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Hidden beauty uncovered with Walking Ibiza

Discover the island's wild side

Many people coming to Ibiza will have caught a glimpse of the stunning scenery, though many may not go further than seeing the coastline or taking in a bit of countyside whilst whizzing past in a hire car. To know the island deeply is to love it more and what better way to see it than on your own two feet.

Walking Ibiza runs walks all across Ibiza for all levels of difficulty, labelling their routes easy, medium or hard, so whether you are new to walking or a seasoned pro, you have a walk just for you. The walks are all tried and tested personally by the founder, Toby who started the organisation after doing a round the island tour with just €1 in his pocket and his dog Cosmo as company. On the way he asked for food and drink for his dog explaining his mission and found much generosity on the way. The experience had a profound effect on Toby, deepening his knowledge of the island and giving him the mission of sharing its beauty with others.

You can book a private walk for a group of people and choose from one of the 20 routes created by Walking Ibiza. The other option is to go on one of the Community Walks that are held each week, the “Classic” and one called “Short and Sweet”, which is literally a short walk with cake at the end. Get it? Guides give the walks in English, though you can request a private walk in Spanish French and German too.


Ancient and modern

Ibiza is an incredibly pretty place to see on foot. There are many treasures by the coast such as hidden or hippie caves, secret coves, lots of small beaches and dramatic cliff faces and disused quarries. Then there is the interior of the island, the campo, or countryside where you can see old stone wall terracing, ancient Moorish or Phoenician settlements, modern wonders like "Ibiza Henge", irrigation canals, also left by the Arabs as well as thick pine forests, almond and carob trees, flowing springs and enchanting bougainvillea-clad houses.

I went to join Walking Ibiza on one of their Community Walks to experience them first hand. Arriving at the meeting point at a beach bar in Santa Eulalia, it was great to see such a mixed bunch of people of all ages. We set off with Toby at the helm explaining things on the way. Our first point of interest was the “lover's bridge” that crosses what was an old river. It's so called because this is the island's own padlock bridge like the original one in Paris. The idea is to leave a locked padlock on the bridge to seal the longevity of your relationship with your partner. One for your romantic side.


Glittering blue sea

We then headed past some lovely white villas before heading up a coastal path deep into forest. Toby pointed out plants and wildlife, explaining all manner of facts about the flora and fauna and the history of the island as we marched on. We were all excited to see the hidden tunnel, created by an entrepreneur who had put up a hotel nearby many years back and wanted easier access to it. Well, the hotel eventually closed down, but the passageway remains and what a cool curiosity it is. We made our way through the semi darkness to get to an incredible view of the sea that simply blew us away, perched right next to sweeping cliffs and overlooking bright glittering blue open water. It's the kind of view that hardly anyone sees, making you feel like you found your own piece of magic.

Then it was back through the tunnel and a trek over forest pathways where we saw a giant turtle made out of rocks and an old abandoned car that seemed to have inexplicably found its way there. As well as offering up interesting facts on the walk, Toby gave us a piece of advice on keeping balance on slopes or tricky surfaces, like loosely gravelled paths. The trick is to make sure your nose is level with your toes. It's the best balancing act ever and I shall be using it from now on.


A hilltop sunset

The walk ended with a trip up a hill to catch the sunset. On the way up, we stopped to look at an old stone lime oven of which there are many on the island. In the past, these were heavily used to make the white paint you see today on Ibicenco-style villas and old churches. We reached quite high up the hill and then settled to watch the deep orange globe in the sky before it disappeared below the horizon. Bidding farewell to the sun and with the walk over, we made our way back down the hill and onto drinks and dinner. As well as seeing some really beautiful scenery, I made a lot of new friends, swapped a lot of stories and generally whiled away some quality hours.

A big bonus of doing a walk with Walking Ibiza is that you know that you will be looked after each step of the way. This is important, especially if you are new to trekking. Now, it's time to dig out those walking shoes and discover more of the White Isle's breathtaking beauty for yourself with Walking Ibiza.

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WORDS | Julian Heathcote PHOTOGRAPHY | Walking Ibiza

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