Despite its reputation as a party island, Ibiza is a great family destination, with an incredibly rich history and culture. Away from the nightclubs and the hectic nightlife of Spain’s ‘white island’, you’ll find spectacular natural spaces and beautiful stretches of sand to explore with your little tribe. My friend Sam has written a fantastic guide to visiting Spain with kids – and it includes some incredible places, but not Ibiza. So I’ve been looking into Ibiza family holidays. Here are my top eight things to do in Ibiza with kids, to keep both young and old happy.
1. Wander the ‘hippy market’, Las Dalias
During the 1960s, the hippies decided to unpack their suitcases on the white island. Since then, Ibiza breathes their joie de vivre, with a cosmopolitan atmosphere distinct from any other place in the world. Hippy markets are located all over the island. Among them is the famous market of Las Dalias, the largest and most spectacular of all the bohemian markets. During the 70s, the hippies met at a bar of the same name to exchange ideas and organize concerts. The first market stalls sprung up in 1985. Now, the market boasts over 200 stands. It is located in Sant Carles, not far from San Antonio. A trip there makes for a great family outing, to pick up local crafts and traditional souvenirs. You’ll find costume jewellery, fashion items and ornaments, all sold in a jovial atmosphere that’s regularly enhanced by concerts, especially in the summer.
Las Dalias hippy market opens on Saturdays. A night market runs on Mondays and Tuesdays from June to September, and on Sundays in August, from 7 pm to 1 am. More information is available on the Spain.info website.
2. Build sandcastles on the beaches of Ibiza
Stretching almost 580m², Ibiza is the pearl of the Balearic archipelago. One of the ‘Pityuses’ islands (or pine islands), this small island offers its visitors vast expanses of sand, each more beautiful than the last. From beaches that attract the international jet-set to wild creeks, Ibiza is full of beaches to discover with the family. I like the sound of Las Salinas, a white sand beach surrounded by pine trees and dunes. The beach itself is located in the incredibly beautiful natural park of Ses Salines.
Another one not to miss is the small hidden cove of Atlantis, where you can still see the traces left by the hippy community. Also known as the ‘Secret Beach’, Atlantis is captivating, with natural pools carved into the rocks, and crystal clear waters. Along the way you will find sculptures, paintings and drawings; all left by the creative hippies who made their homes on the beautiful island of Ibiza. Families might want to save a trip to Atlantis until the kids are older, though. It’s a properly hidden beach that’s tricky to get to, and can take an hour’s scrambling for youngsters, or people who aren’t fit. But adults or teenagers would be able to make the descent in twenty minutes (just look out for the steep climb back up, though!).
3. Stroll through the historic center of Dalt Vila
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dalt Vila is a real gem of a place, set in the middle of the white island in Ibiza Town. It’s where you’ll find the ‘real’ Ibiza. Known as the ‘high city’ or ‘upper town’, it’s a good place to explore as a family. The first thing to strike you is likely to be the incredible panoramic views. Perched on steep cliffs, Dalt Vila is an impressive sight, with imposing ramparts. The famous Portal of Ses Taules is the grand gateway to Dalt Vila, located near Ibiza Town’s market place. The cobbled streets are full of surprises – don’t miss Plaza de la Universidad, with its superb views, and Plaça de Vila, a lively square with shops and restaurants. Don’t leave without having visited the necropolis of Puig des Molins, a cemetery housing more than 3,000 tombs dating back to 600 BC, from the Phoenician era to the Punic era. Dalt Vila’s one of those places that seems frozen in time, and it’s THE go-to area if you want to see the authentic Ibiza, at its cultural best.
4. Take a hike in the Natural Park of Ses Salines
For an unforgettable family outing, take a trip to the Natural Park of Ses Salines. Crossing Ibiza and Formentera, this beautiful natural area can’t be missed during your stay on the white island. Salt flats are an integral part of the landscape in Ses Salines. Salt has been a huge export for the island for centuries. The UNESCO World Heritage site is a sublime natural space with dunes, beaches and millennial ponds which make for a great family hike. There’s plenty of local flora and fauna to see with your children. In particular, many protected species of birds have found refuge in Ses Salines. Flamingos, coral and underwater plants like Posidonia seagrass all make the crystal waters of this natural park delightful.
5. Organize a horse ride
Taking a horseback ride is a unique way to explore Ibiza. It is also an opportunity to have a special family outing. There are several equestrian centers on the island that offer classes and organize excursions, with or without a guide. A canter through the Ibiza countryside is a unique, fun way to take in the magic of the Balearic island. It can make for an unforgettable family holiday experience.
6. Visit the enchanting caves of Ibiza
Ibiza’s well known for its beautiful caves. Among the most important is the Cueva de Es Cuieram, located in the middle of the steep landscape of Sa Cala de San Vicent. Perched at 150 meters above sea level, between mountains and forests, this magical cave is dedicated to Tanit, the Carthaginian goddess of fertility and fortune. But the most prominent of the caves in Ibiza is the Cueva de Can Marça, which once served as a refuge for the bandits of the island. Now, this enchanting place offers its visitors a real spectacle combining lights, water, and sound. This cave will also delight all geology lovers with its collection of stalactites, stalagmites and fossils. The cave is easily found in Puerto San Miguel, and tours run every hour throughout the year.
7. Explore the seabed of Ibiza
There’s nothing like an expedition to Ibiza’s seabed if you want to delight the whole family. Put on your wetsuit, mask and snorkel and dive into the crystal clear waters of Ibiza’s most beautiful beaches. And the clear waters of the Mediterranean provide ideal conditions for scuba diving, especially in the summer. Among the most magical spots to explore is Don Pedro, an impressive wreck that lies on a sandy bottom not far from the port of Eivissa. It’s one of the biggest wrecks in Europe, with an abundance of sea wildlife. Don Pedro is only accessible on guided tours run by professional divers, and the inside of the wreck is out of bounds to amateurs.
On the north-east coast of Ibiza, there is also La Cueva de la Luz, nestled between San Antonio and Portinatx. These caves are made up of cracks and crevices filled with underwater vegetation, like colourful gorgonians and seaweeds. The wildlife there is incredibly diverse, with grouper, barracudas, moray eels, lobsters and nudibranchs. It’s an inaccessible place, though, so families might want to wait until their offspring are grown-up before heading out on a guided tour to these caves.
8. Go to Formentera
Next to Ibiza, the island of Formentera is a little paradise in which to spend a day or even a weekend. An Ibiza family holiday gives the perfect opportunity to go on a boat trip to this other Pityuses island. Formentera’s a chic hangout, where the crystal clear waters are worthy of the Caribbean. It’s made up of two islands, connected by a sandy isthmus. Its scenery often looks as though it’s come straight from a movie. Cycling there is easy, and biking’s a good way to discover the spectacular landscapes of Formentera. On the island you’ll also find many trendy bars and restaurants with wonderful decor and an idyllic location, often by the sea. If you have the opportunity to stay until the evening, Formentera offers spectacular sunsets, and great star-spotting opportunities.
Where to stay in Ibiza
For over 30 years, Ibiza House Renting has been offering family holidaymakers the ‘house of their dreams’. The travel agency offers luxury villas for rent in Ibiza to suit all tastes and all budgets. Ibiza House Renting has just joined Villanovo, to widen the pool of choices on offer. With options to stay in the countryside or in the city, with a pool, house staff, sauna or spa, the villas of Ibiza House Renting by Villanovo look charming. We’d love to stay in one, that’s for sure!
Have you been to Ibiza?
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This is a collaborative post and may contain compensated links. All images are from Pixabay.
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