Ibiza’s reputation as a sterling summer destination has long been assured, with arrivals in peak season rising sharply alongside the mercury. More recently, however, word has been out among the cognoscenti regarding the island’s out-of-season charms.
The lack of crowds is an obvious draw during the cooler months, alongside the mild temperatures and stunning light, but perhaps the most appealing prospect of a winter visit is the opportunity to experience one of the Mediterranean’s most attractive destinations in a more authentic fashion, with numerous local festivities taking place over this period. Although much of the island closes down for the winter, there is still plenty to offer the visitor to make an out-of-season break an attractive proposition.
Responding to repeated requests from its clientele, this luxury rural hotel and spa located in the tranquil north of the island is now open throughout winter. Distinctly Ibizan in essence, although effortlessly fused with suggestions of Balinese chic, Atzaró is home to some of the best spa treatments on the island — a stay here could make venturing outside quite a challenge.
Renting a villa is an excellent option if you are looking to escape the Christmas craziness. International Villas offers the finest selection on the island, including the indulgent Can Palmyra, situated near the picturesque village of Santa Gertrudis. Concierge service Deliciously Sorted can take care of all of your needs during a stay so that you may fully appreciate the luxurious surrounds.
Restaurante Sa Caleta
This rustic seafood specialist in Sant Jordi, perennially popular with locals and visitors alike, offers a range of traditional dishes from an assortment of exemplary paellas and fish stews to local prawns and lobster. Conclude your meal with a warming local speciality, café caleta: an infusion of coffee, brandy, citrus peel and spices; a visit to the nearby ancient Phoenician ruins makes for the perfect post-prandial stroll.
Head to this institution in the village of San Rafael for a genuine taste of traditional Ibicencan cuisine. In true Spanish fashion, it really comes alive past 10pm, when locals arrive in boisterous groups to enjoy the signature dish of chuletón cooked at the table over hot coals, best enjoyed with a glass or two of local red wine, of course.
This new venture from the esteemed olive oil producers of the Guasch family is housed in a former school, beautifully renovated into a warm and welcoming winter space in which to enjoy a fine selection of local dishes. The adjoining store sells a variety of produce from the island and is the perfect place to pick up an artisanal gift for a foodie friend.
The pedestrianised Plaza del Parque in Ibiza Town provides a popular meeting point for many and is perfectly positioned close to the marina and Dalt Vila, the old town. There are several spots from which to watch the world go by, but this stalwart draws the most cosmopolitan crowd and has the additional appeal of pouring some excellent drinks.
La Paloma Café
While what is arguably the island’s finest restaurant closes its doors for a deserved winter break, the attached café continues to serves its delicious wares. Take a seat in the enchanting garden among the dappled shade of the citrus trees and enjoy one of the exceptional homemade focaccias or seasonal salads, washed down with a refreshing juice or smoothie.
Although the majority of the island’s (in)famous nightclubs hibernate for the winter, the most celebrated of them remain open at weekends throughout the year, so those with a hedonistic itch to scratch can still do so in style. On New Year’s Eve, Pacha once again heads over to swanky sister venue Lío for what is sure to be another decidedly decadent affair.
For a nostalgic nod towards the island’s intriguing past, a visit to this popular Sunday market is a must. Grab a cup of excellent coffee from the Cafés Meke stall and while away an afternoon watching some of Ibiza’s more colourful characters, accompanied by the sound of some local live music; an authentic hippie hang out.
Given the lack of reliable roads near many of the island’s more spectacular locations, much of its rugged beauty and stunning coastline is best enjoyed on foot. Resident and guide Toby Clarke organises a variety of walks throughout winter. Bespoke private walks can be tailored to suit and, for the more intrepidly inclined, a two-week walk around the island takes place annually.