About 50 miles off the coast of Valencia, Ibiza is one of the larger Balearic Islands. Settled in 654 BC by Phoenicians, the island's name was given by visiting Greeks for "pine-covered islands." Ibiza later came under the control of Carthage, then the Romans. Rule by the Vandals, and the Moorish Taifa of Denia followed until the conquest by the Christian King James I of Aragon, in 1235. A United Nations World Heritage Site, its Old Town retains the medieval city walls. Large parts of the island are protected from development, so if you need to get away from the crowds there are always places to enjoy eye-popping vistas in solitude.
Like Mykonos in Greece, Ibiza is a summer gay resort that has risen to almost mythical status. "La Isla Blanca" is an incredibly beautiful place where visitors' days are usually spent frolicking on the beaches, and the nights are for legendary clubbing that lasts well past sunrise. A number of gay bars, restaurants and cafes can be found in the town of Ibiza, around Carrer de la Verge, in the portside Sa Penya area, and in the Dalt Vila. Anfora is a popular gay club here, with dancing, nude male strip and sex shows, and drag events. Angelo is a good warm up meeting place before going dancing, and JJ Bar, La Muralla, and Mad Bar are three men's bars, all close by. Almost all the businesses in the district are gay-friendly at the least, so just trust your gaydar. There are also a number of men's fashion outlets along these streets. Outside this district, in Santa Eularia des Riu to the north, Somiart restaurant has elaborate nightly entertainment, including shows by the Foc i Fum group of acrobats. July and August are the busiest months, but many places are open in May, June and September, for those who prefer a quieter scene.
You’ll probably love the music too. DJs come from around the world to spins house and trance tunes for very appreciative crowds. A large expat community from other EU countries make their home here, along with Latin Americans and Moroccans, giving the scene a very cosmopolitan feel. They say that on summer weekends the parties are so perfectly spaced that one is always starting when the last is breaking up. The circuit party promoters follow people as they leave the big cities' heat to relax at coastal resorts, and the scene blazes throughout July and August to wrap up in September.
The largest regular parties include: Cafe Olé, Mondays at Space, a "polysexual" night of music, star performers, theatrics and acrobatics; and The Face of Ibiza, a new Tuesday gay-friendly mixed party at Privilege from Baby Marcelo, formerly of the "La Troya Asesina" parties. The famous La Troya parties continue Wednesdays on the Terrace at Amnesia, with performances and gymnastic feats; Ibiza Calling also takes place on Wednesdays at Space for a mixed crowd; and SuperMartXé owns Thursdays at Privilege. The Matinée Group does Saturdays at Amnesia Club; and the WE Parties happen each alternate Saturday, at the new Ushuaîa Ibiza Tower resort club. Lesbians of Ibiza is women's night at Sunrise Club, one Saturday per month this summer. Gay dance parties also take place at Somni Club, usually on Sunday evenings. Into the Tank, the international men's fetish dance, does a major leather/sports/fetish Ibiza event this past year in August, at MoMa Club.
See our gay Ibiza listings page for map locations and club contact information for the above, plus more bars, and a few hotels and restaurants. Many local restaurants serve typical Ibizan fare, traditional Mediterranean-style, including fish, seafood, rice, stews, asados/asadas (grilled meat or vegetables), garlic sauces, and tomato/onion/garlic dips. Chopped almonds, common in Catalan cuisine, are often used here too. International options include Chinese, French, Indonesian, Indian, Italian, and French cuisines, English breakfasts, and American fast food.
Aeropuerto de Ibiza has direct flights from Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. If you’re flying from abroad, you’ll most likely have to transfer in one of those cities. There are also ferries from Denia, Valencia and Barcelona.
Ibiza Town has a compact Old Town that is made for strolling. Street signs here are in Catalan, but Eivissenc is the local dialect, similar to the Catalan and Valencian languages. Many businesses use Spanish street names, and locals may also speak English or German in addition to Castilian Spanish.
