Sant Josep de sa Talaia
The municipality of San José is the largest on the island in terms of area. It occupies the entire south-western part and stretches from Playa d’en Bossa, where it borders with Ibiza Town, to the south side of San Antonio Bay. Two chains of hills that merge into one another determine the landscape: the Serra Grossa and the Serrra de Sant Josep. The town itself lies at the foot of Ibiza’s highest mountain: the Talaia de Sant Josep reaches 475 m. To climb the mountain, you drive a short distance from the town in the direction of Cala d’Hort/Cala Vedella; you have to be careful not to miss the small sign on the left that points the way up. On the summit you will find a rustic picnic area next to the antenna tower.
The town of San José is relatively small compared to Ibiza’s other main towns – with the exception of San Juan which lives a secluded, dreamy life far up north. Since Ibiza’s tourists come mainly for the sun and sand, there are no large hotel developments in the inland villages. The core of San José is grouped around the thoroughfare from Ibiza Town to San Antonio. Here you will find most of the shops, cafes and restaurants, the mayor’s office, the police and the beautiful fortified church, which was completed in 1731. The altarpiece of Saint Joseph is worth seeing. Painted in 1735 by the Mallorcan Pere Bosch, the original was destroyed in the Spanish Civil War; a reproduction from 1958 can be seen. In summer, folklore performances take place regularly on the square in front of the church.
Around San José you can go on wonderful hikes, for example to the small chapel on the Puig d’en Serra, which a soldier who was grateful for his happy return built built and to which a procession leads once a year (from San José on the main road towards Ibiza , after the petrol station turn left in the sharp curve towards Benimussa).
A little further towards Ibiza at the junction to Sa Caleta is the Cova Santa, the Holy Cave. It is a small stalactite cave that was discovered in the 15th century. A hermit is said to have miraculously lived in the cave for a long time and fed exclusively on the water available. However, the cave also served as a shelter for pirates. Now, next to the Cova Santa, there is a nightclub with restaurant service, which became famous for its flamenco shows.
The Phoenician-Roman country estate of Ses Païsses de Cala d’Hort can be reached on the road between Es Cubells and Cala Vedella (pay attention to the signs). The property existed between the 5th century BC. to the 8th century AD. and was used by Phoenicians, Romans and Byzantines. The foundation walls of the residential and farm buildings as well as several burial chambers are clearly visible.
From here it is not far to the old defense tower Torre des Savinar, which guards the southwest of Ibiza above Cala d’Hort. The view of the opposite rocky island of Es Vedrà, which rises 382m steeply out of the water, is downright breathtaking. Some compare it to a cathedral in the sea, others see the head of a dragon in it and the dragon’s tail in the neighboring smaller sister island of Es Vedranell. Many myths surround Es Vedrà; sometimes there is talk of Marian apparitions, sometimes of UFOs. Whether magic or magnetism, the rock is attractive. The practical Ibizans use the escape-proof area as a hoard for their goats.
Sant Jordi de ses Salines
Sant Jordi used to be the gateway to the thriving salt industry and home to many salt workers. Today the village on the through road to the airport presents itself with many ugly new buildings. Nevertheless, it is worth a visit. In the side streets you will find the beautiful fortified church with battlements and loopholes, which is one of the oldest on the island. Horse races are still held in the hippodrome on Sundays; On Saturday mornings, a large, colorful flea market unfolds on the square.
Sant Francesc de s’Estany
Just past Sant Jordi towards Salinas/Sa Canal is the tiny village of San Francisco. The little white church against the background of the salt pans is always worth a photo. There have long been plans to set up an administrative and information center for the natural park of the salt flats in the outbuildings, which starts here, but Ibiza’s mills grind slowly. The airport greets you from afar.
The 130 salt fields of Ibiza’s oldest industry stretch behind San Francisco for around 500 hectares to the west, south and east to the sea. In between, Es Falcó hill rises to the west and Puig des Corb Marí to the east. The whole area has been under nature protection since 1995. Many birds nest here, including herons and hawks. In winter, hundreds of flamingos stop in front of Cap des Falcó for weeks. The salt pans are of natural origin: the water penetrated the ground from below, evaporated and left the salt behind. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Catalans and Castilians continued to expand the salt fields with basins and sea locks for flooding with water and became rich with the “white gold”. The salt is still extracted today and piled up in high mountains to dry before it is loaded onto ships in Sa Canal. Most of it goes to Holland and Denmark, where deep-sea fishermen use it to salt their fish.
Sa Canal and La Revista
The two small towns were built as accommodation for the administrative officials next to the loading ramps for the salt from the salt pans. The houses have since passed into private hands. La Revista in the east at the beginning of the long sandy beach of Es Cavallet (see San José Beaches) leads a dreamy life – there is no longer a dock for the salt ships. They do, and rarely, dock further west at Sa Canal, which lies at the end of popular Salinas Beach (see San José Beaches).
Es Cubells is located in the south of San José directly on the cliffs. The quiet village grew up next to the Carmelite monastery founded in the 19th century by the mystic Francisco Palau. In recent years, seminars of all denominations have been held in the monastery, including by Buddhist lamas. Also worth seeing is the small church in town and above all the fantastic view over the sea to Formentera.
Sant Augusti of Vedra
A church, a bar, a restaurant, a grocery store and a gallery – San Agustín on a small hill on the road from San José to San Antonio has remained a quiet Ibizan village where foreigners have left their mark. Germans founded the Can Blau primary school here, which was converted into a music school a few years ago. Once a year, San Agustín comes alive: the patronal festival on August 28th is one of the most beautiful on the island.
Platja d’en Bossa
With almost 3km the longest beach on the island. The municipal boundary between Ibiza Town and San José runs between the Hotel Algarb and the Club Garbí.
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.