In the summer San Antonio belongs almost entirely to the British. It is they who make up by far the largest proportion of holidaymakers who come here during the main season to the beaches in Ibiza's biggest tourist centre on the west coast. During this time the British supermarkets and pubs open their doors and restaurants and there is a permanent place on the menu for fish and chips, baked beans and bacon. Since San Antonio has for decades been a favourite with the party-seeking tourists from Great Britain, it is almost not worth bothering with Spanish, as English is the main language used to communicate with the visitors here.
San Antonio, Ibiza's third-largest town and known in Catalan as Sant Antoni de Portmany, was for a long time no more than a small, sleepy village. In the 1950s the Spanish began to build huge hotel complexes on the shores of their country and Ibiza was also not spared from this fate. Today in the whole bay of San Antonio there is one large holiday hotel next to the other and unfortunately it is often a case of quantity being more important than quality.
A lot of the accommodation here offers its guests a beach almost on their doorstep. In the large bay, where the sheltered harbour is also located, you can find the majority of San Antonio’s beaches. These are mostly small sandy coves with sun-loungers and bars, with the beach of Playa Pinet being worth a special mention, as it is particularly charming with its tastefully designed reggae bar and is an ideal place to relax.
South of the town centre is San Antonio’s largest beach, the bustling town beach of Playa de S’Arenal. While you will mostly find people relaxing on the sandy beach, the long promenade lined with palm-trees resembles an entertainment mile with loud music, bars and beach clubs. There is a huge range of leisure activities on offer, ranging from taster diving sessions to artificial wave surfing.
Due to its location on the west coast, San Antonio is the perfect place to watch the sun setting over the sea. One of the most popular places for this is the Café del Mar, which is known for its gentle chill-out sounds. Music lovers from all over the world can enjoy this characteristic sound, which is captured every year on a compilation album. Once the sun has disappeared behind the horizon, the party people move on from Café del Mar to the nearby West End, an area of the town centre based around the street of Carrer de Santa Agnès, the epicentre of San Antonio’s party scene. Numerous promoters try to outdo each other with drink deals to fill the dance floors of their nightclubs.
Just a few kilometres outside the party town it is considerably calmer and the stunning natural scenery of the island takes over from the faceless architecture of mass tourism. In the small bay of Cala Salada pine forests, stunning red cliffs, soft sand and turquoise-blue water create a real eye-catcher among the beaches of Ibiza. West of San Antonio are some of the most famous and most popular beaches in Ibiza. At Cala Bassa sun worshipers flock to enjoy the sun and the soft sand and behind the beach are the large grounds of the Cala Bassa Beach Club (CBBC). Families and water-sport enthusiasts can have fun in the shimmering, turquoise sea at Cala Tarida. A classic on the western tip of Ibiza is Cala Conta with its great view of the nearby island of Illa des Bosc.
The south-western region of Ibiza, which can be reached from San Antonio in less than half an hour's drive, is dominated by large pine forests that spread across a mountain range. Near the picturesque village of Sant Josep is the Sa Talaia, the highest mountain on the island. In this area the beaches are mostly to be found in small, sheltered bays, surrounded by a lot of nature. The quiet resorts of the south-west usually blend nicely into the landscape. For example, in Cala Vedella there are small hills with white villas and a lot of greenery above a bay which is sheltered from the open sea by rock ledges, creating the appearance of a natural swimming pool.
"A classic on the western tip of Ibiza"
"Chill out to the sound of reggae"
"Home of the world famous Café del Mar"
"Colorful beach with a well-known beach club"
"Small town beach with not much charm"
"Young, wild and free"
"Compact town beach"
"Action in the water for families"
"The quiet version of San Antonio"
"Brits, booze and beach clubs"
"Brits and lots of concrete hotels"