Ibiza City(Ciudad de Eivissa)
With around 50,000 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2019), Ibiza, popularly known as Vila, is the largest city on the island and also the official capital. The old town center is divided into three districts: La Marina, Sa Penya and Dalt Vila. Ibiza, Eivissa in Catalan (German also Ibiza-Stadt or Eivissa-Stadt), is the capital of the Spanish Balearic island of Ibiza.
In the port district of La Marina, trade and pleasure are concentrated, just as they are today. One shop follows the other, fashion boutiques and handicraft shops invite you to stroll. In the numerous bars and restaurants, you can rest your tired legs and recharge your batteries. In the evening, the harbor mile becomes a promenade where street performers, musicians and disco entertainers walking on stilts provide a colorful spectacle. In the winter months, however, La Marina treats itself to a break: most shops are closed and you can watch the ships coming and going over coffee in peace and quiet. Directly in front of the port building stands the obelisk erected in 1906 to commemorate the Ibizan corsairs, who for centuries protected the island from enemy pirates and at the same time made rich booty. Antoni Riquer was celebrated as a hero, who brought the English two-master “Felicity” in 1806 to the jubilant applause of the population, who watched from the city wall.
The former fishing district of Sa Penya rises from the marina to the cliff and the city wall. Narrow streets and stairways criss-cross the quarter, which was the poorest in the city and is still in need of rehabilitation in some of the upper parts, where gypsies now live for the most part. In the Calle de la Virgen below, also called Carrer de sa Mare de Deu, the nightlife rages in small bars and funky boutiques. On the city wall behind the round building of the old fish market Sa Peixateria is Lola’s, the island’s first nightclub. The nightlife in Sa Penya is preferred by the gays, who make up the regular audience here.
Dalt Vila, the upper town, is entirely surrounded by the city walls. Well protected, the citizens built their city palaces here. The Moors had already equipped their city with a defensive wall and 30 watchtowers. It divided the upper city into four quarters, which any invaders had to conquer one by one until they reached the hilltop palace and mosque. Some remains of this old fortification are still in good condition and some are inhabited, as can be seen in the Plaza de Vila, for example. However, today’s imposing fortress wall dates from the 16th century and is the work of the Italian master builder Giovanni Battista Calvi and his successor Jacobo Paleazo Fratín. The newly emerging artillery, which fitted the ships with cannons, had made a more powerful fortification necessary. In addition, seven bulwarks were built, making the city practically impregnable: the Baluard de Sant Joan guards the two city gates facing the port, then follow clockwise the Baluard de Santa Llucía, which dominates the Sa Penya district and hosts the jazz festival in summer takes place, the Baluard de Santa Tecla below the cathedral, the Baluard de Sant Bernat, Baluard de Sant Jordi and Baluard de Sant Jaume on the back of the castle and finally the Baluard Portal Nou above the western city gate of the same name. A tour of the top of the city wall provides magnificent views over the nested houses of the lower town and the port, over the new districts far into the country and over the sea to Formentera.
From the marina you enter the upper town through the Portal de ses Taules, which was originally called Puerta del Mar. Opposite the old Es Mercat Vell fruit and vegetable market, the ramp begins, whose new drawbridge, installed in 1989, conveys medieval flair. The headless Roman statues on the left and right are also replicas; the precious originals of the goddess Juno and an unnamed Roman general are in the museum next to the cathedral. The old armory with its imposing colonnade is located directly behind the large city gate. And there we are in the Plaza de Vila, surrounded by boutiques, art galleries, bars and restaurants. At the end of the square a short street goes up steeply on the right and then steeply down again on the left to the second northern city gate Puerta del Palomar, the only one through which you can drive by car. However, this is only permitted to residents of Dalt Vila. The Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu d’Art Contemporani) is also located at the top right, practically above the fortified yard, and is always worth a visit.
Straight beyond the Plaza de Vila, the narrow Carrer de Santa Creu leads on to the smaller Plaza del Sol and the third and final city gate, Portal Nou, whose tunnel-like passage gives a sense of how thick the city walls are. Outside the wall next to the Portal Nou is the Plaza de Reina Sofía, where many open-air concerts take place in the summer, especially in August. From here it is only a short hop to the necropolis on the Puig des Molins hill, where the Carthaginians and later the Romans buried their dead in underground tombs. Unfortunately, the museum on the Vía Romana is still closed for renovations, but you can visit some grave sites on the site. The necropolis, in which around 4,000 burial chambers are believed to be, is considered one of the most important testimonies to Phoenician culture worldwide.
