Best Beaches in Ibiza 2024
Ibiza (Eivissa in Catalan) is an island of excess. Beautiful, and blessed with scores of stunning cove beaches, towering cliffs, and dense pine forests it’s nevertheless the islanders ( ibicencos ) and their visitors who make it special.
However outrageous you may want to be (and outrageousness is the norm here) the locals have seen it all before – and remain determinedly blase about the thousands of lotion-smeared tourists preening themselves on the beaches during the day, in preparation for an all-night session in the bars and clubs.
Visit the island between October and May and you’ll find a very different, much more peaceful island – just one club (Pacha) and a few funky bars remain open through the winter months.
Ibiza Town, the capital, is the obvious place to base yourself: only a short bus ride from two great beaches – Ses Salines and Es Cavellet – and rammed with bars, restaurants, and boutiques.
Sant Antoni de Portmany, a large, high-rise resort on the western coast, is far less cosmopolitan in character – largely catering to young British clubbers – but can almost match Ibiza Town in the hedonism stakes, its wide bay and “sunset strip” lined with groovy chill-out bars.
Santa Euleria des Riu, the only other real town, is a mundane little place that’s popular with holidaying families – fairly featureless except for a pretty hilltop church. Around the entire shoreline of the island, you’ll find dozens of exquisite cove beaches ( calas), many all but deserted even in high season, though you’ll need your own transport to reach the best spots.
Inland the scenery is hilly and thickly wooded, dotted by a series of tiny hamlets, each boasting a stunning whitewashed village church, and an atmospheric local bar or two.
In physical terms as well as in its atmosphere and adventure, Ibiza Town ( Ciutat d’Eivissa ) is easily the most attractive place on the island.
Most people stay in rented apartments or small hostels which means there are fewer ugly hotels.
Approach by sea and you’ll get the full frontal effect of the old medieval walls rising like a natural extension of the rocky cliffs which protect the harbor. Within the walls, the ancient quarter is topped by a sturdy cathedral, whose illuminated, but often inaccurate, clock shines out across the harbor throughout the night.
Daylight hours are usually spent on the beaches at Ses Salines and Es Cavellet or the nearer (but not so nice) Figueretes.
AROUND IBIZA TOWN:
There’s sea and sand close to Ibiza Town at Figueretes, Platja d’en Bossa, and Talamanca, but the first two of these are built-up continuations of the capital with over-exploited beaches, and only at the third is there any peace and quiet. All are accessible by short and inexpensive ferry rides from the terminal near the foot of Avinguda Santa Eularia.
Ibiza’s East Coast
Heading northeast from Ibiza Town, it’s just 15km to Santa Eularia Des Riu, a somewhat bland little town pushed tight against the seashore and situated beside the only river in the Balearics.
East of Sant Carles the road passes through burnt-red fields of olive, almond, and carob trees to several almost untouched beaches.
Cala Llenya, 4km from Sant Carles, a 200m-wide sandy cove, with sparkling waters, a snack bar, and shade and sunbeds for hire, is the nearest; it’s popular with families.
Tiny Cala Mastella, 2km farther north is a supremely peaceful spot, with a diminutive sandy beach, crystal clear sheltered, water, and two simple fish restaurants.
Just 1km to the north of Cala Mastella, Cala Boix is another stunning sandy cove, a little larger and more exposed, where you’ll find fine, moderately priced seafood at the Restaurant La Noria, which is open all year, and also spacious excellent-value rooms at the Hostal Cala Boix on the cliffs above the shore.
North of Cala Boix, the coastal road follows an exhilarating, serpentine route above the shore, through thick pine forests, via the lonely nudist beach of Aigues Biancas to Cala De Sant Vicent where the developers have dumped huge concrete hotels on a once-breathtaking beach.
From Cala de Sant Vicent it’s a tortuous ascent up over the spine of the Serra de la Mala Costa, to the pretty hilltop village of Sant Joan, home to a typically minimalist, whitewashed Ibizan village church, the Eco Centre internet caffe, and very, cheap clean, rooms at the hostal Can Pla Roig.
There are more stunning beaches north of Sant Joan, especially remote Cala d’n Serra, a tiny, exquisite sandy cove, with turquoise waters perfect for snorkeling and a first-class chiringuito bar-cafe.
West of Sant Joan, 3km along the Sant Miguel road, there’s a turn-off for Benirras, another beautiful cove, backed by high wooded cliffs and all but untouched except for a few unobtrusive villas and three beachside cafe-restaurants. Benirres is Ibiza’s premier hippie-centric beach – dozens gather here to burn herbs and pound drums to the setting sun, especially on Sundays.
The next village to the west is Sant Miquel, where there’s another fine hilltop church, and a number of simple tapas bars, try Es Pi Ver or Bar March for a simple inexpensive feed.
The once astonishingly beautiful, almost fjord-like inlet, Port De Sant Miquel, 3km north of the village, has been badly mauled by the developers, – unenticing surroundings for the modest cave complex Cova de Can Marca, which is well signposted on the twisting road above the bay.
For years unchallenged at the top of Europe’s costa hoolgania league, Sant Antoni is trying hard to shake off a tarnished, boozing’n’brawling image. The untidy, high-rise skyline remains as unappealing as ever, and the nauseous pubs of the West End district haven’t changed, but an attractive “sunset strip” of funky new chill-out bars, spread around the north end of the bay now provide a tranquil environment for a drink and a snack, and both the town’s two clubs are superb.
Heading north out of Sant Antoni, you’ll find another attractive beach and glorious countryside within easy striking distance. From here the road climbs steeply through thick aromatic pine forests, passing a turn-off, 3km from Sant Antoni, to the small cove of Cala Salada, where the beach is of fine sand and the sea excellent for swimming. There’s a small and cheerful restaurant here, a beach bar, and epic sunsets. Further north, and inland, the sleepy hamlet of Santa Agnes De Corona drapes over a hillside surrounded by picturesque fields dotted with hundreds of almond and fruit trees.
South of Sant Antoni de Portmany is the ugly, sprawling package ghetto zone known as “San An bay” which stretches to the small resort of Port des Torrent, but travel a few kilometers further and there are several exquisite coves. Of the first two beaches, sheltered Cala Bassa gets packed with holidaying families in high season but it does have a campsite (tel 971 344 599), while the more exposed, blue flag beach of Cala Conta is less crowded, with three simple fish restaurants above the shore and pole position for sunsets over the ocean. The most beguiling beach in the Balearics, Cala D’hort, is in the extreme southwest of the island, with a lovely quiet sand-and-pebble shoreline plus three good, moderately priced seafood restaurants. What really sets the beach apart however are the mesmeric vistas of Es Vedra, a canine tooth of rock stabbing through the bay just offshore.