A Cultured Walk Around San Antonio Ibiza
Culture is not the first word that comes to mind when you think of San Antonio, famed for its parties and nightlife. But dig a little deeper and there are some cultural gems to be found both modern and much older.
This is an easy walk, which is best done early evening to enjoy it to its full potential; it takes around 2 hrs (3km).
With a sensible pair of shoes and your camera in hand – let’s go. Click here for our accompanying map.
We have chosen to start by the bus station (point 1), as it’s a well-known landmark in San Antonio. Whilst not true culture, it is a great piece of architecture, especially if seen from above from the nearby hotels and apartments with it’s tear drop shaped roof.
From the bus station head across the bus entry point and down a small alley way and out onto Carrer Ramon Y Cajal.
Take a few steps left and look up (point 2). This forms part of the Open Air Gallery created by the town’s Bloop Festival.
We have a separate article on the artworks here and you will see many of them on this walk.
Head right to the roundabout where you will find more artwork on the side of the Football Ground to your right and another to your left (point 3).
The gem of this roundabout is the statue in the middle “Es Verro” The Brave One. Sculpted by Antonio Hormigo and in situ since 1977, the statue represents the old time farmers who used to shout to each other to warn of dangers, pirates and Turkish invaders.
The cry or “UC” as it is called is rarely heard in modern times thanks to the mobile phone but you may still hear it at Fiestas or Folklore Events across Ibiza.
Turn now and head up the gentle slope along Carrer Ample taking the first right onto Carrer de Cevantes where at the next junction, stop and look back to discover another Bloop masterpiece (point 4).
Return back to Carrer Ample and turn right to the Fortified Church (Point 5).
Standing for over 700 years, the Church was built in 1303 as a place of worship for the ever growing population of de Portmany. The Church was dedicated to Sant Antoni and hence the modern day name for the town is Sant Antoni de Portmany.
It was fortified as a refuge for the people of the area from pirates or other plunderers to the island.
In the tower two canons were placed to fire across towards the bay to fend off those attacking. If they made it closer, those taking refuge could pour burning oil down from the Belfry onto them protected by a huge iron door.
Inside it is very dark, with only a few windows again for defensive reasons. However the artefacts are truly stunning with numerous paintings, sculptures and an impressive altar.
Note the olive trees outside the entrance, a representation of peace. Some people may it find ironic with the modern day party bars within close vicinity, but it just shows that both can exist side by side in relative harmony. If the Church walls could talk I am sure the stories it would tell would be fascinating.
From the Church retrace your steps and take Carrer Rosell to Plaça s’era d’en Manyà a beautiful Square with fountain (point 6). In the left hand corner of the square you will find the Ship Inn a bar famed for its use by the summer season workers who flock to San Antonio each year from across the globe.
Cross the Square and go down Carrer Sant Raffel on the right you see Moli d’en Simó (point 7) an old mill built in the twelfth century harnessing the power of the wind from the bay.
Although Ibiza has many mills this is the only one to be of a Mallorcan design on the island.
Take the immediate right downhill to the artwork behind the Sports Court outside Ibiza Rocks Hotel on the left (point 8).
This is the largest of the artworks forming the Open Air Gallery and is called Control by Interesni Kazki a Ukraine due of Aleksei Bordusov and Vladimir Manzhos.
Return up the hill and the last of the artworks on this walk can be found on the left (point 9).
Continue along Carrer L’Estrelle, taking the first right, stopping off at the supermarket if required for supplies (this will be explained shortly).
Turn left and stop for a moment to look at the house of your dreams in the Window of Ibiza Property Shop (point 10), gasp at the prices and swiftly move on.
Cross the road using the crossing beside the fruit and vegetable stalls and head down Carrer Vara de Rey towards the sea.
Modern culture now welcomes you to the Sunset Strip (point 11). Home to the famous cafes and bars where Dj’s play to the crowds each evening as the sun goes down and continue into the early hours.
Mark the halfway point of this walk by taking a seat at one of the bars, or taking a seat on the rocks with the provisions bought earlier (from the supermarket) to watch Mother Nature do her finest work.
More information on the sunset strip can be found here.
Once you have recovered, are fully rested and have shared the moment with the thousands of others, take the promenade back towards the waterfront. Take your time if are doing this walk around sunset it will be busy. There is no rush, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the truly unique place.
On your left you will pass the new and then the original Cafe Del Mar (point 12) which was designed and decorated by architect and artist Lluis Güell who has acclaimed world wide fame for his work. Sadly he died in April 2015 but his mark on Ibiza will live on forever.
Continue along the path up to Coves Blanque Lighthouse (point 13). Built in the late 19th Century to warn ships of the dangers when entering the harbour, it remained in use until 1963 when the breakwater was built.
Today it is used by the Bloop Festival as their HQ. The festival this year runs from 16th of July until the 16th of August. To this end if you spot any new works of art please let us know.
Follow the path down onto the waterfront, passing the ferry port and enjoy a stroll past the boats all moored up for the evening. You will pass the recently built Es Nautic Restaurant (point 14). This is truly a modern architectural wonder jutting out into the harbour with great style and panache.
Once you reach the larger boats, cross over the road where you will find two beautiful sets of fountains and the evening market (Monday – Saturday). Ibiza has a great history for artists, painters and designers coming to the island for its unique atmosphere and they sell their handmade crafts at the many markets across the island (point 15).
Walking onward cross over back to the waterside, passing the day trip cabins. Take time to stop to admire further architecture of Lluis Güell who designed the Es Paradis club in 1975 (point 16). The original and spectacular decoration, predominantly white (very common in Ibiza) and the enormous natural gardens, makes Es Paradis a unique place, recognised as the most beautiful club in the Mediterranean if not the world.
Return back staying on the right and you will come to our final stop on this walk the famous San Antonio Egg (point 17).
The Egg is a statue erected in the early 1990s to commemorate the local claim of having been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Why it is in the shape of an egg I hear your cry? Click here for our dedicated post here which explains all.
We hope you have enjoyed our walk around San Antonio with it’s history, culture and art both old and modern. If you feel we have missed anything please let us know and we will add to this or a future walk.
A huge thank you goes to Ibiza residents Sus Sanchez and Francisco Sanchez with their invaluable help with this article.