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Ibiza is THE party island, but while the boho and rave set make it their own each summer, this is an unexpectedly great place for family holidays as well, with safe, sandy beaches for tots, plenty of family entertainment and lots of fun for teens. Clubbers rarely venture far from Ibiza town, so the rest of the island with its dense pine forests is left for you to explore.
Hit the beaches. It’s best to come in the morning, before the clubbers awake from the excesses of the night and pack them out. On the busier beaches you’ll find everything from banana boats and pedaloes to paragliding, plus lots of restaurants and cafés. Sometimes the best moments of family holidays are those spent idling time away at a café table admiring the view and eating ice cream.
Or you may prefer to seek out smaller, more sedate (although not undiscovered) beaches for low-key picnics and paddling. Our favourites include Cala Llonga on the east side of the island, with its crystal-clear waters and great facilities, the popular family choices of Puerto de San Miguel and Portinaz in the north of the island, and, in the south, Figueretas, Playa d'en Bossa, Es Cavallet, Las Salinas, Cala Jondal, and Sa Caleta. Playa d’en Bossa has carousels and bouncy castles, while some of the larger beaches have playgrounds. In the west, try Talamanca, close to Ibiza Town and attracting an eclectic mix of people, including families.
For a spot of culture, take kids to Ibiza town’s medieval castle of Dalt Vila, a disorientating myriad of tunnels and labyrinthine streets, and to its Archaeological Museum, built over a Carthagean burial site reported to contain more than 4,000 graves.
Look around the Can Marca Caves, a maze of caverns more than 100,000 years old, once used to smuggle illicit goods
Take at least one trip by water taxi, a fun (but essential) way of getting around. You can also take boat-trips to nearby beaches, the gimmicky Aguamar Water Park, and Formentera, where with older kids you can hire bikes to have a look round the island.
Experience the hippy markets of Punta Arabi and Las Dalias, remnants of the hippies who beat the ravers to Ibiza when they descended on the island in the 1970s. The bling, batik and bongos never fail to impress even the surliest of teenagers.
In and near Ibiza's resorts, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any Spanish food – expect cottage pie, fish and chips, pizza, pasta, Chinese and Indian restaurants, and Continental breakfast. To sample something more authentic on family holidays, including tapas and rice, vegetable and seafood dishes, head away from the resorts.
Schedule family holidays on Ibiza for Apr–Oct. If your kids are not yet in school, take full advantage of the lower prices in June or September – the crowds have gone but the weather is still gorgeous.
It’s a tot-friendly 2hr flight to Ibiza from airports all over the UK. If you hire a car, bear in mind that some of the roads are a bit scary in the north, with some sheer drops.
Family holidays on Ibiza start from as little as £130pp for 7 nights’ self-catering in a 3-star hotel, if you book early enough. More upmarket options include luxury villas, retreats, private yachts and boat-based holidays.By Rachelle Keyes
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