I know San Antonio has a bit of a reputation, but this is completely unjustified. Yes, there is the West End and the clubs (hurrah!), but people must not forget chilled out bars like Mambos, Cafe Del Mar and Coastline, and the infamous, breathtaking sunset. No better place to spend a special occasion with a cocktail, watching the spectacular fire eaters who come out at night.
The San Antonio promenade is full of young teenagers, families and older people walking in the evening. Bar M and Orange Corner along this area are fab for lunch and people watching, Itaca does gorgeous caprhina cocktails and the beach is practically empty and peaceful, believe it or not.
There's an amazing Tex Mex restaurant and the Curry Club is one of the best curry places anywhere. Hotel Arenal is in a perfect location with huge rooms, an indoor and outdoor pool, air con and great staff (I should know, I was a rep there for 2 years, and I stayed there). So before you write it off, choose this all-rounder of a resort to spend a week. I guarantee it won't be your only visit.
This auction house-cum-bar is in an artisan village, Santa Gertrudis. It's a great place to watch the world go by with a Rioja and fantastic tapas.
Santa Gertrudis is about 10km from San Antonio;
tel: 971 197 023;
Plastik is a club/bar hybrid that started off in 2000 as a record shop and internet café. It’s in San Antonio, which is traditionally known for the worst excesses of Ibiza, but don’t let that put you off. Plastik operate a door policy to make sure the vibe/crowd stays cool, and has recently been refurbished with Thai-style decor. Top name DJs play there, or just drop in. It’s a refuge in the heart of what can otherwise be a tourist trap.
Fantastic views at sunset. Head upstairs to the roof and order 2 for 1 cocktails that come to 3 US dollars for 2 drinks. Watch the street kids harass the tourists, lots of fun... then don't forget to order heaps of spring rolls to give to the kids when you leave.
On the corner of the bar street, one block from the old market.
The Dogs Bar in St Kilda is an institution and a great place to get a glass or 10 of red wine and a plate of cheap pasta on a Sunday afternoon. It's great in winter with a roaring open fire and people gathering to have a natter or play a game of chess. Uber cool, the crowd tends to be over 30.
If you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the island, then head north to San Carles and Cala San Vincente. It's a world away from the tackiness of San Antonio. Rent a villa in a pine forest overlooking the bay (San Vincente). The air smells of oranges and you won't hear any pumping house. San Carles is a buzzing village full of locals and (rich) hippies. The life of the village centers around Bar Anita. You can hang around here talking to the locals and watching the world go by all day. Best meat restaurant in Ibiza is there - Can Pages - on the road from Santa Eulalia to San Carles. If food, wine, slow days and a rustic kind of romance is what you're after, then this is where you'll find it!
North/north west of the island. Nearest large town is Santa Eulalia;
The beach at Las Salinas is the island's most southern tip. It's beautiful and the best place to go and sunbathe if you're feeling beautiful in your bikini (ladies). Certainly don't go if you're having a “fat day” as you'll stand out wearing anything more than something to hide your modesty. In fact most people don't even do that. Salinas beach is renowned for attracting an attractive and fashionable crowd. Besides the stunning beach and crystal clear sea, there are plenty of cool places to relax and enjoy a cocktail - my favourite is the Jockey Club, and Sa Trincha is good too.
Can be reached by hire car, bicycle (be careful of the traffic) or bus from Ibiza Town (10 km) or Playa d'en Bossa (6 km).
Salinas beach is at the very bottom of Ibiza, lined with some classy restaurants and bars. The views are beautiful and make it all the better to sit down and relax in with some sangria – the perfect way to relax after a night on the town.
Hire a car, catch a taxi or hop on a bus from Ibiza Town;
Watch the sun set at one of the many cafes and bars lining this famous strip of white sand. Savannah, Cafe del Mar and Mambo are all great. It’s a unique experience to listen with thousands of other people to chilled music from Pete Tong and other top DJs. The feeling is amazing when everyone applauds a set, with the sun setting and the partying just beginning.
Bora Bora is situated in the middle of Playa d’en Bossa, and it’s a crazy place. A beach with a wicked bar, and people dancing on tables while the sun is up. This place is legendary, and if you’re into the club scene it’s an Ibiza must-do, if only for the fact that everyone gets involved!
In the middle of Playa d'en Bossa;
I love this place for Sa Trincha's bar and the Jockey Club. Chill out under the warm rays of the sun while listening to some of the coolest sounds of the summer. A place for the happy smiling people. Magic.
10km from Ibiza Town, at the southern end of the island. Hire a car or catch the bus.
Very dark cafe/bar. The tables are old sewing tables with sewing machines (hence the name). Lots of candles and old mirrors set the mood. The back room is almost pitch black - very cosy for a romantic drink. Great soundtrack too.
ul. Estery 22;
tel: 012 292 06 22
Open daily :09:00-03:00
Arty bar/cafe with old-style decor. Lots of old family photos in the middle room, then go through what seems like a wardrobe to an 'art space' - complete with projections on the walls, then into another room - a darkened kitchen. They make a mean cappuccino!
Situated within the port area of Ibiza town, Mao Rooms was opened in 2001 and is brought to you by London's Chinawhite.
The cocktails and food are all lovely and are best enjoyed while lazing about on the day-beds covered in silky fabrics and cushions.
D'Emili Pou 6, Ibiza Old Town;
tel: 971 194 331;
Forget Cafe del Mar (hugely overrated) - the Blue Bar in Formentera is the best beach bar experience in Ibiza & Formentera.
Situated on the beautiful, unspoilt Platja de Mitjorn, the Blue Bar is a relaxing place to cool down, eat and drink by day, with DJs by night.
tel: 971 18 70 11;
Good vibe, great atmosphere. The candlelit interior of this bar is a perfect place to chill out in Krakow. You’ll find it in a little courtyard just behind Rynek Glowny. The decor is burgundy and red punctuated by Indian and Asian artefacts. Find yourself a seat, order a beer or vodka from the friendly staff, take a sip and relax. Perfect!
Rynek Glowny 6;
tel: 12 421 6522;
A cafe at the junction in a one-horse town is an entertaining place to see other adventurers stop and decide whether to turn right or left. Half the vehicles return to take the alternative whilst the other half simply go back from whence they came. The more chilled out have refreshment first.
Santa Innes (also called Saint Agnes) is accessible by car.
I know ... why go to an Irish bar when on holiday in the South of France? But, to be honest, there are not too many Irish people about, and not much Irish music either! A good mixture of music, from chart music to 1980s French rock, its a great place to spend your Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Vieux Port - 17, Quai de Rive Neuve;
Metro: Vieux Port
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