A wide staircase leads further up from the Plaza del Sol. At the top of the city wall you can reach the cathedral. But many roads lead to the top of the hill and we want to explore other attractions of Dalt Vila. Turning left after the armory, away from the Plaza de Vila, takes you down Carrer Sa Carrossa to the 17th-century baroque church of Santo Domingo. It is part of the former Dominican monastery, which has housed the Mayor’s Office of Ibiza Town since 1838. The main entrance is in Plaza España, where there is also the monument to the Catalan general Guillerm de Montgrí, who defeated the Moors.
A legend tells how he did it. Related to this is the small Capella de Sant Ciriac, which we get to if we continue climbing along Pere Tur and Joan Román streets, past the Old Seminary, now housing luxury apartments. Below the statue of Saint Cyriacus (directly at the beginning of the street of the same name, after an ice cream stand) you can see the upper edge of an opening in the wall. There is said to have been a secret tunnel through the Arabic city wall in ancient times, known only to the Emir’s family. In August 1235, Guillerm de Montgrí camped with his army in Es Soto in front of the city wall, which he could not take despite repeated attacks. Now the Emir had taken his brother’s favorite wife away. To take revenge, the brother opened the secret gate to the Christians. Careful with love, especially in times of war.
One last steep ascent through the Carrer Major has to be conquered, then you are on the square in front of the cathedral. It was built in the period from the 14th to the 16th century in the sober Catalan Gothic style on the foundations of the mosque and dedicated to the Holy Mary of the Snows (Santa María de las Nieves), because this Marian holiday (5 August) coincides with the day of the conquest ( August 8) was closest. Both days are particularly lavishly celebrated in Ibiza. To the left of the cathedral, the Archaeological Museum was housed in the buildings of the former university administration body and two adjoining chapels. To the right of the cathedral is the castle, Es Castell, which looks somewhat dilapidated because there has always been a lack of money for restoration. Now a new purpose has been found for the former seat of the royal governor: Es Castell has been affiliated with the state-run Parador chain, which sets up luxury hotels in historical buildings. The renovation has already started. There are fantastic views across the sea from the bulwarks and ramparts behind the cathedral. A tunnel leads through the city walls to Es Soto, where a parking lot has been set up for tourist buses and the cars of visitors who shy away from the somewhat arduous climb through the old town.
Dalt Vila and the necropolis on the Puig des Molins have been part of the UNESCO World Heritage since December 1999.
So that you can enjoy the sights in peace and don’t get lost in the tangle of narrow old town streets, there is a city map with detailed explanations in German at the tourist office (Oficina de Turismo – in the harbor opposite the obelisk). It is advisable to check there the opening hours of the museums and the cathedral, which often change.
The New Town
It was not until 1898 that Ibiza Town expanded further beyond the border wall of the old town quarters, which ran from the Puerta del Palomar city gate to the port. The Teatro Pereira (Carrer Conde Rosselló) was inaugurated, with plush red armchairs and variety shows that women were forbidden to attend. It was later converted into a cinema and today the Dutchman Jan Erik has set up a jazz bar in the former spacious foyer, whose midnight live music draws crowds in droves. 1904 was solemnly in the presence of King Alfonso XII on a nearby free-standing poplar avenue. a monument dedicated to General Joaquín Vara de Rey i Rubió, who died in the Cuban War. The US had declared war on Spain; with the defeat, Spain lost its last overseas colony. Between 1913 and 1935, houses in the Spanish colonial style were built around the avenue. Today the square, called Vara de Rey for short, is the center of the city. News is exchanged in the terrace cafés and many a deal is initiated and concluded. The Montesol in particular, the oldest hotel in town, draws on its old charm. Caroline of Monaco, Orson Welles and Pink Floyd are said to have sat on his chairs. But time demands its victims and the increasing traffic drives the idlers more and more to the adjacent Plaza del Parque. There you are safe from traffic and the numerous new cafes and bars do not need to worry about customers. From the Vara de Rey, the new town spread out with increasing speed. Three main arteries connect the square with the inland: the Avenida Santa Eulalia runs along the port towards Santa Eulalia, the Avenida Ignacio Wallis to San Antonio and the Avenida España is a one-way street going into the city with San José and the airport; the parallel street Isidoro Macabich leads out of town in the same direction. The bus stop and the post office are also on the latter. In between there are numerous small one-way streets with countless shops where you can find everything from noble, expensive fashion brands to the cheapest Chinese shops. In contrast to the old town quarters, where the shops close in winter, the new town is buzzing with life all year round.
