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Review: Medieval Festival, Ibiza 2013

In true Medieval style, we came, we saw and we want to go again!

Ever wondered how people might have lived in Ibiza's richly historic past? I confess that I often do and last weekend I was in for a treat! Ibiza's medieval festival was in town!

The annual festival takes place around the castle fortress at the highest point of Ibiza town, known as ‘Dalt Villa'. The whole castle area is a UNESCO world heritage site and dates back to over 500 years BC.

So last Friday, feeling the same kind of excitement Dr Who must feel just before he enters the tardis, I set off intrepidly with my notebook and pen. It was a warm and sunny afternoon with the vibrant blue of the sky broken only by the occasional little fluffy cloud. A gentle breeze slightly ruffled my hair. Perfect Ibiza weather!

Medieval Festival Ibiza 2013 - lower Dalt Vila

I began my stroll in Plaza del Parque, at the base of the castle like grounds, festively draped with colourful flags and things to do for children including fun, medieval style activities. Mums and dads, grandparents and kids cheerfully and noisily intermingled with locals enjoying their lunch in the lively cafes that line the plaza. In fact, the festival was packed fun and educational things to do and see, like the snake charmers and street theatre that might have graced the castle lanes centuries ago.

Following the medieval festival's bright street decorations, I headed upwards through the charming streets of the old town towards the castle enclosure. The narrow, pretty little streets soon became lined with an array of market stalls, many offering traditional and artisan products from Ibiza that would have changed little since medieval times.

I was soon beckoned over to a wonderful stall manned by the smiling Juan Fluxa who makes traditional Hierbas, the much-loved local liqueur. Juan makes his Hierbas lovingly according to a age-old secret recipe that uses only herbs that grow naturally here on the island. Yum!

Medieval Festival Ibiza 2013 - Dalt Vila Guard

After a liberal, ahem, testing of Juan's wonderful local liqueurs, I continued on my merry way, blissfully taking in the sound of wooden flutes, drifting folk melodies, the intoxicating smell of leather and the laughing of the good-natured market traders.

Don't be shy to talk to them! They will neither force their wares upon you, nor laugh at your nervous attempts to speak Spanish. On the contrary, you can look forward to big smiles and the delightful sampling of some of Ibiza's finest traditional products. Look out for the stalls offering a small 'copa' or glass of wine along with bread, 'sobrasada' (Ibiza's local sausage) or cheese for just €1. Mmm!

Medieval Festival Ibiza 2013 - Food Fayre

I continued, heading up the ramp to the entrance of the castle grounds, guarded sternly but charmingly by a young man dressed in medieval military attire. The ancient cobbled lanes caught a few unsuspecting festival goers off-guard and I saw a few stumbles. The moral of the story is sensible shoes if you wish to explore Dalt Villa with your ankles intact, Ibiza lovers!

Medieval Festival Ibiza 2013 - time to relax

Along with all the market stalls were a whole raft of interesting things to do, with examples and demonstrations of all kinds of traditional crafts, from leather and metal-work to traditional basket-weaving and chair-making. The smell of roasting meat, fresh herbs, teas and incense wafted by. My eyes were greeted by veritable pools of sausage, roasted pigs, hand-made crisps, exquisitely cured cheeses, legs of ham and huge, lavish paellas. Medieval Ibiza sure looks like she ate pretty well!

Magic potions ranging from 'aphrodisiac' to 'venom' were available (I fancied 'mortal sin' myself - no change there then!).

Thoroughly stimulated, happily full and mildly tipsy, I made my way back down the lovingly preserved Ibiza streets with their quaintly peeling paint and flowering window-boxes, stopping off for a coffee at the beautiful but unpretentious Tentazione. After swift service and the warmest Ibiza welcome, my companion confided that their home-made ice-cream was, quite frankly, decadent to the point that it surely should be illegal.

Medieval Festival Ibiza 2013 - market stalls

In conclusion, if you are lucky enough to be in Ibiza for the annual medieval festival and are looking for fun and interesting things to do for the whole family, do not miss it! Free entrance. 2nd weekend of May from 10.30am - midnight.

Quick Facts

What: Ibiza Medieval Festival

When: 2nd Weekend in May

Where: Castle enclosure, Dalt Villa, Ibiza Town

Why: Great weekend fun for the whole family. A must to add to your 'Things to Do' list!

Top Tip: The festival is free and a very popular event so for ease of parking, the big car-park behind the port is recommended.

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