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In and around beautiful Cala Conta

For many, Cala Conta needs no introduction. For those who’ve not yet experienced her crystal shores, you’re in for a very special treat.

The best Ibiza sunsets are along the famous San Antonio strip, right? Well, not necessarily. Of course sunset strip is perfect if you're looking for a lively party vibe and some of the planet's biggest DJs playing banging pre-party sets for free. And at least one visit to either Mambo or Café del Mar (or even better both) is an absolute Ibiza must-do.

However sometimes, it's nice to enjoy a little more peace with your sunset vibes. And sometimes it's just great to get off the beaten track.

Cala Conta

Enter Cala Conta, to be found gracing the west coast of the island a few kilometres south of San Antonio's classic sunset strip. Just take a right turn after about 4km up the road towards San José. It's clearly signposted but sometimes only in Ibicenco, the distinct local dialect of Catalan. Look out for ‘Platjes de Comte.' You can get there by both bus and boat from San Antonio, or rent a car, scooter or a bike. Either way, prepare to be utterly blown away.

The first thing you'll notice about this Ibiza beach as you proceed (very carefully) onto the rocky (free) car-park is the absolutely astounding natural beauty assaulting your senses from every conceivable angle. Really ladies and gentlemen, this humble article can never do it justice. I can write and post photographs all day long, but it would never convey even a fraction of the panoramic magnificence that awaits you.

There are three beaches in total, presided over by that most Bohemian of Ibiza sunset cathedrals, the beautiful Sunset Ashram. Boasting spectacular views and admittedly one of my favourite beach boutiques, to the right of Sunset Ashram is the quieter part of the beach. Another restaurant (very well-reputed for its seafood dishes) hugs the coastline on the other side of the bay.

Tip? Do not attempt to get a table at the seafood restaurant without prior arrangement. The absolutely rushed-off-their-feet waiting staff will simply look weary and shake their heads before dashing off, faster than the speed of light, whilst balancing the crockery cleared from a table of 8 on just their pinky finger…

During the day, Sunset Ashram on the other hand is self-service. Simply order and pay at the bar from a light, lunch-time menu of pizzas, salads and the like. No booking necessary. From around 6pm they change over to the Mediterranean fusion dinner menu, more extensive, a tad more expensive and booking is highly recommended as it's usually chocabloc. Do not expect fast service at busy times, simply relax and enjoy the lush sea and sunset views whilst you wait, listening to the chill-out tunes of the resident DJ. No difficult task - it's mesmerising.

Tip? Don't sit down before you look at the menu. Grab a menu, get in the (possibly long) queue straight away and decide what you're going to order while you're in it! Also don't be shy - if tables are occupied but you see space, just ask the occupants if they mind if you join them. It's very shanti-shanti!

To the left of Sunset Ashram is the main stretch of Cala Conta. During July and August you need to get there early to get a decent space on this relatively small Ibiza beach. It's incredibly popular with Spanish, French and Italian visitors to the island as well as being the favourite sunset location for many island residents. From families to couples and groups of all ages, Cala Conta is loved by many, although it's particularly popular with a young, boho-chic crowd.

The sea is almost unspeakably lovely around Cala Conta. Cool, deep and sparklingly clear, the currents are strong, so whilst it's great for swimming and the rugged coastline a dream for snorkelling, do take care and don't swim too far out. The beach is packed with sun-beds of varying sumptuousness along with a profusion of umbrellas, tables and chairs. Space for simple towels on the sand, it has to be said, are few and far between.

Cala Contita

If you come back into the carpark and continue walking along the coast to the left of Sunset Ashram as you look at it, after less than 100 metres you'll come to Cala Contita. Wild and free, it's Cala Conta's even more Bohemian little sister, with stone steps leading down to a wonderfully pretty little bay, very popular with those who like to bathe ‘au naturel.' If there was ever an appropriate place to throw caution to the wind, whip off those bottoms and try your first naked sunset, it's right here guys! There are a few sunbeds, but this is really nature's zone.

For the slightly more adventurous, there is a very cool finale. If you walk back through the big main car-park and onto the road, past another couple of small, shady parking areas to the right, you'll notice a dusty camino just afterwards with no signpost. Turn right there and follow the path straight for a couple of hundred metres. Then following the sharp left bend that takes you past the perimeter of a walled-off house. You may think “surely this isn't right.” But it is. You'll see a small, squarish white utility building featuring some funky graffiti art just up in front of you as you pass the house. Follow the camino up, passing the utility building on your left. If you're in car or scooter, stop and park here. Do not go any further or you may destroy your vehicle's chassis, potentially ruining your amazing day out.

Es Vedra

As you walk to the top of the camino (a minute or two), you'll find yourself on a coastal plateau with a stunning view of Es Vedra, very close to the site of those legendary Ibiza secret parties, ‘Rave in a Cave.' We're not going to reveal the exact location of those though - you'll just have to find it yourselves, and you will, if you're determined enough...

For anyone wanting to base themselves in this stunning area check out the beautiful Sea view Villa Cala Conta (Ref. 009).

In the meantime, sit down, crack open the thermos of chilled mojitos that of course you remembered to bring and smile. You just found heaven.

We sat there for a couple of hours watching the sun sink slowly down. There was hardly anyone else around and aside from the distant applause coming from the Sunset Ashram as the sun finally disappeared beneath the horizon, the peace was absolutely sublime. Do take something to sit on if you can as the rocks are not designed for comfort. But of course, adventure is all about breaking free from the comfort zone guys!

As always, we hope this beach series inspires you to get out and about next time you visit to explore incredible, inimitable Ibiza. Whether it's by car, scooter or a bike, there's a whole island of awesome beauty awaiting you.

WORDS | Jane Charilaou PHOTOS | Jane Charilaou

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