Ibiza, if you’ve never been there before, is very overwhelming. It’s like nowhere on earth. The best advice is to sleep as late as possible because nothing gets going until like 3 a.m. and it goes until 7 or 8. | Paris Hilton
Come November, the beast that is Ibiza Summer is in full hibernation. The island, famous for wild parties that look like something out of Entourage, tames itself for six months out of the year. Consequently it is at a very lame state in February, deep in the middle of its Rip Van Winkle sleep.
Thanks to a 12 euro flight from Ryanair, February was the month I decided to go. So what exactly is there to do in Ibiza in the winter? Here’s what I found.
1: Join the Ibiza Winter Events FB Page
First thing to do is to get in with the local crowd via the internet. Ibiza doesn’t have a tourism website with daily updated events, so Facebook is the best way to go for local news and what’s happening. Ibiza residents post regularly on this page, and it’s open for anyone to see. This resource will let you know about bar and restaurant specials, sporting game parties, yoga classes, and more.
2: Explore the Medieval Castle Town Dalt Vila
Dalt Vila, which means “upper town,” is the medieval old town Ibiza. It’s got everything you’d expect a medieval town to have: giant castle walls, narrow cobblestone passageways, and big iron fencing to keep out trespassers. The white buildings within the castle walls are layered on top of each other in a typical Mediterranean fashion, and serve as homes to locals, bars, and restaurants. Doors and window shades are painted a brilliant azure blue and plants hang from door frames. It is picturesque as can be!
The best part of Dalt Vila, though, is the 360 degree view you get from the top. Look one way and you can see the ocean. Turn around and there’s all of Ibiza town, with its red terra cotta roofing and honey colored houses. It’s incredible.
3: Walk Along the Marina and Eat at Cappuccino for the View
Because it’s the offseason, many of the restaurants and shops are closed on the marina. The downside is you have to fight to find a place to eat and might wind up at Burger King. (Regrettably this happened once). The upside is that you get the whole plaza to yourself and no one can ruin your photos! At the tip of the marina sits a restaurant right on the water that stays open all year.
Cappuccino’s menu combines pricier entree items (hamburgers are 17.50 euros – eek!) with more affordable sandwiches and soups (around 10 euros each). It’s worth it though, because what you’re paying for is the view of Dalt Vila rising above the Mediterranean Sea. The deck offers seating that is three feet from the water without a railing, water so close you could dip your toes in it. And the pizza ain’t so bad if you split it with a friend at 16.30 euros.
4: Dance All Night at Pacha
Pacha club is known as the third best club in the whole world, and one of the only clubs in Ibiza that stays open all year. Pacha is where Steve Aoki spent a few residencies, and it boasts five rooms catering to different genres. In the summer, entry tickets steep to 60-70 euros. In the winter, it’s significantly cheaper at 15-25 euros. Pacha opens around midnight and closes around 6 a.m., so make sure you get plenty of nap time in the day before.
Because it is winter, not all of the rooms are open, but the sound system is loud as hell and if you like the disco it’s worth going. Fog machines and strobe lights are there for ambience to distract you from the pain of spending 10 euros on a well drink. Be grateful though, because in the summer drinks at Pacha are 20 euros.
Tip: If you know Spanish, go to Pacha around 3 or 4 in the morning and tell them you are a resident in your best Catalan accent. We got in for free thanks to the glorious Maria and her clever ways.
5: Fend Off Your Looming Hangover at Sollot at Eight in the Morning
Sollot is a dirty diner that’s open all night and serves hamburgers with mystery meat. The burger is a solid hangover prevention plan. If you’re not down for the meaty adventure, stick to french fries for 2 euros. Lots of people from Pacha end up at Sollot in the winter because it’s one of the only eateries open at 7 in the morning to take care of human needs. This makes it really fun for people watching and reconnecting with sweaty people from the dance floor.
6: Take a Day Hike with a Resident Walking Group
People who come to Ibiza just to party miss out on a hugely important sector of island life, and this is the great hikes that come with untouched territory! Hikes are where joining the Ibiza Winter Events Facebook page will really come in handy. Almost every other day someone posts information about guided hikes at a cost of 10-15 euros, or whatever you feel like giving. It’s an excellent way to meet locals and to explore unchartered terrain.
7: Spend a Lazy Saturday at the Markets
Ibiza has outdoor markets year long, but the best day to go is Saturday. Las Dalias hippy market is open from 10-6 p.m., as well as the San Jordi car boot market from 9-2 p.m. The markets feature handcrafted goods like bracelets and purses, as well as clothes and food. Bob Marley and Led Zeppelin are just a couple of the many famous visitors to Las Dalias’ hippy market!
The only downside to your Saturday is that neither of these markets are located within Ibiza town, so you’ll have to plan transportation to make it to the spots. Or better yet, hike there.
8: Sail to Island Neighbor Formentera
Formentera is one of those quintessential perfect beaches you see in magazines with turquoise water and white sand. The landscape is nearly empty of buildings (there are a few small hotels) and the beach itself feels secluded. It’s the place to go sunbathing whenever the weather is good! In summer, it’s often docked with yachts of the Paris Hiltons of the world. Passage to Formentera is around 35 euros.
So was going to Ibiza in the winter worth it? I’d say yes, because the view from Dalt Vila was worth the entire 12 euro Ryanair flight. Also my bank account screams YES, because most people who come here in summer easily spend $2,000 in five days.
But I’d like to give it another go in the summer. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll win the lottery and have two grand to blow on a yacht.