With its expansive fjords, famous archipelagos, and undeniable beauty, Norway sits at the top of many traveler’s bucket lists. Like many people who dream of visiting this country, we put it off for years because of the expense compared to other travel destinations. During our recent visit, we realized traveling here can be done affordably with a little planning.
Discover some of our best tips for finding cheap accommodation and how to save money on food and transportation in Norway.
SET A DAILY SPENDING LIMIT
Set a daily spending limit and stick to it! This might mean staying in a hostel, camping, couchsurfing, or cooking your own meals. Before my visit to Norway, people warned me that it wasn’t possible to find a hotel for less than $400 US per night, but I found plenty for under $100 US in the places we visited. Eating at restaurants, on the other hand, is very expensive. We were able to stick to our daily budget by buying alcohol and food for lunch at the local grocery stores.
BOOK IN ADVANCE
Hotels: As soon as you book your flights to Norway, you should start researching your accommodation. Many areas of Norway have limited accommodation available and the inexpensive hotel options tend to get booked up first.
Before booking your hotel check to see if your rate includes breakfast. Many hotels offer this included in your stay. We filled up enough at breakfast so we didn’t need much more than a snack for lunch, which made spending money on dinner a lot less painful. We recommend Booking.com to find affordable accommodation in Norway.
Transportation: If you decide to skip renting a car, then booking your transportation in advance is recommended. If you do rent a car, look into credit cards that offer car rental coverage. The car rental insurance costs in Norway can easily blow your budget, but it’s not something you want to go without.
STAY WITH LOCALS
This will save you money on accommodation and food. If you book an AirBnb with a kitchen, you won’t have to eat at a restaurant for every meal. Keep in mind that most hotels include breakfast, so make sure to take that into consideration when comparing prices on hotels versus AirBnb stays.
Couchsurfing is another option that I have not personally tried, but many travelers love it. I like to have my own place when traveling (I always book my own apartments when using AirBnb) and I’ve found it can be time consuming to try to find a Couchsurfing host, but it’s a great way to save money if you are on an extremely tight budget.
You don’t have to be a professional travel photographer to take stunning photos of your travels, but without experience, you may end up disappointed with your shots. Luckily, you can learn from the experience and the mistakes! of the many travel photographers who have gone before.
#1. NOT KNOWING YOUR SETTING
Say you want to snap a photo of an icon like the Eiffel Tower, only there’s a huge crowd blocking the path. If there’s a place you want to photograph, it helps to search ahead of time and make a note of the hours the location is accessible, when it has the most traffic, and whether photography is even allowed. If you’re going to a nature location, see what you need to get there safely. Moreover, if you’re aiming for a certain time of day, look up the appropriate camera settings for the lighting.
#2. ONLY SHOOTING FROM EYE-LEVEL
When you flip through your travel album, you may be disappointed if your photos look generic. To make your shots unique and evocative, look for different angles from which to shoot. Try the “worm’s eye” view from the ground for a new perspective, play with distance to make trees, buildings, and statues more majestic, or position the main attraction off-center with the rule of thirds for a pleasing yet unusual composition. There are many ways to take amazing photos of your travels, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
#3. OVERLOADING WITH GEAR
All you want is some beautiful photographs of your travels. You don’t want to lug around twenty pounds of gear to get them! Luckily, you don’t have to. While it’s tempting to over pack equipment to get the best shots possible, one or two good lenses should meet most of your needs. If you still haven’t found the perfect photography kit, read our post with tips on how to find the best camera for travel photography.
If you know for sure you’ll be photographing wildlife, then you can bring a telephoto, too. I use the Canon 70-300 to get all of my wildlife shots. It’s just the right amount of zoom, but not too heavy for travel photography.
I make sure all of my gear fits in this well-padded camera/laptop bag. While I’m on the ground, I use this small backpack and these lens covers while hiking or this cute padded camera bag while walking around in cities.
