We’ve landed in Ibiza. It all starts on the journey there. Everyone on that plane feels exactly the same. Dead excited. Bathed in a happy glaze which says they are a couple of gears up from normal life. We all know they’ll morph into the Walking Dead on the journey home but for now it’s all shouty laughing and chitter-chatter.
Got the car and Ibiza Global Radio is on. Little roads that dip in and out of olive groves, a flash of white village here, a glimpse of azure sea there. Smiley happy people in jeeps by the traffic lights bobbing their heads to the radio. There are many Jeep Wranglers on Ibiza. In Salamanca there are so few we know them by name: White one (ours), Red one and Black one.
You don’t have to go clubbing to fall for Ibiza but this is what makes it unique among other Spanish island or beach destinations. Ibizan clubbers are cool, friendly, and their style and music are absolutely everywhere.
We started going two decades ago when Uncle Patrick and his legendary lady love, the late, great Leslie Balfour generously began including us in their August villa party. My daft and darling cousins, the Balfour boys, would wend their way back from a day at the beach in 3 tiny cars from which endless, beautiful, bronzed twenty somethings would emerge, flip-flops a-dangling.
Our favourite place is the Jockey Club on Salinas for lovely lunches, sea dips and a jolly good shop. The Mezcal Mules in copper mugs make one positively jiggle in and out of the changing room and life feel rather marvelous. My chum Barmaid (Roo from Roo’s beach) prefers Sa Trinxa which is noisier and younger. Rather thrillingly, the stretch of beach between the two restaurants is nudist and usually peopled with hairy Germans in their sixties. Very sporting of them.
On the way home from Salinas is our other favourite place the beautiful Experimental Beach. Poised on a west facing promonentary this is the place to watch the sun go down, gintonic in hand to a sunset soundtrack.
Once just isn’t enough so we often need an Ibiza top up earlier in the year when the island isn’t quite as full. We stay at Pikes, the charming bonkers hacienda with a rock and roll history which hosts great parties in its bit out the back. Warning! Some rooms are damp and others are noisy so contact me if you’d like our faves.
If you’d like to dip your toe into the clubbing experience but are worried you’ll nod off after supper, head to Ushaia. It’s stunning, open air and a during-the-day experience. If you feel like a little rest from the boom boom head up the Tower for cocktails and marvelous views of the stage and revelers below. They also do a bottomless champagne brunch with delicious food.
The pretty village of San Getrudis in Ibiza’s interior is marvelous for an evening sojourn. Dive into the gorgeous and eclectic Es Cucons and I dare you not to resist falling in love with something large to lug home. The open-air patio stringed with fairy lights at Macao Café is lovely for an Italian dinner.
The famous Dalias weekend is somewhat overrun but worth an outing nonetheless. My very favourite stall,
Satalaya, is right at the back on the left for softy suede bags, belts, boot ties and bikinis lovingly adorned with beads and feathers. Well, the bikinis I just look longingly at as they wouldn’t fit on my cat, let alone me.
This is probably because I don’t stop eating and Ibiza is no exception so one last recommendation for wonderful, special lunch or sundown dinner at the S’Illa des Bosc right on Cala Comte. The large garlic prawns, rice dishes and salt-baked fish are destination dishes.
Back at the airport the time has come to leave Ibiza. Drooping figures who look like they need a good scrub shuffle towards emigration in silence. Never mind, I want to say to them. The White Isle isn’t going anywhere and can be enjoyed well after you’ve hung up your dancing shoes.