Dalt Vila, the beautifully preserved historic center of the Old Town of Ibiza, has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and more than 2,500 years of history behind it. Everyone from the Phoenicians to King Philip II of Spain has left a mark on this fortified city.
Today, the original city walls are still standing proud after three centuries and the twisting, dramatically sloped cobblestone streets are a pleasure to explore.
For history and culture buffs, there are cathedrals and other architectural jewels to explore. For fashionistas, the streets are crammed with boutiques that exemplify the breezily luxe aesthetic of the island. And for gourmands, there are sensational Spanish cafés, restaurants, and tapas joints on practically every corner.
Here are some of the best things to do during your visit to the Old Town of Ibiza.
Explore the Historic Walls of the Old Town
Constructed in the 16th century to fend off maraudings Turks, the heptagonal fortified walls surrounding Dalt Vila are a sight to behold. Italian architect Giovanni Batista Calvi designed them at the behest of the Spanish monarchy to protect the core of the city.
You can admire the Spanish landmark from afar if you are out on the water for any reason, but walking along them is one of the best ways to spend a couple of hours in the Old Town of Ibiza.
To kick off your informal walking tour of the Renaissance-era walls, head to Portal de ses Taules in front of the Barrio de La Marina, the grandest of the five main entrances. Stroll past the Roman marble statues and the portcullis, then start walking on the trail on top of the walls at the Santa Llúcia bulwark.
Since there are multiple points where you can easily disembark, your wall walk can be as long or short as your schedule allows. Along the way, expect to see spectacular views of both the city and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
See the Castle of Ibiza
When the European island of Ibiza was a strategically placed military point, the Almudaina, which is attached to the Castle of Ibiza, was one of the key fortified sites.
The building has nine towers, all of which date back to the 16th century. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that there were fortresses of various dimensions on this site as far back as the 12th century.
You can’t go inside the castle today, but the views from its commanding position on top of Dalt Vila are magnificent.
Admire the Works in the Contemporary Art Museum of Eivissa
Generations of international artists and creatives have called the White Isle home, at least for part of the year, giving rise to a small but varied local art scene. Given the space constraints of much of the architecture in Dalt Vila, most of Ibiza’s more ambitious art galleries require a short taxi ride out of Old Town.
For art aficionados looking to explore the artistic side of the Balaerics, the Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art offers a thoughtfully curated collection and is in Dalt Vila itself.
The focus here is very much on the 1960s, when Ibiza still primarily lured hippies and other countercultural types to its shores. The small collection of exhibits pays tribute to works of this more bohemian era, as well as subsequent artists who were either born in Ibiza or chose to settle in the Balearic Islands.
As impressive as the collection itself is, it’s almost overshadowed by the space in which it resides. Architect Simón Poulet designed the building in 1727 and the museum’s curators have done an exceptional job of introducing contemporary elements while retaining the original historic grandeur.
Featuring the clean, geometric lines and white walls that characterize much of Ibiza’s iconic architecture, the impressive space has played host to all sorts of cultural events over the years, including the First Biennale of Ibiza.
While Spanish cuisine encompasses a vast array of regional styles and specialties, nothing is more emblematic of the country’s culinary culture than tapas.
The concept essentially evolved through drinking culture, as bartenders began offering small, salty snacks to accompany generous carafes of wine and glasses of vermouth. Over time, these modest bites evolved into more substantial, shareable plates.
Luckily Ibiza’s Old Town is packed with excellent tapas bars, and exploring them is one of the best things to do in Ibiza. Running the gamut from humble drinking dens to haute cuisine, some of these establishments cater more to the late-night crowd, though many of them welcome guests from the early afternoon on.
Grazing on crispy patatas bravas, the ubiquitous fried tomatoes served with a mayonnaise dipping sauce, and gildas, toothpicks skewering anchovies, olives, and other nibbles, while sipping a G&T is a supremely enjoyable way to dine.
One of the classic heavy-hitter is Can Terra, which has been serving pinchos, bite-sized open-faced sandwiches and other morsels on bread on the bustling thoroughfare of Avinguda d’Ignasi Wallis for as long as anyone can remember.
Ordering is simple—just walk up to the counter, point to your snacks of choice, and pile them onto a plate.
Another popular spot for pinchos is Bide Bide, located a stone’s throw from the waterfront. At this local institution, the chefs class up their canapes with ingredients like top-quality Iberian ham over garlicky sauteed mushrooms. Both places are open all year round and cater to a local clientele as well as visitors.
For a somewhat more sophisticated take on the genre, head just around the corner from Bide Bide to Kaixo Ibiza, which serves up a contemporary spin on Basque tapas. Presentations here are elegant, and all of the ingredients are impeccably sourced.
Visit the Cathedral of Santa María de las Nieves
Known to most locals simply as Catedral de Eivissa, or the “Cathedral of Ibiza,” the “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows” is Ibiza’s most striking place of worship, located high on the hilltop of Dalt Vila.
The space has been a holy site for various religious groups since the seventh century, when it was home to a Carthaginian temple.
