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Things Americans traveling to Ibiza should know

Planning to make the journey across the pond to Ibiza soon? Here are some things you should know to help prepare you for your trip.

As an American, the opportunity to travel to the mystical island of Ibiza seems to come few times in a lifetime. The trek across the Atlantic is a long one and it isn't exactly cheap either. Because of this, we as Americans tend to have this idea, this picture of what the White Isle is supposed to be like: beaching all day, boozing all night and possibly hanging out with Avicii at some point to tell him how cool you are.

However, when you actually make your way to the island you might find yourself surprised by just how different everything is from what you've envisioned. Contrary to what Mike Posner might have you believe, the island isn't just popping bottles and hanging with Swedish DJs - although those things can and definitely do happen.

So whether you're a student studying abroad in Italy, a couple backpacking through Europe or just an electronic music junkie looking to get your first taste of the White Isle, here are some things you should know about Ibiza if you're from the United States.


The island isn't all uhn tiss uhn tiss

Let's start by clearing the air with the most popular misconception of the island that it's nothing but non-stop parties. Don't get me wrong. There is a plethora, and I mean a plethora of parties on the island that can turn your Ibiza experience into a 24/7 dance marathon, but there is much more to the island than just that.

The island has an extensive history rooted in the hippy culture that dates back to the flower power movement of the 1960s. To this day, if you know where to look you can find traces of it. For example, take a walk off the unbeaten path while taking in the views at Es Vedrà and you might discover some of those remnants in little caves.

If historical sites tickle your fancy, then exploring Dalt Vila is a must. Located in Ibiza Town, the fortressed walls of Ibiza's Old Town contain a maze of restaurants, bars and monuments that will keep you on your toes with amazement. On top of this, the high levels of the fortress provide unrivalled panoramic views of the island.

Finally, if you're planning to spend your days hungover under the sun, then you may want to spend your time seeking out the various hidden beaches around the island. Ibiza is known for its pristine beaches but you won't find them hanging around your hotel in Playa d'en Bossa or San Antonio. The picturesque shores are a cab and half away from the bustling parts of the island, quiet and quaint for those who don't want to deal with the drunk masses. This brings me to the next thing you should know…


Ibiza is family friendly

For a destination that is often compared to the US's own Las Vegas, Ibiza is a bit more family friendly than you would think. Families from all over Europe constantly make their way over to the island for a much-needed vacation. While Sin City has its own fair share of attractions to keep children entertained throughout their stay, everyone knows that you're not really experiencing Vegas until you're 21. It's a bit different here in Ibiza, where the legal drinking age is 18. So while families may be here to relax, don't be surprised to see some antsy youngsters getting down with their parents. However, the age gap isn't the only discrepancy you'll find when comparing the clubbing scenes, which brings me to my next point.


Dress code? There hardly is any

Perhaps one of the most disparate differences I noticed when I first started clubbing in Ibiza was the dress code, or lack thereof. While it's almost unheard of to get into the major clubs in Las Vegas, Miami or NYC without dressing up to a certain degree, the rules in Ibiza are much more relaxed, the only exception being if you're going as VIP.

It makes sense when you really think about it: an island in the middle of the Mediterranean expectedly gets scorching hot and the people who go out, go out to dance, not sit and look pretty – okay, some people are here to do that. Men, ditch the pants and fancy button-ups and go with some garish, loose fitting Hawaiians or cut-off shirts instead. Ladies, I really can't speak on your behalf, as long it's comfortable and makes you feel good go for it. I will, however, definitely recommend scrapping the heels for flats or sneakers that you'll be capable of dancing in all night.


Ubers aren't a thing

This one may go without saying, but with Uber's massive global expansion in recent years we almost expect to be able to get a ride at the push of a button anywhere we go. That's not the case here on Ibiza so get ready to travel back in time and start hailing some taxis, or if you're on a budget, planning your bus routes.

Fortunately, the buses go to the major areas and clubs of interest quite frequently so you won't have to depend on paying for a cab all the time. The only downfall is that you may spend more time travelling than you anticipate. That time spent getting around the island may be a drag and if it is then you may want to…


Explore by car, vespa or buggy

If you really want to see the island and all its beautiful aforementioned places in style and on your own terms, then you're better off renting your own mode of transportation for a few days. Many of those hidden beaches and secret views are either too difficult or just flat out expensive to get to by bus or taxi.

Renting out your own car, quad, buggy or whatever will not only give you the freedom to explore the island in its entirety, it'll give you an exhilarating thrill while you're at it. If you're not sure where you'd explore, then you can go on a number of different guided tours, each with their own unique mode of transport, that'll take you to the island's hotspots as well.


Check out some tech

You might have heard, but the electronic music scene in Ibiza isn't exactly similar to its American counterpart. While the US scene is ruled by a combination of big room, trap, progressive house and others of the sorts – mainstream music which you will learn Europeans collectively call EDM – tech is really hot on Ibiza right now. Whether its techno or tech house or some combination in between, some of the hottest parties on Ibiza are the ones with music that we Americans would consider underground.

Don't get me wrong, you'll have an extraordinary time watching Martin Garrix or Kygo throw down at Ushuaïa impressive structure during the day, but if you really want to see what the hype around Ibiza is about then you'll make your way over to Amnesia for Music On, Cocoon and elrow or to Afterlife at Privilege for a club chock full of grooving people until the sun rises. Check out the full party calendar to see for yourselves. Having said this, while these nights are some of the techno favourites on the island it's worth your while to…


Look beyond the obvious

What do I mean when I say this? I mean, look for the parties you've never heard of, at the venues you don't know, with the DJs you're unfamiliar with. You'll often find yourself pleasantly surprised with what you find. Events like WooMooN at restaurant/club Cova Santa will often fly under the radar to those who aren't familiar with the island but it's one that will provide a mental, physical and spiritual experience that will go beyond dancing till your calves cramp up.

If you're really in the know then you'll be able to find more intimate parties on rooftops or smaller lounges held by companies like Mixmag or Boiler Room. Finding these parties often take more effort, but that's all apart of the exclusivity that follows the White Isle experience.


Take the Time to Meet Everyone

The last piece of advice that I can impart on you is to meet everyone and anyone. Whether you're travelling with friends or travelling alone, it isn't difficult to make friends here as everyone is quite amiable. Ibiza is full of interesting people from interesting places, so you never know who you may run into or what kind of shenanigans they may lead you to afterwards. Going off script from your itinerary after meeting new people is all part of the fun of being in Ibiza and it will make your experience all the more unforgettable.

Spoil yourself at one of Ibiza's top restaurants

Restaurante Bambuddha

Restaurante Bambuddha

Santa Gertrudis
Restaurante Cova Santa

Restaurante Cova Santa

San José, Ibiza
Las Dos Lunas

Las Dos Lunas

San Rafael