There’s a lot negative publicity of Ibiza – the photos of sweaty, half-naked partiers at Ibiza’s mega-clubs, the hospital reports – that don’t give it a ‘family-friendly’ image. Since the late 1970’s Ibiza has better known for drugs and live sex shows than its turquoise waters and afternoon picnic spots.
When I lived on Ibiza, one of Spain’s four Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, I worked as an au pair for an eight-year-old girl. We walked hand-in-hand past Billboards of girls with their legs spread and drove past others advertising David Guetta’s parties. They read “F*** Me, I’m Famous!” Locals shrug off these images because they live a different reality.
Because the in-your-face party tourism is only one facet to the island, and mostly concentrated in hotspots such as Playa d’en Bossa and San Antonio. If your child isn’t old enough to sip an Estrella Damm, don’t worry. They can still explore the forest zip-lining at Acrobosc Ibiza, catch a wave at Surf Lounge Ibiza or jump through the floating obstacle course Ocean Mania. Ibiza Kid’s Corner, a local company oriented towards young families, even offers treasure hunts and kids’ parties, as well as babysitting and nannying.
People may claim there’s nothing on Ibiza for children, but there are numerous ways to enjoy the ‘Pine Island’ that challenge this assumption, from a day at an organic farm to a family DJ workshop.
Spend a Day at Can Musón
Can Musón is a 16-acre organic farm and orchard located near Santa Eulalia, a town on the east coast of the island. Instead of silos, barns and cows, this farm consists of small animals and the sweet aroma of fauna typical of the Mediterranean climate such as orange and almond trees and lavender. Visitors can stop by from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and meander through the flowering fruits and vegetables, visit the goats and chickens and try artisanal products like cheese and the local sausage, sobrasada. Homemade smoothies, juices and ice cream are also available.
Families can also enjoy a series of workshops on Ibiza’s best culinary traditions. Bread and pizza workshops are open to walk-ins every Friday, but for flaó (Ibizan cheesecake) and cheese making, be sure to call for a reservation.
During the summer, the farm hosts day camps for children called Granja Escuela (Farm School) from 9:00am to 2:00pm where children participate in hands-on activities such as feeding the goats, taking cooking lessons and learning about Ibizan culture, such as traditional dance and music. The educators speak both English and Spanish and reservations can be made for a day, week or month.
For reservations call +34 699 054 446 or email at email@example.com. For more info, visit ibizacanmuson.com.
Take a Day Trip to Formentera
You might still hear the cheers from nearby party boats, but there are family-friendly vessels available to experience some of the Balearic’s best water activities. Just 30 minutes away from Ibiza Town is Ses Illetes, the white sand beach of the smallest Balearic Island, Formentera, consistently named one of the world’s most beautiful. Families can scuba, picnic and visit the secluded beaches, as close or as far from the more rowdy tourists as they wish. Take the Aquabus or Trasmapi ferries, or book a customized tour through a company such as RIB Ibiza, which offers half and full-day customized boat trips to Formentera starting at €55/person.
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Shop at Ibiza’s Hippy Markets
Before Ibiza was the clubbing capital of the world, it was a popular destination for hippies. This legacy continues, most notably at the many artisanal and second-hand clothing markets around the island. Families can stroll past the stalls, listen to live music, and sample some of the islands favorite snacks such as coca (a dish similar to a pizza but lacking cheese) and dried fruits like figs and dates. Las Dalias, an expansive commercial market, showcases both local and international products at their location at Kilometer 12 along the Ibiza – San Carlos highway near Santa Eulalia every Saturdays.
For less touristy options, try the Sunday market in Sant Joan, the Wednesday hippy market at Punta Arabí in Es Caná, or the Cala Llonga and San Rafael markets on Thursdays. Or, each Saturday, fans of vintage items or repurposing aficionados will relish the chance to sift through wares from hundreds of vendors at the Sant Jordi racetrack.
Check this website for info on hours and locations.
Walk to the Island’s Most Beautiful Views
The island is full of walking routes, many of them short and for children and beginners. Organizations such as Amics de la Terra, Grup de Coneixement del Medi, and Walking Ibiza offer educational and experiential hikes through rolling hills, along jagged cliffs and through historical sites. Guides give information in English, Spanish and Catalan. Parents and their children will be able to learn about the biology and history of the island, including background on legacies of ancient civilizations (Phoenicians, Romans, Moors) and current environmental challenges facing the island. See the websites for more information on organized hikes.
Sunday Drumming at Cala Benirras
Just a ten-minute drive from San Miguel, one of the most iconic Ibiza activities is the impromptu drumming session at Cala Benirras each Sunday at sunset. Locals and tourists, young and old, rich and poor all gather to enjoy the rhythmic drums and dancing unique to Ibizian culture as they look out to silhouettes of sailboats around the rock formation Cap Bernat. Be sure to get there early to find parking.
Kid’s DJ Booth Ibiza
Who said electronic music was only for adults? Honey-O, a British DJ, working in London, Ibiza and Thailand has been running summer workshops for children ages four years old for the last three years at the Atzaro Hotel. Participants gain listening skills, build confidence, understand technology and learn about what goes into the making of their favorite songs. “There are kid friendly dance events in Ibiza currently, so it’s never too young to get involved and take new experiences and knowledge home,” said Honey-O.
Contact the event’s Facebook page for dates and registration.