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As a nucleus of the electronic music scene, Ibiza attracts party people of every age and demographic
After Oct. 1, when Ibiza's club season comes to a euphoric finale, this Spanish island eases back into its Mediterranean groove. Whether it's hibernating in yoga retreats, trekking through Unesco World Heritage sites or lounging by turquoise blue water and white-sand beaches, Ibiza offers plenty of laid-back after-party spots. Plus, there are phenomenal seafood and glamorous hippies. And if the itch to party should strike, don't worry, the island's original party palace is open year round.
1) BEACH SPOTTING
Get into the groove at the Jockey Club (Playas las Salinas; 34-971-395-788), a trendy but casual restaurant along the powdery white sands of Salinas Beach, a beautiful stretch with the beautiful people. It's a great place to grab a late-afternoon drink and watch sunbathers, while D.J.'s spin their Balearic beat.
2) GET THE PARTY STARTED
During high season, the beachside bar Café Mambo in Sant Antoni village (Vara del Rey, 40; 34-971-346-638; www.cafemamboibiza.com) is the place to watch the sunset and listen to the D.J. Pete Tong spin his electronica mixes for his popular Friday night show, broadcast live on BBC Radio One. Off season, Guarana takes over as the spot to start and finish the weekend (Puerto Deportivo de Santa Eulalia).
3) LATE LATE DINNER
It's dinnertime in New York — and Ibiza — so head to the foodie village of San Rafael. On the beautiful Plaza de Iglesia, across from the cathedral, sit under the trees at the Provençal restaurant El Clos Denis (Plaza de Iglesia; 34-971-198-545), order the roast suckling pig and drink lovely Spanish and French wines. The casserole dishes are big and hearty. About 60 euros ($87 at $1.45 to the euro) a person. If you're with a larger group, book at Bambuddha Grove (Santa Eulalia, kilometer 8.5; 34-971-197-510; www.bambuddha.com), a modern Mediterr-Asian-fusion restaurant in a space that is part temple and part Japanese garden with Buddha statues and ornamental wood carved doors. Dinner about 60 euros. After dinner, go to Restaurant L'Elephant (Plaza Iglesia; 34-971-19-8354), a minimalist-white restaurant with a happening roof bar that offers wonderful views of historic old Ibiza Town. It's a place to be seen before heading to the clubs.
4) NIGHT OWL
The center of Ibiza night life is still Pacha (Avenida 8 d 'Agost; 34-971-313-612) and has been for 40 years. After 2 a.m., Pacha turns into a sea of people dancing with their arms in the air. The mainstream house music and party atmosphere are electrifying. If you're rolling with an entourage, reserve a V.I.P. table (125 euros a person, which includes a half a bottle of liquor and mixers; otherwise entry is 60 euros). Red Bull and vodka is the drink of choice. Open year round.
5) SHOPPING FIX
Don't miss the outdoor hippie market Las Dalias, near the tiny village of San Carlos on the island's northeastern tip (Carretera San Carlos, kilometer 12; 34-971-326-825). This is not a cheap flea market but a kind of year-round trunk show where vacationing fashion designers and editors come to forage for one-of-a-kind jewelry, amazing dresses from India and Bali and handmade leather sandals. Afterward, duck into Ganesha in Ibiza Town (Montgri, 14; 34-971-193-605), a vintage shop run by Vicente Hernández and filled with treasures from his trips to South America. He is an institution (Jade Jagger, Elle and all the Ibiza girls shop here). If you're looking for a flowing Ibiza-style dress, the local designer to seek out is Harvey Musin (Plaza de la Constitucio, 7; 34-971-311-516).
6) OUT TO SEA
Charter a boat (or take a ferry) to Ses Illetes, the famous white-sand beach with turquoise water on the neighboring island of Formentera. Hike to the natural mud baths on the island's northernmost tip, dunk yourself in mud — it will dry and crack as you walk under the hot sun — then plunge into the sea to rinse it off. For 40 euros, ferries depart hourly from Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni. A concierge service called Deliciously Sorted (Calle Venda de Llatzer 25, Santa Gertrudis; 34-971-197-867) can locate Rivas, sailboats, Sunseekers and Turkish schooners for charter starting at 750 euros a day. It also arranges V.I.P. passes, villa rentals, restaurant reservations and helicopter rides. Concierge services à la carte from 25 euros per reservation.
