Amex Insider Alex Zane takes a ‘sneak peek’ into alternative sides to popular European holiday destinations, offering viewers insider information about the best places to visit and getting off the beaten tourist track.
Alex explores the island of Ibiza, discovering the lesser-known, more relaxed North of the Island. Alex gets on a bike to discover hidden beaches, street markets and the more historic, cultural side of Ibiza. He also speaks to some of the local people to get their top tips for where to visit and how best to explore the hidden gems of the island.
Hi Alex! Do the locals encourage tourists to experience the North of Ibiza?
The residents of Ibiza are so friendly and accommodating. When you’re there on their island they want to show you everything and make sure you have the most memorable experience. The island is big enough to accommodate party-goers, families and those seeking total peace & quiet, and the locals are not shy in showing you exactly what the unseen side of Ibiza has to offer. For example, on my visit the islanders were really keen to point me in the direction of the many local markets, which showed a different, calmer side of Ibiza.
The more tranquil north side of the island isn’t widely known, it’s still underexplored and very authentic – that’s why those who do branch away from the music and clubs absolutely love it. It’s a real hidden side of the country.
What is a must see on the island?
After my time there, I’d say the hidden coves along the coastline–that’s if you can find them of course! I loved making my way around the island on a bike and stopping to enjoy the sunshine in some of these secluded inlets and secret beaches. I was often the only one there!
Do you think it’s important for people to explore different areas in popular resorts?
Absolutely! According to research from American Express, a third of us Brits say that discovering the hidden gems of a destination, whether that be the history or culture, makes a holiday even more memorable. Ibiza is the perfect place to do exactly that and there plenty of uncovered treasures to be found, especially in northern Ibiza. The unspoilt nature up there means that every time you go exploring, you feel like you are the first person to ever go there. It’s like being Robinson Crusoe!
Would you say that the north of Ibiza is ideal for a family? / What activities are available on the island for families? / What can the island offer for families and travellers?
When I was in Ibiza filming, I couldn’t help but feel that the north of the island would be perfect for family holidays. It’s calm (for the older ones) but there’s still plenty to do and see to keep younger ones busy (me included!) I was out exploring on the bike a lot of the time, swimming in the clear waters and making the most of un-crowded beaches, local food stalls and haggling at the bustling markets for those unusual souvenirs and discovering the local history.
In my experience it really does offer something for everyone: culture vultures can soak up Ibiza Town’s medieval castle of Dalt Vila and historic sites such as the Can Marca Caves. Families can explore the island by bike or even hopping on a water taxi for trips around the island, or for all the gang day trips to Formentera and the markets of Punta Arabi and Las Dalias are a must do.
Why hire a bike on the Ibiza Island? / Is it accessible to ride a bike around the island, as well as ensuring safety for the family? / What are the benefits of hiring a bike on the island?
Normally, the best way to get around an island is by doing what the locals do and trust me, in Ibiza, it’s all about the bikes. A bike offers visitors the chance to go wherever they please whilst soaking up the sun, open air and the beautiful scenery at the same time – much better than an air conditioned car! It also means you can discover hidden villages, tucked away restaurants and local haunts, so you really feel you’re living like a local and experiencing the island way of life.
Also, with the roads being so quiet in the north, it helps the less-able cyclists (myself included!) to feel safe.
A great ride recommended for beginners and families with slightly older children is the Cami Vell De San Rafel (one-way). It starts from San Antonio and follows the old roads between San Antonio and San Rafel, passing through groves, vegetable patches and beautiful scenery. The route then finishes at San Rafel’s church, which is a magnificent place to end.
This is a beautiful 12k route, but be sure to take a picnic to stop and eat in the lush surroundings as you go.
Is it suitable for all ages?
There are a huge range of cycling routes in Ibiza to suit cyclists of all abilities and therefore, all ages. Those who are more advanced and prefer adventurous holidays can test themselves on the more mountainous tracks, whilst novices and families with younger riders can keep it simple with a cycle along the coastal paths.
What did you most enjoy about cycling around the Spanish island?
The rural side to Ibiza was one I hadn’t seen before and if I’m honest I wasn’t expecting to find such beautiful scenery or rich culture: lush groves, crystal clear blue waters, wooded, hilly countryside, quaint little towns and markets – all of these can be appreciated so much more from the saddle of a bike. I was able to escape the hustle and bustle, and explore this hidden side of the island on my terms, discovering a completely different holiday in a destination I thought I knew. Plus, as many of the routes are closed to cars it definitely made a change from cycling in a big city like London.
Amex Insider Alex Zane is taking a sneak peek behind the scenes of some of Europe’s most popular destinations, uncovering hidden gems and telling you a few things you might not already know. Visit youtube.com/AmericanExpress to watch Alex get more insider information from other exciting destinations
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