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Explore Ibiza's fantastic flea markets

Great finds, great fun

If you routinely pass on second hand goods, then you haven't tried Ibiza’s famous and long-standing flea markets. We went along on a recent winter weekend to report on what is a very satisfying way to spend a day (or two).

You will see all manner of things old and new to buy; you also get a pretty unique atmosphere with lots of colour, live music and a proper buzz of excitement as people go hunting around the stalls.

We recommend you go and try them out for yourself as you will be surprised at what's there. The two main ones are Sant Jordi’s flea market in the south and Cala Leña in the north and both open all year round.

These treasure troves have gradually become cosmopolitan meeting places, where you can barter, socialise and have fun with a mix of Ibiza island residents and tourists as you make your way through on the lookout for some cool bargains.

Re-use and upcycle

Flea markets have another good point in their favour, being an opportunity to do our bit for the environment by reusing or upcycling your finds. That carved brass door knocker will fit easily in your suitcase and no-one else is going to have one like it when you get back home. Or, you might pick up a sweet item of clothing to save for a posh night out. You just never know.

The markets are very mixed: you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by collectors, bargain-hunters, nosey tourists, Ibicencos and residents spread over a great mix of age ranges, with everyone from babies to retirees.

All kinds of things are on sale, mainly second hand goods with new items like clothing or hand-crafted goods. And, there is something for everyone: antiques, handicrafts, toys, books, plants, clothing, shoes, ornaments, costume jewellery and even furniture.

Sant Jordi flea market

When: Every Saturday from 9 h to 15 h

Where: Sant Jordi Hippodrome, Sant Jordi and just 3km from Ibiza Town

When you arrive at Sant Jordi's flea market, you will see what looks a bit like disorder and chaos, with the all the stalls and cars laid out with their goods over a big sandy stretch of land.

Walking around, you’ll find yourself, almost without realising, making a mental map as you cross between the lines of stalls deciding what to investigate next.

We stopped by one stand and listened as the stall holders chatted about a TV series that my mother is hooked on. She took the opportunity to join in and swap stories and make some new friends.

My four and a half year old daughter discovered that flea markets are a great opportunity to increase her huge collection of toys, so she was delighted to find things for her at the market.

Sant Jordi’s market is a great place for kids as they have the freedom to walk around without being told not to touch anything too much. I let her run around as I fiddled with my camera to see if I could attempt to take some arty photos and capture the mood of the market.

Searching for 'jewels'

My mother went in search of what she calls "jewels", which for her means any object you suddenly believe you can't live without and costs much less than it's worth. To her credit she searched out some great finds. Imagine my surprise, when she showed me a lovely wool jacket for my daughter that she got ridiculously cheap using her innate bartering skills.

As my daughter walked happily past the stalls, she suddenly found one full of Barbie dolls, which we picked up for the princely sum of €6 that came with a bag full of dolls dresses. Yes, hidden treasures indeed.

We went around the entire Hippodrome going past all the market stalls; there are a lot so you are sure to see something that grabs your eye.

Feeling a little peckish, we headed to the cafe/bar there and got some some drinks (they also sell very tasty sandwiches) and took them with us outside to sit and listen to the sound of the drummers’ music in the background as the sun shone down on us as we inspected our finds.

Cala Lenya flea market

When: Every Sunday from 9 h to 15 h

Where: Next to Cala Leña (Cala Llenya) beach just 4km from Santa Eulalia

The market at Cala Leña is smaller and more compact with a buzzing atmosphere, and when we walk in, we recognise some of the faces of the stall holders from Sant Jordi's flea market.

Treasure hunters

A good friend of mine joined us and surprised us all by revealing that she's a skilled treasure hunter; soon after arriving she made a beeline for the first one of the stalls, rummaged through quickly and got her first jewel. My mother and my friend evidently got along really well, going off together to visit the stalls in search of more market gems.

At midday we headed to the restaurant to conclude our trip and have a bite to eat. We went for their dishes of the day: a big plate of paella and roast chicken for the modest sum of €8 each dish.

There's also a bar next to the restaurant where you can grab some live music and try their tasty German sausages, whilst the children run to the play area which is always full of little ones laughing and enjoying themselves.

On returning to the car, we reflected on what had been a great day in good company as we heaved our bags into the car laden with with our many prized finds.

We had a terrific time on the flea markets and we think you will too, after all, you never know what’s out there...

Ibiza is famous for its markets, with many of them taking place all year round. Take a look at our markets page to find out more.

Note: Cala Leña market will be closed between 25 December 2016 - 1 January 2017.

WORDS | María Sanchez

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