It’s the month us islanders look forward to all summer. Holidaymakers with children have rushed home to get their cherubs back to school and the hedonist party goers that braved the late-August heat have taken the last of the budget flights home. If like a clever few you’ve planned your Ibiza vacay for this side of September you should be feeling pretty smug.
Temperatures have reached 40 degrees since we left August behind. The waters around the coastline are nicely warmed up having spent months basking in the sun. As are the world’s best DJs who’ve been treating clubbers to relentless sets all summer. Hotels like the award-winning Es Vive are extending their open dates into November to welcome guests clued up on the pleasures of autumn in Ibiza. It’s a dream. It’s also the time that we round up our favourite hangouts on the island to share what’s hot, what’s scorching and what’s absolutely melting.
If like me your day’s adventures take you from north, to south, over to the west and then back to the east without batting an eyelid then car rental is a good idea. Because depending on how much you want to see, do and drink, taxi costs can mount up.
Car hire is expensive in high season, but this side of September prices fall dramatically. GoldCar and Class Rent A Car are our favourites. Their pricing is straightforward, staff are helpful and the pick-up and drop-off is relatively easy. No more shuttle bus woes thanks to GoldCar’s shiny new office in the arrivals hall and Class will have your car waiting in the airport car park. Their rental cars are new with options like sat nav and most have USB ports to charge your mobile phone – essential here in Ibiza; a dead phone battery can mean the difference between a secret Solomun party in a cave thanks to the drop pin you received from the random girl at the beach. Or a night at the hotel bar, it’s your choice.
A week’s car rental with GoldCar in September costs around £40 for the car itself. Allow around £100 for full insurance and a £60 charge for a full petrol tank, which GoldCar will refund when you bring it back full. In all it comes to around £20 a day – a small price for your freedom to explore the far flung corners of the island, because of course in Ibiza, that’s where the best holiday stories begin.
Now you’re mobile head north for breakfast at Los Enamorados, the new uber cool boutique hotel, restaurant, beach bar and bazaar in Portinatx. Created by ex-basketball player and sneaker addict Pierre Traversier and Rozemarijn de Witte. Together they’ve transformed the harbour into a picture perfect colourful mix of 60s and 70s vintage throwback. If you are a sucker for interiors perfection, prepare to be wowed. Soak up the good vibrations and the terrace view over coffee, laze around on the deckchairs and steal a swim.
If hunger only gets you as far as the heart of the island, Café Musset next to the new Gatzara Suites Hotel in the pretty town of Santa Getrudis, offers a breakfast menu for those with the biggest and healthiest breakfast appetites. It also has the best WiFi for miles around. This summer they have refreshed their menu, adding organic farm eggs cooked every way you can think of served with toast options ranging from spelt to wheat-free. Chia bowls come supercharged with boosters like goji and moreso do the fresh juice blends. Staples like the Kate Moss (it’s lean) stay on the menu season after season.
Keeping with the north coast, for a swim in soothing crystal clear waters take to Benirras which still reigns supreme as one of the most chilled out beaches on the island and is said to be where Ibiza gets its hippy spirit. Go on a Friday and follow the adventurous across the top of the fisherman’s huts to grab your very own sand-less sunspot. Take a break from the sun at the hippy market, it’s there from 4pm till midnight, and stay for the hippy drumming as the sunsets famously behind the Benirras rock, Cap Bernat, or as locals call it – the Finger of God.
For a more adventurous beach climb, and yes, most of us who come to Ibiza don’t feel like we’ve achieved for the day unless we’ve clambered 147 Hours-style across gappy rocks to a secluded cove where we take a rewarding dip; Es Portixol near to Portinatx offers one of the islands best hidden coves. Cala Xarraca’s satellite beaches to the left and right of the main beach are a snorkeler’s dream. Pitch left of the main beach and take the pathway over the rocks down to the sparkling bay on the other side. The satellite beach to the right is a minute’s drive away and is totally hidden from the road. This summer there’s a swing hanging from the top of the rocks, bypassing a shallow cave on its way down to where it skims the aquamarine, it’s an absolute treasure. Good luck finding it.
I make a point asking islanders which beach they go to on their day off. Cala Moli has come up a few times as does Cala d’Aubarca. Cala Comte still holds the title for most spectacular water this side of Formenterra, but prepare for crowds even in late September and make sure you check out new ecological chiringuito Cala Esconida whilst you’re there. The cocktail menu changes daily and they are delicious.
On the east coast, Aguas Blancas tops the list of beach hangouts with the most international vibe. Go via the San Juan market on Sunday morning for a cup of deliciously nutty organic coffee, and end with sundowners and tapas at the famous Bar Anita which overlooks the picturesque village of San Carlos.
An alternative way to discover Ibiza’s secret beaches is by kayak. Rent one for the afternoon, throw a bottle of chilled cava into a rucksack and a bottle of SPF 50 and you’re set for an adventure for two. It’s also fantastic exercise, think of the abs (and the paella lunches).
We chose Kayak Ibiza who promise to show you the prettiest most intriguing stretches of coastline. We started at Es Figueral, another beach with pristine, turquoise-coloured waters and headed down coast to Pou Des Leo taking in hard-to-reach beaches, private entrances that led from the shoreline to mega villas worthy of a 007 movie and explored local geology and ethnography along the way. Our guide took us to an area where we could look down through the clear blue to an underwater pathway built by the Romans for bringing stone onto the island. A piece of island history still remarkably intact.
