Beyond the sunset-to-sunrise nights out and the days spent relaxing on idyllic beaches, there is a part of Ibiza that largely escapes the tourist trail, away from the klieg lights and party-til-dawn atmosphere of the island, and this is rural Ibiza. During the sabbatical year I spent living on this Mediterranean island, I got to know several destinations that changed my perception of the island.
Ibiza is synonymous with parties and beach life, but once you look carefully, you will realise that it is also a predominantly rural society where locals enjoy a lifestyle that is totally reposat (calm and peaceful, in the local language). After being asked a few times about the best hidden secrets of rural Ibiza, I decided to share my favourite off-the-beaten-track spots on the island.
Although nowadays the tourist industry is the major contributor to the local economy, traditionally Ibiza has relied on agriculture, farming, and fishing. Away from the coast the island consists of several fertile valleys where payeses (local farmers) maintain and celebrate some of their millenary traditions. The tiny village of Sant Miquel de Balansat is a great place to learn more about Ibiza’s rural past (and present!). Sant Miquel became one of my favourite hideouts, especially on Thursdays, when a large farmers’ market is held. Every Thursday at 6pm, the space in front of Sant Miquel’s 16th-century church becomes a festival of fresh produce and traditional payes dancing. The village and its outskirts are also home to several natural springs (or fontetes, in Catalan language), that are a pleasure to discover on a warm day.
Pla de Corona is a place where time seems to have stood still. Not far from Sant Miquel and, more surprisingly, not far from loud Sant Antoni, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the Ibizan plains where almond, olive, and fig trees add colour to the landscape. The cattle industry is still quite strong in the area, and you are likely to see flocks of sheep grazing freely in the valley too.
And then there is Es Amunts, a vast forested area shaded by pine trees that is ideal for nature walks. Es Amunts offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the sea, as the gentle slopes turn into spectacular cliffs. The fields are still being used for agricultural purposes here, and you can see plantations of olive trees, carobs, and even vineyards. You will also be able to spot old constructions used by the shepherds to take refuge during the storms. Es Amunts can be reached from Sant Llorenç de Balafia, another photogenic village.
Of course, the first step is getting there, so why not grab a bargain and take advantage of Thomson’s range of deals for Ibiza holidays this year?
Top image by Jim Bowen under Creative Commons