Iconic Ibiza beaches: Cala Conta
Cala Conta ticks all the boxes when it comes to being one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe – nay, the world. A breathtaking location, fine white-gold sand, calm clear waters that shimmer in an array of turquoise, aquamarine and deep blue hues and an incredible nightly sunset that has been known to bring tears to the eyes, but beyond this lies a set of micro-cultures that have turned this west coast beach into a true Ibiza icon.
The east and west sides of the main beach are presided over by yet another Ibiza icon – the famous Sunset Ashram, perched on the triangular cliff face. Island legend tells the story of a former Studio 54 stylist who came to Ibiza in search of ‘the last paradise’, found this location and never looked back. Reality reveals a place that truly fits the bill – built around the curves of the pointed cliff peak, created using natural fibres, offering front row views of the sunset with emotive music sound-tracking the experience.
Families flock to the west side of the twin beaches, with calm, shallow water and easy access to an array of restaurants offering the classic Mediterranean feet in the sand experience, serving typical Spanish rice dishes and freshly caught local seafood. It really is that fresh – if you’re fortunate enough to arrive to Cala Conta by boat, you’ll pass local fishermen hard at work fetching the restaurants’ daily haul.
The bustling south side of the beach attracts a bohemian meets jet set clientele – think professional sun worshippers, nomadic beach lovers, expats and the international party crowd. Hand-woven beach umbrellas make a hippy chic change from the generic white parasols as seen around the island, while the pastel-hued rocks that make up the coastline remain romantically carved with the names of lovers past and present.
The view from Cala Conta has been seen on thousands of Ibiza postcards and will no doubt be seen on thousands more. Looking across to a collective of islets – Es Bosc, Sa Conillera, Ses Bledes and S’Espartar – that are also known to be fabulous diving locations, the feeling is as though you’ve stumbled on a secret paradise… until the yachts start mooring in the distance later in the day for a true VIP sunset experience. Very few people leave Cala Conta before this auspicious occasion each day, as the sun transforms the famous cliffs into a shimmering gold oasis.
More island secrets can be found on the outer edges of Cala Conta, for those who are seeking a taste of authentic Ibiza magic. Walk along the cliff top heading south until you spot the almost invisible little set of stairs winding down to Cala Contita, where an eco-bar offers a laidback, rasta-like ambience, urban graffiti adorns the walls of the traditional fish shacks, naked snorkelling is du jour, and bongos soundtrack the sunset.
Even further south still is the mythical cave – the cave that hosts raves, the cave famous for sunset yoga sessions and the cave that at the right time of year offers a simultaneous view of the sun and moon through its rocky frames. Nearby is a new-ish Ibiza landmark: the impressive sculpture featuring 13 huge basalt columns (one of which is topped with 24-carat gold that becomes illuminated on the summer solstice) created by Australian artist Andrew Rogers and commissioned by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, who lives right next door. Known to locals as ‘Ibiza-henge’, the piece (which is actually called Time and Space) is apparently visible from space and has become a popular destination for all types of rituals, wishes and ceremonies.
The area is currently experiencing a wave of gentrification, with the new Seven Pines Resort Ibiza and eco-friendly luxury development The White Angel, yet it hasn’t lost its timeless appeal and authentic charm. Young, old, rich, poor, creative, corporate – Cala Conta welcomes one and all to find their very own corner of paradise within its boho-chic confines.