Lunchtime in Pou Des Leo warrants only one thing; paella at the bay’s namesake restaurant. This gem is hidden but is by no means a secret. The group arrived at the beach 2pm to make a reservation and swim. And by 4pm, when we returned for our table the place was packed, with handfuls of more people being turned away. Their signature dish is ‘Bulleit de Peix’, it’s a fish stew made with mero, dorada or gallo, (groupa, gilt head or john dory) with garlic, potatoes and spices however it’s the freshest aioli and fantastic paellas that visitors to Ibiza flock here to taste.
For another heavenly gratifying paella, or arroz negre (black rice) head to El Chiringuito in Es Cavallet. The depth of flavours we’re authentically rich and satisfying – were tempted to scrape the pan – so very Rude, a would have had we not for been completely surrounded by the islands hipsters. For understated luxury let new kid on the block Cala Saona Restaurant in Formenterra completely seduce you. Best approached by boat charter the waters here are so clear the yachts appear to float in mid air.
Once lunch has gone down, ask your skipper to sail to Beso Beach, the beach restaurant on everyone’s lips this year. At 6pm the tables are cleared and the real party begins! Be sure to capture the obligatory Instagram shot on the bench outside.
For later dining, if there’s one place you reserve for dinner which happens at around 10pm in Ibiza, make it Lamuella. Undoubtedly the new diamond of the north, Lamuella arrived in the green landscape of San Lorenzo this year from its roots in Goa. Bringing with it Israeli chef, Gome Galily and his signature mind-blowing cuisine; BBQ crispy duck with home made Chinese steam buns; tortellini with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle; quinoa pumpkin risotto with asparagus, chilli and coconut and the seabass miso with avocado puree and black garlic – all were stand out dishes.
And if there are two places to reserve for dinner make the second Sa Capella, which came recommended by a friend who has lived here for over 20 years. Nestled in the hills above San Antonio, this decadent classic in a beautiful old church is a favourite among many and delivers an evening steeped in timeless tradition from an era gone by. For groups of two, ask for the balcony table and marvel at the ambience from your private viewing deck. Two words – suckling pig. Another – devine!
As the sun goes down and the sky becomes a mystical playground of light and colour, pick a spot to watch the show. Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe the special view of Es Vedra from Es Boldado. And for a private and undisturbed view of the horizon, take a trip down to the rocks at Punta Galera. Be sure to bring cash with you, because while there are no chringuitos here there’s a man that sells fresh mojitos from a tiny makeshift hut and you won’t want to miss one.
For a sun dinner in the South, book a terrace table Coricancha the newest Peruvian to join Atzaro owned, Barra Peruana, and the colourful Can Limo, signalling the Peruvian trend has well and truly landed on the island. This was my favourite sunset so far.
For those coming to re-balance and practice their savassanah, Ibiza has more yoga studios and instructors, healers, wellness coaches, sessions and spas than you can shake a stick of Palo Santo at. In fact it is in September that the islands’ wellness scene comes to life. Pranasol specialise in holistic therapies and treatments and mummy and baby yoga and come highly recommended. Check their calendar for workshops, you won’t regret taking two hours of your holiday to relax in the hands of a healing massage, or reiki. For yoga, Pure Om in Santa Eularia offers a varied schedule of classes taught in Spanish and English at 15€ for a drop in session. Galeria Elephante Studio in Santa Getrudis offers classes in most styles from Jivamukti to Vinyasa Flow for a similar price, and Bikram fans can keep up the sweat by booking a drop in a class at Hot Yoga Ibiza on the outskirts of town. A class is 19€.
Last but not least, the nightlife. Whether you’re a veteran to the party scene in Ibiza, or a newbie it’s worth checking the Ibiza Spotlight clubbing calendar to see who is playing where and when. This summer has seen some smash sellout nights. Step forward Carl Cox and The Final Chapter at Space, and the man everyone wanted to see – Craig David at Ibiza Rocks. If you’re travelling to Ibiza this week, have no fear, soundmakers like DJ royalty, Guy Gerber, are still blowing us away with weekly residencies that continue well into October.
Solomun’s +1 at Pacha is one of the most popular nights on the island. The next events see ‘plus one’ guests Joseph Capriati and Sven Väth join him in the booth. Paradise at DC-10 (Wednesdays) has soared though another season with Jamie Jones at the helm, he’ll be closing his night on 27th September with his solid resident line up. On Friday nights all roads lead to Amnesia where deep tech house genius, Marco Carola, treats fans to undulating beats till 7am at Music On. On Sundays two terrific outdoor parties, Destino and Blue Marlin, go head to head. But the party earmarked on everyone’s calendar is the Space Closing Fiesta, where 27 years of throwing our hands in the air as aircrafts go overhead will come to a meteoric end. The line-up is stellar – names including Carl Cox, Tale of Us, Brandon Block, Clara Da Costa, Erick Morillo, David Morales and Maceo Plex… list goes on… will be bringing their magic. Tickets are like goldust. Pre-sale tickets are officially sold out but tickets will be available on the door.
For us Rudesters, Circo Loco at DC-10 every Monday continues to rock the deep tech beat of our heart with its unapologetically loud, dirty, raw, stomping madness. If you don’t experience it you wont have experienced 100% authentic Ibiza. This Monday sees none other than Solomon grace the decks.
Our parting tip: rumour has it that Amante’s cliffside closing extravaganza is on hold this year for safety reasons but if last year’s El Chiringuito closing party is anything to go by, it will more than make up for it.
STAY at the brand new OD Talamanca, prices start at £179 per night with Booking.com. For a slice of Ibicencan countryside get lost in timelessness at Casa Carazon. For larger groups, Chic Ibiza offer the most stylish villas on the island. Their concierge team can organise in-villa chefs and DJs, VIP club tables and if the mood takes you – a giant pop up outdoor cinema.