#4. MISSING SUNRISE AND SUNSET
You want to capture the breathtaking colors and inspiration of sunrise and sunset, but find that a building blocks the horizon, or you arrive at your location too late? Not planning for sunrise and sunset is one of the biggest travel photography mistakes I find with new photographers.
Doing some before-hand research here will make sure you don’t miss the most beautiful times of day. There are plenty of websites and even apps that will tell you the times of sunrise and sunset down to the minute, so plan ahead accordingly. Arrive a half hour early and stay a half hour after the sun sinks to get the most vibrant colors.
If you’re not an early riser but want to catch the sunrise, try going to bed earlier. You can still have fun and have a few drinks in the evening, just do it a little earlier than usual. I try to go to bed before 11 when I want to photograph the sunrise. This is where jet lag really comes in handy. I also plan my outfits the night before and just grab a quick piece of fruit or toast in the morning so I’m not wasting any time while I’m groggy in the morning.
I was as surprised as anyone to discover a small-scale sustainable goat farm, with some of the finest cashmere I’ve ever seen, in the heart of Tuscany, close to Radda in Chianti. Owner Nora Kravis (originally from Long Island, in the States) is a character, having lived here for over 30 years and owning more than 200 goats (one named Cappuccino) and 15 dogs. You can arrange a visit – Nora loves guests – and check out her shop and its range of delightful cashmere accessories.
Escape the crowds and queues and immerse yourself in Tuscany’s lesser-known historical and architectural treasures. Chiusi, on the border with Umbria south-west of Siena, also has excellent rail links. Its gems, aside from its magnificent Etruscan museum, include the intriguingly named, fifth-century BC Monkey’s Tomb with frescoes depicting funeral games, and the Labyrinth of Porsenna. Afterwards, visit Nonna Rosa restaurant on Via dei Tulipani), where you can eat your stuffed gnocchi or wild boar stew sitting astride an old moped, or inside a restored Fiat 500.
Many people forget that there are some are great places to stay on the Tuscan coast. Base yourself in Viareggio and you get the best of both worlds: it’s easy to reach by train from Pisa airport, has hotels for all budgets (Hotel Ely has doubles in June from €70 B&B). Swim and sunbathe on soft golden sands and explore the area by train or local bus. Pisa, Lucca, Livorno and Florence are all within an hour on public transport.
Trattorias in Florence
It’s hard to imagine there’s anywhere in Florence to eat good Tuscan food at reasonable prices. But the Florentines just keep the best places secret. A clue is trattorias that don’t bother with a website. Da Ruggero (Via Senese 89, +39 055 220542), just beyond the Boboli Gardens, is the best place in Florence for ribollitaor farinata con cavolo nero, a thick kale soup made from kale and polenta flour and drizzled with intense olive oil. Its pappardelle alla lepre, homemade noodles with hare ragù, is worth the visit alone. Trattoria Sostanza (Via del Porcellana, 25/R, +39 055 212691) probably hasn’t changed since 1869, when it opened. Trygallina bollita, hen poached in intense stock, served with vibrant salsa verde. In central Florence, Natalino does have a website (+39 055 289404). It’s a 120-year-old family-run restaurant that updates Tuscan specialities. A brilliant tortelloni dish deconstructs the classic leaves, pear and gorgonzola salad with walnuts, and turns it into a pasta dish. And don’t miss the revamped Mercato Centrale, with its upstairs food stalls selling dishes made with ingredients from the market below.
Bagno Vignoni village
One of the highlights of our tour around Tuscany was a night in the Bagno Vignoni, a village known for its hot springs. We bought a half-day pass at Hotel Posta Marcucci and enjoyed luxuriating in the warm thermal waters with wonderful views of the countryside. We had dinner at La Parata – great aglione(garlic and tomato) sauce on the pasta followed by amazing grilled chicken. We stayed at La Locanda del Loggiato, a comfortable B&B run by two sisters, with a great breakfast.
The Channel Islands are comprised of eight islands (Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Nicolas, San Clemente, Santa Barbara, and Santa Catalina) off the coast of Southern California. You’ve probably heard of Catalina Island, but most people have never heard of the other seven islands.
