Secret Ibiza: Discover Authentic Island Life

Ibiza is an island that holds many secrets: visitors leave the island having only scraped the surface of must-see attractions. The good news for all travellers, however, is that you don’t have to look very hard before you are rewarded with countless delights of local life in the Balearics. There are two sides of Ibiza: the hedonistic, luxurious image that is projected to those who seek it, and the more hidden, tranquil side that is embodied by bucolic scenes and a fascinating cultural heritage. Visitors can seamlessly experience both of these aspects of the White Island, even in the same holiday. Discovering Ibiza’s secrets is fun and rewarding; from historical sites to rustic villages, and charming fincas, there is so much more to Ibiza than chic nightclubs, stunning coastlines, and parties.

Charming Towns in Rural Settings

Despite the allure of the beautiful azure waters surrounding the island, a trip to Ibiza is not complete without venturing into the centre of the island. The hub of the rural country is Santa Gertrudis, a lovely village steeped in tradition with a church, whitewashed houses and traditional restaurants. These days, it also has an artistic and Bohemian vibe since the international community has opened up galleries, boutiques, pavement cafes and bars. Try EsCantó for traditional hearty cuisine and the cosy Bar Costa for delicious Spanish food, including

Jamon Serrano and Manchego cheese. Santa G, as the locals call her, is also home to Morna International College, Ibiza’s only English language school. A highlight of the year is the Blessing of the Animals at the Santa Gertrudis church where the priest blesses the pets (anything from hamsters to livestock) that people bring to him.San Rafael is another traditional inland town and it’s home to Can Pilot, a traditional Balearic restaurant.

An Intimate Island with Room to Explore

Driving through the heart of the island takes you through pine-covered mountains, past ancient farmhouses, olive groves, citrus trees and fields. The length of the island can be driven in 40 minutes, but there is a lot to see and do. The island has numerous markets including Las Dalias in SantCarles de Peralta, which is a colourful example of the hippie culture that first drew so many artists to the island in the sixties and seventies. Local events such as church festivals, the annual wine festival in San Mateo and a number of open-air parties in the main streets and plazas of San Jose, San Antonio and San Carlos stop things from getting too sleepy in the towns and villages.

Luxury Finca Rentals Off the Beaten Track

Rural Finca rentals punctuate the hills of Ibiza’s interior – some of them renovated from historic buildings. Most of these properties are so exclusive and well hidden you might not even notice them. Finca Marbella is just one stunning example of a luxury villa rental, but its history, architecture and decor make it stand out. The 200-year-old Spanish farmhouse has a spacious interior, offering luxury and comfort with an emphasis on outdoor living thanks to its al fresco dining area and lounges positioned around the swimming pool. The decor includes wooden beams and stone features complemented by contemporary furnishings in neutral tones. This authentic finca has a countryside setting that gives it complete privacy, yet it is just 10 minutes away from the villages of San Jose and San Antonio, and 15 from Ibiza town. It is set within 90,000m2 of land, including its own hill with a sea view.

A Relaxed Way of Life

Ibiza makes for a perfect European winter escape since temperatures rarely dip below 15C. The winter is a fantastic time to explore the island, as crowds are scarce and the weather is still great. It is the ideal time to go hiking or cycling along the coast, taking advantage of the seasonal conditions. Although the island has been inhabited for over 2,500 years, much of it is still rural.Its vast expanse of forest, nature parks and beach trails make it ideal for exploring on foot. A walk from the tiny village of Santa Agnes overlooking the extensive almond groves is a wonderful experience. These small towns are full of traditional architecture, atmospheric streets and local character that should not be missed.

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