Around the port
Strolling along the harbor quay you can admire ships of all sizes, from small Ibizan fishing boats, the llaüds, to ocean-going yachts equipped with the latest technology. The commercial and passenger ships from the mainland are currently still docking in the La Marina district, but in the foreseeable future they are to be relocated to the new harbor pier next to the Botafoch lighthouse, which greets from the opposite side of the harbor basin. The Marina Ibiza Nueva with the Club Náutico, which was installed in 1925, connects to the landing stage for the ferries to Formentera. Small boats, mainly Ibizan owners, rock on the water. After a short, somewhat tedious stretch, where the goods containers are loaded, we come to the Paseo Juan Carlos I. First the casino was built here in the 80s and then a whole series of pubs and bars that became famous in Ibiza’s nightlife such as El Divino, Keeper etc. In the casino, one-armed bandits, roulette and blackjack await those who want to try their luck. The extension to the 5-star Gran Hotel Sal Ibiza is brand new. The well-known discotheque Pacha, which opened in 1973, is located on the parallel street behind it, Avenida 8 de Agosto. The Paseo Juan Carlos I ends in the new sports harbor Marina Botafoch, where the most expensive yachts are moored. From here, where numerous restaurants, bars and boutiques have settled, you have a fantastic view of the old town. In recent years, the paseo has been expanded to include the centuries-old Far des Botafoch lighthouse and the new pier for the cruise ships. It is no longer evident that the path leads over two islands, the Illa Plana and the Illa Grossa. In Phoenician times there was a Tanit temple on the Illa Plana, in the Middle Ages it served as a quarantine station in times of the plague.
Beyond the streets that wind around the harbor opposite the old town, you can see a forest of reeds towering up. There lies the wetland of Ses Feixes. The Moors once drained the area with an intricate system of canals to create vegetable gardens to supply the townspeople. Each garden had its own free standing entrance gate; some of these typical brick gates that look like a square horseshoe are still preserved. Today, ecologists, who would like to protect the area completely because of its historical past and because of the high number of bird species nesting here, are arguing with the landowners, who care more about the real estate price of expensive city land. A walk through the Feixes is most beautiful in the area behind Avenida 8 de Agosto.
At the end of Avenida 8 de Agosto you stand on the fine white sand in front of the Bar Flotante. On the back of the Illa Grossa behind the harbor basin, just a few meters from the Marina Botafoch, the nice Talamanca beach swings in a semicircle around the bay. The shallow water is extremely child-friendly and although a whole tourist district with hotels, apartments, restaurants and shops has developed here, as on almost all the larger sandy beaches on the island, it is much quieter than in Ses Figueretes or Playa d’en Bossa. Although most of Talamanca is already part of the municipality of Santa Eulalia, we wanted to rank the beach under Ibiza Town because of its proximity to town and accessibility (both bus and water taxi services run across to the centre). Behind Talamanca rises Cap Martinet, where many celebrities move into their summer villas.
At the other end of Ibiza town to the west is the district of Ses Figueretes. A few meters from the end of Avenida España you reach the pretty beach promenade. The city hotels, which are only open in summer, are stacked here with the associated restaurants. The whole district was created in the boom of the first wave of tourism. The beach, which is quite small for the many hotels, is overcrowded in the high season; the city center is easily accessible on foot.
Belongs to the municipality of San Josef but is right next to Ibiza town. Longest sandy beach on the island with many hotels, restaurants, amusements, nightclubs and small and one large discotheque. The legendary disco “Space Ibiza” with day and night events. Highlight “We love…” Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to Monday morning 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Playa d’en Bossa
Behind Es Viver begins the fine white sand of Playa d’en Bossa, the longest beach on the island, and the border with the municipality of Sant Josep. For a long time, Playa d’en Bossa was considered Ibiza’s most beautiful beach; now the islanders leave the bathing fun in the shallow water behind the almost complete hotel chain to the vacationers who like it lively. The numerous planes that approach the nearby airport over Playa d’en Bossa are perceived as annoying. On some parts of the beach, such as Bora Bora Disco Beach, the droning music drowns out the aircraft noise.
In the area between the usual restaurants, bars and shops there are also a few discotheques, including the former Space, today Hii, which as a daytime disco caused a sensation among those who wanted to dance Ibiza’s nightlife 24 hours in a row. Right next to it is the Aguamar, another amusement park with water slides
At the very end of the beach, on the edge of the Ses Salines nature reserve, rises the Torre de la Sal Rossa, one of the oldest on the island. In the Middle Ages, watchmen kept a lookout for pirates to warn the salt workers with smoke signals in the event of imminent danger.
Small district near Ibiza Town. On a hill between the fortress of Dalt Vila with its cathedral and Figueretas