What makes the Balearic island of Ibiza such a great all-year round holiday destination? We asked myJet2 members Angela and James Hodgson from Denby Dale near Huddersfield to share their recent holiday experience.
We hadn’t been away for a couple of years and were looking for a short haul destination for a week’s holiday. I’d been to Ibiza once before, 25 years ago, for the typical Ibiza experience but had recently read a few things about the island being a good family destination as well. After researching a number of different resorts, Santa Eulalia seemed to have great reviews and was noted as the culinary and retail centre of Ibiza. Apparently it’s the third largest resort in Ibiza and is well-known for having a slower and more relaxing pace than other resorts on the island.
Our flight out of Manchester was early on Saturday morning and it happened to coincide with the Radio 1 weekend in Ibiza. Our dread at what this would mean for our journey turned out to be the complete opposite. The flight was probably 80% ‘clubbers’ and 20% families and, despite having travelled extensively all around the world, I’d never been on a flight that was so loud – but it really wasn’t an unpleasant experience. The clubbers, although highly excited, were polite, friendly, and the absence of alcohol and bad language meant they were a far better calibre of passenger than I have ever experienced on some other flights.
Our pre-booked taxi was waiting for us at the airport and the journey to San Eulalia was around 30 minutes. We stayed at an apartment/hotel complex that was about a ten-minute walk from the centre of the resort.
San Eulalia was just perfect. The beautiful marina with amazing yachts made for some great ‘if we win the lottery’ family conversations. A good marina always has lovely bars and restaurants around it and this didn’t disappoint. The restaurants were busy in the evening but not packed. No-one was standing outside the restaurants and bars trying to grab your attention to get you to visit them (a lovely change from some places) and there was a good combination of fine dining and family dining restaurants, with happily very few ‘egg and chips’- photo restaurants.
The beach was great - busy (it was August!) but not rammed and a good mixture of local and foreign families. It was long and not too wide so you could easily see the children playing in the sea. The resort is really geared to grown-ups and young families. This meant you could hire a pedalo or even try out some water-skiing or sailing but the pedalos suited us. Overall, there were very few distractions which really helped to make it relaxing and also avoided the pressure that excessive rides or attractions can sometimes put on the holiday budget.
A palm-lined promenade runs the full length of the sandy beach with cafes, bars and restaurants dotted along the way making it very picturesque. The shops in Santa Eulalia were much better that the usual Spanish resort shops with a mix of budget and higher-end designer wear. You can buy anything from leather goods, shoes, handbags, toys (Torrent Fondo is a real Aladdin’s cave for children), pottery or jewellery. In the centre of the town the market was held most days which provided a very enjoyable amble when the sun was too hot to sit in. During the day, the best street to head for to people-watch while enjoying a cool drink is Calle San Jaim.
As the all-inclusive holiday deals become more and more popular with families, more people stay in the hotels in the evening and I think this impacts on the local bars. It’s not a huge resort but there are plenty of bars that were busy but with spare tables. I understand there is one nightclub in Santa Eulalia but we didn’t spot it. Prices in the bars varied. For a G&T, a beer and 2 lemonades we paid between €10 and €16. Generally the closer to the marina you were, the more expensive the drinks. Calle San Vicente has many restaurants lining the street and sometimes musicians appeared adding to the lovely atmosphere.
I think the reputation of Ibiza as being the clubbers’ island is completely founded, and that seems to be the reason for the majority of people holidaying there. However there is another aspect to the island. Santa Eulalia is chilled Ibiza, a great location for young families – it’s hard to imagine when you are there that the rest of the island is clubbing all night! If you want non-stop activities and action, clubs, bars and drinking games, then this is not the resort for you, but for relaxation in beautiful surroundings with few distractions, this is excellent.
Our flight back to Manchester was actually the quietest flight I have ever been on, the 80% were all sleeping off their week of clubbing!