For more than 40 years, Ibiza has been packing in the party people and is still the undisputed clubbing capital of the world. San Antonio has been central to its reputation – it’s Ibiza’s liveliest and most popular resort.
A booze-fuelled nightmare in the 80s and 90s, the town’s mellowed slightly recently and officially renamed itself Sant Antoni de Portmany to try and create a better image.
But old habits die hard along the streets and beaches of this famous four-mile bay. Brits still call it San An and drinking in the town’s West End and partying hard is an experience many groups of guys and gals still view as a rite of passage – their first big holiday with their mates, not mums.
Sadly, many youthful visitors will probably never get to see much sunlight, let alone the wealth of beaches, pine-covered hills and open countryside beyond their hangover and typical three-star hotel or apartment.
Getting there/around San Antonio
All flights arrive at Ibiza/Eivissa Airport, 10 miles from San Antonio. Taxis are usually plentifully lined up outside the terminal.
It’s easy to walk around the main heart of the action in San An. At one end sits Eden and Es Paradis – two of the island’s seven ‘superclubs’ – trendy Bar M on s’Arenal beach and the ‘egg’, a curious sculpture and unofficial symbol of San Antonio. To the other end of town – past the West End and all the hotels and restaurants – are the chill-out bars of the ‘Sunset Strip’.
Boats head over to other beaches, the mainland or Formentera and the other Balearic islands.
San Antonio beaches
Ibiza can lay claim to around 50 beaches, but the couple of beaches in the heart of San Antonio, such as s’Arenal, are not its best.
The further away you get, the better the beaches get, so head round the bay to Cala de Bou and beyond to Port d’es Torrent, or strike out for the more spectacular Cala Bassa, Cala Compte, Cala Conta or Cala Tarida.
San Antonio sightseeing
There’s nothing amazing to see in San Antonio, but you could venture out to Capella de Santa Agnes, a nearby chapel in a cave.
The island’s sophisticated capital, Ibiza Town, is just 10 miles away, so it would be criminal not to go and have a wander through its Old Town.
Family attractions in San Antonio
It’s not exactly known as a family resort, but you’re hopefully staying in San Antonio Bay if you have kids, an affordable family holiday option, or Cala Gracio around to the north.
Hire a car and head over to the Aguamar water park at Playa d’en Bossa, where there’s also ten-pin bowling, a rodeo bull, trampolines and crazy golf.
Take kids on the San Antonio Express, a toy-town ‘train’ ride that heads off into the hills up to El Mirador, one of the highest peaks on the island.
Day trips from San Antonio
Trendy beach-goers should pack the sequined bikini and head to Cala Jondal. Relax on sun-beds outside the Jockey Club and feast on fine food.
Escape on a boat trip to the tranquil island of Formentera, known for its gorgeous beaches.
Hire a car and head south into San Jose, the largest of the five municipalities and an area claiming the most beaches and coves as well as a charming village by the same name and Sa Talaiassa beyond, the highest point on the island.
Eating in San Antonio
Whatever you want to eat, you can pretty much find it in San Antonio, from Mediterranean, to Chinese, to good ‘ole steak and chips, or local seafood.
Make an effort to also try restaurants outside the resort, especially trendy ones like Bambuddha Grove – on the road between Ibiza Town and Saint Joan.
San Antonio nightlife
The ‘Sunset Strip’ is a series of fashionable chill-out bars started off by the now legendary Café del Mar and latterly Café Mambo. These two are still the best, but have been joined by places such as Savannahs and Coastline, a little further on.
By sunset, with their amazing views of the orange and red-hued sky to the west, these places are an Ibiza essential. You’ll even see people paragliding in front of you, on a drug-free high. Once the sun’s set, the music ramps up a few notches and tickets are sold or discount passes given to the various clubs.
If you want to try some of Ibiza’s famous ‘superclubs’, the two nearest to San Antonio are Eden and Es Paradis. The Disco Bus runs to others on the island.
Otherwise, check out the non-stop drinking fest around San An’s West End.
San Antonio shopping
There are plenty of shops in San Antonio, from boutiques, to tacky souvenirs, but the island’s best and most sophisticated shopping can be found in Ibiza Town.
Visit the Wednesday hippy market at Club Punta Arabi, with about 400 stalls.