It’s official. This island is no longer “mine” (as if it ever was). The hordes of tourists have already started piling in, stealing my most coveted parking spaces, screaming in all languages until wee hours of the night, and asking me how I’m in here for holidays (that’s vacation to you, sir).
As you might imagine, such daily occurrences have left me nostalgic for simpler times. Times where I could complain about “traffic” when it was just another car on the road and there were always free (marked by white paint) parking spaces at my disposal. Times where you saw the same creepy men over and over again instead of seeing new creepy men every day (Sigh. I just want to see the same creepy men! Is that too much to ask?).
I’m kicking myself now for having thought for one second during winter that I wished it was summer (I also can’t say that I hate my life now. I love the beach. Also, that’s absurd thought in itself. My life is awesome!) In Wendy Beentje’s post “Why I love Ibiza” she refers to winter time as the “other Ibiza.” She explains,
Contrary to summer, this time of year allows the islanders to take a break from work and actually make time for one another. Meeting up happens at local events and several markets around the island. I ended up having difficulty choosing between the artisan Sunday Market in Sant Joan and the good vibes of Cala Llenya market. Both come with excellent live music.
I coincide with Beentje’s opinion on the quaintness and closeness the island offers in winter (It is also important to note that, this is my first summer here, therefore I still have no point of comparison). My weekends were jam-packed with social events: hiking, concerts, coffee dates, collaborative dinners and more. As my friend Grace (you may recognize her from this post) liked to reflect, people on this just know how to have fun. Family and friends are of the upmost importance, and there is always time to stop and say hello.
Among my activities, I had some extremely entertaining moments and cultural experiences. Below you’ll find a list of 8 of my favorite events or activities that took place in winter in Ibiza. The list is by no means exhaustive, and heavily influenced by what I was able to do given my work schedule.
If you are in Ibiza in the winter, make sure to check these events out, and be aware that you’ll probably need a car (buses are quite infrequent).
- San Mateo Wine Festival
An annual event that takes place in December, the San Mateo Wine Festival was my favorite event. After being a little scarred from the nighttime offerings in Ibiza town, going to this event was so refreshing. Local farmers showcased (and gave for free!) their delicious red wine, and for a small price you could buy all the best Ibiza treats – sobrasada and flaó, to name a couple. The music was lively, the people were happy and talkative, and best of all, it was my first time seeing pagés dancing.
Don’t fear the cold wind in the winter months – fires pouring out of bathtubs will keep you warm!
People had been raving about seeing these for a long time. In attempts not to miss them, my friends and I somehow managed to drive all the way north to Santa Agnes three times in January before actually catching the blossoms. It’s a lovely afternoon easy, relaxing hike to enjoy with friends. See my friend Daphne’s post here.
- La Pintxa Sant Antoni
Read about my experiences furiously stuffing my face with creative pinchos here. As I mentioned in the post, it was a great opportunity to experience San Antonio at night without the yelling and horrifyingly drunk/drugged people. The food was fabulous and the hot fires inside the restaurants were even better.
- Can Jordi
I only had the opportunity to visit Can Jordi a few times, but each time was a pleasant experience. This small bar on the highway to Sant Josep hosts live outdoor music in the winter every Friday night. Musicians and styles vary, but the crowd is always enthused, the food is always my favorite (coca, sobrasada, and flaó), and bonus: the parking attendant is attractive and funny.
- Monólogos: Kokotxa or Casanova
Various bars host “monólogos” – stand-up comedy – in the winter. Check for signs around Ibiza Town or San Antonio to know when they are. La Kokotxa is in my opinion, quite seedy but I always have a great time there. The music is of my preference (Top 40 Latin or Spanish rock). Pub Casanova, which I liken to the sister bar of Kokotxa, has a similar vibe and plays similar music styles. The last comedy show I went to at Pub Casanova was Jose Boto, who made some very insightful yet hilarious reflections on people’s behavior during winter in Ibiza. Namely, how lazy we/they are to travel from one city to the next (Ibiza to San Antonio feels like forever). Daphne also gives her experience at one of Kokotxa’s comedy nights here.
- Sundays at Sluiz
Sluiz, probably my all-time favorite store ever, is like someone threw all different furniture and decorating styles together, sprinkled some Ibiza dust on it and called it a day. It is the most eclectic and outrageous conglomeration of goods that for expensive prices can be yours. Aside from being a store, it also boasts a charming café that is home to flamenco concerts every Sunday starting at 4pm. Grab a tea or coffee, curl up on the comfy couches and enjoy.
- Traveling, Repeating Themed Concerts
Different themed parties, such as Flower Power (famed Pacha weekly event during the summer, and massive local gathering in the winter) and La Movida (named after La Movida Madrileña) are hosted by different town councils and happen every so often during the winter.
Who can resist 3,000 excited, dressed up Ibiza residents dancing all night in tents outside? It’s freezing, but that won’t get them down! The music for me is exceptionally fun, and the relaxed and community atmosphere makes it a must.
Best all-day party ever. Sponsored by the Sant Josep town council, every Saturday in November and December the whole town converts into a bar-hopping, music-listening, and hamburger eating mess. Live music at all of the bars are the perfect combination with beers or wine and pinchos. Going from bar to bar you can enjoy one music and culinary style and then quickly switch to the next.
What are you favorite Ibiza winter activities? What did I leave out?