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Circular hike to Cova de les Fontanelles

An intermediate, circular hike on rough terrain

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A 90 minute hike taking in a place of historical interest, a private cove and stunning coastal views in the west of Ibiza.

This hike begins at Cala Salada beach just north of San Antonio. The hike is steep in places but the terrain is mostly firm and semi-paved apart from the rugged descent to the cove and at the very end where you’ll need to clamber over rocks to return to the beach. There are no shops or refreshments available along the way other than the restaurant at Cala Salada so bring supplies with you.

What to do

This hike can be done in around 90minutes but if you wish to swim and relax at the cove along the way then allow more time, if you wish to make the hike longer then add to this the additional 2 hour hike which takes you back from Salada to San Antonio.  

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What to bring

As always when walking in Ibiza, sensible footwear is essential, plus plenty of water and sun screen.

What to see

Ses Fontanelles Cave Paintings - named Fontanelles for the spring waters that used to flow through this area, this small cave held the only examples of ancient petroglyphs or rock art in all of Ibiza. Prehistoric paintings of ships and grapes could be seen on the walls and roof of this cave, unfortunately, due to hundreds of years of exposure to the elements the paintings have become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish. They were once copied onto display panels mounted at the cave but it seems these are long gone now too.

The cave is a little disappointing but the location is stunning, the view to sea plus the dramatic overhanging cliffs above you are worth seeing and as with most spots along this coastline, it’s a beautiful place at sunset.

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Getting Here

Directions

Start your hike opposite the bus stop behind the main beach, you’ll see a sign pointing you to ses Fontanelles down a dusty road, this is the road you will follow for the majority of the hike. You can do this trail via car or scooter if you wish but you will have to walk down to the cove and will not be able to get all the way back to the beach without backtracking.

Follow the road into the trees and into an immediate increase in temperature. The dusty heat seems trapped between the pine trees lining the road and not a breath of wind will reach you here. The twisty road feels a long way from civilisation and the crowded beach you left behind.

The road is flat for 20 minutes and then begins to climb via a series of hairpin bends. The ascent is steep but doesn’t continue for long and you’ll soon find yourself back on flat ground atop the hills looking down onto the green valley below.

You’ll pass the occasional private turn off but stick to the main road until you’ve turned back on yourself towards the coast and caught a glimpse of the sea up ahead. The road will then fork at a sign advising no beach access. Take the road to the right and walk until you see hand painted ‘Cova’ signs on trees and rocks pointing you down a dirt track to the left. This road is rugged and leads to a clearing at the edge of the cliff. This is where you’ll need to disembark if you’re driving.

From the cliff edge you’ll see a stunning coastal view out to sea and all the way south to Cala Conta and Sa Conillera Island.

To reach ses Fontanelles and the water below it’s a steep climb down the rough track at the right of the clearing. You’ll soon see ses Fontanelles cave cut into the hillside and protected by a fence. A purple heritage sign declares that you are in the right place, and you’ll need the sign to convince you because it’s hard to see this cave as the slice of history that it is.

Continue down the cliff to swim in the deserted crystal water below and when you’re suitably refreshed climb back up the cliff path to the clearing at the top. Drivers head back the way you came, hikers follow the rough track into the trees left of the clearing, this will take you along the coastline for a short while before joining back up with the paved road. This road will take you along the coast with a gradual descent back to the beach. With more signs of life now you’ll pass beautiful sea view villas and spot boats, swimmers and snorkelers bobbing around in the water below. Follow the road all the way down to its end at the gates of a private villa, just left of the gates take the dirt track through the trees and after a short clamber over some rocks you’re back at beautiful Cala Saldeta beach.

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