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Ibiza is Europe's ultimate party island. Sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll. Mega discotheques. Dancing until sunrise. Lying on the beach to sleep off the night before and to pep yourself up for the next night. That is Ibiza, right? Sure, that is Ibiza, but Ibiza has more to offer. Read on.
Let's start with two legends. The Phoenicians – who colonized the island 2600 years ago – believed that Ibiza had magical powers. Why did they think so? Because on Ibiza no plants, reptiles, insects or other animals existed that could harm human beings.
On the Es Vedra rock, near Cala D'Hort there is not even any animal life at all. The Carmelite priest Don Francisco Palau often spent days here meditating and he described observations of 'extraterrestrials surrounded by light'. For fear (or out of respect?), fishermen still don't venture out near that rock...
Dalt Vila is the oldest, walled part of Ibiza Town (which is officially called Eivissa). 2600 years ago, the Phoenicians founded a colony here, of which barely any traces are left. The houses, the streets and the cathedral date back to the Middle Ages. Dalt Vila, which means 'High City', has two entrance gates. To reach the main entrance, you first have to make a steady climb. Portal de Ses Taules is located behind a drawbridge and is flanked by two statues. Immediately behind it lies the central square, Plaza de Vila. The other entrance gate, Portal Nou, can be reached via a less steep hill behind the Plaza del Parque. The houses in the old city are fitted with solid wooden doors, but during the day they are often left open allowing you to take a peak of the picturesque courtyards inside. Dalt Vila houses many cafés and excellent restaurants, as well as shops with unique handicrafts that you will not find anywhere else on the island.
The cathedral proudly rises above the houses. This church was built in the fourteenth century on the spot of a former Moorish mosque. There is very little left of the original cathedral; only the tower dates back to these days. In the eighteenth century, after the Spanish troops conquered Ibiza, the church was renovated.
The Necrópolis Púnica del Puig des Molins is a Phoenician necropolis. No less than four thousand graves were found in this underground cemetery! Ibiza's Archeological Museum is connected to this cemetery. You can find the entrance on the Via Romana.
And then we have finally come to Ibiza's nightlife, which is what it is all about for most vacationers. There are many cafés and restaurants in Dalt Vila, but except for the Anfora gay club, they all close around midnight. The real nightlife takes place around the harbor. At about a fifteen minutes' walk from the harbor you'll find the larger clubs, such as Pacha and El Divino. For a spectacular entrance you rent a boat in the harbor that moors right in front of El Divino's door.
Nearby Port de Sant Miquel's beach, there is an intriguing cave system – Cova De Can Marça – with impressive stalagmites and stalactites. In the old days, these caves were used by smugglers.
Near Sant Josep de sa Talaia you can see remains of the Phoenician city of Sa Caleta. The remnants date back to the eighth century AC.
From Ibiza you can easily get to the smaller island of Formentera by boat, where you'll find beautiful beaches. In addition, they are much quieter than the beaches on Ibiza.
With Ibiza's growing popularity, parking has also become a problem in the city. In the blue parking zones, you can leave your rental car upon payment at a parking meter, for a maximum of 2 hours. Parking is prohibited next to a yellow line. Alternatively you can park your car on one of the parking lots on the outskirts of the city. Free buses will bring you to the center. There is also a wasteland near the Royal Plaza Hotel, where you can leave your car upon payment.
Ibiza Airport is located seven kilometers southwest of the capital. You can easily reach the airport by rental car: There is only one road that leads to the airport, the PM-801. From the PM-803 (Ibiza-San José), take the exit at kilometer 4.