To many people the island of Ibiza is famous for its club scene and summer parties, but Ibiza is so much more than just a party island! In fact, there are only a handful of the well-known ‘mega clubs’ on the island, and the main party season only runs from late June till mid-September. The ‘real’ Ibiza offers a tranquil island getaway that is available all year round even if you wish to visit during the summer season as all you need to do is stay outside of San Antonio or Playa d’en Bossa.
The island has worked hard to attract a more sophisticated clientele, and to be a year-round destination instead of depending on the summer party/club season. To assist this in 2007 a bill was introduced that every new hotel built had to be a five-star property. This was brought about to help move the tourist trade away from the cheap £30 a night bed & breakfast format that the island had succumbed to in the past. In addition, improvements have been made such as the yacht marina being modernised and enlarged, the change from sprawling concrete hotels to small boutique hotels and villa rentals, and the introduction of expensive designer stores and fine dining establishments to the streets of Ibiza Town.
So as you can see there is so much more to the island of Ibiza than just parties and nightclubs, and here are ten facts that you may not have known about Ibiza:
Ibiza isn’t an island at all – although Ibiza is referred to as a Balearic island in actuality it isn’t really an island so much as a formation of ancient mountain tops. Millions of years ago, the Mediterranean basin was flooded by the Atlantic, creating the modern Mediterranean Sea, and leaving what are now the Balearic, including Ibiza, Islands poking out of the surface!
Ibiza was first called ‘ibozzim’ – the Phoenician settlers who founded Ibiza in 654BC originally named the island ‘Ibozzim’, they dedicated the island to Bes, the god of music and dance.
Ibiza is a UNESCO world heritage site and therefore is the perfect destination for those who appreciate natural beauty and heritage. It has an abundance of absolutely stunning beaches and small bays and also a myriad of hiking trails for those who lie to explore off the beaten track. In 1999, UNESCO declared Ibiza’s biodiversity and culture a World Heritage Site to recognise the islands’ outstanding natural beauty and remarkable historical landmarks which include Dalt Vila, Ibiza Town’s Old City, the Posidonia of Ses Salines Natural Park, the Phoenician settlement of Sa Caleta, and the cemetery of Puig des Molins. Many of these ancient sites date back to the various groups of settlers who inhabited the island over the centuries, particularly the Phoenicians, who founded the first settlement on Ibiza in 654BC.
Ibiza has its own language – Ibiza is one of the Balearic Islands, which also include Mallorca, Menorca, and Formentera. Ibiza is also part of the Pityusic Islands together with its little sister island Formentera and the tiny nearby island S’Espalmador. In all the Balearic Islands the native people speak both Spanish and Catalan, but in the three Pityusic Islands they have their own dialect called Eivissenc. This regional language is a dialect of Catalan and together with Spanish, is the official language of Ibiza and Formentera.
Ibiza produces its own wine – this is a little-known fact about the island, but Ibiza is home to several vineyards and wine producers. The grapes that are grown in Ibiza are ganache and mourverdre which are used in the making of red wine, and Malvasia for producing white wine. Sant Mateu, Sant Josep and Buscatell are the villages where you find the vineyards and they welcome visitors to these vineyards. Sampling is a must are these Balearic wines are well known for their excellent quality among wine connoisseurs.
The soil in Ibiza is orange – due to the tannin in the pine needles that fall from the island’s many pine trees, the soil in Ibiza is of an orange colour. When the pine trees drop their needles they release tannin into the soil and combined with the high iron oxide content this creates the distinctive colour of the Ibiza landscape.
Ibiza has its own drink Hierbas – this is an aniseed-flavoured liqueur made from herb and plant extracts grown across the island. It was developed and first used by monks living on the island in the middle ages as they were cultivating wild herbs and alcohol for medicinal use. It was not until the late 1800s that Hierbas was formally produced as a drink using techniques obtained from travellers to the mainland of Spain.
Ibiza has its own breed of dog – the Ibizan hound or Podenco Ibicenco which is similar to a greyhound.
The Salt Flats is one of Ibiza’s most famous landmarks – they are located on the most southerly tip of the island and have been use for over 2000 years. As the water evaporates during the hot summer months, a sparkling layer of pure salt is left on the bottom of the lakes. One of the most beautiful spots for sunset photos.
There is no water running through Ibiza – there is an underground river, but none that can be seen. This is the reason that the island does not sustain much life except for lizards and goats who have adapted to the roughage. An interesting fact about the animals living on the island is that it is a safe-haven and there are no animals on the island of Ibiza that can hurt you.