A taste of Ibiza, Spain. Day 1 of my Mediterranean cruise

Arriving in Ibiza, Spain

Azamara Quest arriving in Ibiza, Spain

Azamara Quest docked in Ibiza, Spain

Its early Sunday morning and our ship Azamara Quest is docked in Eivissa on the island of Ibiza, Spain for our first stop on a Mediterranean cruise.  It’s about 9 am, and the town is very quiet. The harbor is full of boats, fishing and day craft, and many huge yachts with flags from all over the world.  We’re headed for the Portal de Ses Taulestone the 16th-century gate leading into the old town (Dalt Vila).  Looking up we can see the city walls and the outline of the cathedral above us.  To get to the entrance of Dalt Vila we’re following the road along the port. There are outdoor cafes and restaurants lined up and poised to lure tourists inside.  They’re closed this early but there are stirrings, and by 11 most everything will be open. 

Portal de ses Taules main entrance portal to Dalt Villa Ibiza Spain

Portal de ses Taules main entrance portal to Dalt Villa Ibiza Spain

Entrance portal to Dalt Vila, old town Ibiza.

Entrance to Dalt Vila, the old town of Ibiza, Spain

Dalt Vila, Eivissa, Ibiza

Dalt Vila, the “old town” is best discovered by foot, with sensible shoes, and the expectation of an uphill walk and confusing streets.  The cobbles are old, worn, and very slippery, don’t even think about wearing heels unless you wish to test the Spanish medical system.  There are 5 portals into the old town, but Portal de ses Taules is the main entrance and the most impressive.  

The portal is accessed using a steep ramp over a drawbridge, to massive, thick, wooden doors.  There are two niches, one on either side of the gate with Roman statues and a large coat of arms of Felip II.  Passing through into the entrance courtyard the first thing you see is a recessed area where the guards sat on two benches with a fire.  You also notice how thick the walls are and that there is another thick door to pass through. 

Recess for guards at the entrance to Dalt Vila. Ibiza Spain

Recess for guards at the entrance to Dalt Vila. Ibiza Spain

I found the way the angle of this stone wall fascinating

I was fascinated by how they built this into the rock of the hill with its seismic irregularities.

Uphill on winding, cobbled, streets, oh my. 

Once through, the entrance opens into a courtyard, the Plaza de Vila, there are few people around, but the area is starting to come alive. The locals are called Ibicencos or Eivissenc, and they seem oblivious to living their lives in the ancient Gothic Catalan town with beautiful wooden doors, and old cobbled streets. As you wind your way through the town toward the Cathedral on top, you must look down the alleys and walkways to see interesting wooded doors, stone courtyards, and private chapels, and don’t miss the views overlooking the port and the sea.  

Portal to old town square, Dalt Villa, Ibiza, Spain

Portal to old town square, Dalt Vila, Ibiza, Spain

Lovely alleys

The lovely little alleys of Eivissa

Wonderful old doors on Ibiza, Spain

Wonderful old doors on Ibiza, Spain

Reminds me other Mediterranean islands, Mykonos or Santorini perhaps.

Reminds me other Mediterranean islands, Mykonos or Santorini perhaps.

Views of the port as you ascend to the cathedral, Ibiza Spain

Views of the port as you ascend to the cathedral, Ibiza Spain

Views from the top of Dalt Vila, Ibiza Spain

Views from the top of Dalt Vila, Ibiza Spain. That’s our ship in port. The Quest is considered a small cruise ship and can get into port when larger cruise ships must tender.

Lovely old doors and flowering trees.

Lovely old doors and flowering trees in Ibiza Spain

Whitewashed houses with flowering trees and plants, (and sometimes laundry) for color are everywhere.   I love the old wooden doors and often wonder who has passed through the doors throughout their history.

 

Cathedral Catedral de la Verge de les Neus Ibiza, Spain

Cathedral Catedral de la Verge de les Neus Ibiza, Spain – translated from Catalan as Our Lady of the Snows.

Cathedral on a hill. 

At last, we reach the Cathedral ( the name translates as Our Lady of the Snows, which is a riot considering how hot it is here) is not as stunning as some European cathedrals but I love its whitewashed walls reflecting the bright Mediterranean sun. The Catholic parish started in the 13th century; the building likely converted from a Muslim mosque, was added onto and resurrected from ruins over its lifetime.  

Muslim past.

Ibiza formerly a thriving Muslim port.

Eivissa was formerly a thriving Muslim port.

I would have loved to visit the Archaeological museum beside the Cathedral, but it was closed.  However, we stopped into the Madina Yabisa Interpretation Centre nearby.  This museum is situated in one of the oldest houses of Dalt Vila and built around the old Andalusian wall.  The center showed life when Ibiza was a Muslim town called Madina Yabisa, an important city during the Middle Ages.  They have an interesting interactive audiovisual display that takes you back in time.  

Walking the streets of Dalt Vila and Eivissa

 

Street art Ibiza, Spain

Street art Ibiza, Spain

Shops Eivissa, Ibiza,Spain old town

Shops Eivissa, Ibiza,Spain old town

leaving Dalt vila

Leaving the old city – Dalt Vila – into the new part of Eivissa.

Exiting the Old town

Charming plein air restaurant in Eivissa town Ibiza

Charming plein air restaurant in Eivissa town Ibiza opening for lunch

This is a vegetarian restaurant in Eivissa.

This is a vegetarian restaurant in Eivissa.

Spanish pizza!

Spanish pizza!

After a lovely lunch, I walked around the town for a while just taking everything in.  Ibiza is clean, friendly, has some fascinating history, of which I only scratched the surface, and has a fun vibe.  I imagine the much talked about nightlife on the island is quite something.  

Spotless streets early on a Sunday morning.

Spotless Eivissa streets early on a Sunday morning.

This definitely reminds me of Santorini or Mykonos.

This definitely reminds me of Santorini or Mykonos.

With only hours on the island, it’s hard to delve into Ibiza’a rich archaeological, historical, artistic and ethnological heritage. I would love to go back and explore the island with more time – and in cooler weather! 

  TIPS: 

You can access Ibiza by ferry from Barcelona. There are two companies, Balearia and Trasmediterranea, but try as I might I couldn’t get either one to give me a price online.  It takes about 9 hours. 

Several small European airlines have direct flights in about an hour.  Rates are inexpensive, but you do pay all the annoying extras on those small airlines.  

Try to get a local map of Eivissa in Spanish as well as English; the signs are in Spanish, so the English version is confusing.  

Several of the Spanish museums have special prices for senior so if it applies, ask. 

Check the hours for museums etc. before trekking there to find them closed. 

I didn’t come across anyone who didn’t speak English, or at least understand me – amazing. 

 

 

 

 

 

About

I'm in my sixties with the world at my feet and thoughts mostly of "where to next?". I retired in 2017, sold my house in Massachusetts and most of my furniture and "stuff." When not traveling you can find me in Florida in the winter and Rhode Island in the summer. Travel has been a passion from a young age, over the years I've discovered I'm a traveler, not a tourist. I prefer traveling solo, with a travel friend, or small groups. Whenever possible I would rather spend time in one place rather than moving around. I'll never turn down an opportunity to go to France, but my travels have taken me all over the world. I've met some incredible people and had some fantastic experiences.

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