Five of these islands are part of the Channel Islands National Park and each of these islands has at least one designated campground. We were first introduced to this set of islands during a day trip to Anacapa Island from Oxnard, where we spent the afternoon hiking around and got lucky with an unforgettable Orca and Gray whale encounter on our ferry ride back to the mainland.
We experienced a second day trip to the islands this time to Santa Cruz Islandduring a trip to Santa Barbara a few months ago. This day trip is what sparked our interest to finally pull the trigger on booking a campsite here in July.
Booking a camping trip to the islands is easy enough, but preparing for the trip requires a little more planning — especially for those who don’t have the right camping gear. Due to the lack of information online, we’ve decided to put together this helpful travel guide for those considering an overnight camping trip to any of the five islands that are part of the Channel Islands National Park.
This post will focus mainly on the Scorpion Ranch campground on Santa Cruz Island because that’s where we stayed, but these tips will be helpful for planning a trip to any of the campgrounds or islands in the park.
BOOKING THE FERRY TO CHANNEL ISLANDS NATIONAL PARK
According to the National Park’s website, you must book your ferry ticket before you reserve a campsite at any of the campgrounds. The ferries fill up quicker than the campsites because of day trippers, so be sure to check Island Packer’s availability first.
The ferry to Santa Cruz leaves from Ventura Harbor. If you are traveling from out of town and want to take a morning ferry trip, I highly recommend booking a hotel near the harbor the night before. We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Ventura, CA — about a five minute drive from the harbor. They provide breakfast in the morning and we were able to fill up our cooler with fresh ice from their ice machine, which made things extremely easy for our early morning departure.
You need to check in at the harbor one hour before your ferry departs in order for them to load the camping gear. The ferry trip to Scorpion Anchorage takes about an hour and you will likely see some wildlife. Luckily, we had cans of Cayman Jack with us, which was super convenient since they don’t allow glass on the boat deck. It seemed fitting to celebrate the first leg of our journey with hand-crafted Cayman Jack margaritas on the ferry trip over.
While long vacations to exotic locales can be exciting and adventurous, they can also be costly in both time and travel expenses. Sometimes, a weekend trip is all you need to have a fun, memorable, and rejuvenating experience.
When NatureBox asked us to share our weekend getaway tips and try a few of their healthy snacks, we knew it would work out perfectly for our annual trip to Baja with friends. I always try to pack snacks even on longer trips because I need to eat every couple of hours and that’s not always feasible when I’m traveling. So, from packing healthy snacks to picking a place that speaks to you, here are our top tips for planning an unforgettable weekend getaway.
PICK A PLACE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU
Love the water? Spend your weekend basking on the beach, kayaking down a river, or picnicking near a lake. Maybe you feel uplifted when wandering the woods, or excited by exploring city streets. The ideal getaway may not take you far from home (you don’t want to spend half the weekend just getting to and from your vacation spot, after all) but following your interests will let you enjoy yourself wherever you are.
CONSIDER YOUR ACCOMMODATIONS
You’ll get the most out of your vacation time if you stay somewhere close to the action. That may be a condo on the beach, a cabin or campsite in the great outdoors, or a hotel close to the city’s must-see locations or events. Whatever you choose, rooming nearby will help you stay in the spirit of your getaway.
BRING A TRAVEL BUDDY (OR A FEW!)
Striking out on your own has its highlights, but a weekend getaway can be the perfect opportunity to spend time with your partner or your friends, especially if you often find yourself too busy during the week. Good company will bring joy to everything you do and help make the weekend more memorable.
PUT YOUR PHONE ON AIRPLANE MODE
Make sure you’re really getting away by putting away your phone or laptop. You’ll get a breather from business-related calls or emails, and you’ll keep yourself open to really spend quality time with the people around you. You’ll soak up more of your environment, as well!
