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Insider's A to Z of Ibiza - D is for Dalt Vila

Our very own World Heritage Site

The skyline of Ibiza's old town, more commonly known as Dalt Vila, is as iconic to the island locals as Manhattan's is to a New Yorker. Having been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1999, the ancient walls of Dalt Vila harbour a smattering of hidden gems in the form of shops, bars, restaurants and mind-blowing events. So read on, friends, for the Insider's Guide to our very own mystical castle...

The Medieval Festival

One of the local's favourite events of the Ibiza calendar is without a doubt The Medieval Festival. Falling sometime around the beginning of May (7th-10th May this year to be precise), the entire labyrinth of Dalt Vila is transformed into a Medieval Town complete with minstrels, jousting, hog roasts and falconry. Banners and fabric panels sway up ahead and, in the absence of the throngs of tourists, the locals come out to play. You'll see resident DJs rubbing shoulders with the farmers of the north as they get their hands dirty on delicious kebabs washed down with remarkably cheap beer and wine.

Insider Info - go at lunch time if you can. Evenings get super-crowded, but at lunchtime the meat BBQs are freshly stoked and the queues are WAY shorter. The roast pork with crackling from the stall up in Plaza España is making our mouths water as we type! And don't worry, there's plenty for vegetarians too - try the Arabic souk-style tent's heavenly tabbouleh and falafel.

The International Music Summit's Dalt Vila Grand Finale Festival

The IMS has put Ibiza on the map as being a centre for music industry heads to converge and talk business. However, what gets the locals excited is the festival that takes place on the final two days of the conference up in our beloved Dalt Vila. As a UNESCO site, this particular location has stringent laws in place to protect the surroundings, but for one weekend only, Dalt Vila's Baularte de Santa Lucia plays centre-stage to a one-off showcase of hot new live talent and seminal DJs. Another unmissable event for the locals.

Insider Info - make sure you are there at sunset. Watching the sky turn pink and orange as a backdrop to the concerts themselves is simply magnificent. Prepare yourself for a genuine ‘Ibiza Moment'!


Located on the steps of Dalt Vila just inside the side entrance of Portal Nou, S'Escalinata soon became a top hangout for the residents of Ibiza Town when it opened just 3 years ago. With comfy cushions scattered on the steep stairs, and the perfect vantage point for people watching, there is nothing about this rustic little café not to love. The beer is cheap (just €2.20 a caña!), the owners are friendly and never in a hurry to move you on. The sharing plates of hummous and guacamole are just the right size to fill a gap in the summer, and the simple sandwich and salad menu is fresh and locally sourced.

Insider Info - Pass by for the straightforward and affordable breakfast. A fantastic time to admire the tranquility of Dalt Vila accompanied by an iced coffee, and to witness it slowly coming to life for the day...

La Mezcaleria Mexiterranea

A charismatic, yet slightly hedonistic sanctuary tucked away in between the eateries and boutiques of Dalt Vila's famous Restaurant Square, the Mezcaleria is a stop-off that the locals do not take lightly! Mezcal has always been a guilty pleasure of the Resident Crew, so when this little bolthole opened in recent years, we flocked there and stumbled out. Drinking at this fine little mezcal emporium feels like you've chanced upon a proper local's secret. After just one of their sublime mezcal cocktails (the Mezcal Bloody Mary is a firm favourite and enough to lift you from the doldrums to the dancefloor in one tight slap), you will be practically ready for anything the island has to offer, despite the fact that last night's head was earlier refusing to believe so! And the food. Ah the food! Laced with Mezcal, their menu oozes finesse, with very naughty undertones.

Insider Info - Try the Guided Mezcal Flight, with which the owner Javier will treat you to five different mezcals accompanied by delectable morsels of seafood. It will seriously blow your head off! Prepare to be a lot more wobbly on departure than on arrival...

Dalt Vila offers much more than meets the eye. Although the stunning architecture, spectacular views, extraordinary churches and fine dining experiences should be enough for any astute traveller, dig a little deeper and discover the contemporary fun.

Next week, E is for Es Cavallet, we uncover the treasures that the beach has to offer and why the locals love it so both in and out of season.

Insider's A to Z of Ibiza

WORDS | Leena Sharma

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