It’s July 2001 and I touch down in Ibiza. My boyfriend at the time is already there, working a season for Ministry Of Sound. It was my first time in the party capital of the world and having connections with the ‘party people’ was like finding the golden ticket in a bar of chocolate. A month later I touched down in London a broken woman. Too much sun, too little sleep, too many nightclubs and a bad concoction of alcohol, cigarettes, a spiked drink and not enough greens left me vowing I would never go back to the island.
Fifteen years, one husband and two children later we took a leap of faith and made Ibiza our choice of family holiday. I was confident (naturally) that this holiday wouldn’t resemble Britney Spears’ meltdown in 2007 (saying that my 4 year old was very testing on this holiday) but at the same time, we wanted to take advantage of our last chance to get away outside of the overpriced school holiday season.
“Ibiza with kids!!?? Are you mad?” echoed my mother and my mother in law in unison. Not the most obvious place to go on holiday with your family – but we were pleasantly surprised and looking to go back again this year (although we now have to factor in the August holiday prices).
We desperately wanted a have an adult holiday accompanied by our children. Not the other way around. So we did some research and bought two great books. ‘Secret Beaches’ by Rob Smith and ‘Lonely Planet pocket Ibiza’ by Iain Stewart.
Ibiza is a small, beautiful island and it’s incredibly easy to get from one end to the other in just over half an hour – with the help of an air conditioned hire car (a must have). We wanted to stay somewhere family friendly away from the madness, a little less hectic but with civilisation nearby.
Then we found Santa Eulalia! A beautiful town on the East coast of the island, popular with families and those looking for a quieter holiday.
We did our maths and calculated that a private self-catering villa with its own pool was around the same price as an all-inclusive hotel. We then found that it’s easy to get ripped off if you don’t dig deep on Google – your average villa is over-priced so put the time in one evening over a glass of wine. We chose a company called Eco Ibiza. Their prices, accommodation and locations were perfect – and they were really easy to deal with. We stayed at Finca Niko and couldn’t recommend it highly enough. It has three bedrooms – we took two of them and our friends Jessie and Christian came to stay with us for a few nights. Perfect!
The difference was, we were completely secluded and had the freedom and exploration to eat where we wanted, when we wanted and could have those lovely late night naked swims under the stars when the kids were asleep. Nobody could hear or see the tantrums or whines. It was like being home from home – and of course there was always a sun lounger available for us around the pool.
I thought being back in Ibiza would bring back vague nostalgia or even a touch of anxiety from my previous experience, but to my amazement I felt like Ibiza and I had grown up at the same rate. I was worried I may have felt old – but quite the contrary.
There was a wonderful feel of 30 something-year-olds that also had families or just on the cusp of starting one. A nice chilled, pleasant vibe.
These are my top places to go with kids – which will make you feel like you’re still having an adult holiday where kids are welcome, accepted and have the time of their lives!
Beaches – It’s true that you have to work a little harder than normal to find great family beaches in Ibiza with easy pram and general kid paraphernalia access. These are the ones we found, loved and went back to.
Aguas Blanca – North East of the Island – it’s 5 minute walk from the car park to the main part of the beach. It’s a steep slope down, which is fun but produces a full on sweat on the way up! This sandy beach is one of the most beautiful on the island with clear blue waters. On the main part of the beach there is a lone restaurant called Restaurante Aguas Blancas which still resembles the modest chiringuito shack it used to be. Fantastic large portions of food – try the grilled squid – very reasonably priced. Prices for sunbeds were also kind at €5 each. Walk to the far right of the beach and you’ll come across an amazing chilled beach bar, reminded me of being in Thailand.
If you fancy it, swim 150m past the rocks and you’ll come to a secret beach – very private and beautiful. Obviously we couldn’t go there with the pram but older children could easily swim with a rubber ring in the shallow waters with an adult. Although it’s a friendly nudist beach – in total we saw 2 naked people who didn’t go out of their way to be seen. However if you want to strip down to avoid any tan marks, then this is totally accepted. Top Tip – if you have a pram in tow, set up camp as close to the restaurant as possible. The sand can get extremely hot which will burn the feet whilst carrying the pram!
El Chiringuito at Playa Es Cavallet – Absolutely stunning beach and restaurant. Fantastic food and drinks, albeit quite dear, but you get what you pay for. And wait for it – there is a kids club there too! Supervised by a member of staff, in the shade and they also had their own supply of sunscreen just incase you forgot yours. This is the kind of place you could stay all day – and we did! Hire the double beds for €80 if you want to treat yourselves or get a regular sunbed and parasol for a cheaper price. Order drinks from your spot on the beach from the eye candy waiters. Enjoy the relaxation of a massage on the beach too! Top Tip – book a reservation to be able to enjoy the valet parking. The car park gets very busy and ideally you want to park as close to the beach as possible! 5* all round and can’t wait to go back already!
