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Discover the charming villages of Ibiza

It's not all sun, sea and sand in the beautiful island of Ibiza

featured in News & reviews Author Pam Williamson, Ibiza Editor Updated

The sleepy, whitewashed villages along the coastline and on the hilltops of Ibiza are a far cry from the effervescent beach resorts of Playa d'en Bossa and San Antonio or the glitz and glamour of the White Isle's exclusive beach clubs. Visit Ibiza's heartland to enjoy some peace and quiet and discover the island's authentic soul.

While Ibiza is now recognised as one of Europe’s most popular party capital, it was the stunning natural beauty and relaxing, laid-back atmosphere that first attracted tourists to Ibiza, especially in the sixties when the hippies who stopped off here en route to Goa and Bali and made San Carlos their home. The White Isle's landscapes and special energy are still partly what drive visitors here today when Ibiza just oozes boho-chic and many of the rich and famous come for a week in the summer in search of sun, sand and possibly the occasional visit to one of the superclubs.

However, exploring the island and discovering some of the beautiful villages off the beaten track will undoubtedly make your holiday more special, memorable and a more truly Ibizan experience.

a restaurant in santa gertrudis

Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera

Top of our list of 'must-see' places is the central town of Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera, a real gem in the heart of the island. This small and traditional town has a very bohemian style to it and, as with many of Ibiza's towns, it manages to show off the old right beside the very new. At the centre of the village is, of course, the local church which was founded in 1797. Through several alterations, the façade and the belfry date back to the 19th century and the plaza in front has now been pedestrianised to preserve the area as a local meeting place. If you like shopping, then there are several beautiful boutiques to peruse as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy when you need a break.

church es cubells ibiza

Es Cubells

Situated on the southern coastline, the small village of Es Cubells offers stunning views and a real taste of Ibizan cuisine. As one of the smallest villages it will barely take you 5 minutes to walk around, however, its charm and beauty can keep you here for many hours. Situated on top of a cliff you can look down into the clear and turquoise waters and, via several winding paths, you can make your way down to the shoreline. At the heart of the village is, of course, the local church founded in 1864 and, although there are only a few restaurants here, you can be assured of some traditional local cuisine and gourmet food.

Shopping in San Carlos Ibiza

Sant Carles de Peralta (San Carlos)

The beautiful town of San Carlos is another firm favourite and the perfect place for those who enjoy mixing a bit of shopping with some culture and good food. Still very much a hippy community today, it is home to Las Dalias hippy market and the wonderful Bar Anita. This bar was the original hippy gathering point on the island where people in the surrounding area would come to use the telephone and to collect their mail and, in fact, some still do. After enjoying the boutiques and small pedestrian streets of San Carlos then a trip to Las Dalias hippy market is an absolute must to soak up the atmosphere, flavours, sounds and sights... plus, of course, bag yourself a bargain and some beautifully crafted local products.

San Rafael Church Ibiza

Sant Rafel de Sa Creu (San Rafael)

Perhaps better known under the cover of darkness for its abundance of superclubs, San Rafael is a surprisingly traditional town. Once you leave the motorway that runs between Ibiza Town and San Antonio, the town of San Rafael reveals narrow lanes and streets that lead you further into the old town and the church. Slightly different to many of the Ibizan churches, its exterior has a touch of Moorish design about it. Set upon a hill, the views back over to Ibiza Town are great, especially at dusk as you can sit and watch the lights of the town slowly begin to illuminate from a distance. A wander around the pottery studios and shops is the perfect way to pass the time here.

shops & cafes San miguel ibiza

Sant Miquel de Balansat (San Miguel)

Another town, another whitewashed church. The centrepiece of San Miguel sits high atop the hill above a bustling market town. Perfect to burn off a few calories, here you can climb to the top of the hill where the 16th-century church affords spectacular views of the countryside. A paradise for nature lovers thanks to its ideal location between the sea and the mountains, there is plenty to see, do and explore in and around this pretty town. The nearest beach is Port de Sant Miquel on the north-west coast, and it also lies fairly close to the well known and popular destination of Benirrás Beach.

More inspiration...

There is so much more to explore and discover in Ibiza. Book your hotel, villa or apartment and have a look at our selection of best towns and villages across the island.