Iconic Ibiza beaches: Las Salinas
After you’ve driven through the impossibly beautiful salt flats that lead you into a pine-clad parking lot on the southernmost tip of Ibiza; once you’ve made the short trek across wooden walkways through large sand dunes and emerged onto the fine, powdery golden sand beach, and by the time you’ve dipped your toes into that crystal clear, shallow and super salty water, you’d probably agree that Las Salinas undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful beaches.
While its beauty is indeed unquestionable, it is not what makes Las Salinas the iconic island destination it is today. The reputation of this long stretch of pristine sand is proven by the legions loyal fans who flock to its shores year in, year out. Having carved its very own niche in island history over the years, the area possesses a unique spirit unlike any other place in Ibiza. Las Salinas is not just a beach – it’s a feeling. It’s a way of life.
Days start slowly, with just a few chiringuitos serving up breakfast to those early birds who want to make the most of the tranquil morning hours before the crowds arrive; or alternatively, serving beer to those who haven’t quite made it to bed from the night before. Balearic beats softly waft over the airwaves as buffed young things make their summer living by setting up sunbeds on the sand, while simultaneously working on their tans and their muscle tone.
People watching is like an Olympic sport at Las Salinas, from the moment the very first towel is laid on the sand until long after the last sunbed has been packed away at night. The buzz quickly starts to build as families, groups of friends and couples descend on the sand before the sun reaches its peak. Dreadlocked dudes traipse up and down the beach selling cups of fresh fruit and mojitos made to order from coolboxes, while stunning señoritas strut along the sand selling (and modelling) sassy dresses, bikinis and accessories. One by one, the restaurants open and come to life, each with its own unique character attracting the right tribe.
In Ibiza’s hedonistic heydays of the 60s, 70s and even 80s, the beach restaurants on Las Salinas were not nearly as glamorous, or as numerous, as they are today. Jockey Club – the jet-set lunch spot du jour – once consisted of plastic chairs and tables in the shallows of the water, as the owners would wine and dine with their friends while keeping their feet cool in the wet sand. Over time, visitors to the island would stumble on this magic and share it with their friends, ultimately leading to an explosion of beach restaurants. But rather than spoil its magic, this expansion only served to create more ambience. All the more reason to beach bar hop, my dears…
At the north end of the beach, the legendary beach bar and restaurant Sa Trinxa remains relatively unspoiled since it began life the 80s. Sure, it’s gotten bigger, the food has gotten better and the wonky wooden walkway into the sea has been made to comply with safety regulations, but the crowd and vibe remain typically free-spirited, bohemian, cosmopolitan, creative, eclectic and international. And occasionally naked. This end of the beach is officially nudist! Above all, everyone is welcome here – there is no velvet rope, no VIP, no exclusions.
A large part of Sa Trinxa’s reputation was built on its musical heritage – the now famous Balearic sound was being played by resident DJ Jon Sa Trinxa long before it had been given a label. Bongo players, saxophonists, singers and dancers – they would all converge at Sa Trinxa (either pre or post clubbing adventures) and make spontaneous magic. In the 90s, OTT club parades would snake their way along the beach, with half-naked beautiful performers enticing beachgoers to visit their party later that night; Sa Trinxa was always the final destination and where the atmosphere would become electric around sunset. The club parades still exist today, and while the wild days of total excess and zero rules have been quashed by the government, the true spirit of Las Salinas will never die.
Hedonism can still be found on Las Salinas (seek and ye shall find!), but so too does consciousness. Yogis and meditation enthusiasts find solace on the clifftops and in the sheltered cove where artists have carved spiritual artwork into the jutting rock formations. Million dollar superyachts might be moored nearby, but at the south end of the beach, eco-catamarans regularly set sail to Formentera with a ‘leave no trace’ ethos ideal for true Salinas lovers.
On Las Salinas, lifelong friendships are made, romances blossom and freedom reigns. A beach well deserving of its iconic status.