Last year Mike and a load of his mates went to Ibiza for a stag do. They had an awful lot of fun, and decided to repeat the adventure this year and head back to San Antonio for a weekend of partying. Oh and this time they decided their girlfriends were invited too. So I packed up my best party dresses (and some running shoes!) and headed to the sun.
Running is my favourite way to explore new places, and I'd heard that Ibiza has amazing trail running, technical paths that would show me another side of the island away from the buzz of the bars and clubs, but not knowing the island I had no idea where to start. Luckily some googling led me to James Allchurch and RunIbiza. James is an experienced coach and guide who shares a similar outlook to me when it comes to running and leads personalised guided runs on the island, and was just the man to show me around.
Meeting on the edges of San Antonio we were quickly out of town, scrambling along the coastline through scrub strewn with loose rocks and through shadier trails and over rocky patches. It was amazing how quickly the landscape changed, and how varied the terrain was! I've not had many opportunities to run trails, and it was so much fun to mix things up and bring together running and scrambling. I really loved how it tested my running form - when you trail run you really need that shorter stride and be light on your feet - and brought me in to the moment, if only because I had to avoid tripping over tree roots! It was a whole different workout, and I definitely felt it the next day when my legs and bum ached!
James was awesome, very friendly and knowledgable about the island and running more generally. It was so interesting chatting to him about form and discovering that Ibiza has an annual trail marathon, which may or may not be on my bucket list! Good guides adapt to their runners, it's like reading the room but with trainers, and James just made sure I was comfortable and the pace and route were working for me, it was great! Plus I loved how the run gave me an opportunity to explore the quieter, more natural side of the island.
Hitting the trails was a great opportunity to put my new Altra Superior 3.5 trail shoes to the test! I was really lucky to win these babies at this year's Running Awards and I think I might be in love. Zero drop, plus a nice big toe box and a shape tailored to fit women better, plus some serious tread, these were perfect for exploring. I particularly loved the claw shaped treads which allowed be amazing control on some pretty scrappy loose stones. I can't wait to take these wonders out for another spin on the trails in Menorca next month!
San Antonio Highlights
San Antonio is the party capital of the White Isle. The streets are crowed with people looking to have a good time in the bars, clubs and on the beach. There are gangs of boys and girls on their first trips without their parents, older ravers going big for the weekend and loads of stag and hen dos complete with questionable accessories. Whatever time of day it is there'll be people out, whether they're crawling home from the clubs as the sun rises, or headed out to the beach to catch some sun. The party never stops. Which is just as well, because the crew I was with love to party!
It's easy to get overwhelmed in San Antonio, especially if you don't know it (we were so lucky to be with friends who really know the island), so I thought I'd share my highlights:
- brunch at The Skinny Kitchen - San Antonio is packed with places to get greasy beige food, so The Skinny Kitchen is a real breath of fresh air, and their brunch is awesome! Definately one to visit on the days you feel like you might not've had enough greens, but you still need something to soak up the night before.
- drinks at Pearl, Ibiza - the smaller, less intimidating sister of Ocean Beach, Pearl is an excellent place to spend an afternoon sipping cocktails and people watching (and Ibiza is amazing for people watching). Get there from noon and enjoy drinks deals while you chill on a big comfy chair and mentally prepare yourself for the night ahead! Their food is also pretty tasty.
- people watch at Ocean Beach - I wasn't sure whether to include this one, because I don't think I'd pay for it (a friend sorted us with guest list), but if you happen to end up in Ocean Beach it is quite something. A flashy pool party with multiple levels of VIP, this is the place to come and be seen. There are teeny tiny bikinis everywhere and muscles glowing with fake tan, and I felt amazing cool that I was confident enough to wander round in my scruffy trainers! It's a fun one for a special occasion, but go with a sense of humour and deep pockets.
- watch the sun go down at Cafe Mambo - well, just by Cafe Mambo! One of my favourite hacks is hitting the beach in front of Cafe Mambo with a couple of 90cent beers procured at a local shop to watch the sun go down to the sound of whichever DJ is playing that night (we were lucky enough to catch Pete Tong). The sunsets are beautiful, and once the sun goes down the party begins, so it's the perfect way to kick off your evening!
- sleep at Hostel Florencio - accommodation in Ibiza seems to either be crazy expensive or super basic, there's little middle ground. This cheap and cheerful hotel was recommended by a friend, and I was really impressed. It's central (so maybe take ear plugs), really clean and the bathroom was lovely. Plus there's a cycle centre on site if you fancy some mountain biking.
- party party party - nearly all the guys in our group are DJs and they all had gigs in San Antonio, so a lot of the places we went were dictated by that. It's pretty awesome seeing your friends (and boyfriend!) play somewhere so iconic (at least in the world of dance music), and it meant we got to do a few things that were a bit special (VIP at Eden anyone?!). I reckon everyone should have a big night out at least once, and it can be a great opportunity to see some big name DJs, so do some research and find a night you know you'll love (and make sure you get your tickets from a reputable source!).
Have you been to Ibiza? What are your top tips?