Ibiza offers the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in Balearic history and take in the beauty of the remains left by the successive civilisations that passed through the island. We recommend dedicating at least one day to wandering the streets and getting to know every last corner of Ibiza’s Old Town, in the island’s capital city.
The impressive walls of Ibiza Town’s oldest neighbourhood are a must visit. The Old Town is one of the most important parts of the capital city (some might say, of the whole island) in both cultural and governmental terms. So, what can you do within these spectacular walls? Enter the fortified city through the Ses Taules gate and start wandering its streets. Don’t miss the City Hall, Santa María de las Nieves Cathedral, the Almudaina complex and the bastions in the walls, where the city’s inhabitants defended their positions through the ages. To keep your energy up along the way, you’ll want to factor in a stop at Mercat Vell (the city’s oldest market) and at one of the outdoor restaurants within the city walls. Make sure you have a good breakfast because, if all goes to plan, you’ll end the day taking in a spectacular (and historical) sunset from Santa Lucía bastion.
Today, Dalt Vila – Ibiza’s Old Town, by its Catalan name – is one of the Ibizan sites included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, making it one of the places of interest that every trip to the island must include. This walled city has made an impact on all around it for centuries. You can still get a feel for its history by walking its cobbled streets, starting at the monumental Ses Taules gate (the main entrance into the fortified city). A day exploring is guaranteed to make an impression on you.
Dalt Vila means ‘Upper Town’ and it still stands firm at the top of Puig de Vila hill, honouring its name. Wherever you are in the city, the ancient walls and buildings of Ibiza’s Old Town loom above you: a seemingly indestructible stronghold. But it wasn’t always this way. The fortress as it is now was constructed under Philip II’s orders (in the fifteenth century), to protect the city, its resources and its privileged position from attacks by other peoples.
Until that point, its streets and buildings had borne witness to battles and conquest by numerous civilisations: Phoenicians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Muslims… Each made their mark, while showing a certain respect for their forebears, all of which led to Ibiza’s Old Town and its heritage being named later as among the best preserved in the world.
The walls of Ibiza’s Old Town have five gates, although Ses Taules is the main entrance and the most attractive one. Right at this starting point, before going inside Ibiza Town’s Castle, you’ll find Mercat Vell, a traditional market where you can buy some fresh fruit for the journey. Once you enter the fortress gates, this is one of the many possible routes you can follow to get to know Dalt Vila’s most strategic points. Don’t worry about straying from the path: any detour will be worth the extra time. Remember that Ibiza’s ancient necropolis is very close too, if you fancy taking in more history.Ahoy! Don’t leave Ibiza before you try piloting a boat in its watersHire a boat