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Ibiza: The charming villages

Ibiza is only 45 Km long and 25 Km wide, so any point on the island is never more than one hour's drive away.

Santa Ines lies to the north of San Antonio in a very fertile region, far away from the tourism of the big towns. It comprises a church, a supermarket, a few bars and several surrounding houses - but not much else, which only adds to the rural charm here.

Santa Ines is a wonderful place to visit in order to discover the real Ibiza of the Ibicencan farmers, far away from the hustle-and-bustle of Ibiza Town and San Antonio.

Do take a walk around near the village, as the surrounding countryside is simply breathtaking, with fields of orange, lemon and almond trees set against the deep, ochre-red of the earth and the many different greens of the pine trees.

Another great way to see the countryside is with the Ibitren, which stops here in Santa Ines. Sit back, relax and enjoy the tour.

San Carlos has a long-standing reputation as a meeting point for the hippies and the foreign residents of the island, who gather over a cup of coffee or a snack in one of the bars, or at the hippy market every saturday in the Las Dalias restaurant.

San Carlos is also the junction where all the roads meet, that later branch off to the beaches on the east coast of the island, such as Cala Leña, Cala Nova, Cala Mastella.

Santa Gertrudis lies on the geographical middle point of the island, and is very aptly a much-loved meeting point for both locals and adopted locals, who have chosen to make Ibiza their home away from home.

There is little more than a church, a few bars, some very interesting shops, and a wonderful feeling of peace and quiet, far away from big-city life.

The town is perhaps best known for its tapas and its bocadillos - toasted bread rolls which are sprinkled with olive oil, covered with tomato, and filled with assorted fillings such as: jamon serano (cured ham) and/or queso (cheese), pollo (chicken),etc.

These are absolutely delicious, especially as you can sit in one of the bars, Bar Costa, and admire all the paintings of local artists on the walls as you eat. The paintings stem from the flower-power years on Ibiza when the penniless artists and hippies living on the island could only pay for their food in kind. The collection covers every wall in the bar and contains some fabulous pictures.

Santa Gertrudis is also a very important part of the island's grapevine. Messages, small ads, contact numbers, social events, home tutors, lost dogs: this is the place to come to keep up-to-date on what is going on here on Ibiza.

The Village of San José sits high in the hills and has everything a person might want: shops, bars, restaurants, a church, a shady arbor, benches, winding streets, and all the other things people take for granted, like schools, medical centres, the vets, and the Town Hall. San José is first and foremost a living village and it is not a tourist centre. If it was then Ibiza's highest hill, Sa Talaia, would have a chairlift to the top and a water slide down the ten or so kilometers to the bay of San Antonio.

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