It’s true what they say about the White Isle, it’s magical, sensational, beautiful… yet comes with a hefty price tag for the experience. A soft drink in a nightclub costs the same as a good meal out and hotel prices for the least glamorous of digs are enough to make the eyes water. When we think that the island is ‘switched on’ for six months out of the year, meaning most businesses are on hot coals to make year-round profits in half the time, we gain some clue as to how to navigate the market. Like a major, popular city, it’s going to be expensive. The cheap gems are always out there, however, though laying right under the radar. Donning our money-saving caps along with the mantra of ‘think like a local’ in mind, we walk you through some tips for a trip to Ibiza that’ll keep your bank account intact.
To base how far you need to penny-pinch, the time of season you head out is the first port of call. While we can’t offer many ground-breaking hacks in the way of cheaper flights – SkyScanner is anyone’s winner – we can reinstate considering the low-seasons. May and September going into October are when you’ll find those round trips for under fifty – oftentimes just a day’s difference in travel date can render prices that are significantly less. These months may not be scorching but pack in all the same glory. Opening and closing parties are happening and hotels are mind-bogglingly cheap, sometimes cheaper than what it would cost you to stay at home! If peak-season is a non-negotiable, then advance booking is a must and reading further down for spending advice is another!
Next on the list: somewhere to rest those sore feet and heads. While camping is popular on the island, you needn’t have to rough it for the budget trip of a lifetime. Like flights, hotels prices will reflect the time of season, although as the saying goes – ‘location, location, location’. Choosing to stay near all the action will cut on the need for taxis and bring you closer to amenities such as supermarkets. San Antonio throws up some great, cheap stays – Hostal Rosalia, Rita and Florencio for example – and offers the likes of Ibiza Rocks, O Beach and Eden on its doorstep. Ibiza Town, while considered the more expensive district to stay in, is a stone’s throw from the stunning southern beaches as well as Pacha, HEART Ibiza and of course its own Old Town and watering holes. Consider your type of holiday, too. Out and about a lot? Stick to basic. Wanting to enjoy your space and taking it easy? Pick a studio with a kitchenette and save on the restaurant trips.
And on the topic of restaurants, with plenty around serving dishes under €10, eating out can still be on the itinerary. In San Antonio, the local’s favourite and year-round haunt for healthy, filling eats is Rita’s Cantina. An extensive menu will take you all across the world for next to nothing, and the food comes out fast! For those after luxury without the price tag, the Mambo’s breakfast menu is your winner and comes with its signature atmosphere and seaside view. In Ibiza Town, beers, wine and pintxos – slices of baguette topped with tapas-style ingredients – can be found for just a couple of euros each at Can Terra. There are several hubs in Placa del Parc, too, that serve light, affordable meals and drinks for just a few coins, with the added nicety of a plaza surrounding. A ‘menu del dia’ – menu of the day – offering is popular in Ibiza Town with its array of local eateries but can be found island-wide, spoiling customers with 3-courses typically for around €10. In Playa D’en Bossa, Magic Bar is the place to go for low-cost dining and for the stricter spenders, small grocery stores with a delicatessen make up baguette sandwiches for just a few euros; filled with your choices from the counter. Not forgetting, gazpacho, Spanish tortilla and bread and alioli which can all be picked up from the supermarkets – Eroski, Mercadona and Lidl – for very little are all nutritious, cheap and satiating options.
Finally, with stomach’s lined, Ibiza’s plethora of activity can be dived right into. Nightlife is notoriously pricey to revel in like you would at home, although a cautious mind will take you wherever you please all the same. Across the lively beaches and promenade in San Antonio and Playa D’en Bossa, workers armed with discounted-entry wristbands for the superclub events of the day can be found – these help to cut a tenner or two off the cost. Events like Zoo Project, Ibiza Rocks and O Beach are all cheap to get into and are wildly popular. Pre-bought drinks tickets for clubs like Amnesia will shave a few euros while all-you-can-drink packages sold at ticket-outlets will pack value for money. Of course, nothing beats the cheap spirits that Spain is generous for, take a bottle to San An’s sunset strip or the beach and pre-drink yourself before the club. With many others who do, you’ll no doubt make friends along the way, too. Now, if your eyes light up at the sound of ‘free’ then Blue Marlin is the place to go – open doors that lead to superstar DJs and some of the hottest parties is something you can’t go wrong with. Likewise, Café Mambo hosts big talent every night of the week, at zero-cost. The less heady budget activities include Las Dalias market that has a cheap bar and live music as well as Santa Gertrudis square with many affordable restaurants for soaking in the atmosphere and performers that sometimes feature.
Oh, and before you start packing your walking boots, skip the taxi in favour of a bus for €2-3. They run to and from the airport as well as across the island – even to the most northern tips. Just make sure to check the timetables as the further you head out, the less frequent they run. You can find all the routes on www.ibizabus.com. Happy holidaying and money-saving, you savvy lot!