PACK SOME SNACKS
Whether you’re flying, driving, hiking or biking, it’s good to keep snacks on hand. Eating every couple of hours will keep your energy up so you can fully enjoy your weekend activities. It can also save you money and keep you away from unhealthy gas station or airplane foods.
Traveling on your own is a fun way to have new experiences and expand your boundaries without worrying about synchronizing multiple people’s wants and needs. It can be a truly inspiring way to get to know your own limits — just not that great when you need an extra pair of hands to snap a quick picture for the memories. Luckily, technology makes travel self-documentation much easier (and we all know everyone wants to display their best shots from their travels on sites like Instagram).
I travel solo on about eighty percent of my trips, so I’ve had to learn a few tricks along the way. Here are some of my top tips for taking great travel photos as a solo traveler.
SET UP A TRIPOD
Bringing a tripod is a tip for good photography even if you’re not traveling solo, but if you want steady photos, they’re a must. Tripods will help you avoid the blur and warp of out of focus or unsteady shots. For smaller cameras, the Gorillapod line and similar flexible tripod products are great for keeping your camera steady even on the most unstable of terrain. Their ability to wrap around poles, skis, railings, and other surfaces means that you have the freedom of setting up shots even in tight urban settings too.
I personally use the Manfrotto line of tripods for my heavy 5D Mark II and I’ve been able to set it up in some precarious places. I also carry a digital timer remote and set it up to take photos every second so I don’t have to constantly run back and forth just to get a couple of different angles.
USE A SELFIE STICK
Yes, using one may look silly, but selfie sticks are still incredibly useful for taking pictures on your own! By extending the range between the camera and the subject (likely yourself) further than a natural human arm span, it allows the frame of the photo to be expanded. This way you’ll be able to fit more of the background into your photo and you won’t come home with a million unflattering close-up photos of yourself. I personally love this selfie stick because it’s all-weather and they offer a money-back guarantee.
ATTACH A GOPRO
If you’re looking for the perfect action shot or want your video and photos to come from a first-hand perspective, then attaching a GoPro to your gear while you surf, ski, bike, or even bungee jump can be a great way to capture the experience. Furthermore, the wide range of mounts available mean that you can capture images with the GoPro in environments where other cameras may fear to tread — like underwater or tumbling through the air. We use the Hero4 Silver because it’s the only GoPro with an LCD screen to frame and view your shots.
ASK A STRANGER
Whether you have specialized gear or not, there’s always the option to reach out for help from someone new. After all, you’re not traveling just to look at a foreign place or culture, you’re there to experience it, to take part in a different world or way of life. Photos can be a great way to capture memories from your trip, but starting an interaction with another person, even if it’s just asking for help with your camera, is a great way to make them.
You won’t always get the best photos with this option, but my trick is to ask someone who is carrying their own DSLR camera. I like to give people an idea of how I would like the shot framed before I hand over my camera as well.
I’m so smitten with Aruba that I’ve been here twice in the past two years. My last visitconsisted of mostly beach bumming, so I wanted to explore a little more of the island on this recent trip. From spending the day with flamingos to snorkeling with sea life, here are ten things you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Aruba.
TAKE A SNORKEL CRUISE
Snorkel cruises let you bask on a boat in the sun (or shade) with live music, food, and drinks, then stop by the snorkeling spots for a little underwater exporation. The Pelican Adventures cruise also brings you to the S.S. Antilla, a famous WWII shipwreck that is one of the largest in the Caribbean.
SPEND THE DAY WITH FLAMINGOS
Renaissance Island is a private island for guests of the Renaissance Resort & Casino, so it’s away from the crowds though you can share company with flamingos on one of the beaches. Even if you are not staying at this hotel, you can purchase a day pass to the island to snap a picture with the pink beauties for a postcard-worthy photo.
RIDE TO CONCHI ON HORSEBACK
If you don’t mind getting up early, take a sunrise horseback ride to the conchi, or natural pool, surrounded by volcanic rock on Aruba’s north side. Take in the colors of the landscape, and when you reach the pool, you’ll be ready for a swim. There aren’t any ready amenities — just lots of natural beauty.
