3 Days in Ibiza – Off Season

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Dalt Vila – Ibiza Old Town

On our first day– we wandered around Ibiza Old town or Dalt Vila, which is a recognized UNESCO site. We received complimentary maps with walking routes at the tourist office in the centre. The old town is vibrant with pale colors, turquoise harbor views, and medieval architecture. The main castle is from 16th century and it’s one of the main sites but there are various bastions peppered along the cobblestoned pathways, Baluard de Sant Bernat, Baluard de Sant Jaume, Baluard de Sant Pere, Baluard de Sant Joan, and  Baluard de Sant Taules. The panoramic views of the Med and the city below are absolutely breathtaking. During the late afternoon, we took a ferry over to Formentera, a neighboring island. Honestly the boat ride alone was worth it by itself. There are views of Dalt Vila, Es Vedra, and many other parts of the island with dramatic slopes and sandy cliffs. The island itself was more quiet than Ibiza itself. Unfortunately the island was larger than we perceived – we didn’t have enough time to rent bikes, and the water was infested with red tide.

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View near Cova de can Marca of Sant Miguel

During the second day – we rented a car. We started out at the northwest part of the island at Cova de can Mara. Although history about the cave was intriguing, I wouldn’t recommend the bioluminescent cave. During the tour there was a light show intended to impress the visitors -except we all stood there confused. The cave cost 10 euros and last about 20 minutes. When I left – I felt scammed. Anyways – we went to eat lunch at the nearby beach, Sant Miguel. Next, we passed through the  port of San Antoni as we headed along the coast to the hippie area of Cala d’Hort, which offers expansive views of Es Vedra. As the folklore goes – Es Vedra is known to attract a lot of oddities (seek more information here). It’s the third most magnetized place on the planet. At the end of our day, we went the sunset coast and sat along a cliff’s edge to watch the sun set in the sky at Sunset Ashram in Cala Conta (Cala Comte). In fact, the parking lot overlooking the coast was the busiest spot we encountered during our road-trip.

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At Cala d’Hort with Es Vedra in the background

Since we flew out late in the afternoon on our third day, the first part was dedicated to relaxing on the beach in Talamanca. We caught the bus there and walked our way back to Ibiza’s port to catch the bus to the airport. In comparison to the various beaches explored the day earlier,  I wasn’t as impressed. Despite the nearby sounds of construction (off-season), I did enjoy myself and dozed off during while sun-bathing (sunblock was applied). 

Personally – I’m glad I didn’t go to Ibiza during its peak tourist season. I enjoy dancing – but I know during the summer the clubs are active. If I did go back during the tourist season, I would like to check out the Zoo Project. The sunny island was a necessary reprieve, before tackling our remaining finals.

Here are 5 Reasons to Visit Ibiza during the Off Season

5 Reasons to Visit Ibiza in the Off Season

At the end of my final semester in March I visited Ibiza, one of the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean. One of my European friends inwardly cringed and demanded why I was going during the ‘winter’ season and not waiting for summer (ie. May to possibly September). She claimed it would be cold and there would be nothing to do, however this was not the case at all.

  1. Obviously – costs are relatively inexpensive (approx. 40-60£) compared to the tourist season (approx 128-275£). Ryanair offered an impressive last minute flight from the UK that was too good to ignore. However the lack of sun in Scotland provided additional incentive to book the trip. We found there were a variety of accommodations with fair prices.

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    Canons overlooking Old Town in Dalt Vila
  2. With a lack of tourists, the atmosphere is quiet, as opposed to coming during prime travel season (summer) in which all of the clubs are in full effect. When we visited for a few days – the vast majority of fellow traverlers were families. Areas like Dalt VilaPort San Miguel and Cala d’Hort were calm with few people. Honestly – it was the true essence of a reprieve.

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    Es Vedra photographed from Cala d’Hort Beach
  3. At the finale of March, we wore our bathing suits on the beach. In fact, I returned to Glasgow with a cherry nose and honeyed skin. At between 60-75°F, the days were comfortable enough to wear a tank paired with a skirt or shorts, but the evenings required a light jacket or jumper at around 55°F.

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    Sun slowly setting at Cala Comte on the sunset coastline
  4. During our stay, we rented a car for less than 50 euros for a full 24 hours through Avis, which included full insurance.  Most tourist sites aren’t accessible without a car. Between the two of us it was cheaper to book a car than to go on a tour that only went to 1-2 sites. We toured Cova de Can MarcaPort de San Miguel beachSan Antoni, Cala d’Hort to view Es Vedra, and Cala Comte (Cala Conte). The roads were not crowded, besides near Dalt Vila, and the majority of people were locals driving to work. This was ideal as we had downloaded the maps on my friend’s iPad, however whenever we lost satellite (85% of the journey) we relied on the combination of my roadmap, the road signs, and asked locals for directions with my basic understand of Spanish.

