Long regarded as the ultimate party island, Ibiza has
alternative appeal – rugged coastal walking paths, picturesque pine woods and
quiet sandy beaches make for a thoroughly relaxing retreat.
The sleepy village of Sant Carles de Peralta sits on the main road north of
Santa Eulària on the east coast. Lined with almond, fig and carob trees, it is
home to a whitewashed church that dates back to 1785, small bars and
restaurants and boutique shops. Just outside the village is the quirky Las
Dalias market (Mon Jun–Sep, Tue Jul–Aug, Sat Apr–Oct).
One of the largest inland villages, Sant Miquel de Balansat,
in the north of the island, is overlooked by a shimmering white, boxlike
14th-century church, which boasts 17th-century frescoes within. The views of
the surrounding countryside from the village hilltop make the climb well
worthwhile. Each Thursday from June to September, there’s traditional island
dancing on the village’s pretty patio at 6.15pm.
Overlooking this quiet hamlet is a brilliant white
18th-century fortress, built when attacks by Moorish pirates were the scourge
of the island. There’s a bar and a park nearby where you can picnic. Walk to
the miniscule, once fortified hamlet of Sant Llorenç de Balàfia, with two
towers, flowers and lots of ‘privado’ signs around its few houses – don’t let
these deter you from exploring its lanes.
The country mansion of Can Planells, just a mile outside Sant Miquel de
Balansat on the road to Sant Mateu d’Aubarca, is a relaxed and luxurious rural
retreat. The house and pool are set in delightful gardens and fruit-tree
groves, surrounded by fields, and there are eight tasteful doubles and suites,
the best of which have Jacuzzis and terraces (Venda de Rubio
2; from £125).
North of Sant Llorenç de Balàfia lies Agroturismo Can Gall,
a 200-year-old farmhouse transformed into a tranquil rural escape, set amongst
citrus groves, almond and olive trees (some centuries old), and surrounded by
mountains. The nine bedrooms, with their handmade beds and private terraces,
are a delight, as are the infinity pool and shared chill-out terrace – ideal
places to while away the hours (from £150).
A short drive from the village of Sant Carles de Peralta,
Can Curreu was one of the island’s first agroturismos. The whitewashed
farmstead sits above terracing of fruit trees, and is surrounded by neat lawns
bordered by a kaleidoscope of roses. There are 17 exquisite rooms, a large pool
and spa, and a restaurant, open to non-guests, serving meals made with
home-grown produce (Carretera de Sant Carles Km12; from £190).
Eating and drinking
Offering bullit de peix (fish stew), followed by arròs caldós (saffron rice
cooked in the broth), Es Bigotes by Cala Mastella beach is known far and wide.
Finish off with café de caleta (coffee with lemon zest, cinnamon and flamed
brandy). There’s no phone, but you’ll need to turn up and book ahead in person
for the two lunch slots at 12pm and 2pm (Apr–Oct).
A timeless taverna opposite the village church of Sant
Carles de Peralta, Baranita restaurant and bar has been attracting hippies,
artists and musicians for decades. It’s the hub of the community and also
serves as a post office – locals come to have a drink and a catch up, while
others are drawn by the decent pizza, tapas and hearty mains (00 34 971 33 50
90; Plaza de la Iglesia; mains from £8).
Located in Sant Llorenç, 100m downhill from the church, La
Paloma is an eco-friendly dining option. It offers creative Mediterranean
cuisine and vegetables from its own garden or local producers. Produce from
outside the island is sourced from small farms. You can expect homemade pasta,
steak with balsamic vinegar and thyme, and an organic vegan ‘bio plate’
(Sant Llorenç 4; dinner mains from £14).
BA, easyJet, flythomascook, Jet2, Monarch, Ryanair and Thomson Flights fly from
numerous UK airports to Ibiza Aiport, four miles southwest of Ibiza Town (from
£82 from London Gatwick). Buses from the airport can take you to
Sant Antoni, Ibiza City and Es Canar. To get around the island, bus fares don’t
exceed £2.50. Numerous car rental
companies operate from the aiport – a week’s hire can cost from £50 if booked
Where to stay
Hostal Es Alocs is a very friendly choice, sitting right on the beach at Es
Figueral in the northeast. The simple rooms occupy two floors and most have a
small fridge and balcony. The bar-restaurant has a wonderful terrace, deeply shaded
with tangled juniper and chaste trees (Es Figueral; May–Oct;
Situated on the west coast headland of Cap Negret, tranquil
Hostal la Torre offers stunning clifftop seaviews and has 17 smart rooms that
have recently been upgraded (Urb Cap Negret 25; Mar–Dec;
suite from £85).
Hotel La Ventana is a charming 15th-century mansion set on a
little tree-shaded square in the old town of Ibiza City. Some rooms come with
four-poster beds and mosquito nets (Carrer de Sa Carrossa
13; from £145).
The article 'Mini guide to rural Ibiza' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet Traveller.