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Insider A to Z of Ibiza - A is for Alternative Beaches

New series on Spotlight offering you an inside guide to the island.

Think of an Ibiza beach and images are conjured of endless stretches of white sand, warm crystal-clear, turquoise-tinged waters and what seems like an unlimited choice of beach bar, restaurant and daybed, accompanied by a perfect Balearic soundtrack. But where do the locals go to avoid the crowds? To sample the freshest seafood? To savour the authenticity of a family run chiringuito?

Welcome to a selection of Ibiza's alternative beaches and why we love ‘em. Less popular with tourists, and more frequented by those in the know. Shake off your perceptions and get exploring...

Best Paella - Cala D'Hort

As a stand-alone beach, Cala D'Hort itself holds magical properties. With an unrivalled sea-level view out to the mystical rock of Es Vedra, swimming here can be exciting enough as it is. However, scramble past the fishermen's huts to the right of the beach and up the precarious stairs cut from the cliff and you will find Es Boldado - home to arguably the best paella on the island. A million miles away from the regular tourist restaurants you'll find in the port. And it's open all year round!

Insider Info - Book an outside table and head there for a romantic evening meal at sunset. The mojitos aren't bad either...


Best Fresh Fish - Sa Caleta

Confused about where to get the freshest catch of the day away from your typical Ibiza beach bar? Sa Caleta, a red cliff-lined secluded beach just past the airport on the way to Cala Jondal, attracts a discerning international crowd and is the location of a fabulously understated restaurant which is also open throughout the year. Clear your diary for a few hours and kick back over a lazy lunch. Ask them what's in season and pick a bottle of wine from their extensive Spanish and local wine menu. Then settle in for a few hours and watch the crowds ebb and flow from this stunning shallow beach.

Insider Info - Try the house speciality Café Caleta - a flaming hot coffee, infused with local liqueurs, spices, orange peel and lemon. And beware of the homemade hierbas. If the waiter likes you he will leave a massive bottle of the stuff on your table at the end of your meal!


Best Alternative Music - Babylon Beach

Not actually a beach at all, but a wonderfully warm and laid back chiringuito just past Santa Eulalia on the way to Es Canar. Offering a menu made with organic ingredients from the restaurant's own farm just down the road, the al fresco dining experience is relaxed and welcoming. But what takes us back there again and again, is the eclectic musical pleasures provided by Babylon Beach's bunch of handpicked resident DJs - think reggae, soul, funk and jazz. With the occasional live act thrown in, you'll be thankful of a soundtrack somewhat different to the usual offering of dance music.

Insider Info - Babylon beach is home to Babylonitos, a children's adventure playground made from recycled wood where kids can have their own alternative experience.

Best alternative sunset - Cap D'es Falco

If the Sunset Strip of San Antonio doesn't appeal to you, or you've had your fill of the hordes, then head to Cap D'es Falco near the airport. The journey to get there provides an adventure of its own as you drive through the salt flats of the Ses Salines Natural Park down a dusty old track. But when you turn the final corner, you are met by a stunning unrestricted view out to sea where the sun sets into the water right before your eyes.

Insider Info - The Experimental Beach Bar situated at Cap D'es Falco has a team of highly skilled cocktail waiters on hand to provide you with a sophisticated sundowner. And look out for Salinas' famous flamingoes on the drive down!

Best Pebble Beach - Es Codolar

Sick of getting sand in your sandwich? Well just down the road from previously mentioned Cap D'es Falco, lies Es Codolar - a lengthy stretch of shiny pebbled beach which is infinitely quieter than the neighbouring beaches of Salinas and Es Cavallet, even at the height of the season. Although a little tricky to negotiate at first, get past the pebbles and in to the sea and you'll be greeted by soft, fine white sand and wonderfully clear waters.

Insider Info - Nip into the tiny supermarket on the main road and grab a couple of sandwiches and cold cans of beer. Having a picnic here is a dream - no beach in your bocadillo...


Best Sardines - Cala Martina

If this speciality is your thing, then follow the locals up the east coast of the island to Cala Martina - a wide crescent of slightly wilder beach near Es Canar. Here you will find Restaurante Martina, a chiringuito that has been serviced by the same family for generations and an all year round favourite with the locals. Watch the kite surfers breeze past whilst sampling the ridiculously succulent, fresh and affordable plates of sardines. You won't be disappointed.

Inside Info - Sunday afternoons are when the locals come here in droves. Expect to spend all day here as afternoon turns to night and the big groups of Spanish families slowly get more animated and occasionally burst into flamenco.


So there it is! A short list of alternative options of places to go. But this is a mere starter for ten. Get off that well trodden path and look for those little corners of Ibiza that make the place so special to islanders and visitors alike. More info on all beaches here

In next weeks A to Z Insider's Guide - B is for Boutique Hostal Salinas. Discover why this beautiful hotel is a firm favourite amongst the locals and why their parties are legendary...

WORDS | Leena Sharma

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