When most people think of Ibiza, they think of one thing, parties. They imagine flocks of tourists emerging from their Easyjet flight, blinking in the sun, ready to hit the clubs and turn zombie for the next few days. They imagine ravers with glowsticks enjoying an all-night session in Pacha or Privelege, to the thumping beats of Tiesto, then spending the next day lounging on the beach nursing a hangover the size of the year’s biggest club anthem.
But there are more reasons to get cheap flights to Ibiza than hitting the island’s famous nightclubs. Ibiza is home to some amazing mountain bike trails: so leave the hungover tourists behind on the beach, get on your bike, and head inland: the real fun’s just about to start.
Of course, it’s not that easy to take your bike abroad: especially if you’re arriving by budget airline (and let’s face it: who has the money these days not to?) Luckily the Ibiza tourism board knows how awesome their bike trails are, and there are numerous bike rental shops dotted around Ibiza.
There are over 20 clearly signposted trails to explore: some easy (green routes), some difficult (black routes). Some might even be littered with the same tourists hoping that a little bit of exercise will help them to forget the excesses of the night before.
Unless you have no confidence on a bike and need to get your bearings, forget paying for a mountain biking tour. You can get about much easier on your own, discovering rugged coastlines as well ancient monuments and buildings. It’s a sense of the true Ibiza, before the decadence of clubland hit.
For beginners, one of the best trails is a 12km route along the coast from Sant Antoni Bay. This cycle takes around an hour or so, unless you decide to stop at one of the many beautiful beaches along the way (it’s tempting to stop at Cala Bassa for a paddle in the clear water, or just to relax under the pine groves nearby).
Route 13 is good for those who really enjoy the countryside. Fields of fig trees, artichokes, and oranges line the route which ends in the pretty town of Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera: home to the largest church on the island and the perfect place to refresh with some tapas and cerveza.
There’s always the eight hour long Ibiza Extreme cycle which covers most of the South Island: after 60km of climbs and drops, cliff top ruins and market towns, beaches and coves, you’ll be ready to hit the hay while the rest of Ibiza’s tourists are getting ready to hit the town.
For an extra incentive, take part in a cycling event. One of the most popular charity rides is a round the island cycle challenge, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. So you can cycle some of the best trails in the Balearics, see beautiful parts of Ibiza often forgotten by conventional tourists, and raise money for sick children as well. Perfect.
Remember Ibiza gets very hot during the summer, so if you’re planning a cycling vacation, try booking for Spring or Autumn. If you’ve already planned your holiday for the summer (perhaps your partner wants to top up their tan while you tear around the wooded trails), then do take a couple of big bottles of water with you to prevent dehydration.
And as Baz Luhrmann says: wear sunscreen!
Have you ever done anything in Ibiza besides party? What else is worthwhile doing?