Prior to my first trip to the Balearics in 2013, the word Ibiza was more or less synonymous with “bender” in my brain. Based on hearsay and a few sensationalist articles on the subject, I envisioned a hedonistic, adult-oriented playground that only awoke after dark. This isn’t completely inaccurate; clubbing is still big business and it’s perfectly possible to spend an entire vacation here in the throes of a hangover. What struck me though was the number of yoga retreats, spa journeys and restaurants serving raw, organic cuisine. It’s a place of extremes and it approaches detoxing with as much gusto as retoxing.
It wasn’t always this way. As the original 70s and 80s party-goers stuck around and matured, they began searching for slightly saner pastimes, possibly as penance for previous over-indulgences. The majority of the travelers here may be bound for after-dark activities, but an increasingly large number are also coming for holistic pursuits with nary an LED light or DJ in sight.
After spending the better part of this June in Ibiza working on this article, I’ve seen quite a bit of both sides of the island. These are my picks of its more wholesome offerings.
I’ve always been something of a skeptic when it comes to “superfoods,” assuming the label was mostly a marketing ploy to sell goji berries, flaxseeds, pomegranate, quinoa and whatnot. As a result, I had never paid much attention to açaí. To the uninitiated (i.e. me), these highly perishable berries grow in Brazil and supposedly contain vast quantities of antioxidants. Launched in 2014 by Nicholas Andonakis and Marilena Thomadaki, Organic Açaí is the only importer in Ibiza. They supply numerous restaurants with the fruit and were kind enough to drop by our villa to provide a catered breakfast with tangy açaí sorbet, fruit and nuts. You can chalk it up the placebo effect, but I did feel good afterwards despite several glasses of Spanish red the previous evening.
Situated on the road between Santa Gertrudis and San Miquel, this four-century-old finca was one of the best meals of my three trips. It’s a lovely, shady spot, replete with whitewashed walls and classic Ibicenco style. I stopped by the farm grounds for a lunch of pumpkin-feta salad and soy-glazed “black” chicken, but I would imagine the place is even better for dinner. When the sun goes down, fairy lights illuminate the space and the dishes become more elaborate. Everything here is organic and grown either on the farm itself or a few miles up the road. The gift shop errs on the pricey side, but offers pretty, packaged edibles for souvenirs.
Contrary to what most advertising would have you believe, I’m convinced the time to come to Ibiza is in January. Yes, many businesses shut down and Playa d’en Bossa turns into a ghost town, but locals are more laid-back and almond blooms blanket the landscape in white. More importantly, the prices plummet. Atzaró, a gorgeously refurbished agriturismo in a 300-year-old orange grove, has stays for as low as €120—a steal when you factor in the rolling, lushly tended gardens. The resort, which offers yoga retreats, an excellent restaurant with locally sourced produce, and full spa with hammam, is a hefty taxi ride from anywhere, but no one here appears to mind.
One of the few places on Earth a sign like this would make sense.
The setting is pretty perfect.
The entrance to the spa. Reflecting pools are all over the place.