High in the pine covered hills of Ibiza’s under populated north lies Sant Miquel, the largest settlement at this end of the island. Still not large by any stretch of the imagination, Sant Miquel is a quiet little rustic town in which Ibizan life goes on seemingly oblivious to the hordes of tourists sweeping the rest of the island.
This town is often overlooked as people pass through on their way to the pretty resort town of Port de Sant Miquel, located 4 kilometres further north. The port town has the all the resort necessities, including beautiful beaches, huge hotels and all the package holiday trimmings. Sant Miquel definitely lacks these touches but has a few charms of its own which render any trip to the north of the island incomplete without a wander around these streets.
Not Ibiza’s prettiest town, Sant Miquel is a compilation of old cottages and villas sitting next to apartment blocks and modern builds. The town isn’t ugly, most of the new buildings do try to please with tumbling flower baskets and climbing blossoms covering their concrete stairways, but it does fall short of the postcard aesthetic of nearby Santa Gertrudis.
The main appeal for tourists here is the church, perched high atop the Puig De Missa overlooking the town and the interior of the island. Construction of this church began in the 13th century with the fortified walls which kept inhabitants safe from marauding pirates. Nowadays visitors can enjoy the large church and shady courtyard and, when it’s open to the public, they can view its unusual stonework and murals inside.
During the summer, from June to September, visitors can watch a display of traditional dancing in the courtyard of this church. A dance troupe of young and old performers in traditional dress accompanied by local musicians perform for anyone who comes to watch at 18:00 every Thursday evening. It’s well worth coordinating your visit to coincide with this glimpse of traditional Ibizan heritage.
From the church's patio, you have a great view out over the town and into the thickly forested hills beyond. But if you walk around the outside, an even better view awaits you. From the back of the church, follow the stone steps down towards the main road below. At the base of these steps, the trees part and you find yourself looking out to the north with an unspoilt view all the way to Port de Sant Miquel, the coast and the open sea beyond. The view is stunning and it is immediately apparent why this spot was once chosen as the site for the town’s defensive stronghold.
Elsewhere in the town you won't find much to occupy you except a couple of interesting boutiques. As with the other little towns in Ibiza’s interior, this one seems to come with an artistic, artisanal character. You’ll find an oriental gallery and leatherworks, a jewellery store/gallery and a shop selling boho chic dresses and accessories. You’ll also find tabacs, ATMs and grocery stores carrying all that you might need.
For eateries, there’s a few traditional places dotted around town all much the same: simple Ibizan bars selling bocadillos, tapas, beers and coffees with large terraces on which locals and tourists alike can while away a day or evening in people watching. On the outskirts of town, you’ll find a Thai restaurant and tucked down a side street you’ll discover La Luna Nell' Orto, offering excellent Mediterranean food out of a traditional Ibizan villa with large garden seating area and beautiful ambience. This place specialises in homemade pasta, raviolis and house baked breads, and reviewers describe it as one of Ibiza’s hidden gems. Open for dinner all year round and for lunch on summer weekends, stop here for a rustic treat that you’d be surprised to find in this town.
Ditto accommodation, if you fancy sticking around in San Miguel check out the Can Pardal boutique hotel, another surprising find tucked away in a traditional villa at the feet of the church. With only 5 rooms available, this place is run more like a friends home than a hotel but all the professional amenities are there if you need them. The garden area with sundeck and swimming pool is the envy of all who walk past and try to peer in through the flowered hedges for a glimpse of this Mediterranean oasis, again a surprising find in this unassuming town.