The hidden charms of Ibiza

The Balearic island of Ibiza has more to offer than mere hedonism, explains Ruth Jackson.

Ibiza has long had a reputation as a party island, but it's also a great place for families or indeed for prime ministers who want to chillax for a few days in the sunshine. And it's all just a two-hour flight away from the UK.

Where to stay

The "suave and luxurious" Aguas de Ibiza (, 00 34 971 319 991) is "perfectly situated above a handsome marina, a stroll from the centre of Santa Eulria, one of Ibiza's nicer towns", says Sean Thomas in The Sunday Times. The huge spa makes this the perfect chill-out spot. (Double rooms from £159 per night, including breakfast.)

For a family-friendly stay, consider Can Gall (; 00 34 971 337 031). This peaceful, 200-year-old finca is situated away from the crowds. The interiors are "stylish but relaxed", with "white linen in the bedrooms, a walk-in hydro-massage shower" and best of all if you are taking the children "a stack of Disney DVDs and access to the toy box in reception," says Melissa Denes in The Guardian. Each room has its own terrace, and there's also "plenty of space to relax (in a hammock if you like) around the lovely pool," says Emily Mathieson in Conde Nast Traveller. (Double rooms start from £149 a night, with breakfast. Children cost a further £42 per night.)

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Where to eat

For a meal you'll never forget, try Es Boldado (; 00 34 626 494 537). "With an impossibly romantic location by the sea and views to the dramatic Es Vedra rock, Es Boldado is a special place for either lunch or dinner," says Annie Bennett in The Daily Telegraph. "The rice dishes and local fish are just fabulous". Expect to pay £35-£50 per person.For something more casual, try the laid-back La Paloma (; 00 34 971 325 543) restaurant. "Eat aubergine with honey, tomato and goat's yogurt, and spaghetti with calamari and coriander on mismatched china under an arbour," says Cond Nast Traveller, all while overlooking orange groves in San Lorenzo. Mains cost from £14 - £22.

Can Caus in Sant Gertrudis (; 00 34 971 197516) "is popular with local families", says Bennett. This "rustic restaurant" serves "terrific local dishes with no pretentious nonsense". There's steak from the grill, or "the platter of grilled local vegetables is really tasty and substantial if you are not a big meat eater." Be sure to ask for an outdoor table when booking, and expect to pay £22-£28 per person.

What to do

You're spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches on Ibiza, which means it isn't too hard to find a gorgeous, quiet one. You'll need a car to get to the best, but it's worth it. "North of Sant Joan, drive down corkscrewing roads with gasp-inducing views of the ocean to Cala d'en Serra, a sandy, family-friendly cove," says Cond Nast Traveller. Ibiza is also great for scuba diving, with clear seas and water temperatures of up to 26C. "The sea bed in the Las Salinas national park is a World Heritage site, owing to the ecological importance of the seagrass that grows there," says Bennett. There are diving schools all over the island including Active Dive in San Antonio (; 00 34 971 341 344) or Subfari in Portinatx (; 00 34 971 337 558).

And for the kids, there's Aguamar. "It may not be exactly state-of-the-art, but younger children love this waterpark next to the Space [nightclub] in Playa d'en Bossa," says Bennett. It has seven slides "with varying shriek factors" as well as pools and playgrounds.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.