An extensive travel guide can be more of an undertaking than the trip itself.
Forty-seven different restaurant recommendations, 19 local landmarks, multiple categorisation of hotels: there are so many options it's hard enough to decide what you want, let alone find a consensus. (This is also known as the Netflix phenomenon.)
We've broken Ibiza down to the essentials: a hotel, and suggested venue for each meal of the day. (Plus a photo gallery for each so you know what you're getting.)
Follow our lead and you can't go wrong.
Stay at Las Mimosas
Situated in San Antonio Bay, 3km from the town centre, Las Mimosas is a gorgeous wedding cake of a hotel, a miniature palace of bleached white stone, surrounded by greenery, sunning itself beneath a sky so blue it almost hurts your soul. (Taken as a whole, the setting is a dead ringer for the national flag of Sierra Leone.)
Spend lazy days lounging on a four-poster sunbed by the pool, sweating out the previous night’s excess in the spa, or enjoying a wood-fired pizza and a cocktail or two at the bar / restaurant.
Both suites and junior suites come with an array of amenities, including a bath you could sail a boat across, and a bed the Incredible Hulk could fall asleep in. You’re less than a 15-minute drive from Cafe Mambo and the rest, but frankly you mightn’t even bother. Puts the idle in idyllic in the best possible sense.
Lunch at El Chiringuito Cala Gracioneta
AKA the most beautiful place in Ibiza, quite possibly the entire world. Perched above Cala Gracioneta beach, El Chiringuito is almost a sensory overload, a parody of a ‘Ibiza Beach Restaurant’ because no beach restaurant can possibly look like this, except it does and then some.
With its wooden decking, canvas covers and ample vegetation, the restaurant feels like a cross between a tropical adventure playground and a pirate’s summer getaway. Wherever you sit, a view of yellow sand and blue ocean is guaranteed.
The food lives up to its setting. Don’t try and be clever – order fish, and more fish. The grilled calamari will make you unable to order calamari in London ever again: these succulent baby sea monsters bear as much resemblance to the reheated strips of rubber served up at your local Pizza Express as Wagyu Beef does to a Happy Meal. As for the main, ask what the catch of the day is, and then order it.
Life can be simple. Life can be good.
Dinner at Villa Mercedes
Dinner in Ibiza can be a tricky meal to get right. You want something light yet lavish, somewhere relatively secluded but with easy access to the more vibrant parts of the island. Enter Villa Mercedes.
Looking over Saint Antonio’s yacht harbour – “a side-portion of envy with Sir’s paella?” – the restaurant was formerly a garden villa that dates back to 1901. And the garden is quite something: a lovely, open space where the music is always ‘mood’ and the mood teeters between ‘what a charming evening’ and ‘this night’s about to get interesting…’
Villa Mercedes offers a selection of tapas and Mediterranean contemporary plates. Find someone with a small appetite to share the Lobster Paella (it’s two person minimum), then go to town on the cocktails. Chilled Monkey Brains (Havana 3, lime juice, sugar and strawberry sorbet) comes in a (fake) monkey’s head, while Javier’s Margarita (Avión tequila, orange sorbet, lime juice, rosemary and salt rim) offers a Spanish spin on the South American classic.
Party at Cafe Mambo
No visit to Ibiza is really a visit to Ibiza if you don’t quaff some sunset cocktails at Cafe Mambo. The legendary bar is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and over the past quarter of a century it’s hosted everyone from David Guetta to Craig David. Every evening, Cafe Mambo hosts pre-parties for the biggest clubs in Ibiza, which is the same as saying the biggest clubs in the world (give or take a Las Vegas).
Today the Mambo Group owns properties all over the island, but back in the 1990s owner Javier Anadon was taking quite a risk by opening a bar next to the renowned Cafe del Mar. The gamble paid off: DJs were soon fighting to play at what quickly became the hottest destination on the strip. Come and check out an Ibiza institution.