Located off of the eastern coast of Spain in the Balearic Islands, the island of Ibiza—also known as the Party Capital of the World—covers an area of 221.07 square miles, making it about half the size of Los Angeles. Its tallest peak, Sa Talaissa, stands at 1,558 feet. Despite its relatively small size, Ibiza is […]
Located off of the eastern coast of Spain in the Balearic Islands, the island of Ibiza—also known as the Party Capital of the World—covers an area of 221.07 square miles, making it about half the size of Los Angeles. Its tallest peak, Sa Talaissa, stands at 1,558 feet. Despite its relatively small size, Ibiza is also home to miles of hiking trails that run along beaches and meander through sleepy villages. “It’s this natural space that makes our island such a special one,” says wellness coach Rodríguez Gómez.
Sometimes called the “White Island” for the whitewashed buildings that dot its hillsides, Ibiza’s history dates back to the 7th century B.C. when the Phoenicians settled the capital of Ibiza Town for its optimal location along a popular Mediterranean trade route. Today, ancient structures can still be spotted in Ibiza Town and, along the coast, prairies of delicate Posidonia, or seagrass, wave beneath the ocean’s surface.
Although Ibiza has long been associated with all-night parties and a bumping electronic music scene, hiking provides an outlet for both locals and travelers to connect to island’s history and appreciate it biodiversity. Hikers discover new routes through word of mouth, online communities dedicated to celebrating Ibiza’s wild places and commercial groups like Walking Ibiza and Grup de Coneixement del Medi.
Raúl Matalí, founder of the online community Eivissa Pas a Pas, says he feels free and adventurous when he’s out walking the trails. Even after spending every summer on Ibiza since he was born, he finds new areas he hasn’t encountered before. “You have to get lost to find the most beautiful spots,” he says.
It’s not only tourists who come to hike. Locals also get out on the trails, following leaders like Toby Clarke, who founded the guide service Walking Ibiza after hiking the entire Ibizan coastline with only €1 in his pocket. Others join Grup de Coneixement del Medi founded by Josep Antoni Prats, who leads hikes to help locals more fully enjoy the landscape and connect with the lineage of their homeland.
For Marina, a primary school teacher who grew up on Ibiza, it was moving to Barcelona for seven years and returning to the island that allowed her to connect with Ibiza’s natural beauty. So did hiking. “Hiking helps you understand the environment that surrounds you ... and appreciate the landscape that we have around us, how history happened and understand some of the civilizations that have passed through here,” she says.
“We have a saying in Spanish that says, 'la cabra siempre tira para el monte' ('the goat always heads to the mountain'),” Marina explains. “It means always wanting to go back to the place we were born.”
Ready to experience the beauty of Ibiza for yourself? Try one of these popular hikes on your next visit.
Beginning near the Sa Cova Winery in San Mateo, this hike follows a well-maintained trail over some loose rocks and gravel to the remnants of a 12th-century city.
Off a path just north of the plaza in Santa Agnes, this hike involves a sharp decline through a wooden staircase and loose rock to a hidden beach.
This loop starts on a path off the Carrer des Placita d’Albarca north of San Mateo and passes through the Puente de Piedra, a natural bridge overlooking Cala d’Albarca.
This hike starts at the landmark Sa Canal near Ses Salines beach and ends at the restaurant Experimental Beach, offering coastal views along the way. It winds through shrubbery and climbs to a few scenic overlooks above the salt flats.
Beginning near the white buildings of the small town of Es Cubells, this loop follows a cliffside path and offers views of the mystical island Es Vedrà before circling back through inland pine tree forests.
Editor's note: Some of the interviewees in this piece have asked that we include only their first names.