Ibiza Town (or Eivissa, as it is called in Catalan) was my destination for a five-night holiday last November.
Travelling solo to Ibiza, I planned to do lots of coastal walking, reading, browsing shops and hopping on local buses to explore nearby towns. With some siestas thrown in, of course.
You can only fly to Ibiza from London City Airport in winter, as the budget airlines stop flights in late autumn once the sun sets on the summer parties. So that gave me the perfect excuse for a pre-holiday overnight stay in Stratford, a location I often pick when staying in London on business. It’s on the Norwich to London train line; cheaper than central London; a short hop on the Tube and DLR into the City – and a shopping mecca. Ideal.
Hotel in Ibiza Town
I’d chosen the 4-star THB Los Molinos Hotel* on the seafront in Ibiza Town. It’s a ten-minute taxi ride from the airport, a few minutes’ walk to Figuretas beach, and a ten-minute walk to the town centre (if you power-walk, which is my default setting).
On arrival at the hotel, my heart sank as I was greeted by the sights and sounds of heavy building work. The hotel was undergoing a major refurbishment – which, to be honest, the tatty bedrooms sorely needed.
It’s fair to say my stay was blighted by noise, from which you really couldn’t escape. There was no hope of an afternoon siesta, that’s for sure. I guess this is a hazard of travelling in the low season, but Lastminute.com should definitely have warned customers beforehand. I wished I’d booked through my usual favourite booking website Booking.com* and taken the time to scrutinise recent reviews.
The hotel staff did an exemplary job of dealing with disgruntled guests, going the extra mile in an impossible situation. I was moved to another room on a higher floor which featured loud banging rather than tiresome drilling – they do say a change is as good as a rest. But the views from this room were spectacular and almost worth the ear-ache.
Definitely ask for the fourth or fifth floor sea view rooms if you stay at this hotel!
Apart from the views, the best thing about this hotel was undoubtedly the food. I’d opted for half board and boy was I glad about that. On Tripadvisor I’ve noticed some people commenting on the small portions but I was pretty excited by everything I ate. Beautifully presented, delicious and creative, matched by top-notch service.
Hopefully the hotel’s renovation project encompassed the gym because it was pretty poor, and the sauna was out-of-order during my visit. The massage I had was lovely – and complimentary, which was a nice touch.
A little exploring
Walking away from Figuretas, the road from the hotel quickly peters out and a path leads invitingly up towards craggy cliffs. No doubt this is a well-worn route, especially in summer, but in the low season it felt like my own discovery.
The tranquil views of the Mediterranean were superb, especially at dusk. One evening I was treated to the sight of a fleet of yachts sailing into the bay below, where their white wings fluttered silently in the last rays of the evening sun.
This turned out to be a clifftop cut-through to Ibiza Old Town, with its ancient walled fortress, cathedral (complete with battlements and canons), steep cobbled streets and pretty whitewashed houses. It was a lovely place to explore, and the many uphill climbs more than made up for my woeful gym workouts. The new town is certainly stylish and upmarket, even if lots of it is closed in November.
Local bakeries usually feature strongly on my itinerary, and I’d promised my Catalan friends I would sample ensaimada, a kind of flaky pastry in a coil shape. If I’m honest, I was more excited by the apple tarte tatins which made frequent appearances on cafe menus, with their gooey, bitter caramel tang and decadent pouring cream on the side.
Lovely day out in Santa Eularia Del Río
I can’t say I relish the prospect of taking local buses or trains in the UK, but there’s something rewarding about getting to grips with foreign public transport systems. So I opted for a local bus ride to a town called Santa Eularia Del Rio. It’s about 20 kilometers from Ibiza Town and apparently the island’s third-largest resort after Ibiza and San Antonio.
I enjoyed a nice potter around the town’s arts and crafts shops and a long beach walk. On my way back, stomach rumbling, I stumbled across an appealing French restaurant called CanaSuni.
What a find! At EUR14.50 for three courses, this was everything that a set lunch menu should be – great value, simple and delicious.
I had a fabulous starter of warm goats cheese salad (how do the French make salads so interesting?), followed by a very tasty beef stew with fries and (another) tarte tatin.
I would actually return to Santa Eularia just to have another meal in this restaurant.
Overall, I think late September or early October would have been a better time to go to Ibiza for this sort of break, but it was still nice to see some sun and experience this corner of the island without the crowds.
Have you been to Ibiza out of season? What was your experience? Leave a comment below!
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