Your guide to: Ibiza
Ibiza is the kind of place that makes you wet your knickers with excitement. Stunning beaches, stunning clubs, stunning weather, stunning men - Ibiza has it all. In fact, it has the holiday experience so right that you may never want to leave.
If the word Ibiza still evokes images of a less than sophisticated group of British youngsters vomiting in the street, then think again - it really couldn't be more different. When they finished filming 'Ibiyfa Uncovered', a 20ft electric fence must have been erected around San Antonio because none of the archetypal tit-flashers seem capable of venturing outside of this tiny area - thankfully. While there are some real tourist traps around, they are easily avoided and the rest of the island is open for your delectation.
A typical day could go something like this: Wake up next to the bronzed Spanish body you fully explored the night before and indulge yourself with a late breakfast. A quick dip in the pool (gently heated to perfection by the glistening sun) then throw on your linen trousers to head to the beach where people frolic in the waves in gay abandonment before peeling off their clothes to blend in those tan lines. Be waited on hand and foot by Alvaro or Nacho (or some-Juan else) as they help you avoid straining any muscles by delivering your desires direct to your sun lounger. If you do break a nail, no need to worry, one of the beachside masseurs will help you relieve your worries (and boy are they cute). When the sun gets too much, a spot of seafood in a sheltered restaurant will help cool you off while you weigh up the pros and cons of a night in the bars versus dancing until the early hours in one of Ibiza's superclubs - decision, decisions.
This is the Ibiza you'll love and we gays have colonised the most beautiful part of the island. Ibiza Town (or Eivissa as the maps will tell you) is the major port of the island and bustles with cosmopolitan vigour. As you sashay through the streets your eyes will been drawn skywards to the towering ramparts that protect the old town (D'alt Vila), home to much of Ibiza's gay scene. This exquisite medieval fortress is a maze of archways, cobbled streets, and castle turrets with outstanding restaurants and bars thrown in for good measure.
If you're dining out, start your search near the main entrance to the old town. There are several great restaurants just a hop, skip or a jump away and they're all reasonably priced. Respect holidaymakers are treated as honoured guests at both Restaurante Mama Pomela and Studio, where you'll be spoilt for choice in terms of delicious food. The magical atmosphere of La Scala is hard to beat (think candlelight glowing in the shade of palms) and the rustic Mediterranean charm of El Olivo and La Oliva provides a perfect spot for taking in street performances.
The main entrance to the old town is flanked by one of Ibiza's most popular gay bars, Bar Angelo. Plan your entrance carefully as walking up the giant stone stairway can feel a bit like a catwalk; guys flock here to the two terraces and the roof terrace restaurant to cast an eye on passers by. Another feast for the eyes are the Soap Café and Up Soap; the waiters here certainly know how to work it. There are numerous other bars located on the legendary Calle de la Virgen and a stroll down this homo-highway will no doubt reveal a venue that you'll hold close to your heart for evermore. Indira, Sunrise, Leon and Bar Exis are just a few of the names that'll let you know you're in the right place. Failing that, just look for the hordes of muscle boys and you'll know you're home sweet home. Venturing to the top of D'alt Vila, you'll find another huge crowd at Respect favourite the RED Lounge. Bar JJ also comes highly recommended by our rep Kevin and he's been around the block more than just a few times.
A little later into the night, the call of Ibiza's club scene takes hold. In Ibiza, you can party 24/7 but the clubs are situated away from the main resorts creating peaceful evenings (and days for that matter) for those in need of rest. But sleeping is SO yesterday. While 'gay only' clubbing is rare, the relaxed attitudes at most of Ibiza's hotspots means you'll soon be mixing with metrosexuals as carefree as you are as the line between gays and straights begins to blur. Some of the larger clubs like Pacha and Amnesia will no doubt leave you breathless but for a real taste of Ibiza, smaller clubs like DC10 retain an underground edge that makes them really special. Clubbing and drag fuse seamlessly at La Troya so be sure to visit for a visual sensation. For a truly gay experience, the compact but bountiful Anfora is the place to head.
Anfora was the original totally gay club on the island, until Babylon way over in Botafoc came along, and has been carved into the rock face to form a small but perfectly formed dance floor. Combine this with bucketfuls of cute guys and a darkroom that's busier than most of the rest of the island and you are on to a winner. Raunchier still is Bar La Muralla. Clothing is pretty much optional here (depending on the night) but everything is looked after by the lovely hosts Marco and Eric and neatly stowed away until your rocks are well and truly off. After finding your way back out of the maze, it's time to head home for 40 winks. You'll likely be laying your head in Figueretas, the beach resort attached to Ibiza Town. It's here where the majority of gay friendly accommodation is located, although there are plenty of options a short taxi ride away.
When the sun is firmly up, it's time to hit the beach. Make Es Cavallet a priority as it's one of the best gay beaches in Europe. Located on the southernmost tip of Ibiza, it can be a bit of a trek but is well worth it. Plan to get here early if you're travelling by car as the car park gets busy. A bus service is also available to the Las Salinas bus stop. From there, head for the salt plains and you'll soon see the rainbow flags flying.
All you need is a towel and some trunks (actually, who needs trunks) because everything else is catered for at minimal cost. The Chiringay beach bar has an extensive menu and the best squid in town; if the food doesn't get you going the waiters are sure to make you drool. Talking of drooling, the beach store offers a wide selection of shorts, speedos and jewellery, all modelled by the gorgeous assistant who can't help but try them on for you (be prepared to clamp your jaw to prevent it dragging along behind you as you leave).
On the beach, a clean, clear stretch of sand is punctuated by loungers and umbrellas. Once you've found a spot, the friendly waiters are more than happy to serve you there and even provide tables to hold your drinks. While there is a little zoning, guys of types seem to mix quite happily as tranquil sounds play through the bar's speakers. Swimming is essential in these beautiful waters (although an occasional influx of seaweed can postpone this for a while) as is (s)trolling through the cruising grounds directly to the rear. Chiringay have thought of everything and if you do happen to get sand in your unmentionables, there are even clean showers and toilets to help you freshen up.
Another popular beach sits just between Ibiza Town and Figueretes. The polar opposite of Es Cavallet, Los Molinos provides a more secluded beach but no amenities. It's tricky to find and involves a climb down a near vertical cliff, but once you're there its clear why this pebble and sand beach is popular. The chilled out party vibe provides the perfect after club experience and a place to share your stories of the night before. A short swim through waters filled with wildlife and you're perched on a small rock, perfect for lithe bodies to perform acrobatic dives.
If you're staying in Figueretas, there are a number of venues to be aware of: Island Bar is probably the most popular and Café/Bistro Magnus which, like Island Bar, has a great position overlooking the beach. Don't forget to try the other fab venues close to your accommodation such as Kitsch, 1YDOS (famous for its English breakfast), C.U.B.E. and Christian of New Monroe's. Hmmm! Christian, a tall gorgeous Danish guy so happy with his heterosexuality he demanded that our Kevin gave him a guided tour of La Muralla darkroom and then famously said "but I can't see anything!". Alternatively, if it's a bit of Ibicenco you're looking for, and aren't we all, then you must try the tapas and great prices at Toni's Café Bocadito.
Ibiza has a lot more to offer than you might expect and there are plenty of opportunities to exercise your cultural cravings. In May, the world famous medieval fare takes over Eivissa as artisans display their produce and skills. There's also a jazz festival in July and a spectacular firework display to mark the end of San Ciriac, in August. The unspoilt island of Formentera is just a short boat trip away but save that until you've explored Ibiza and all the treasures it has to offer.