VISIT EAGLE BEACH
Eagle Beach has been named one of the best beaches in the world. It’s popular, but with a vast coast and soft white sands, it’s still a perfect place to relax. In the summer months, you may even spot sea turtles hatching around sunset and at night.
FLOAT IN PALM BEACH
Palm Beach is renowned for its calm waters, making it easy to float on a rubber raft and soak up the sun. Raft rentals are usually $5 a day, but if you’ve got room in your bags, you can bring your own and float whenever you want.
KARAOKE AT BUGALOE BEACH BAR & GRILL
Bungaloe is a laid-back beach house on the water of Palm Beach, with open walls and a classic grass roof. On Saturday nights, they host karaoke with a happy hour during the event — just in case you need a boost to take the stage and sing your heart out.
DRIFT IN MANGEL HALTO
A favorite of the locals, the calm waters of Mangel Halto are perfect for skimming on stand-up paddleboards and snorkeling. It’s a beautiful reef with colorful fish, and a guided drift snorkel lets you swim easily along with the current to see it.
RIDE ON A BANANA BOAT
In Palm Beach, you can find banana boats big inflatable rafts that can seat ten or so people pulled by a speedboat. Bouncing on the waves makes it hard to hang on, but that’s part of the fun! Where there are banana boats, there is laughter and smiles.
VISIT THE CALIFORNIA LIGHTHOUSE
A scenic white lighthouse near the northwest tip of Aruba, the California Lighthouse is a popular drive-and-park destination for couples. It offers a beautiful overlook, and nearby are the California White Sand Dunes to get in some hiking.
Thailand is known for its big city, Bangkok, but the country’s white-beach islands have just as much culture, fun, and relaxation to offer. Spend a few days soaking up the experiences of one, and then keep things fresh by simply “island hopping” to another. It’s easy and can be done on a budget.
Visiting off-season, after April and through October, is very inexpensive. The best weather is during the shoulder seasons: May – June, then October. There’s some heat, but you’ll avoid monsoon season.
Take the public ferries between islands to save cash; larger islands also have airports and flying domestic can be even cheaper. Avoid eating at resort restaurants if you’re looking for low prices and incredible local flavor; small restaurants and street vendors offer the most authentic experience.
When planning where to stay, check hotel booking sites like Booking.com (our personal favorite) to get the best prices. Some places close during the off-season so it’s best to check ahead, but even beautiful resorts will be inexpensive during that time.
Best known for its wild Full Moon Party on its southern beaches– thousands of people come together to let their hair down at this party! If partying under the full moon isn’t your thing, the island is quiet and relaxing at other times of the month, and the northern beaches are calmer. The Haad Yao Bayview Resort & Spa is both friendly & affordable.
Read more: Koh Phangan — It’s More than Just a Party Island
Named for its shore-lounging sea turtles, Ko Tao is best known for its 30+ dive sites and affordable scuba certification. You may even spot a giant, gentle whale shark! The off-season offers the best chance to see them.
For about $150 per night, you can stay in cute, beach bungalows at Palm Leaf Resort or go big and stay at the gorgeous beachfront Jamahkiri Resort.
This island is home to laid-back beach bars, amazing seafood, and gorgeous beaches. Sadly, rapid development has left Ko Lipe worse for wear; it’s crowded and not uncommon to see garbage piles being burnt for lack of proper disposal options.
KO YAO YAI
A wonderful destination for enjoying the peace and quiet of nature, it has been preserved from development by its friendly local people. Many of them are Muslim, so it’s respectful to wear more modest clothing away from the beaches, but you’ll be warmly welcomed to this enchanting island.
Ko Lanta offers good swimming, kayaking, and plenty of places to eat, play, and get a massage. It’s well-developed with good roads and has accommodations appropriate for those who enjoy high-end resorts, backpackers who like to rough it, and everyone in between.
