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Scratch beneath the surface of this party hotspot and you’ll find extreme sporting holidays and religious monuments…

When you think of Ibiza, you likely conjure up images of hedonistic pleasure seekers baring their souls to euphoric nights of drug-fuelled parties, top name DJs, sun, sand and sangria.
While all this is true, beyond the hysteria lies a beautiful island full of bohemianism, historic landmarks and a range of sporting and cultural activities that don’t require four-inch heels or alcopops. I summoned the fearless journalist from within and thought I’d try my hand at some of these activities. My fitness level is on a par with that of a geriatric and so the idea of mountain biking along 11kms of coastland in 30 degree heat was daunting, but you get to match the technical difficulty of the route to suit your cycling ability.

From bike to kayak
The route ended at Santa Eularia des Riu on the east coast where the group and I ventured on a nautical adventure into the cool Mediterranean Sea. One kayak, paddle and a lifejacket later and I was off around the coast, stopping at the small island of Tagomago.
The next stop was across the island (approximately 19km from its east to west coast) at Sant Antoni de Portmany for a wake-boarding experience. If you are a confident swimmer, then gripping on to a rope that’s tied to the back of a speedboat with your feet strapped to a heavy polyurethane board is definitely the sport for you. I was much happier on the boat.

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Back on dry land
The highlight of the sporting fun was rock climbing by Cala d’Hort, on a mountainous spot on the south west of the island, known for its UFO sightings. The climbing guides were on hand to shout out instructions and even climb up and save me when I was stuck.
Reaching the top was exhilarating but peering down over the Med was enough to make my laboured
respiratory system momentarily cease – the view was breathtaking.
Besides the physical exertion, Ibiza offers spiritual enlightenment. The island has a Roman Catholic history and religious monuments are the island’s primary treasure. Each church is well kept and is located high in the hills where history tells us the priests used to fight off pirate invasions.

For a piece of true hippy culture I took a visit to Las Dalias where the famous market is heaving with characters that look old enough to have experienced Woodstock first hand. What struck me as I wandered between the tourists peering at the handmade scarves, bags, woodwork and prints is the sense of authenticity that gets lost in Ibiza’s current reputation as being the party capital of Europe.
There you have it. Beyond the surface is a deeper Ibiza, but everywhere you turn, Tiesto and Paul Van Dyk peer down at you from billboard posters scattered about the roadsides to remind you that you are still on the most popular party island in the world.

Words by Selina Campbell

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