Ditch the raves and seek a superior contentment in Ibiza's calmer side
When I use the word “bohemian”, I don't mean that I sang Kumbaya with a load of hippies (although there is a fantastic story about the spiritual peoples who dedicate much of their time and yoga to the magnetic rock of Es Vedra). What I mean by bohemian, is that there is a sense of a carefree lifestyle, of being able to discover the untouched, calmer even more spiritual side of the island by yourself, without a to do list or a time-dependent schedule (though admittedly gin o'clock occurred daily).
In Ibiza you can revel in the absence of a tour guide and make your way around the whole Balearic island in just under four hours if you put your foot down.
But hey, life's not a race in Ibiza, man. And it's certainly not a race track either – the island has steep corners and sharp turns everywhere – and a lack of road signs. Hiring a car though, is certainly the best way to discover the island. While there are plenty of hotels all over Ibiza, renting a villa offers the ideal escapism and can provide much more peace and quiet (save for one night in my case, when a local teenager decided to start practising his trumpet dinner on the verandah did not occur).
Sleepy but picturesque Cala Vadella, on the south west side of Ibiza is one such solution and our two-bedroom penthouse villa was the perfect size (plus al fresco jacuzzi, communal pool and an Asian-inspired-cum-boho interior decor) for such a holiday. And the further up in to the hills you stay, the better the sea view, the view of Es Vedra and the unmatchable electric coral sunsets.
The size of Cala Vadella's beach also means it has the advantage of not being featured in many of the guide books – which makes its turquoise waters and small sandy beach feel quite special. Whilst Ibiza is not short of snorkelling and diving sites, I did feel very privileged to spot fish the size of my hand swimming around my ankles after only venturing in to the sea up to my knees.
Another beach which was once a closely guarded secret (most of the original hippies have left now) is Benirras, which still brings a bit of magic to its sunsets with fire throwers and drum beats from a few next-generation hippies, who will dance with you long in to the night. It's not quite as sandy as some beaches but offers a social but intimate party scene – hippyfied but authentic and an alternative to the chaotic glamour of typical Ibizan party venues.
Ibiza Yoga retreat and hotel can also be found nearby and aside from being one of the most popular retreats for many a famous face in the Balearics, it offers the best yoga programmes on the island. Our Ashtanga class took place amidst a cool breeze and sunny blue skies – what better environment for learning both the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga?
Full yoga programmes take place all year round with leading professional tutors. Add freshly prepared vegetarian dishes, rooftop studio accommodation and a four-minute walk to Benirras beach into the equation (and a fully relaxed mind and body at the end of it) and it's a pretty incredible experience.
But it's not only retreats like these that inspire yoga. As previously mentioned, the Es Vedra rock, which is said to be the third most magnetic spot on the globe, is treasured by many of the spiritual hippies still living on the island (during the '80s Ibiza was a haven for hippies but today, many have moved on). Perceived as magical and emanating a magnetic force from within, many practice yoga next to it every day. Many hippies are said to live in a place near Es Vedra known to the locals at Atlantis. It can be reached via Cala d'Hort, but only by rocky, sometimes dangerous footpaths and a steep part of the cliff face which, rumour has it, one must climb down with a rope. We didn't venture there for these reasons, but those who have, manage to remain fairly secretive about who and what they find there.
Though it might seem like a feast of yoga, boho beaches and apparently powerful rocks so far, fear not. There is plenty in the way of restaurants, bars and even shopping that comes under label "alternative". Es Cana hippie market is worth the journey one must make to the other side of the island, through a shockingly accurate Brits abroad section. It's an extremely good and vast market, worth a visit not only for the trinkets, scarves, jewellery and quality leather goods, but also the local bands, who were playing the likes of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb amongst other appropriately chosen tunes.
Whilst there isn't a shortage of dining out options, it is Destino's which should be the first culinary must. Wonderfully, it doesn't even have its own website and we only hear about it via word of mouth. It's the only highlight in barely-alive San José, but the buzzing atmosphere and tantalising tapas menu consume your senses once seated. The dishes span locally sourced fish, meat and vegetables, with a wide selection of vegetarian dishes which are rich in flavour and leave you wishing you had room for more.
The decent cocktail bars are worth a small journey too. Before we arrived in Ibiza, word had spread that Charles Vexenat, maker of fine cocktails and admired by many in the mixology world, had opened a bar in Eivissa named 1805. The venue, which celebrates that delightful green fairy, Absinthe, from which many a mad artist and philosopher have sought inspiration (whilst inebriated by it) is a modest place with simple modern decor and big old leather sofas for al fresco drinking. It's also only open for 180 and a half days (hence its name) this summer so make it a priority if you visit the island this summer. And how did such cocktails made at the hands of an expert taste? Incredible, of course. We went back for more after dinner. by Ruthie Holloway
Accommodation: Glass magazine stayed in a privately-owned two-bedroom penthouse villa in Cala Vadella. Contact Eddie Lock for more information. images and prices: email@example.com