Vacations can cost a lot of money, which might be discouraging to some. Still, a few tried-and-true hotel booking tricks can help you get the best price possible. With these tips, you’ll be spending less money on hotels and freeing up funds for other parts of your trip or even the next one!
HOW TO GET THE BEST PRICE FOR YOUR NEXT HOTEL STAY
COMPARE PRICES ONLINE WITH HOTEL BOOKING SITES
Thanks to the advent of the Internet, there are more ways than ever to compare prices directly. While you could check with each hotel’s website and compare them, you could also make use of sites such as Booking.com, Kayak, Travel Ticker, or any of the countless others that will do that work for you. This way, you’ll be able to see hotels that offer similar experiences but at different price points, letting you make the most budget-conscious choice. You can search for specifics too, like a pet-friendly hotel or an indoor pool.
CALL OR EMAIL THE HOTEL DIRECTLY
While comparison sites can offer great deals, the only real way to know that you’re getting the best deal is by contacting the hotel directly. Email will often work, but calling is a more immediate option. You can inquire if there are any special packages, deals, or discounts, and even consider mentioning the prices you’ve found for their rooms on comparison sites, in case they want to make a competing offer.
CONSIDER HOTELS THAT DON’T APPEAR ON MAJOR SEARCH SITES
Just because a Mom & Pop hotel hasn’t invested in high search rankings, or possibly even a website, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a look. In fact, these hotels tend to be cheaper since they’re not getting internet customers! Talk with family, friends, and locals; anyone who might be able to give you some good local hotel tips.
SEARCH FOR COUPONS ONLINE
Coupon sites are an easy way to save money. Find one that’s applicable and reap the rewards! Groupon and LivingSocial are both great sites for finding coupons; just make sure that you read any fine print. Make sure you understand exactly what you’re purchasing and any limitations in place, such as a particular timeframe during which the coupon is valid or cancellation fees.
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK SITES LIKE AIRBNB
Airbnb and similar sites offer a huge number of listings of locally hosted homes and apartments available to rent for a time. The offerings are also wildly varied, so if you’re interested in staying somewhere other than your run-of-the-mill hotel, this is a great option. While these offerings tend to be cheaper, they often don’t come with the same commodities that a hotel stay would, and the policies of each listing are entirely up to the owners, so keep that in mind.
Though homosexuality was legalised in Cuba in 1979, much of Havana’s gay scene, like the best of its culture, is still underground. A great way to see it all is with a guide, and there can be few better than the hugely informative Yunior Crespo. A tour will probably start in the Plaza del Cathedral and end up with mojitos in the heaving gay bars on Calle 23, via an art gallery, a supper club and salsa dancing.
Viñales sunrise hike
While in Viñales this month we joined a group of four for a sunrise hike to Los Aquaticos organised by Villa Los Reyes (Salvador Cisneros 206C), a local casa particular. The views were stunning and we saw plenty of birdlife on the return walk. Our guide was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and spoke fluent French and English. The tour cost 15CUC (about £11) per person and we just booked it the day before.
Horse riding near Trinidad
The highlight of our stay was a seven-hour ride to a waterfall in the Valle de Los Ingenios, with turkey vultures circling above. Our guide Carlos collected us from our casa, and we followed him and his chestnut mare along the cobbled streets to join our group. We rode to a coffee plantation, and to a finca for lunch: plantain,congri (rice and beans) and fresh-pressed sugar cane. We swam in a natural pool under a waterfall while our horses rested in the shade of Cuban palms. Carlos spoke no English but the ride was varied and the horses were well cared-for. A great day out for £18 each.
