Ibiza lies in the southern Balearic Islands and, along with Formentera, is one of the Pitiusas Islands, a name of Greek origin that means ‘islands covered with pines’. At just 45 kilometres long and 25 wide, Ibiza is a small island. During the summer season, from May to October, it transforms into a melting pot as people of all ages and backgrounds come from around the world to enjoy their holidays on the Med and to bask in its glorious climate. The nightlife on the island is also incomparable, making Ibiza a unique place, and not just for party animals.
The Ibizan coast is scored by numerous inlets with small coves and fine sandy beaches, which are among the island’s main attractions. Tourist resorts have been developed along some of these beaches, providing accommodation for thousands of holidaymakers every summer. Others have remained unspoiled, however, such as the beaches of Ses Salines and Es Cavallet, which is popular with nudists.
Ever since the rise of tourism, Ibiza has welcomed visitors and this is especially evident after dark. In the 1960s, Ibiza was an international gathering place for the hippy movement and its impact on the island is still evident today, above all in the weekly markets.
Ibiza airport is well served by flights to and from the major cities of Europe and is also well connected by sea to the ports of Denia, Valencia and Barcelona on the Spanish mainland and to Palma Port on Mallorca. Once on the island, cars are the best form of transport to use, though there is a network of public buses.
The earliest human settlements on Ibiza date from prehistoric times. Unlike Mallorca and Minorca, the island has important remains from the era of the Phoenicians, who founded the current city of Ibiza, known as Dalt Vila, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Phoenicians also started the saltworks, where salt is still produced today by evaporating seawater. The island’s population remained relatively scattered across the length and breadth of Ibiza until the 20th century, explaining why the old parts of towns and villages are small, often consisting of just a diminutive church and very few other buildings. Traditional architecture on Ibiza more closely resembles that of Andalusia and North Africa than the rest of the Balearics, as the houses on the island are small and whitewashed and have a flat roof.