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Exploring Ibiza - River of Santa Eulalia

Continuing our series on Exploring Ibiza we look at the idyllic but often overlooked river of Santa Eulalia

Santa Eulalia is a pretty, peaceful little town on the east coast of Ibiza. It is home to the only river in the Balearic Islands, which in turn is home to over 150 species of birds. Of these, the vibrant Kingfisher is perhaps the most famous. The river begins in the municipality of San Antonio and large parts of it dry up in the summer. However, the last part which runs into the sea at Santa Eulalia is a wonderful haven of tranquillity and an often undiscovered gem. So, one glorious Ibiza Tuesday, I decided to go for a nice, leisurely stroll and explore!

Arriving in Santa Eulalia, I was surprised to find the little town bustling with a pretty even mix of locals and holiday-makers. If you do arrive in Santa Eulalia by car, whilst theres considerable free parking available, this can be hard to locate in High Season but there are actually plenty of blue bays with people quickly coming and going. €2.35 in the meter gets you 2 hours parking. How reasonable!

Once parked, I headed for the beach and its delightful promenade filled with palm trees, wonderful looking beach bars and smiling, sun-tanned faces. Turning right onto the promenade, I followed it as far as it went then continued along the beach. 50 meters further along the mouth of the river curved charmingly into sight.

The river banks were dotted with pretty little sailing and fishing boats, all white, gleaming and bobbing gently around in the beautifully transparent water. People of all kinds were enjoying a morning stroll. From young families with children to sweethearts and an elderly couple cheerfully throwing bread to a very enthusiastic group of ducks!

Others were reading the regularly placed information stands thoughtfully provided by the local council. I was pleased to find details on everything from the history of the river to its flora and fauna. An elegant bridge allowed me to cross over from the Santa Eulalia side to the Siesta side of the river. Pausing halfway to take in the charming view, I noticed scores of padlocks locked onto the side of the bridge. Curious! It transpired that this is a Spanish custom practised by lovers. The lovers buy a padlock and either engrave it with their names or simply write their names in indelible ink. They then fasten the padlock onto a bridge and leave it there permanently as a symbol of the permanence of the relationship. Kind of like a pre-engagement!

Delighted with this snippet of authentic Spanish culture, I continued my stroll along the wonderfully flat, clean and clear path. The banks were lined with cooling Eucalyptus trees, hibiscus flowers and clean, freshly painted benches. The quiet humming of Dragon-flies could just be heard below the symphony of bird-song and the mildest whisper of a breeze. Butterflies danced around the abundant wild flowers and schools of fish glided by, flashing silver sparkles as the sun hit the water. Ahh Ibiza!

Passing by a couple of ancient looking, marvellously preserved country houses locally known as ‘fincas' I arrived at ‘Pont Vell,' the old Roman bridge. I sat down for a moment and admired the incredibly stoic Roman architecture, still intact after more than 1000 years! Gazing up, in front of me at the top of a hill, the ancient, white, fortified church of Santa Eulalia gazed silently back at me.

I sighed. What a beautiful morning it had turned out to be! I reluctantly turned back and headed for my car, stopping for a quick coffee at Mel's friendly cafe on the promenade. After a large mug of coffee (yes, a mug! Not a small cup!) I felt like the walk had set me up for a wonderfully calm and happy day. I had spent less than €5, including parking and coffee. So, fellow Ibiza explorers, if you want to discover the real Ibiza without making any dent whatsoever in your wallet, head to Santa Eulalia and stroll on! A wonderful outing awaits you!

Quick Facts

What? A walk by the river

Where? Santa Eulalia del Rio

When? All day, every day

Why? Ibiza nature, culture and history, all in one!

Cost? Gloriously free!

Disabled friendly? Yes!

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