You are here

Great books about Ibiza and Formentera

Riveting reads for island lovers.

Today is Saint George's Day, celebrated in Cataluña and the Balearic Islands as Día de San Jordi, and the day of the year that lovers traditionally exchange gifts symbolising culture and love – a rose and book. So, what better way to while away the days, counting down to your next visit to Ibiza and Formentera, than to immerse yourself in a little literature?

Many great fiction and non-fiction books have been written about the archipelago and this is the perfect moment to brush up on your island history and culture or to lose yourself in a novel or biography featuring the islands as an exotic backdrop.

Here is our selection of the best. Some may already be out of print but are well worth scouring your second-hand bookshop shelves to discover.

The History Buff's Guide to Ibiza (2000) by Emily Kaufman.

As the title and the cover suggest, this is the go-to guide for the history of human occupation of these beautiful islands. From pre-history to the modern day, the guide is written in a very clear and easy-going manner, as the author leads us through the occupation of the islands by the many visitors who have made a lasting impact on its culture: the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines and the Moors, up to the arrival of the Catalans in 1235. Kaufman introduces us to their rich and constantly evolving myths, religions, deities and cultural practices.

The White Island (2004) by Stephen Armstrong

A colourful, autobiographical account of one man's personal voyage of discovery of Ibiza. With modern anecdotes, interlaced with local historical titbits going back through the centuries, you too can enjoy a little of the magical wonder of visiting Ibiza for the first time. If you've still not visited the islands, Armstrong's recollections will certainly whet your appetite.

Eivissa - Ibiza: A Hundred Years of Light and Shade (2000) and its successor Eivissa - Ibiza: Island out of Time (2005) by Martin Davies

Intriguing photographic collections, charting the history of Ibiza prior to mass tourism, taken by pioneering visitors and compiled by Martin Davies. The images beautifully capture, in monochrome, the people, lifestyle, tradition, culture architecture and crafts of the island. In some of the more recent images, there is the classic juxtaposition of ancient and modern, as tourism begins and cultures overlap.

Ibiza – A Mediterranean Lifestyle (1999) by Fritzi Northampton

Exploring the past 1000 years of Ibizan history through the lens of its architecture. An amazing photographic account of the imprint of aesthetic beauty left by decades of architectural innovation, decoration and design - as preserved by the wealthy friends and associates of former model and socialite Ms Fritza Erhart. With an informative text by Lluis Domenech and illustrated by the elegant photographs of Conrad White, this is an essential addition to any Ibiza lover's library.

Blakstad Houses (2012) by Rolph Blakstad,

Canadian born architect Blakstad fell in love with the unique architectural heritage of Ibiza in the 1960's and incorporated it into his many, stunning modern designs over the past 50 years. The architect has left a lasting contribution to the aesthetic beauty of the island and much of it is captured lovingly by the camera of Conrad White in this ultimate coffee table book.

The Life and Death of a Spanish Town (1937) by Elliot Paul

History lovers will adore another autobiographical account of life in Ibiza, but this time in the sleepy fishing village of Santa Eulalia, as Spain plunges into turmoil at the outbreak of the Civil War. The author, with a cast of local characters and expats living in the area, describes life in the peaceful town in the lead up to hostilities and experiences the violence that tears the families and community apart. Fairly scarce, but still possible to get hold of, this poignant classic is considered one of the finest, first-hand accounts of this tumultuous period of Spanish history.

Mr Pikes: The Story Behind the Ibiza Legend (2017) by Tony Pike and Matt Trollop

The phenomenally successful bestseller about the life and extraordinary times of the eponymous hotel and its larger-than-life owner. Penned a short while before his death, Mr Pike recounts his antics with the retinue of A-list visitors to his notoriously hedonistic establishment - a cast that includes the likes of Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Grace Jones and Julio Iglesias. Tony's crazy memoires will have you hankering for summer and cocktail beside possibly the most famous swimming pool in the world.

Is Harry on the Boat (1997) by Colin Butts.

This, semi-autobiographical romp, by former island resident Colin, follows the cheeky exploits of young holiday reps and is genuinely funnier than you might imagine. Seen through the eyes of, naïve young worker, Brad, the adventure explores the island's bar and club scene. Visiting many locations that will be familiar to island veterans, this book is guaranteed to make any ex-reps who haven't already read it feel very nostalgic. Later made into an enjoyable television movie, with a great soundtrack, and series by Sky TV. See also, A Bus Could Run You Over by the same author.

25th Anniversary of Space - The Story of the Best Club in the World. (2014)

A pictorial history of everyone's favourite club, recounted through the eyes and experiences of legendary owner, Pepe Roselló. From the humble beginnings as Playboy Club in San Antonio, to bohemian beachside dancehall, to world-renowned super-club, this essential tome charts the evolution of the Ibizan dance music scene and will evoke many happy memories of the colourful characters who passed through the doors of Space. An essential gift for those with a love for the club, the music and the DJs who made it so special.

Related content