What to do on Ibiza when you’re on a retreat
Ibiza is a magical island packed with good energy, and the quieter northern area is home to many nourishing wellbeing retreats. We asked My Island Retreats founder and former Ibiza super-fixer Erin Knowles to share her little black book of places to go and things to do when you’re on the glorious White Isle – before, after and during your retreat.
San Juan Market – drive up to San Juan on a Sunday to visit this picturesque Ibicencan village with it’s own artisan market. Check out Dutch owned Los Otros for people watching on their spacious, sunny terrace. Or grab a delicious falafel and sit outside the church where you can hear the sound of the live bands drifting up from the square.
Las Dalias – Ibiza’s legendary hippy market Las Dalias has been running since 1954 in the same venue on the main road into San Carlos from Santa Eulalia. There are hundreds of colourful stalls packed full of amazing clothes, shoes, jewellery, toys and homeware. It’s a must visit for a Saturday afternoon, and you can stay into the evening for food and live tunes.
Cala Conte – a beautiful West-coast beach blessed by the best sunsets on the island. Wander along the coast towards the South to see crazy rock formations and Es Vedra in the distance.
Benirras – head to this much loved ‘hippy’ beach on a Sunday early evening to hear the drummers who gather here every week for sunset. Wild Beets run their own juice and smoothie bar here in season.
Aguas Blancas – an unspoilt East coast beach with the softest sand and shallowest water. It’s a steep walk down and the cliffs mean that it’s best to go earlier in the day so you don’t lose the sun.
- Boutique Shops
Es Cucons – a dangerously brilliant little boutique in the heart of Santa Gertrudis village selling women’s and men’s clothes, incredible rustic home-ware and kids’ toys.
Galleria Elefante – a treasure trove gift shop selling everything from hammocks to clothes to coffee table books. Watch out for the pink elephant sign as you drive from Santa Gertrudis down to Ibiza Town.
Sluiz – a large warehouse filled with the weird and wonderful objects such as fluorescently painted urns for your garden, cushions with crazy prints and giant animal statues. There’s a lovely open-air restaurant to stop for a coffee or lunch. Watch out for the signs next to each car-parking space which says things like ‘Strippers only’.
Heavens Gate, Santa Agnes – a stunning walk from the village of Santa Agnes (even more special in Feb and March when the almond blossom are in season) up to and along the cliff-side ending up at a spot called ‘Heaven’s Gate’ with epic views down to the sea.
Cala Xaraca – this walk will take you over the headland next to Cala Xaraca. Then down a little winding tree-lined slope to a flat ledge next to some Fisher-man’s huts where you can take in the beautiful sea-view. A friendly Octopus lives here.
Ibiza is full of brilliant healers and wellbeing practitioners who can all come to wherever you are staying to treat you. My favourites include Abby Dixon (tel + 44 7786 062023), for her Siddha Kundalini Crystal healing sessions, which allow you to purify mental, physical and emotional aspects that have become stuck; Kim Lewis (tel + 34 686 515 913), a veteran masseuse who has been practising for over 20 years; Marion Stone (tel + 34 648 715 383), who offers the most beautiful of bespoke facials with energetic work; and Emmanuel Passes (tel + 34 603 357 964) who offers dreamy craniosacral treatments for a deep release of the nervous system.
- Healthy Restaurants
Can Guimo – this simple little gem sits on the side of the San Juan Road (known as Restaurant road.) Run by the lovely Esteban they serve up the most delicious Vegetarian (and Vegan) treats such as empanadas, quiche and carrot cake.
Wild Beets – a Vegan restaurant in Santa Gertrudis with a cosy wood burner for the colder months. You can order literally anything on the menu you will be pleasantly surprised be the beautiful presentation and deliciousness. They make healthy food feel naughty.
La Paloma – one of the sweetest spots and most loved spots on the island. Enjoy colourful, healthy, home-cooked food in their gardens with views of the fields and vegetable patches. Super romantic so a nice escape for couples.
If you want to arrive before your retreat or stay on longer, there are some wonderful options.
Atzaro – the original Agrotourismo where you are surrounded by tropical gardens and Mediterr-Asian splendour. There’s an incredible Spa (have a massage with Santi.)
Can a Xica – a beautiful Agrotourismo in the San Miguel campo with white washed LA style bungalows set round a long pool lined with trees. Spa on-site.
Gatzara– this hotel is right in the middle of Santa Gertrudis village so it’s perfect if you want to be close to everything and enjoy browsing the boutiques and some nice meals in the local restaurants, all walking distance away.
- Packing Tips
Bring slippers – Ibiza’s tiled floors mean feet can get cold even in warmer months. Pack light – stick to comfy clothes and leave jeans and heels behind. Bring your swimwear, whatever the month – an off-season dip at the end of a hike can be an absolute delight! Bring a notepad – having time to journal is such a wonderful part of being away from home with time on your hands.
- Car Hire
Hiring a car off-season works out cheaper than taxis each and means you are free to explore the island. Click Rent are by far the friendliest and most efficient company on the island, while MotoLuis offers pick-ups and drop-offs directly at the airport and not a shuttle ride away.
More on My Island Retreats
Erin Knowles is the founder of My Island Retreats, which bring together some of the world’s best wellbeing talent to take guests on a healing journey with yoga, treatments, hiking, kayaking, stargazing and time spent in beautiful gardens. Join one of her retreats to find inner peace and relaxation and enjoy the gorgeous base of Can Almaria, a stunning villa sleeping up to 12 guests in six bedrooms with mature gardens, citrus groves, two swimming pools, a Mongolian yurt, sailed yoga deck, tennis court and fire pit. Read our reviewer’s full report or personal journey, visit My Island Retreats website or contact Erin (pictured below) directly.