the beautiful location and abundance of handy amenities more than make up for it.
What to Eat
Ibiza’s cuisine doesn’t deviate too radically from what you’ll find on the Spanish mainland, so expect a few Mediterranean staples including tapas, chorizo-type sausages and of course, paella.
Naturally, the seafood on Ibiza is top notch, with many fish dishes on local restaurant menus made from whatever was caught that morning. One particular dish to look out for is ‘bullit de peix’, a hearty and filling fish stew, and everyone should try an ensaimada – a spiral-shaped pastry filled with chocolate, cream or sweetened pumpkins.
Where to Stay
As it’s such a popular holiday destination, loads of different types of accommodation are available across the island in a huge range of styles, sizes and prices. If you’re travelling with the family though, renting a villa in Ibiza is by far the best way to go.
Oliver’s Travels has a huge range of properties that are perfect for families. They offer privacy and a home-from-home feel that you just don’t get in hotels, are found in some of the most beautiful parts of the island and with the majority of villas coming with pools and fantastic garden spaces, they’ll ensure everyone has a great time no matter their age.
Choose between catered or self-catered and a range of additional extras including maid service and babysitting are available – and all while you enjoy your stay in some of the most stunning luxury villas on the island.
This is really how the Balearics are supposed to be experienced!
Author Bio: Oliver Bell is the co-founder and director of Oliver’s Travels, specialists in unique and luxurious holiday villas throughout Spain and Europe. A keen traveller, he and his team are often out scouting for new properties to sign up throughout Europe, which has given him a pretty unique insight into the industry and travel in general. You can follow Oliver’s Travels on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on all their news and special offers.