An Ibiza Guide for the Off-Season

February 25, 2016
Ibiza Spain

Before I moved to Ibiza for a year to be an English Assistant with the Spanish Government’s North American Language and Cultural Assistants Program, I thought it would be dead in the winter. Empty. Depleted. Devoid of life and culture. Worst of all, I imagined it would be boring. I quickly found that even though winter is the off season, Ibiza comes alive in winter. Just in a different way to summer.

Ibicencos, both by birth and relocation, are proud, humble people with a rich history, delectable culinary tradition and deep appreciation for their natural landscape. Not to mention, eager to show you their Ibiza.

Winter on the Mediterranean island may not have the same appeal as the raging electronic summer, but you’ll get to embrace the crisp, salty air, deep blue skies and unique social life that help you discover your inner payés.

An Ibiza Spain Guide for the Off-Season

1. The locals become human again

In the high season, many locals either escape the crowds or are overworked. In winter, they relax.

They spend time outdoors enjoying nature, participating in community events and spending lazy weekend afternoons at live music shows (Try Sunday flamenco at Sluiz, an eclectic megastore selling everything), flea markets and lengthy lunches (filled with pan amb oli, inexpensive high-quality wine and every variation of a rice dish you could imagine). Visit in winter and you’ll get a glimpse of everyday life.

2. You can explore Ibiza’s culture and history

The cultural offerings–museums, art shows, literature discussions, cooking classes–tell the story of an Ibiza you’ve probably never heard of.

You can spend your days visiting the 7th century BC Phoenician burial site Puig des Molins, exploring the quiet walls of the 16th century built UNESCO World Heritage Site Dalt Vila, or admiring an art exhibit at one of the many cultural centers. You can learn about their agricultural traditions and see folk dancing at the numerous annual festivals.

At the San Mateo Wine Festival in December, you can sample (free) local wine and roast sobrasada over fires in bathtubs. Tourism in winter is more than sex, drugs, and electronic music (although, don’t worry–they still have all of those things, too).

Ibicencos, both by birth and relocation, are proud, humble people with a rich history, delectable culinary tradition and deep appreciation for their natural landscape.

3. You can see the original hippie side of the island

If you’ve been to Ibiza in the summer, you know there is a “hippie” flair. Maybe you’ve dressed in psychedelic attire for Pacha’s party Flower Power, or maybe you’ve seen Las Dalias, the most famous “hippie market” on the island.

In winter, people who initially migrated here in the 1960s and ’70s to escape the rigid social structure of mainland Europe still sell their goods and crafts at weekend markets around the island.

These original hippies are a fixture, many still living off the land in caves or rural houses in the northern part of the island. They represent what drew them to Ibiza in the first place – freedom of expression and opportunity to live the change they wished to see.

4. The breathtaking landscape is all yours

If you visit in the summer, chances are you’re going to see your favorite DJ and you’ll party a lot. You’ll probably visit the beach, but with a raging hangover. In winter, you could do the same-but with the chance to see so many incredible yet vacant sites, you probably won’t.

Wintertime visitors can wander through the hills of fragrant pine forests and lavender without the interruption of drunken tourists. Local groups such as Walking Ibiza and Amics de La Terra take bilingual community walks through some of the most remote parts of the island, which give hikers historical, geological and biological background on the flora, fauna, and natural formations.

Grab some friends and enjoy a picnic at one of the calas with the iconic boat houses, which you will have all to yourself. If you visit in January, you’ll be impressed by the expansive valley of blooming almond trees in Santa Agnes. Their puffy pink and white buds contrast with the deep blue sky.

An Ibiza Spain Guide for the Off-Season

5. Eat your way (cheaply) through the island

Prices of everything–especially food–skyrocket when the high season hits. The most famous restaurants cram with tourists. In winter, although many restaurants are closed, you can try authentic payés food and still have money left for more. The annual culinary competition La Pinxta Sant Antoni is a fantastic opportunity to stuff yourself with bite-sized Ibiza favorites.

Participants go on a restaurant crawl through the narrow alleys of San Antonio, drinking and tasting pinchos for hours. Restaurants bring out their most creative concoctions, and because it’s a competition, they’re sold for a special price.

Wintertime visitors can wander through the hills of fragrant pine forests and lavender without the interruption of drunken tourists.

6. You can party like an actual local

Winter is without a doubt quieter, but that doesn’t mean locals don’t like to enjoy themselves. Day parties and pub crawls abound. Themed parties, such as Flower Power (now held at Pacha in the high season), are still celebrated throughout the island. Free to the public and maintaining the same feel-good atmosphere, partygoers dance outside until the morning.

Pacha, “the club that never closes,” is open all winter. Residents get in for free and visitors pay an extremely discounted price. If you’re into rock music, you can drink and dance alongside the island’s alternative crowd at DeMiedo in the port or at Can Jordi Blues Station, a roadside bar with live music.

Check out Pink Pangea’s Writing, Yoga, and Meditation Retreats.

7. Did I mention it’s cheaper?

Winter means you get to experience the best parts of the island without the crowds and expense. Rent an apartment for half the price of summer. Landlords are happy to have tenants in the off-season, as most of their rentals remain untouched until summer. Rent a car or motorbike from a local and explore the island.

You won’t have to pay exorbitant parking prices everywhere you turn and, unlike summer, you’ll actually be able to find a space. You might also want to hone in on linguistic skills. Bars around Ibiza Town have Spanish-English language exchanges, and the Official Language School offers courses in Catalan and Spanish, among others.

An Ibiza Spain Guide for the Off-Season

An Ibiza Guide for the Off-Season

Have you traveled to Ibiza Spain off-season? Email us at [email protected] to share your tips and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear form you.

Photo credits for An Ibiza Spain Guide for the Off-Season by Jodi Marie K.

About Allison Yates

Allison is a Chicago-based writer covering travel, women and society in U.S. Midwest, Latin America, Ibiza. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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