Iconic Ibiza beaches: Es Cavallet
There are some occasions in life when it’s simply better to be naked. And without listing the obvious, nearing the very top of that list are those scorching hot summer days when even the faintest brush of material on skin is too much to bear; those days that are burnt into the memory forever – a branding on your brain of that long, hot summer you faintly remember from once upon a time. You cast your mind back and a hint of a smile returns to your lips – yes, you remember. On days like those, the best and only solution is to strip off and stride purposefully towards the sea – sun on face, salt on skin, wind in hair. On days like those in Ibiza, the only place to be is Es Cavallet.
The journey to one of the island’s only official nudist beaches is almost as stunning as the beach itself. By car, you take the winding road past DC-10 that snakes through the famous Las Salinas salt flats, which sit there like perfect, untarnished mirrors etched into the earth. During the day, they reflect the flawless, cloudless sky above; come dusk, they glow pink, a replication of the metamorphosis swirling overhead. Sometimes during summer, you can see flamingos roosting in the shallows, their elegant, twig-like legs casting barely-there shadows that dance across the water.
Eventually you take a left, passing over a miniature bridge that’s almost too narrow to drive across, and in the distance catch a glimpse of the windmill from which Es Cavallet originally got its name. Translated, it means ‘little horse’, a reference to the animal that used to power the windmill, spinning its wheel day after day to harvest the salt collected from the surrounding area. On particularly windy days, the salt from this mill still overflows, whipping up into a kind of foam that bubbles over the road’s surface. Continue driving and at the end of this passage lies the beach’s only car park – always full in summer no matter what time you arrive – and beyond, a wild stretch of untamed coastline, waiting to be discovered.
Es Cavallet is one of Ibiza’s more rugged beaches, boasting bucketfuls of weathered charm. A long lick of white-golden sand backed by dunes and met by Mediterranean waves in their deepest blue guise, it’s sandwiched by two towers once used to ward off mischief-making pirates: Torre de Sal Rossa on Playa d’en Bossa to the north and Torre de ses Portes to the south. It brags stunning views, too, of Ibiza’s little sister Formentera peaking up on the horizon in the distance, and Ibiza town, where the majestic walls of the ancient Dalt Vila are visible as they climb up to pierce skyline.
You could say that the beach itself has three distinct personalities. The north is characterised by La Escollera – a family-run seafood restaurant that’s been serving longstanding locals and jet-set Europeans for almost two decades. Here, the emphasis is on tradition, in terms of service and cuisine, with the prize for most famous dish split between the salt-baked sea bass, prepared using salt made by the local Salineros, and the paella, which to this day is based on a tried and tested recipe created by the owner’s mother, or Yaya as she’s fondly known.
Slightly further to the south you stumble across El Chiringuito and without doubt, this is the venue that Es Cavallet has become most synonymous with over the years. Famed across the world as Ibiza’s best restaurant (and rightly so, the cuisine here is outstanding), it attracts a free-spirited, globe trotting crowd, who arrive to spend the day dining with their feet in the sand, conker-shouldered kids in tow. This is where the Burning Man set get their kicks when they’re not in search of highs in the Mojave, and where the cosmopolitan global nomads watch the day segue into night.
Set off on a trek that spans the length of the beach and you’re rewarded with one of the most nonconformist spots on the island, because here lies Chiringay, a beach club where the LGBTQ community convene and where everyone’s welcome, regardless of race, colour or creed. Here, you can dance, speak and eat freely (and it’s worth it, the menu is delicious), embracing an unbeatable vibe that celebrates inclusivity and individuality. Such is the intoxicating effect of this restaurant’s celebratory vibe that sometimes people get carried away with it; you’ll often find them getting quite literally carried away behind the dunes.
In fact, if you approach with caution(!), it’s well worth exploring this area behind the beach itself. Abandon the car at Las Salinas beach and walk through the shaded forest, follow the path from Playa d’en Bossa as it curves around the coastline for staggering sea views, or meander through from the salt flats to really soak up the area’s stunning natural beauty – work up an appetite en route and there are plenty of options for feasting like kings once you set foot upon the sand.
Es Cavallet is a beach to be embraced. It’s a place to shake off the confines of rules and regulations, a place to indulge your wildest hedonistic tendencies, a place where society merges and the shackles of stereotype loosen. Come, calls the beach, take off your clothes and dive in. We are all the same underneath.