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On the road: Ibiza's South-West

Roadtrip revelations: Spring and Autumn offer the perfect chance to enjoy the beautiful countryside, pretty coves and some truly iconic landmarks, while the roads are clear and parking is easier.

The itinerary: starting from the car rental business Moto Luis in San Antonio, this journey along the rural roads around San José and the southwest coast takes in some gorgeous scenery and some of the island’s best beaches. 

What you'll get: stunning coastline, winding country roads, turquoise-coloured waters, landmarks and pit stops for food. Some small detours are optional.

Essential take items: drinks, snacks, a good camera, beach gear, music such as our Ibiza Spotlight Selects playlist, cash for bar drinks, sunscreen, paper map/map app (take a phone charger if using the latter).

The tour gets underway

We collected our shiny black VW T-Roc convertible from the friendly team at Motos Luis and set off onto Carrer Londres (Carrer is Ibizan for ‘street’) then turned right at the second roundabout with the horse statues. Going straight over the next roundabout, we headed into the countryside, passing the entrance to the renowned Pikes Hotel towards the small hamlet of Can Tomas.

After passing the big sign for Pikes Hotel, we took the next left onto Cami de S’Olivera, just past the bar of Can Ramonet.

We followed this road around the first lefthand bend, but at the second righthand we made a left turn on the bend. This was still Cami de S’Olivera, as it appears to go straight ahead. (Sounds a bit confusing, but do go straight.)

After that left turn, we continued ahead for about 1 km until we saw a long white wall on the right, followed by a turning to the right signposted ‘Eivissa’. Turning right we entered the little farming community with a big bar in the centre called Cafeteria S’Olivera.

It was too early for a coffee stop, so we carried on to the T-junction at the end, turned left and proceeded uphill to the big roundabout on the bypass. We took the second exit and headed out into the pretty countryside of Benimussa.

Rural roads, an abandoned nightclub and … lunch

This winding country road traverses the picturesque area known as Benimussa. Gorgeous views of the sea - a deep, royal blue - and the green wooded hills of San José accompanied us. Almond and carob trees line this winding, ancient way, while sheep graze in the fields. It’s a glimpse into timeless Ibiza.

We passed the ancient well of Pou Den Benet (small red sign) and some olive groves before taking the next lane on the right for about 1km, then right again past the San José cemetery. Going straight for 300m we then took the next right with a sign for Oratje Restaurant. After a steepish climb of around 1km, we arrived at the remains of Festival Club on the left. 

This outdoor disco was built in the mid-70s, but it didn’t last more than a year or so. A vast amphitheatre, replete with graffiti - much of it very good - it’s a fascinating place to wander around for half an hour and enjoy some great photo opportunities.

Leaving Festival Club, we headed down the adjacent camino (unmade road). Eventually, this road joins the main San José/San Antonio highway. Turn right here and continue for approximately 800m to the pretty little village of Sant Agusti. (optional)

Though picturesque - check out the lovely bright colours of the bougainvillaea against the whitewashed houses - this tiny village does not offer much to do during the daytime, but it’s well worth it for the views across the valley, especially when the almond trees are in bloom in the spring and of Ibiza’s highest peak, Sa Talaia (look for the antennas).

From the village, we returned to the main San José - San Antonio Road where we turned right and, after a few hundred metres, we turned left towards Cala Tarida (big sign). By now peckish, we stopped off at the next roundabout for lunch at the local's favourite Es Cuco Restaurant and dined on its signature rotisserie roast chicken with chips and salad - don’t miss the splendid views from its back terrace.

On leaving Es Cuco, with bellies full, we dropped straight downhill to Port des Torrent for a quick dip at this popular beach before taking an old dirt road (Cami Vell de Cala Bassa) through the forests towards the famous beach of Cala Bassa.

We found the camino by turning right at the traffic lights and travelling along the road Avenida Sant Agusti until we met the unmade road on the first bend and continued straight ahead. The camino passes the skeleton of an unfinished house on the left-hand side, before eventually meeting up with the main Cala Bassa road. 

Turn right here if you want to enjoy some time at this most beautiful of beaches, or enjoy lunch at the famous Cala Bassa Beach Club (CBbC). We opted to head off and explore one of Ibiza's most iconic defence towers, Torre d'en Rovira instead.

A pirate tower and a Stonehenge lookalike

Now the route gets a little complicated but is well worth the detour.

Heading away from Cala Bassa for about 1km we turned right onto Cami ses Roques Males, signposted to Torre d'en Rovira and Platges de Comte. Then we followed the signs to the tower, so keep your eyes peeled.

There are a few alternative off-road routes to the tower parking and you may find deep potholes, so take care if you are in a rental car. Or you can just park up and walk whenever you feel like it.

The view from the Torre den Rovira pirate lookout tower is beautiful. Directly before us lay the island of Sa Conillera (Rabbit Island) and the other islets further out known as Ses Bledes (the closest point on the Ibizan archipelago to the mainland). 

From here we made our way back to the camino and swung by Cala Comte, another of the island’s most outstanding beaches. Our route brought us in behind the restaurants of Ses Roques and s'Illa des Bosc where there is usually ample parking. After another refreshing swim in the aquamarine lagoon, we headed off back inland in search of the mystical Time & Space sculpture.

Time & Space can be found by leaving Cala Comte on the main road and turning right after about 1.5km signposted to Cala Codolar.

A new parking area has been set up and it is nicely signposted so finding it was a cinch. No matter how many times you have already visited, it is always such a pleasure to contemplate this evocative art installation by mega-sculptor Andrew Rogers. It's worthwhile making the short detour. 

To-die-for beaches and more refreshment. 

Next, we returned to the main road and headed along the coast road by turning right at the junction signposted to Cala Tarida, where the restaurant Mesa Ibiza is located.

Continuing on past Cala Tarida we headed towards the picturesque resort of Cala Vadella

You will pass another easy stop to bathe at the cute little cove of Cala Molí or to refresh your palate at the deluxe beach chiringuito El Silencio on the way. There is often ample parking here so you might like to take the opportunity.

The descent to the ever-popular beach and resort of Cala Vadella was as pleasurable as ever - its waters shimmering aquamarine in the afternoon sun. The main road takes you along the side of the beach and the sand was thronged with sun-worshippers. We didn't linger and carried on upwards out of the resort in search of refreshment at the next peaceful cove, Cala Carbó.

Cala Carbó is a small and lesser-known cove, but also one of the island's prettiest. Its narrow, sheltered beach is ideal for families and we stopped for an ice-cold beer at one of the two restaurants here.

Spectacular sunset views, sound healing and a DJ session

Finally, we wound our way towards Cala D’Hort. From here you get unbeatable views of Es Vedrá and Es Vedranell, two spectacular islets just off the coast.

In order to avoid the busy beach, we turned off instead to the right towards Es Boldadó restaurant for the spectacular views. The track continued along to a wooded clifftop zone popular with sunset lovers. 

Admiring the sight of the twin islets, the varying hues of green of the pine trees, and the many seafaring vessels plying the waters, we basked in the early evening sun and the feeling of the cool breeze on our faces.

As the sun descended at the end of a warm and enjoyable day, we found ourselves surrounded by meditating yoga practitioners and sound healers: one of those magical Ibiza moments! 

WORDS: Will McKenzie and Tim Dackombe


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