I won’t pretend to know anything about the 2010 Julia Roberts’ self discovery film, but if the discotheque is your temple, an Ibiza girl’s trip may just have to be your next pilgrimage.
The scene is set in a Spanish isle on the Mediterranean sea. While immediate images evoked of this placement bear rocky cliffs, desert terrain, and an expanse of blue water—up close lives a seedier reality. The island pulses with the bass of over 20 clubs, many of which are world renowned and essential to the nocturnal ecosystem.
The party scene in Ibiza has been in swing since Spanish counter-culture moved away from the mainland and into the islands in the 1970s. However, predecessors to the hippies and artisans of the flower-power era arrived to the island as early as the 1930s, cultivating a laid-back way of life only later developed into the reality we see today.
Life takes on a bona fide volatility while within the island’s borders. Even before takeoff, my friends and I knew that we were in for a wild ride. We had booked a room at Hostal Giramundo, a particularly kitschy hippie haven where each room is differently themed. Not subtly either—each is carefully cultivated with a flare worthy of an SOS call or a Mardi Gras jumpsuit. The building’s facade alone is bright blue and under-the-sea themed, complete with giant sea creature caricatures and neon-adjacent lettering. Possibly the design choices of a particularly eccentric owner, possibly antics to make the residence as unmissable as possible for party-goers stumbling home when the clubs close upon sunrise.
At arrival we were greeted with the surprise of our room’s theme: Jamaica. Garden gnome-like figurines serenaded us with silent reggae in the corner, one of the most compelling yet disturbing aspects of decor. To get situated, we lamented the meager amounts of clothing we were able to fit in our personal item sized bags, found solace in the realization that Ibiza calls for skimpy attire, and headed out to find dinner.
In Ibiza you can stay in a number of locations. In the town of Ibiza itself your backyard is a port of mega-yachts, streets lined with adorable boutiques, and yummy food. San Antonio, on the other hand and side of the island, is more known for its accessibility to water excursions, like island hopping booze cruises and jet ski adventures. It also boasts a number of lovely restaurants, though, which in our experience closed closer to midnight—afternoon in Ibiza time. And then, of course you can stay close to the clubbing strip, an adult theme park with long lines and overpriced food and drink. Transportation often proves an issue in Ibiza and so for any inclination towards variety in food, culture, shopping, or sights, I would recommend the two former options.
On our part, we found no issue with our chosen location, it was a 10 minute walk from the heart of Ibiza so even leaving late for dinner our first night still allowed us a sit-down meal, some wine to make us sleepy, and genuinely good food all before closing out the bill around 1:30am with the restaurant’s square still bustling with life.
Our picks to eat at on the island were Es Mirai, a pizza restaurant with quaint courtyard seating in San Antonio and La Taberna del Parque in Ibiza, a lovely and lively sit down experience. At the end of the day, however, these gems are one among many. Visiting these restaurants can satiate you pleasantly, but if your tastes call for different dishes, they’ll also drop you in lively enough areas to provide you with an array of other options to choose from depending on your personal preferences.
We were able to do some much needed shopping in the town of Ibiza on Friday. When I’m not worshiping the disco, shopping is my vice and so ahead of our trip I sourced a number of shops from a TikTok I found linked here. Ibiza Trendy yielded some adorable local-made clothes and bikinis, Frontline had an amazing dress selection with a collection of heavily discounted For Love & Lemons, and Ruta ruled clubwear with an amazing assortment of funky jewelry and colorful accessories.
We were able to shop and explore our first day because we had stayed in the night before so anticipation was high for our first big night out. Coming from Madrid where people admonish you for leaving early at 3am and bottle girls serve grilled cheese sandwiches come 5:30am, we felt prepared but still, Ibiza commands a reputation you can’t help feeling a bit nervous for.
That night we were going to hear the gospel of David Guetta. Through the collegiate grapevine we had heard about his Friday night residency at Hi Ibiza, a club touted by both word-of-mouth and the Hi Ibiza promotional team as the #1 Club in the World. Once you enter you can see why, the place is massive with multiple DJs performing throughout the venue. Out of the two outdoor courtyards, one boasts a slide from the upstairs terrace to ground level and a shots-only bar, and one is a fairly light-lit garden with giant teepees to lounge in. The crown jewel of the place in my opinion is its disco toilettes, a bathroom with a live DJ set playing all night. Academy Award winner Idris Elba had a residency there each Friday during David Guetta’s performance but I was disappointed to find someone else at the spin table when we finally made it to the world’s most lit shitter. Nevertheless I’ll sing my praise for Hi Ibiza as a must do for any first-time girls trip.
I can’t say I have any tried and true recommendations for how to find love in Ibiza, but I will say do not look to the French. This might seem against the point but they will lead you, not to love, but up to a villa at the top of the island where taxis cannot reach because penthouse villas don’t have addresses. A courtesy ride to the bottom of the mountain later that morning dropped us off on the side of the highway without even a story to bring home to our parents.
If I had to pinpoint where we found love in Ibiza, I would say a group of German girls we met on our first night and reunited with our second. They were on their own girls trip, a bit more seasoned than ours, having already done a trip to Ibiza once before, but among other things, we learned from them that there’s no wrong way to do Ibiza. As long as you’re having fun, that’s all that matters.
And so the first thirty hours of our pilgrimage to Ibiza ended around 10:30am when Hostal Giramundo welcomed us home with open arms, our gnome decor lullabying us to sleep in the morning light to get some shut-eye before the night came alive.
I cannot recommend Ibiza enough. If you feel drawn to the island, definitely make the pilgrimage. I’m already planning to go back in my never ending search for more good food, divine experiences, and a hot European hubby.
Featured image via Jasmine Young.