But as well as the sunset bars and the beach clubs on bays to the south west, this part of the island also has a few secluded spots that you can only reach if you’re up for a hike.
It also is the home of some of the island’s well-known restaurants, but whether it’s mama’s-style simple paella or world-class cuisine, Ibiza’s south west offers it all. In the small villages inland there are rustic tables where you can dine in the countryside or village squares, or you can sit with your feet in the sand while you dine as the sun goes down. Dinner with a view is on every menu, and much of the coast looks out at the mythical Es Vedra rock, the home of sirens and sunsets.
Set on the Cala Tarida beach just south of San Antonio bay, the Cotton Beach Club is a classic Ibizan resort with chic white furniture and parasols to match. The restaurant faces the sunset and serves seafood and sushi. They also have a glamorous rooftop terrace bar for an even better view, and run a dingy service to shuttle their guests to and from their boats.
Drive down the road that runs between the village of San José (also known locally as Sant Josep de Sa Talaia) and the coast at Cala Tarida and you’ll find the family-run restaurant S’Esparter. The kitchen prepares to quality Balearic food in traditional style and it’s very popular amongst the locals avoiding the busy sunsets on the nearby coast.
On the southernmost stretch of the island you’ll find the famous Blue Marlin Ibiza. Found on the Cala Jondal beach, Blue Marlin offers all day dining and all night dancing with sunbeds for lounging on. The Yemanja is also owned by Blue Marlin and just a little up the stretch of beach. Tables and chairs spill out onto the sand and this family-friendly restaurant is a good alternative for a meal on the Cala Jondal. They serve all the island’s classic cuisine from an idyllic spot by the waves.
Just a short drive inland from San Antonio will reach the village of San José where you’ll find Sa Soca. This authentic Spanish restaurant has belonged to the same family for over 60 years and has been run by four generations. The menu is full of old family recipes, all traditional Ibizan cuisine, and includes incredible slow-cooked lamb shoulder and rabbit stew. Sa Soca is a local gem and the environment here is relaxed and informal.
Back on the coast overlooking the rocky coastline of Cap Negret is Hostal La Torre. The restaurant is on a cliff overlooking the sea and offers spectacular, elevated views of the sunset and live music to enjoy. Stylish and uncomplicated, they let the dramatic scenery entertain you while they prepare tapas, seafood and healthy salads. The hotel is adults only and they make incredible cocktails whilst djs sort the soundtrack to your evening.
The Cala d’Hort is renowned for its unbeatable views of the landmark Es Vedra rock and the El Carmen restaurant on the beach is a great place to dine while you appreciate the view. They serve classic rice dishes and tapas along with wines made on the island. It’s casual beach chic and the scenery is complemented with some of the best seafood in Ibiza. The Es Boldado is next to Cala d’Hort and their peaceful terrace is another famous spot to watch the red sunset sky behind Es Vedra. They serve Mediterranean classics and fresh fish.
The Cala Jondal restaurant and beach club, known as just “Jondal”, is the most popular spot on the beach. Tropicana is also on the Cala Jondal beach and has hammocks for you to sway in and loungers on the sand. This restaurant serves bistro-style food and cocktails and if you want to eat on the sand, they’ll happily set up a table for you.
The famous Sunset Ashram is just outside San Antonio on the Cala Comte. It has unbeatable views and is very popular all year round as a sunset hangout. The atmosphere encapsulates Ibiza’s bohemian reputation and the place has a fun, casual feel. The Ashram was founded on the principle of connection and this carries through to their menu where they promote connection to the island through the ingredients used. The restaurant serves Mediterranean food and spicy, Indian-inspired cuisine.
Just around the bay, Ses Roques is known for its fish dishes and beautiful view. The menu is bursting with Mediterranean flavours, like paella and squid, and even the simplest options are prepared with attention to detail. The location is pretty exceptional and looks out over rocky coastline and blue seas.
The expansive strip of white sand makes Cala Tarida one of the best-known beaches on the island. The kilometre-long beach is formed of three white coves and is great for families because the water stays shallow until you’re quite far out. There are plenty of amenities, lifeguards on duty, and shops where you can buy snorkelling gear. The glitzy Cotton Beach Club is right on the sand if you feel like a cocktail. The beach is accessed down some steep stairs, but in the summer ferries run from San Antonio to Cala Tarida and the beach gets very busy. It has a different feel in the winter months.
The Cala Comte, also known as the Cala Conta, is just on the outskirts of San Antonio and is famous for sunsets. Ferries run to and from the beach in the summer months or the approach through the dunes is a little more challenging. From the sand you can see out over the crystal blue water to the little islands of Es Bosc, Sa Conillera, Ses Bledes and S’Espartar. Resident djs at the Sunset Ashram spin tracks everyday as the sun goes down.
