Ibiza & Ciudad de Ibiza Attractions
Two gently rounded ranges of hills with generally smooth contours traverse the north and south of Ibiza, the largest of the Islas Pityusas, with a maximum length of 48km/30mi and a maximum breadth of 24km/15mi. The southern range, with Atalayasa de San José (476m/1,562ft) as its highest point, is higher than the northern range, which is broken up by a number of depressions. The two ranges are separated by a swathe of lower land extending across the island from west to northeast. The southern tip of the island is occupied by a wide alluvial plain.
Ciudad de Ibiza, Spain
Ibiza, the capital of Minorca, lies in the south of the island in a sheltered harbor inlet open only to the southeast. It is now a popular holiday resort, particularly in summer, attracting visitors from all over the world, who come here to enjoy a relaxed, unconstrained holiday away from the conventions of everyday life.
Visitors arriving by sea enjoy an excellent view of Ciudad de Ibiza, with its houses rising above the harbor and the massive bastions of the upper town, with the church of Santo Domingo and the cathedral.
To the south of the harbor is the lower town, now Ibiza's busy commercial and shopping quarter.
To the south of the harbor is the lower town, now Ibiza's busy commercial and shopping quarter. The streets in its western part, La Marina, are lined with shops, boutiques, bars and restaurants. The street leading to the upper town runs past the fruit and vegetable market and the meat and fish market.
The eastern district of Sa Penya, the former fishing quarter, is the oldest part of the town outside the walls. With its whitewashed houses and its picturesque nooks and corners it still preserves something of the atmosphere of the past in spite of its numerous cafes and boutiques.
Above the lower town rise the massive walls of the fortress, built on the remains of the Arab walls between 1554 and 1585 by an Italian architect, Calvi, at the behest of the Emperor Charles V. The circuit of walls, with seven corner bastions and three gates, encloses the upper town (Ibizan D'Alt Vila) with its winding stepped lanes and old patrician houses.
Puerta de las Tablas
The upper town is entered through the main gate, the Puerta de las Tablas (with the arms of Philip II), the gatehouse of which is now occupied by a museum of contemporary art.
The upper town is crowned by the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves (Our Lady of the Snows), built in the 13th and 14th centuries. Of the original Gothic building there remain only the tower and the sacristy doorway. The sacristy contains a small museum displaying handsome vestments and liturgical utensils.
Northeast of the cathedral and much lower down, just inside the outer walls, is the 16th century church of Santo Domingo, with tiled walls and floors and frescoes.
Puig des Molins
From the west gate of the fortress, the Portal Nou, the Via Romana leads to the Puig des Molins (Mill Hill), on which the largest known Punic necropolis, with some 4,000 tomb chambers, has been excavated.
Address: Via Romana 31, E-07800 Ciudad de Ibiza, Spain
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Open on Sundays only.
Finds from the Puig des Molins tombs, including many terracottas and a number of sarcophagi, are displayed in the Museo Monográfico, immediately adjoining the site. Some of the tombs in the necropolis can also be visited.
Northeast of Ciudad de Ibiza is the semicircular Cala Talamanca, where the hotel settlements of Talamanca and Ses Figueres have been built. The beaches are of fine sand, but are frequently littered with rubbish from the harbor. On the Isla Grossa is a lighthouse, the Faro de Botafoch.
Several interesting sites lay outside the city proper.
Las Salinas (Ses Salines)
The southern tip of the island, a few kilometers from Ibiza Town, is occupied by the area known as Las Salinas (Ibizan Ses Salines), where salt is produced in extensive salt-pans.
From Ibiza Town a beautiful road runs 12km/7.5mi west to San José, chief place in the commune of that name. The picturesque cliff scenery on the west coast and the broad beaches of fine sand to the south have encouraged the large-scale development of tourist facilities in this area. The town's whitewashed church, on the main road, has on the right hand side of the porch a feature characteristic of many Ibizan churches, a stylized symbol of Golgotha consisting only of three crosses.
Southwest of San José is the holiday resort of Cala Vedella, to the south of which is Cabo Jue, the southwestern tip of the island, with an old watch-tower, the Torre del Pirata.
Half way between Ibiza Town and San Antonio Abad is San Rafael (Ibizan Sant Rafel), an attractive little place with many potters' workshops.
San Antonio Abad
Once a small fishing village, San Antonio Abad, 15km/9mi northwest of Ibiza Town, has developed into a lively and noisy tourist resort and the island's second largest town. The whitewashed parish church, on a low hill, dates from the 14th century. A fortress-like structure, it retained a battery of cannon into the 19th century.
On C 733, which runs north from Ibiza Town, is the fortified hamlet of Balafí, which has preserved its old-world aspect. The houses huddle round an old watch-tower to which the inhabitants used to withdraw for safety during Turkish raids.
Cala Portinatx (Portinaitx)
On the northern tip of Ibiza, 30km/19mi from Ibiza Town, is Cala Portinatx, which offers many attractions for holidaymakers, with its beaches and its sailing and surfing schools. The bay is sheltered from the open sea by a much eroded rock barrier, usually lashed by heavy surf, which ends at Punta Galera.
Cala San Vicente (Cala de Sant)
Around the Cala San Vicente (Ibizan Cala de Sant Vincent), at the northeastern corner of Ibiza, lies an attractive holiday development.
2km/1.5mi north is the cave of Es Cuyeram, in which a sanctuary of the Carthaginian fertility goddess Tanit, remains of Neolithic pottery and a bronze plaque with inscriptions of the fourth and second centuries B.C. were found. Finds from the cave are now displayed in the New Museum in Ibiza Town.
Santa Eulalia del Rio
Santa Eulalia del Río (Ibizan Santa Eulária del Riu) lies 15km/9mi northeast of Ibiza Town on the only river on the island with a reasonably regular flow - though in recent years it has increasingly been running dry as a result of the rise in consumption of water. The simple cube-shaped houses of the old town cluster picturesquely round the hill crowned by the fortified church of Santa Eulalia. On the southwest side of the town is a Roman viaduct spanning the Río Santa Eulalia.The surrounding beaches and villages were a favorite haunt of hippies during the 1960s, but Santa Eulalia is now a well ordered and well equipped holiday resort.