A car is a good idea if you want to explore the island but there is bus service too; see IbizaBus for a list of routes and companies. Some big discos and hotels provide free transportation. Taxis are a fairly expensive way to get around the island, costing €20-30 between cities.
Carrer de la Verge (la Mare de Déu) is Eivissa's (Town of Ibiza) main gay strip. It’s packed with bars and clubs with outdoor terraces that are buzzing on sultry summer evenings. Gays and straights mix with ease. Another cluster of bars is above, in Dalt Vila, and the Figueretas Beach area to the west has many hotels and restaurants. Besides the many small gay bars there are a couple of gay discos, including Anfora. The oldest club in town, Pashá, is still going strong 40 years after opening their doors.
Most of the big gay-friendly mixed internationally-known discoteques are a bit further out - some provide free buses from the center. On the coast to the south of Eivissa, near Platja d'en Bossa, Space and Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel are home to many gay dance parties. The famous, mostly straight Bora Bora Beach Club and the Manchester UK import Sankeys Ibiza, are also here. Santa Eulària des Riu, a coastal town just north of Eivissa, is a quieter place, with some bars and restaurants of interest.
The area around Sant Rafel (San Rafael), at island center, between Eivissa and Sant Antoni, is home to three big clubs with gay parties, Amnesia, Privilege and Underground.
On the north side of the island the town of Sant Antoni de Portmany (San Antonio) is newer, and more commercial, a big draw for a mostly straight crowd. This probably spared ancient Eivissa the kind of development that could have spoiled it. Here Eden, Es Paradis, and Ibiza Rocks (with international popular music acts live at center stage), are the big nightclub draws --mostly straight but not unfriendly to gay people either.
There are over eighty beaches within half an hour's drive of Eivissa or Sant Antoni. The range from those with full-service beach club resorts, fine restaurants, and partying on the sand, to unspoiled and tranquil natural sandy retreats. The following rank among the most popular.
Figueretas Beach is the city beach on the south side of Eivissa, surrounded by hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops, with a palm-fringed promenade, lounge chairs and parasols for rent, shower facilities, and access for the disabled. A harbor for fishing boats separates it from Platja d'en Bossa, to the south. The promenade and cafes come alive in the evenings, as visitors leave the beach, and locals arrive to cool off and relax.
Platja (or playa) d'en Bossa is a long stretch of beach with bars and beach lounges and shops in Sant Josep de Talaià just south of Eivissa, varying from the super trendy to casual and laid back. Drive, bike or take the bus from Ibiza Town, just 4 km away.
Platja d'es Cavallet is a naturalist, clothing optional beach backed by unspoiled sand dunes, just 10 minutes drive south of Platja d'en Bossa. There's an active gay scene at the far end of the long beach and several Chiringuito-style beach restaurants during summer months. See El Chiringuito for one such. Drive, bike, or or take the bus from town.
Las Salinas Beach, at the island's southern tip, has a trendy party scene right next to the Wildlife Conservation Area, also 10-15 minutes drive south of Platja d'en Bossa. Lounge chairs and parasols can be rented, and there are restaurants and bars serving food and cocktails to your beach chair; also massage facilities, beach boutiques, shops, and public showers. Further down the bay nudists mix with families, "hippies" and partiers who dance to music that plays all day. Even further down, past the watchtower, there are small coves that break into the rocky coastline, for those seeking their own private beach.
Cala Jondal (Platja d'es Jondal) further west down the coast from Las Salinas, is popular with boaters, the rich, the beautiful and the trendy. Surrounded by jagged cliffs and a pine woods conservation area, it has a white pebble beach and clear blue waters. Several high-end lounge/restaurants here offer good food, beer, wine and cocktails. Access by car, or by private boat.
Currency and Money
Spain’s official currency is the euro. There are ATMs scattered about the center, so you won’t have trouble getting more cash.
Essential Ibiza offers general public party listings and tickets, plus a guide to restaurants, bars, clubs, beaches, shopping options and more.
For locations and website information for gay and gay-friendly bars, clubs, cafes and hotels, see our gay Ibiza map & listings section.