Local guides in Havana
Backstreet tango dance lessons, cafes thick with cigar smoke and locals drinking rum, a Chevrolet ride though old Havana, a walking tour of the harbour area – all by local guides – are just a few of the exciting options for seeing Cuba withtoursbylocals.com. From around £34 for groups of four or more, these outings are a great way to experience authentic Cuban culture and you can choose your own guide
Sighteseeing in Viñales
Strange mogotes (rocky limestone hillocks), rich red soil, triangular tobacco drying huts and ox-driven carts: this is Viñales. Go to Los Jazmines (you can stay here) for a spectacular view. Or board the tourist bus, only £3.60, and hop off at the Indian Cave, the Prehistoric Mural and Viñales town. Trek through the lanes, with a guide, to see fields of tobacco and other crops – arrange this at the museum in Viñales’s main street. You can also arrange to visit a tobacco farm and see how the crop is grown, stored and rolled into the best cigars in the world. At the family-run Casa de Caridad botanical garden, you can sample an array of exotic fruits and pay what you wish.
Wildlife at the Guanaroca lagoon, Cienfuegos
We reached the lagoon after a short early morning car journey and a walk through woodland. The guided trip was booked through Cienfuegos’ tourist office. As soon as we started walking we saw many beautiful birds, including the endemic Cuban trogon and the Cuban tody among others, as well as tarantulas and some enormous crabs. From a viewing tower you can see the beautiful mangrove-fringed lagoon with its resident colony of flamingos. Once at the water, we were met by another guide who rowed us out on a little boat towards the flamingos. Being so close to a colony of these beautiful birds, with the gentle lapping of the water being the only other sound, was amazing.
A beautiful approach, meandering down through hills and valleys, brings you to the beach at Benirrás. In Ibiza’s north, this is a pretty stretch of sand and pebbles, with rocks on either side that you can clamber over, and it offers an eye-catching view across the water to an interesting rock formation known as Cap Bernat “the hand of God” to locals.
The sea bed is rocky, which makes it excellent for snorkelling. This sheltered bay is a popular anchoring spot for private yachts and motor boats, which gather in the late afternoon to enjoy the romantic sundown, accompanied on Sundays by the drummers who descend on the beach to “drum down the sunset” it’s a unique Ibiza experience, established over many years.
The view from Sa Talaiassa
Sa Talaiassa, a 1,560ft (475-metre) mountain, is the highest point in Ibiza, signposted from St Josep in the south-west of the island. It offers a breathtaking view from east and west coasts. You can watch the sunset in all its glory, listening to nothing but the sound of nature. To the east, you’ll see the island darkening beneath a beautiful purple sky, while the west is still lit in a deep orange sunset. It’s the most magical way to experience the natural beauty of Ibiza for free.
Teatro Pereyra (live music bar)
This is a vibrant place set within the lobby of the island’s historic former theatre. Pereyra is situated in the Old Town, with jazz, soul and Latin performances on stage from 11.30pm until 3.30am. The varied selection of drinks go up in price once the music kicks in, but you won’t find a better mojito, and there is no entrance fee or silly VIP area. A varied (though not exclusively) mature crowd, real music, no queues and subtle lighting make for a memorable evening.
This tiny village has the best location on Ibiza. Amid olive, lemon and citrus groves, it is perched on a headland with clear, uninterrupted views over the silver-sprayed sea to the island of Formentera. Explore the lovely old church or walk down steep steps to the white sandy beach, before heading back to enjoy the vista from the terrace of family-run Bar Llumbi – it serves fresh fish or paella for €12.
The Fish Shack
Head down the rocky head of Talamanca beach and at the seafront you will find the Fish Shack, where chairs are plastic, the waiters call out the day’s menu, and the fish is fresh. You’re looking at €10 a plate for lemon-topped grilled sea bass, juicy tuna steaks and fat prawns, complete with garlic sauteed potatoes and Med salad.
Eating out in Cala Mastella
We discovered a little gem of a restaurant when we were exploring the many beautiful coves Ibiza has to offer. A bit off the beaten track, Cala Mastella is a tiny cove lined with small, rustic fishing huts. Scramble over the rocks to the left and you will find El Bigotes, a tiny eatery that is always buzzing with people at lunchtime. Only one dish is served here, an amazing fish stew, cooked over a wood fire. Arrive early or you won’t get a table. A true Ibizan experience.