World capital of clubbing or an ideal spot for a quiet beach retreat? The answer is, in short, both.

This island, the smallest of the Balearics, did not earn its reputation as heaven for hedonistic party animals by coincidence. But scratch beneath the surface of the all-night benders and you’ll find stunning beaches, ancient ruins, quaint villages and the type of laidback lifestyle that screams ‘beach holiday’.

Time travel

Long before promoters and DJs took up residency in the Ibizan summer sun, this place was home to Venetian, Cartheginian and Arab traders who recognised its importance as a trading port, linking mainland Europe and northern Africa. Take an early morning walk deep inside the walls of the Old Town in Eivissa (Ibiza Town) and check out the stunning views from windows cut into the side of the breathtakingly high fortress walls. Wander inside the cathedral that sits atop the Old Town for a break from the sun and a quick lesson on Ibizan history. Our Lady of the Snows – as it’s been known from almost 800 years – has charted the course of the island’s occupation over the centuries and was the first landmark rebuilt in keeping with the various conquerors’ religious beliefs.

Sun worship
OK, it’s an island, so it’s bound to have plenty of beaches (56 at last count). Ibiza boasts 18km of pristine sand and (occasional) surf along its coast, giving beach bums a seemingly endless list of options to soak up some rays Med-side. Don’t stick to your resort’s private beach or the throngs that flock to San Antoni de Portmany (San Antonio) or Playa de Talamanca. Get out and explore – the island is small enough to find your own private piece of paradise within a few minutes’ drive from your hotel door. For sun worship with a view, head to Cala d’Hort and bathe in the Mediterranean while taking in the views of Es Vedra, the sheer-faced island which rises 382m out of the sea just a few hundred metres offshore.

hippy hippy shakes
For more than 35 years, Ibiza has been inhabited by a population of hippies who went there seeking a quieter life away from the hustle and bustle of mainland Europe. Back in the good ol’ days, there was a heavy concentration of hippies in the northern village of San Carles. Each Saturday, you can witness the legacy of that community at the Las Dalias market, a great place to lose yourself for a couple or hours or find bargain jewellery, clothes or kitsch souvenirs.

Worth a look
Ancient relics
Ibiza is a Unesco World Heritage-listed site for a reason. Take a trip to S’Argamassa and see the ruins of an ancient aqueduct stretching out into the Med, or view the sacred Hill of the Windmills, an ancient burial ground for more than 40,000 Venetian and Carthegineans who settled the island. Just outside of central Eivissa, this sacred site remains, in part, untouched, with some of the grave stones still lying on the surface of the hill.

Go on, then
It would be wrong to visit anywhere and not take in the full range of activities on offer, wouldn’t it? So much is made of Ibiza’s obvious tourist-pulling attractions – the world’s premier nightlife scene. While there is plenty this island has to offer by day, there is no denying the attraction of Ibiza’s superclubs – they are the sole reason so many young British and European travellers head here each summer. Start the night sipping cocktails and watching the sun sink into the Med at the world-famous Café Del Mar or at any of the bars offering cheap deals in Eivissa, and you can’t go too far wrong.