If you walk to the far western side of the Cala Comte you’ll reach some smaller coves including one called Cala Escondido, which is favoured by nudists. There’s a beach shack there that serves healthy lunches.
One of the island’s prettiest beaches, Cala Bassa is a long, crescent-shaped stretch of white sand and blue waters. The crowd is a mix of family, children and sports enthusiasts. The Cala Bassa Beach Club is a great place to experience the island’s famous nightclub scene.
Cala Carbo is a small pebble beach just 10 mins drive from San José. Surrounded by pine trees and decked with umbrellas made from palm leaves, this beach is not as crowded or as commercial as many beaches in this part of the island and so is popular with the local islanders and expats. Although small, it has two beach restaurants serving simple fish dishes and paella – Chiringuito Playa Cala Carbo and La Sardina Loca.
Just to the north of San Antonio is Cala Gracioneta where the El Chiringuito waiters will deliver your meals to the sand. It’s within walking distance of the city centre and just around the corner from a slightly larger beach, Cala Gració. Despite its proximity to the town, the beach feels secluded and the shape of the cove protects it from waves and currents, so it’s a great place to swim and very family friendly.
South of San Antonio, the little pebbly beach Cala Moli is popular with locals living inland in San José. There is a beach club just behind the beach called El Silencio where you can get a drink from the bar or take a dip in the pool. The club has a high-end restaurant but there aren’t any other options for lunch, so bring a picnic. The rocky seabed means the water is clear and good for snorkelling.
Towards the south of the island Cala Vadella is a small beach with plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. It’s nestled in the hills and a good beach for families. There are lots of watersport activities on offer, or you can go for a walk in the forests that surround the beach and then come back to cool off in the clear waters. There is also a dive school nearby. Cala Vadella is a popular anchorage for people wanting to watch the sunset from a boat on the water.
Cala d’Hort is a very popular beach because of its perfect views of the mysterious island of Es Vedra, a limestone rock that juts out of the sea just a few hundred metres out to sea. Sandy on one side and pebbly on the other, this beach is very popular in the summer and frequented by families, locals and tourists. The afternoon breeze tends to pick up the waves, making it a fun spot for a gentle bit of body surfing. There is a small boutique selling designer swimwear and beachwear.
Three beach restaurants compete for clients from the Cala D’hort sand. The highest view is from Es Boldado on the cliffs above the bay – you can climb a rickety wooden staircase to get up there, or reach it from the road that comes to the beach from San José.
Known as the Atlantis of Ibiza, the old sandstone quarry of Sa Pedrera de Cala d’Hort was where the stones that built the watchtowers, homes and walls of Dalt Villa were excavated. While the rocks were being dug out, they left a mysterious-looking formation of tiered, asymmetrical walls that is (accidentally) quite magical. You reach Sa Pedrera along the same road used to access the Torre de Savinar, an old defence tower on a cliff top. It’s a spectacular structure and worth a visit too, if only for the breath-taking view of Es Vedra.
Fancy a trip in a historical nautical vessel? The SAGA sailboat is a classic schooner, originally built in Denmark in 1935. This beautiful ship is still pretty much in her original condition and has a bar, a solarium and comfortable day beds on the deck. You can take SAGA out to see for a full day, a few hours or for a sunset cruise. The crew will be happy to take care of you.
If you want to see the island by bike, then you should look up the Coyma Sunride crew. Started by four friends who had a common love of nature, sport and Ibiza, Coyma Sunride ebikes runs electric mountain bike tours from either San Antonio in the west or Es Figueral in the northeast. The eastern route takes you past some of the island’s best beaches including Cala Conta and Cala Bassa, as well as to hidden caves and historic watchtowers. They also offer routes around the north and east of the island, or inland through organic farms and pine forests. The excursion is about half a day and can be tailored to fitness levels.
The view of Es Vedra is one of the reasons Cala D’Hort is such a popular beach. There are rumours that Es Vedra is one of the most magnetic spots in the world and many people who visit it report feeling the pull of its energy. Whether or not you feel the tug of Es Vedra’s old magic, it is unmistakably a majestic site to see.
Myths claim that the island-rock is inhabited by sirens and sea-nymphs, though it has no human residents. Historically it was a place of worship to the Phoenician goddess of the moon, Tanit, who is the island’s patroness and allegedly sacrifices were made in her honour under the full moon. Yoga classes are held on the main island with a view out over the water to the Es Vedra peak and whether you’re looking for laid back experience of nature or a more intrepid trip out a kayak, Es Vedra is truly worth a pilgrimage, especially at dusk.