When we told Viviana we wanted to do a guide to Ibiza, she immediately suggested an Italian — her friend, Alessandra Colombo.
Alessandra, who is one of the founders of Italian for Italy, has been coming to the island since she was a kid. While she does live in Milan, she made it very clear that Ibiza is the place she considers home. And she knows it in-and-out, the way you get to know a place when it’s been with you for years and years…
How would you describe Ibiza?
For me, it’s home, more so than Milan. I could be stressed and confused, but as soon as I arrive in Ibiza, everything becomes clear. I get my best ideas here, it’s a very inspiring, regenerating place. Ibiza is a kind of cocoon for me – a place where I find rest, feeling, and the energy to come back to Milan and do everything I have to do.
Three things you have to buy in Ibiza?
You definitely have to get a copy of “My Ibiza and Formentera” – the best travel guide ever written about this magical island. It’s full of tips and secret spots that only locals used to know.
Go and see Vicente at his Ganesha Ibiza shop in downtown Ibiza. He’s been living here for decades providing the most amazing hippie dresses in the world, so don’t miss the chance to get yours and get to know him.
As for the traditional Balearic craftsmanship, the best piece is the “alpargatas payesas” (espadrilles), the straw sandals handwoven and worn by the local men and women from the island. They’re unique, eco, and super chic!
Where should you stay?
My favorite place to stay is in the North, it’s called Can Talaias, right on the top of a mountain in San Carlos. It’s the former Villa to the English actor Terry Thomas, who was very famous in the 1950s and 1960s, and nowadays his son, and his wife (who is french) have turned it into a very nice countryside hotel with only a few rooms. It’s amazing, the view up there is wonderful, because you have a 360 degree view of the roads and the sea. They have peacocks in the garden, it’s simply beautiful.
There are many, all beautiful and different but one of my favorites is Cala Xuclar in the Portinax area in the North. The beach is very small, the place is quiet, the sea has that perfect turquoise color and there’s an excellent chiringuito. You couldn’t want more!
Don’t leave without eating…
The “bullit de peix” (fish soup) at El Bigote in Cala Mastella. It’s a very simple restaurant and the owner is a fisherman so it’s very typical and very good! A special mention goes to “Flaó” the traditional cheesecake made with goat cheese and herbs from the countryside. You can find it at almost every Spanish restaurant but at bakeries it’s even better.
Best place for drinks?
I would suggest Cafe Pereyra in downtown Ibiza. It was formerly a theater, which was the first one to open in Ibiza. Otherwise, just go to the supermarket, grab a couple of very small bottles of beer, a pack of salted almonds from the fields here and go to the beach!
What is the easiest way to get around the island?
Car, definitely! You gotta get your own car. You can not get around the island by taxi, it’s going to get way too expensive, and Motorbikes are too dangerous. So get a car, maybe a 4×4 [laughs].
If you were going to pamper yourself here, where would you go?
I used to go and swim in Benirras, in the early early morning, like 7:30-8am. You go to the end of the beach and jump in the water and swim to the middle of the bay. Thats my favorite. But you have to go in the early morning, otherwise the beach gets packed with people.
What is something about the island that people visiting wouldn’t typically know?
Most of the beaches have what they call Varadero’s, which are fishermans shacks, and so it’s much better to stay on the rocks near these Varaderos and spend the day there which is definitely less crowded and you will have your own space, instead of staying on the beach with the crowds.
Autumn – October is my favorite month. If the season is good, you can swim ’til November and the island is empty. During Autumn we used to go to Sal Punta, close to Ibiza, and would see dolphins swimming in the bay.