7) PAGEANTRY OF BOATS
In Formentera, you can feast on calamari and drink sangria under giant white umbrellas at Juan y Andrea (Carretera La Savina-es Pujols; 34-971-187-130), an elegant restaurant tucked in the sand dunes overlooking a clear blue harbor filled with yachts. It is a favorite hangout for the beautiful people, who come to nibble paella and baked fish and argue over who has the biggest boat at the beach — the Saudi king or the king of Spain? Three courses with wine about 80 euros a head.
8) CULTURAL BREAK
Ibiza Town was a fortress before its cobblestone streets were filled with quaint restaurants and endlessly cute clothing and crafts shops, many built into the stone ramparts. The oldest part, Dalt Vila, is a Unesco World Heritage site with a tiny modern art museum, Museu d'Art Contemporani (Ronda Narcis Puget; 34-971-302-723) that is worth seeing. Afterward, climb to the top of the Our Lady of the Snows Cathedral for panoramic views of Ibiza and the sea.
9) HAPPY WAITERS
Grab a cheap predinner drink at the gay hangout Café Tomate & Company, with tables right on the market square (Mercado Viejo; 34-971-399-234). Then walk up the hill to La Bresa (Via Annibal; 34-971-301-202), a cozy seafood restaurant inside the town's old stone walls where the good-natured waiters set the mood for your next party. The kitchen serves traditional Ibizan seafood like sea bream or salmon with lobster sauce; the house specialty is cactus fruit pudding. About 40 euros for dinner. This is the real Ibiza — in this neighborhood, laundry hangs to dry and kids play in the doorways while parades of neighbors and tourists pass.
10) JAZZ INTERLUDE
For a break from the usual Ibiza scene, trot down to Teatro Pereyra (Calle Conde Rosellón, 3; 34-971-304-432) for some live jazz, which may include the singer Kim Mazell. Or stop by Km 5 (Carretera San José, kilometer 5; 34-971-396-349), a restaurant and bar that goes until 4 a.m. and bills itself as an escape from the “pounding club culture.”
11) CAFFEINE INJECTION
Croissant Show in Ibiza Town's market square (Mercado Viejo; 34-971-317-665) serves a traditional French breakfast 23 hours a day. It's especially popular in the morning, with sunglass-wearing clubgoers on their way home before going to bed.
Time to rest? The beach clubs on Playa Es Jondal in San José are the perfect antidote to the island's kinetic scene. Tropicana Beach Club (Cala Jondal; 34-971-80-2640) is popular with families, while Blue Marlin draws Speedo- and thong-wearing singles (Playa Es Jondal; 34-971-410-117). Both offer lounge chairs, umbrellas, chill music, waiter service and surfside massages along the sheltered cove. After a beachfront lunch and some rosé, the decision is clear: extend the trip and leave mañana.
Flights to Ibiza from the United States require a plane change. A recent online search for flights in mid-November found an Iberia flight from Kennedy Airport via Madrid, starting at $620, and a Delta flight to Barcelona with a change to Air Europa Lineas Aereas, starting at $680; a Continental flight from Newark, with a change in Barcelona to Spanair, started at $922. A car is needed to get around the island. Alamo, Hertz and Eurocar have offices at the airport, with rentals for about $75 a day.
Cas Gasi (Camino Viejo de Sant Mateu; 34-971-19-77-00) is a large farmhouse that was converted into a beautiful agritourism hotel, with 10 modest rooms, two suites and a restaurant with an organic menu. Guests have included Robert DeNiro and Kate Moss. Rooms start at 303 euros, or about $440 at $1.45 to the euro.
El Pacha Hotel (Paseo Maritimo; 34-971-31-5963), across the street from the famous Pacha nightclub, is a modern, glitzy party hotel (very Philippe Starck). Double rooms start at 240 euros.