7 ways to be at one with nature in Ibiza
Hear Ibiza, think nightclubs? Yes, holidays to the White Isle can be all about working up a sweat on one of the Balearic Island's famous dance floors but you could get out there and see the real Ibiza instead.
This is one looker of an island. Sheltered beaches of creamy white sands, teeny coves of water as bright as melted sapphires, and whitewashed churches puncturing clear blue skies - your camera is sure to get a workout.
And, if you're up for it, so are you. From snorkelling through super-clear waters and hiking to remote villages, to exploring on horseback or by mountain bike, there are plenty of ways to discover Ibiza's more authentic side.
Getting to Ibiza: book your break to Ibiza with First Choice* and you can make the most of the latest online offers and choose to depart from a wide variety of major and regional UK airports.
With its indented coastline of sheltered bays and beaches, Ibiza is ideal for sea kayaking. And in a kayak, you're literally close to nature - close enough that you can reach down and comb a few fingers through the warm waters of the Med.
Kayaks can reach places other boats can't, poking their noses inside caves carved out by the ocean over millennia and pushing up onto the sands of remote beaches hard to reach by any other means.
You could head out for the day, exploring swimming spots and meeting marine life, or even better, do it all at sunset, watching the hot Ibizan sun dipping into the waters ahead of you as the sky lights up in dusky pink.
I defy anyone to resist getting into the water at every opportunity in Ibiza - the island has some of the most picture-perfect swimming spots in all of Europe.
They can, though, get pretty crowded. So instead of heading to the big hitters (Cala Nova, Ses Salines, Cala Comte), it's worth seeking out those more off the beaten track.
The island's north coast is where you'll find the very quietest from horseshoe-shaped Es Portixol, reached by a 30-minute coastal walk, to Port de ses Caletes, where your only company is likely to be the cluster of dilapidated fishermen's huts.
Stand up paddleboarding (SUP)
Few outdoor activities are as peaceful as stand up paddleboarding, and Ibiza has some of the best spots anywhere for getting out on the water for a float.
In the island's southwest you'll find tiny beaches with calm waters facing the (allegedly) magical rock of Es Vedrà. This towering islet rears up out of the water, its dramatic cliffs the perfect backdrop to a yoga session, performed entirely on your board.
It's easier than you might imagine, and there's nothing quite like practising a downward dog while feeling the movement of the ocean beneath you.
Already got your PADI? There are some superb dive sites around Ibiza's coastline - those craggy inlets have claimed a few ships in their time, after all.
Best of the bunch is the Don Pedro shipwreck, over 140 metres in length and lying on its side just 26 metres below the surface close to the island's main port.
You can also dive down and meet Pedro's nemesis, Dado Pequeño, the rock responsible for its sinking. This is a popular spot with the marine life so you can expect to see wrasse, grouper, octopus and even stingray on a dive here.
For those without their PADI qualification there are also numerous dive schools on the island, offering training courses and introductory dives in sheltered waters.
Meandering along on horseback is perhaps the most pleasant way to discover Ibiza's mountains, and if you venture out with Ibiza Horse Valley you'll be doing your bit for the horses too - these gorgeous creatures have all been saved from maltreatment elsewhere.
Half-day treks leave from the charmingly rustic village of Sant Joan de Labritja to traverse the mountainous landscape of northern Ibiza, while full-day treks include a trip to the beach when, at certain times of the year, you can swim with the horses.
Riders of all levels of experience, including complete beginners, are welcome (minimum age 14).
If you'd rather explore under your own steam, Ibiza has plenty of walking tracks running out into the landscape from its remote villages.
One of the best is the two-to-three-hour circuit from Sant Carles de Peralta, which winds through unspoiled - and deliciously scented - pine forest to reach sheltered Cala Mastella.
This is a great spot for a swim, and El Bigotes chiringuito (a small, local tapas-style bar) serves up freshly grilled fish to boot.
Another wonderfully peaceful track from Sant Carles can be followed across the Serra de Sant Vicent ridge to Sant Joan de Labritja, passing old olive trees and crumbling dry stone walls to link the two sleepy villages (allow four to five hours).
You'll get even further if you swap two feet for two wheels, and Ibiza's rugged, mountainous landscape makes for perfect mountain biking terrain.
You can rent bikes by the day and go where the mood - and those tempting downhill tracks - takes you, or head out on a guided tour to really get to know the island.
Some of the best mountain biking is through the valley of Santa Agnès, where you can ride through serene forests and past fertile fields strung with vines to reach whitewashed fincas and teeny villages clustered around churches.
There are spectacular views from up here, down over the island and across to neighbouring Formentera.
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Itching to discover the rural attractions of Ibiza for yourself? Check out the latest deals on breaks to Ibiza with First Choice - settle into one of its plush resorts before you set about being at one with the island's more natural side.
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