Cala Benirras – This is a perfect spot to watch a spectacular sunset – Ideally you want to come here on a Sunday where drummers descend on the beach to celebrate the sun setting – but be warned it will be busy. Fantastic hippy vibes – everyone was happy and the kids loved it. Lots of other children there playing. We set up camp at a restaurant on the beach – nothing special but a great place to feed the kids and watch everything. There aren’t any baby changing facilities but my inner hippy came out and managed to change an explosion of a nappy on the floor at the back of the restaurant. Good market there too. Top Tip – get there earlier to avoid parking issues.
Pura Vida Beach Club – Amazing sandy beach, family friendly, clear waters and quite cosy too. You had a choice of hiring a sun lounger or a double bed which was €30 as long as you had lunch at the restaurant which is right on the beachfront. Great restaurant and service – try the Sea Bream! You can add the cost of the double beds to your lunch bill and pay on your card – very useful when you don’t have cash. The childrens menu was fantastic and they had very good baby changing facilities. Easy peasy.
Playa De Ses Salines – This southern beach is very easy to get to. From the car park it’s a 2 minute walk over a newly refurbished wooden walkway. This was the busiest beach we had been to – it had a huge mix of people – OAP’s, families, clubbers..but we all felt comfortable and welcome. An electric holiday vibe there and also where the clubs promote their nights. Cue a parade of beautiful men and women walking up and down the beach in skimpy bikinis and hair extensions – or very small speedos for the men. The beach itself is perfect – pale sand and glass-clear sea. Neeldess to say, the more popular beach, the higher the price of the sun loungers. €25 for 1 bed and 1 umbrella. We had a lot of fun on this beach! Top tip – don’t buy fruit from the folk walking up and down the beach as it’s frowned upon, but do treat yourself to a cocktail delivered to your sunbed from Jockey Club.
Restaurants – We thought we could try and stick with our usual bedtime routine that we have at home, but when you’re on holiday, this doesn’t seem to apply – and it’s totally fine. The restaurants we found, were perfect. We actually managed to eat at some of the best places in Ibiza with our kids, and we didn’t feel at all out of place.
Amante For me, I think this place was one of my favourite places to eat, drink and chill. Located on a remove cove beach with spectacular views of the ocean, Amante delivered fantastic food and wine and had the perfect kids menu too. I would recommend going there earlier to eat with the little ones. The later the evening goes on, the more and more less kid friendly it seems to get. This particular night we went, they had a movie night where they erect a big screen on the beach and provide man size bean bags, pillows and blankets along with a free glass of wine and popcorn. Under a star studded sky and waves lapping against the rocks, it’s the most beautiful open-air atmospheric cinema experience. My husband went back to the villa to put the kids to bed as Jessie and I had a perfect girly chill out time together. Top Tip – have a drink on the level below the restaurant after dinner and then watch a movie!
La Paloma Stunning family run restaurant set in beautiful boho chic gardens which reflect the authentic beauty of the island. It was reassuring to see so many other families there with small children. They didn’t have a shortage of high chairs and the staff were extremely friendly. The food was wonderfully delicious and not too dear considering this place seems to be the hottest place in town at the moment. The cuisine is inspired by Tuscany, so there is a lot of pasta on the menu (winner) but they also serve great vegan food, which is totally organic and fabulous! If fish is more your thing try out the homemade risotto with seafood. Delicious! Top tip – make sure you make a reservation – the 8pm sitting is perfect timing for the kids and you’ll feel relaxed with all the other families there.
Restaurante Es Boldado – We traveled south-west to this exquisite restaurant. Took us about 45 minutes in the car from Santa Eulalia but it was worth the drive. Make a reservation and ask for a sea view table on the balcony. Don’t be put off by the interior – it could do with a revamp, but the location of the restaurant has breath taking views. We watched the sun set behind the rocks whilst eating fresh fish and drinking cold crisp wine. The waiters were very friendly to the kids, good selection for children’s food and great ground floor changing facilities for the baby.
So as you can see, Ibiza with kids is very much possible. We’re already looking into our next family holiday now that Christmas is over and we’re all back to reality. Something tells me we’ll be back here again…
I would love to hear where you go on your family summer holiday’s – please comment below and let me know your past holiday’s that worked well with kids … or not!