Since the 13th century, it has housed a Catholic church, although the current iteration can trace most of its architecture back to the later 16th century. Expect to see beautifully preserved Catalan Gothic vaulted arches and from outside, a dazzling panoramic view of the sea.
Shop for Local Fashions
Given that Europe’s most stylish travelers tend to frequent Ibiza’s shores, it only makes sense that the Spanish island has a real flair for fashion. While you can find major labels here, the best threads are often those made by local designers.
Expect to see lots of classic Balearic pieces—think of dreamy caftans, flowing sundresses, and boho-chic beaded jewelry. As one might expect, the color palates tend to lean heavily on whites, although brighter hues often make regular appearances.
Head to Vicente Ganesha for gorgeous vintage clothes and upmarket versions of hippy garb. For those looking for big-name designers, reVOLVER on Carrer del Bisbe Azara is a cool boutique that boasts some serious finds.
Savvy shoppers can pick up everything from Vivienne Westwood dresses to sunglasses from the cult Berlin eyewear brand Mykita.
Sip a Glass of Cava and Watch the World Go By
People-watching is practically the designated Balearic pastime on any part of the island, but nowhere more so than in Dalt Vila.
From the sight of luxury yachts and sailboats bobbing in the cerulean water to gorgeously dressed fashionistas strolling along the sidewalk as though it’s their personal catwalk, there’s plenty to take in here. Go for a stroll, then settle into a café for an afternoon glass of bubbly.
For a chilled-out atmosphere in a gorgeous setting, it’s hard to beat S’Escalinata. The name means “staircase,” which feels rather appropriate given that the restaurant’s outdoor tables cascade down one of Dalt Vila’s famously inclined streets directly next to a set of cobblestone stairs.
It’s the perfect low-key place for a leisurely afternoon cava or sangria, accompanied perhaps by one of the bocatas, hearty sandwiches on freshly baked bread stuffed with Iberian ham and other delicacies.
Admire the Architecture of Casa Broner
Erwin Broner is arguably Ibiza’s most famous architect and the visionary artist behind some of its most noteworthy buildings.
Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Berlin, Broner escaped the Third Reich in the 1930s and went to live in Ibiza. What began as his involuntary exile slowly evolved into his permanent homeland.
He found a community of other Jewish Germans on the island, which welcomed them into its growing cultural scene. As a member of Ibiza’s intellectual elite and artists, he developed a gift for abstract painting and Bauhaus-influenced architecture, much of which can still be seen today.
Casa Bromer, located right in Dalt Vila, is one of the lesser-known, but utterly fascinating gems that the island has to offer. Entrance is free and allows you to roam throughout the grounds.
Here, the elegantly spare, clean lines typical of rational German architecture are married with the alabaster-hued walls, immense windows, and openness more typically associated with the White Isle. As a bonus, the house resides on a cliff that falls sharply into the sea, making for some rather lovely views.
Dine on Paella
Paella may be one of the best-loved dishes that Spain is known for, but you have to pick your spot to find a good one.
At La Brasa, a classic Spanish eatery near the center of Dalt Vila, the grains of rice come perfectly al dente and stained deep amber with saffron. The owners proudly serve local seafood, produce, and other ingredients wherever possible.
Both the lobster paella and the jet-black squid ink variation come loaded with generous portions of seafood. One of the best items on the menu is the arroz meloso de cigales y calamares de Ibiza, which comes with giant langoustines harvested in Balearic waters.
While the food is delicious, it’s almost upstaged by the setting. The romantic, greenery-strewn garden courtyard, is a suitably swoon-worthy space to bring your significant other. You’ll quickly realize why Ibiza is one of the most romantic places in Spain for couples.
Have Brunch at the Legendary Croissant Show
Few establishments have quite the iconic status of this café in the heart of Dalt Vila. André Quidu, a fabulously mustachioed French expat with an air of cultivated eccentricity, opened this Parisian-style patisserie in 1989 and it’s been a favorite local hangout ever since then.
Part of Croissant Show’s reputation comes from its namesake pastries, which feature shatteringly crisp, flaky layers of laminated dough.
An equally important factor, however, is the fact that the café starts pouring coffee and serving breakfast at 4 am—long before most restaurants open their doors. As a result, if you visit in the morning, you can expect to run into a colorful cast of nightlife characters, often still in platform heels, latex, and full clubwear, ending their night out with a glass of prosecco.
Swing by at any time of day for the best flaky French pastries, a bullet-strength espresso, and a real scene.
Check Out the Fortifications at the Baluarte de San Jaime
Anyone who holds a fascination with military history should pay a visit to this modest-sized museum, which explores how the weaponry that once protected this island evolved over the generations.
The museum takes an interactive approach to education, which means visitors can touch cannonballs and try on plate armor for themselves. It’s a great way in particular to bring the past alive for teenagers and kids—plus it makes for some terrific photo ops.
The White Isle has more to it than meets the eye, with fine food, wine, history, and nightlife to lure travelers of all stripes. By far one of the best ways to visit the Balearics is on a luxury cruise through the marvels of the Mediterranean. Browse Celebrity’s cruises to Ibiza and book your next trip today.