Summer 18 in Europe – Ibiza Edition
Ibiza is one of Europe’s top party destinations and is well known for its summer season hosted by the world’s best DJs. It is also known to be quite expensive (and this isn’t wrong in some instances).
I first visited back in August 2014 – ironically we flew out on the same day that this article was posted : http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/28472079/top-djs-say-ibiza-is-too-expensive-for-young-people. Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci celebrated his 40th birthday that week and basically every celebrity was there with him so clearly we were living beyond our student means! However the energy in Ibiza was like not other so when the opportunity arose again, I couldn’t resist a 2nd trip.
This year, I visited in July (the season runs from late May to October). I flew from Stansted with Jet2 for £200 return (bought only a month before travel…cheaper if done earlier, if you fly crazy hours or book with Ryanair). It was my first journey with Jet2 and I was nervous but that all eased when the pilot made a Love Island joke! Their customer service is excellent, everything is easy to navigate on their site and they gave us each a £60 voucher off our next holiday when the return flight was delayed by only one hour!
Whilst in Ibiza, me and my good friend Drew stayed in Hostel Juanita in the old town (£212 each for 5 nights). Staying in the old town is perfect because it’s authentically Spanish and you’re within walking distance of lovely sights, parks and cafes as well as the high street. I stayed in Playa D’en Bossa during my first visit but it was a pricey all inclusive hotel which just felt touristy and offered zero relaxation opportunities so I wouldn’t rush to stay anywhere near there. Also San Antonio is the cheapest area to stay in but is where the rowdiest tourists choose to stay so it’s up to you!
Another way to save a fortune is to embrace public transport. The buses are cheap, air conditioned and usually play music on board. The journey from the airport to our hostel in town cost €3.50 and this was the most that we paid for a single journey (the party buses which do a loop of all the main clubs all night charge €3 to €3.50 each). Other single bus journeys are about €2.
Food shouldn’t be a big expense out here if you don’t want it to be! We only ate out and spent about €95 on all our meals including drinks at the table. My favourite places to eat at were:
Sa Vida – €25 for a litre of sangria!!! Good for a light lunch tapas style
La Cava – they do filling breakfasts with drinks included for less than €10
Gelato – really nice brunches and/or ice cream too
Es Noray– one of the many bougie restaurants by the port. Great views of all the yachts whilst you enjoy paella and it won’t break the bank.
And yes, I did have my usual Chinese meal abroad, this time at restaurant Hong Kong…delicious and very well priced.
This potentially will be your biggest spend. Club entries can be extortionate but drinks prices actually go beyond this. People are split on how to do this – if you love a certain DJ and want to see them in a certain place, then some advise booking in advance which means you’ll pay the full price. Ibiza spotlight has the season’s calendar for every club and DJ/artist varying from Calvin Harris, Chase and Status, So Solid Crew to Stormzy’s #MerkyFestival (which sold out before I knew I coming sadly). However we wanted to be flexible and find the best deals so this is what we did:
The only thing we bought in advance was our boat party with Oceanbeat. I bought it for £71 (booked through trip advisor) for the afternoon on the boat, welcome cocktail and cake, beer and/or sangria on tap, another huge cocktail, champagne showers, swimming time and plenty of dancing. Plus an after party and entry to a small club. They don’t tell you in advance which clubs it’ll be but it won’t be a main one so I would buy the club tickets for where you want to go in advance to avoid disappointment.
In Ibiza, there are plenty of club reps who spend their days on the beach trying to sell you deals for club entries. Often they can save you money but make sure that you’ve done some research to compare prices, know what you want to do and understand their t&cs. We managed to get ourselves free happy hour drinks for 2 hours at one of their bars, entry into the Zoo project, entry into Amnesia to see the legendary DJ Carl Cox AND free entry into Heart for the price that it would’ve cost just to get into Amnesia (€70)!
The Zoo Project – held at an abandoned zoo on Sunday’s in Benimussa Park. Everyone dresses up as animals or mythical creatures, with plenty of glitter for completion. It’s a day rave which finishes at 11pm so no excuse to not enjoy it! You’ll find different stages with different music and dancing (some crowd involvement too) plus their drinks seemed to be the most reasonably priced on the island! If you return your cup to the recycling station, you were given back €1 which had everyone willing to recycle.
Amnesia is one of the super clubs and it’s worth going to at least one when in Ibiza. Others include Ushuaïa, Pacha, Privilege and more. This is where you’ll see the best DJs and experience a night out like no other!
If the idea of a super club isn’t appealing, then there are plenty of alternatives which are cheaper or even free. On our first night, we had drinks outside Mambo Beach on San Antonio strip. The best thing to do here is BYOB or buy cheaper (normal priced drinks really) from sellers outside and stand near enough the bars to enjoy the music.
Top tip for your night out…just avoid buying drinks when in the clubs! Enjoy it at dinner, in your hotel before you come out or on the strip. Water is also pricey but you have to stay hydrated somehow!
Ibiza in the day
This island has so much to offer in the day which can be missed if you’re constantly hungover! It’s worth trying to see a few things whilst you’re here:
Spend time at the beach! Playa D’en Bossa is one of the most popular beaches and with that comes crowds and numerous party sellers. It’s a great place to carry on the party but if you want some chill time, it’s worth going further afield. If you plan to a spend a couple of days at the beach, it’s worth buying an umbrella at the shops nearby to bring along as the beach clubs charge a lot for theirs.
We also visited Playa de Salinas (near the salt lakes) which was much less crowded, more scenic and I had the most interesting conversation with some of the beach sellers here. Plus you actually can get street food here such as tamales and empañadas along with cheap cocktails. The beach has plenty to explore and a nudist part if you fancy it.
Visit a hippy market – they happen at different parts of the island all week. I went to the Wednesday one Punta Arabí which celebrates its 45th birthday this year. It’s free entry and has many market stalls, entertainment, music and a dedicated kids area. A great place to get souvenirs and appreciate the local talent.
Dalt Vila (Upper Town) is actually a World Heritage Site and a must visit. It’s in the Old Town and is a short steep walk up to the most incredible views of the island. This complex includes a few cafes, cathedral, museums and the prettiest side streets.
Puerto de Ibiza (Ibiza Port) – where you can go and lust over yachts! It’s so scenic for a walk any time of the day but sunset is the best in my opinion. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink and shop nearby.
So that’s my 5 days in Ibiza in a nutshell. Ibiza spotlight is so useful to help you plan both the day and night activities! Also for buses, Ibiza bus can guide you on timetables and specific routes if you understand Spanish (although google maps will guide you to the bus stops without always telling you which number to catch). Finally my all time fave app triposo for offline maps. A small amount of Spanish will make your life easier when navigating buses and chatting to local sellers.
To summarise, the total money spent (return flights, accommodation, all food and drink, nights out, transport and souvenirs ) = £865. The full experience of Ibiza in peak season can be enjoyed with planning and smart spending. It really is a one of a kind island with something for everyone! What are your thoughts on Ibiza? I’d love to hear below!