My perfect Ibiza weekend is in June or September: everything is open and the weather is gorgeous, but there are half as many people. We have a villa just north of Santa Eulalia, on the eastern side of the island.
On Saturday I’ll sleep late – a luxury. If we have people staying, I’ll get fresh bread from Can Planells bakery in Santa Eulalia and stop for coffee at The Royalty, a café by the old town hall. In the 1960s, Ibiza was known as a place where film stars could escape and enjoy drunken evenings away from prying eyes. Errol Flynn used to get into unimaginable trouble and, once discovered, would go into hiding in one of The Royalty’s guest rooms. Terry-Thomas was another regular; he had a house here that his son has converted into a charming seven-bedroom hotel called Can Talaias.
Back at the villa we’ll have breakfast on the deck. There’s a beach at the end of our garden, accessible to others only via a precarious path, so there’s rarely anyone there. The water is deep and rocky so it’s a lovely dark, greeny colour and quite cold. I’ll swim and then we’ll head out.
Among the things we love most about Ibiza are the tiny beaches at the top of the island, from Portinatx to hippy Benirrás beach. A favourite is Xuclar, a rocky cove with beautiful water and a chiringuito – little shack café – serving delicious fish. Another is Cala Nova, which is bigger. A local family cooks in the chiringuito and brings the food to a small clearing. After having a beer, I’ll default to rosé; we’ll eat the fish – whatever they say is best – with spectacular chips. Then we’ll lie on sun loungers, the kind with retro-style straw umbrellas, and drift off.
We’ll come home early evening and plunge into the sea. We’ll eat seabass, grouper or snapper bought from the old covered market in Santa Eulalia, make G&Ts and talk until the early hours.
If we go out for dinner, our top spot is an understated Italian called Cicale. It’s in a pretty Spanish villa in the middle of the island with a terrace and really delicious food. For a bit of glamour we like Macao Café in Santa Gertrudis.
Later we might go to Lío, a cabaret club that’s taken the island by storm. There’s a certain song for each season and whenever it comes on all the waiters and waitresses put everything down and dance. It’s very over the top, kitsch and great fun. The back of the restaurant looks out across Botafoch marina, and the last time we went there were dancers in jetpacks on the water – it’s completely bonkers.
For Sunday lunch we like El Bigotes, set over the water in a small inlet. It began about 30 years ago, when a fisherman would make a broth with what was left from selling his fish. Other fishermen would come and share it and it grew into this little restaurant. You sit on splintered stools at wooden tables and they bring you a bowl of fish stew from a huge cauldron. Then they throw rice into whatever’s left, mix it up and you can have risotto as a main course – all for about €15 a head.
Late in the afternoon we’ll go to Sluiz, a world-class shop selling interiors stuff, clothing from across the world, fantastic art books, candles. It’s owned by a cool Dutch couple and beautifully curated.
Or we might go to Isla Formentera. We’ll rent The Hallmark, a boat belonging to a mad Englishman who is the driver for the day. We’ll stop off at a little cove and then go on to Juan y Andrea for lunch. It’s a bit St Tropez, but the food and service are good. You have to reserve a table; go for one on the sand or you’ll be on the deck at the back, which is a disaster.
Sunday night we’ll lie in hammocks on the deck and read. A breeze comes over the sea in the evening and we’ll have a prosecco and chill out.