Photo: Anton Calpagiu/Shutterstock

Secret Ibiza: How to Find Peace on a Party Island

Wellness Beaches and Islands
by Kristie Landing Jul 31, 2019

With a sound similar to an Ujjayi breath, the low humming of cicadas sets the pulse for sun salutations. On a deck overlooking a vista of pine forests, there is a palpable sense of calm. A small orange gecko climbs a wall nearby, wriggling its way into a canopy of fuchsia bougainvillea. A short walk away is a beach with water so crystal clear you can see schools of fish swimming near the bottom. This is a less seen side of Ibiza, a place where not only can you hear yourself think, but you can tap into that inner voice.

With a party-hard reputation, Ibiza is not the first place you might think to go for a little R&R. Known by most as a land of all-night raves, the White Isle’s wellness community is rapidly growing, perhaps as a reaction to the debauchery. It makes sense why. The lush natural setting is perfect for yoga shalas, sustainable farm-to-table restaurants, and agritourism.

Where to stay on a wellness trip to Ibiza

Steps to traditional white house and view of fishing boats on sea in Cala Portinatx bay, Ibiza island, Spain

Photo: Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock

Head to northern Ibiza for peaceful hotels and less crowded beaches. While the island is small, renting a car is a must to get from place to place, as some of the most scenic points are in remote locations. The area near Portinatx and Santa Eulalia are ideal for settling in. Whatever you do, avoid staying near Dalt Vila, as it’s swamped with party-going tourists.

For the budget traveler, numerous Airbnbs offer ample space and a homey feel. You can easily find a quiet place to stay in the northern hills with extra features like yoga, fresh meals, and accommodations ranging from spacious rooms to huts, teepees, and more. Five minutes from Benirrás Beach is Ibiza Yoga, a popular Airbnb and yoga retreat.

Agritourism is a growing movement in Ibiza, and there is a smattering of beautifully converted farmhouses across the island in which to stay. Staying at a working organic farm will give you a true taste of local cuisine and culture. The family run Atzaro is a well-known example with a spa if you’re looking to spend a bit more for a luxurious experience.

Discover quiet beaches less trodden

Cala Benirras beach of Ibiza in Sant Joan of Balearic Islands

Photo: lunamarina/Shutterstock

Sheltered Cala Benirrás is not a hidden beach per se, but there’s no denying its beauty and tranquility. The enclosed bay creates a little oasis that feels private. There’s no music being played as you often find at other beaches on the island, save for a drumming party on Sunday nights. Two restaurants skirt the beach along with a little market of local clothing and goods, from dresses to jewelry and more. Benirrás has one of the best views on the island for the sunset, so be sure to stay until 9:00 PM.

Near Portinatx is the beautiful bay of Cala Xarraca, a favorite of photographers. This is an ideal beach to go snorkeling and has the unique feature of natural mud baths on the left side of the bay. Don’t be afraid to get dirty, the mud has natural healing properties for the skin.

Instead of sleeping in all day because you’ve been out all night, rise with the sun and go for a long hike to the “secret” Moon Beach. Bring plenty of water as there are no shops or restaurants anywhere to fill up. Even the most intrepid hikers will want to do the walk in the morning when it is cooler. You’ll know when you’re getting close to the beach by the strange “moon rocks” that have been bleached white by the sun. The small beach is incredibly scenic and private. There might be a few naturists or you might be lucky enough to be alone in the enchanting cove.

Wellness beaches and attractions on Ibiza

Cala d'Hort beach

Photo: Alex Tihonovs/Shutterstock

In addition to spots perfect for lazy beach days, Ibiza has art, music, and quite a few spots worth exploring. One is Es Vedrà, a lone rock standing proudly in the sea. Legend has it that it’s the third most magnetic spot in the world, and though there’s no evidence to support that legend, there certainly seems to be some kind of spiritual force surrounding the area. Then again, other legends claim it’s the tip of Atlantis or a base for UFO landings. Whether or not there is magnetism, healing energy, or something even more elusive surrounding Es Vedrà, it’s worth a visit to ponder for yourself.

Channel your existential thoughts at “Time and Space,” a public art installation by Andrew Rogers on the cliffs of Cala Llentia. Nicknamed the “Stonehenge of Ibiza,” the monument is comprised of 13 giant basalt pillars. The center monolith is covered in 23-karat gold and designed to represent the sun at the center of our galaxy. To see it at its best, head to the installation just before sunset and savor the glow of the island.

When partygoers get bored of partying in Ibiza, they head to Formentera, and it’s easy to see why. A day trip to the smallest of the Pityusic Islands can be organized by catching a ferry from the mainland. The vibe is quiet and peaceful, and there more grown-up cocktail bars than raves. Rent motorbikes to travel between the sun-drenched beaches as they are all beautiful.

To end the week with a bang, a visit to Benirrás Beach on Sunday nights is a must to hear the drummers who come from all around to give the sunset a proper salute. It’s truly freeing to throw your hands in the air as you dance about something as simple as a sunset. Of course, this isn’t your average sunset. As the giant golden orb makes its descent into the pastel tinged waters, the drumming and excitement become more frantic. Escape the crowds with a refreshing swim in the clear waters — the bay will feel like your private bath.

Where to eat healthy meals in Ibiza

The Giri Cafe in Ibiza

Photo: The Giri Ibiza/Facebook

If hot weather and time spent in a bathing suit aren’t strong enough motivators to seek out healthy fare, then the wide range of delicious, healthy cuisine in Ibiza certainly will be. The artisan food scene is booming with farm-to-table options that are much better for your body than over-processed food.

Many of the best restaurants stand alone in rural settings, so again, you need that car. For a simple Mediterranean lunch and fresh juices, head to Aubergine near San Miguel or The Giri Café near Portinatx. Take your time at the beautiful rustic settings in the countryside as you savor the slower pace of the north side of the island. There’s nothing better than seasonal, local, and sustainably sourced produce. Enjoy organic vegetables and a glass of rosé while soaking up the ambiance.

The sleepy village of Santa Gertrudis is where you’ll find a concentration of delicious farm-to-table restaurants. Vegan fare awaits at Wild Beets, where you can indulge in Instagram-worthy raw dishes. For a more traditional (yet still organic and wholesome) lunch, head to La Paloma, which puts a Middle Eastern twist on Mediterranean cuisine that’s nothing short of divine.

Best wellness retreats and festivals on Ibiza

Yogarosa retreat

Photo: Yogarosa Retreats/Facebook

If you’re longing for full immersion and transformative experiences, there are many yoga and meditation retreats scattered across the island. To choose, start by deciding which yoga style you would like and the level of difficulty. Some yoga retreats have classes all day, whereas others have other options like paddleboarding and meditation. Yogarosa is one of the most popular traditional yoga retreats on the island. There are also teacher training classes for those looking to get more serious. If you fancy spending most of your time at sea, there are even yoga boat retreats.

Every April and October, Ibiza’s wellness community comes together for a one-day festival of wholesome goodness. Balance your chakras with the array of activities at the Ibiza Spirit Festival, where you’ll find things like solar sacred dance, tantra, sound meditation, tarot card readings, and more. A festival is a good taste of what the island has to offer, but you should dig into the wellness scene for a week or more if possible.

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