What to do in Ibiza

Ibiza is famous worldwide as the island that never sleeps. This arid Mediterranean speck off the coast of Spain attracts partiers, the jet set, and average vacationers to its shores to drink and dance until dawn to world-famous DJs in its mega-clubs, some which hold thousands of people (like Privilege, the world's largest nightclub). After nursing your hangover on a golden beach, while watching beautiful people saunter by, you'll find that this gorgeous island has a lot more going for it than just a blitz of booze and beats. Ibiza (pronounced ee-beeth-a with a lilting Castilian lisp) is the third largest of the Balearic Islands off southeastern Spain. It's filled with the geographical splendors of steep cliffs, dramatic rock isles (like the mystical Es Vedrà), tucked-away beach coves, and hilly terrain dotted with fig and olive trees. Beyond the tourist enclaves, half of the island (especially the fairly unspoiled northeast) remains covered by thick woods and rural landscapes.

What began as an artists' colony in the 1950s, attracted the hippies of the 1960s, and finally the glitterati of the 1980s, Ibiza is now a democratic place that lures families, million-dollar yachts, and Northern European youth attempting to stay awake for multiple days. It can swelter in July and August and seem as crowded as a sunbathed traffic jam—and local police have closed clubs for drugs and arrested hundreds of intoxicated tourists—but the glamorous allure of the island lives on.

The island's main town of Eivissa holds some fascinating history: An abandoned castle hovers above and winding cobblestone streets harbor old-world Spanish architecture. Its walled Renaissance town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural value. Sleepy Formentera, the southernmost of the Balearic Islands and much smaller in touristic scale, makes a popular day trip from Ibiza. And for those who like to be active during the day as well, surf spots like Can Pujols and Aguas Blancas, kiteboarding spots like Cala Martina, and undeveloped sunbathing beaches like Playa de Benirras beckon.

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