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    Ibiza Old Town from ferry ride to island of Formentera
  5. Although most clubs aren’t yet open during the spring – there were parties, spring festivals, and open shops around Dalt Vila. We weren’t at a loss of things to do for the duration of 3 days. I detail our 3 day itinerary in this (post), however we wished we had an additional night to visit more of the island.

However, here are somethings to keep in mind before booking a trip during the off season…

  1. Hotels or low-key shops outside of Ibiza’s immediate city centre/Old Town might be closed until summer or under construction.
  2. The busses are far and fewer in between. Instead of coming every half hour, they were scheduled to come every hour, however the busses were often late with a nonchalant tranquillo attitude. We stayed outside of Ibiza at a beach front accommodation in Playa d’en Bossa, and felt stranded whenever the bus refused to show.
  3. If you want to do sightseeing outside of Ibiza and its immediate centre, you will require a car. The bus system near Ibiza remains close to the heart of its central tourist hub. WARNING: some roads along the coastline are winding, which may make individuals susceptible to motion sickness feel ill (guilty).

Check out my 3 day itinerary here 🙂

Sevilla, Cadiz, and Faro…

I visited Spain and briefly, Portugal for an extended weekend. A lot of blogs and pages online boast the beauty of the Andalucía region – and I’m promising you, it’s truly real.

1915381_10154299839148797_5739749941750990359_nFriday, December 18, was primarily dedicated to travel time. After my flight from Edinburgh to Faro, I took a bus from Faro Portugal to Sevilla Spain. At nightfall, I arrived in Sevilla. While the holiday lights that adorned lanterns shed light on the cobblestone streets, I weaved through the festive buzz of people. The rush of the city’s energy was enthralling. I didn’t want to stop exploring the nightlife. While in Plaza San Francisco, children and parents busily darted between the miniature ice skating rink to grab a candied surprise from a nearby vendor, or ride the carousel. Plaza Nueva was donned in lights and hosted a Christmas Market with a variety of artists.

 

On Saturday, I visited the Alcazar Castle complex – the architecture, the detailed tile-work, stonework, and the gardens are impeccable. I spent around 3 hours here, and I can say that I didn’t see everything!

 

I paid to go into Cathedral de Sevilla, saw Christopher Columbus’ tomb and walked around Patio de Los Naranjes. However, I didn’t pay the extra fee to check out La Giralda.

On Sunday, I took a day trip to Cadiz. Although I only spent a day in Cadiz, I saw both the historic and the new portions of the city. The highlights of my trip we’re seeing the Plaza de Mina, Plaza de Espana, the Catedral, and Santo Domingo. In mid December it’s not quite warm enough to lie on the beach in a bathing suit, but I was more than content to have a sweater on, and enjoy the ocean’s breeze on the edge of the pier. Since Glasgow repeatedly suffered through bad spells of weather, I spent most of my time relaxing in the sun. Nearing the end of my time in Cadiz day, a storm rolled in over the coastline.

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11224150_10154299847928797_4590554650208742574_nAfter I returned from Cadiz, I went to Aire de Sevilla. It may be overpriced and touristy, but I wanted to try it! They offer a wine bath – which I didn’t do, but my package was for the typical time in the various types of baths (ice, normal, jets, salt, and arouma therapy) accompanied by a 30 minute massage. It was crowded and full of mostly couples, however I was able to relax. My favorite bath had to be the salt, which is downstairs. It feels as if you’re entering a grotto, and it appeared to be the least popular with the crowd that evening.

Monday morning, when I left Spain to return to Faro, Portugal, I knew I would be back soon, since I want to see Granada and Córdoba in the Andalucía region. In May, I will be visiting Spain again to see a friend from home, who is seeing his sister while she is studying abroad in Madrid. I plan to take the train to Barcelona for a few days too.

 

Faro is a quaint little town with a historic district, and vandalized with lots and lots of graffiti. It’s especially relaxing around the harbor, and I spent some of my afternoon reading down there. I slept at Casa d’Algoa in a 6 person, but lucked out since I was the only one. I’m not antisocial, but a week earlier I finished my first semester as a postgrad student, and was amidst completing two final papers during my holiday; I was undeniably fatigued. I didn’t necessarily dislike Faro, but perhaps I was a little bored. I’d recommend if you visit Faro, you may find Praia de Faro more enjoyable, however due to my timing, I couldn’t.