A visit to the Mediterranean island doesn’t necessarily mean insane, incessant nights dancing to EDM. The subtler, more stylish side of Ibiza is all hidden beaches, fresh seafood, and jugs of sangria.
The Mediterranean island of Ibiza has drawn artists and bohemians to its sandy shore since the 1930’s with Surrealist artists like Dada and writers like Man Ray and Raoul Haussmann. In the 1950’s, international stars like the Prince of Sweden, Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Olivier arrived, and today, the island that’s roughly ten times the size of Manhattan, but with one-twelfth of the population, swells in the summertime with visitors seeking sun, surf, and notorious parties. “By 1965,” writes Maya Boyd, in the introduction to the newly published book Ibiza Bohemia, “Ibiza was the hippest place in Europe, and the action played out on the terrace of the Hotel Montesol. Art deals, movie deals, drug deals—it all went down on that sunny corner of Vara de Rey…These were the halcyon days of groupies and gurus, musicians and mystics, bikini-clad babes, and velvet-cloaked nomads: an exotic farrago that gave birth to the hipster elite.”
Joni Mitchell immortalized Ibiza in her hit song “California.” James Taylor wrote “Carolina in My Mind” while there, and even Roman Polanski holed up there. In the 1980’s, San Rafael’s Ku Club picked up where Studio 54 left off with Valentino, Moschino, David Bowie, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Freddie Mercury filmed the iconic video for “Barcelona” in the club and British DJs birthed the Second Summer of Love after visiting Ibiza. The 1990s brought Kate Moss, John Galliano, and Boy George. Today, Boyd says the well-heeled visitors are “designers, entrepreneurs, yogis, and CEOs from worlds and countries as disparate as the hippies, creating little pockets of paradise in the safe harbor of Ibiza’s open arms.”
But there’s more to the island than clubs and jet setters. And Renu Kashyap, a Dutch fashion editor who moved there in 2012 with her husband and daughter, and Maya Boyd, a freelance travel and style writer and the editor of Ibiza-based Pasha magazine, have teamed up with Assouline to showcase a different side of Ibiza. Their book, Ibiza Bohemia, celebrates this more stylish, more authentic side.
For Boyd, that side of Ibiza is found at the drumming ceremony on Benirrás beach, at Espalmador, a slip of a sandback connected at low tide to Ibiza’s sister island, Formentera. The sea is perhaps the clearest in the Mediterranean and there are natural mudbanks at the island’s center.”
If either of those ideal days has inspired you to look into flights to the Balearic islands, take note: recently, the island has cracked down on AirBnBs, but that doesn’t mean you need to go to a large, impersonal hotel. Ibiza has a wealth of agroturismos, or rural hotels that focus on conservation, ranging in budget and taste. At the higher end, you have places like Finca Can Martí that are also amazing.