If you’ve visited Ibiza town of late, you’ll have noticed a couple of huge gaping holes where Vara de Rey and Plaza del Parque used to be. By day, the soundtrack is one of jackhammers, trucks, hammers and workman whistling and shouting. By night, it’s a gloomy ghost town atmosphere full of eerie emptiness, as the normally busy streets are all closed off with green scaffolding and the cafes and bars have all shut up shop for the winter due to the renovations. Which leads to one big question. What’s going to happen to Christmas in Ibiza this year? Vara de Rey is normally the epicentre of festive fun, with its quaint Christmas market, kids fun fair and the big tree presiding over the square, while Plaza del Parque is a buzzing social hotspot – the place for pre-party get togethers, post-market mulled wine or hot chocolate and the legendary oyster and champagne bar at Hostal Parque. With all the renovations, reformations, digging, construction, mess and rubble – is Ibiza the town that stole Christmas?
Of course not! The party capital of the world wouldn’t let a little thing like town planning get in the way of having a good time, and good news is the Christmas festivities have simply been moved just a 10-minute walk away to the square of Plaza Antoni Albert i Nieto – that’s the big pedestrianised block up near the disused bus stop and Ayuntamiento for those who don’t know. The lights on the big tree will officially be switched on at 6.30pm on Thursday December 1, 2016 (tomorrow – woo hoo!) and the market stalls (which range from artisanal goodies, hippy chic homewares, fashion and jewellery to food and drink, not to mention festive decorations!) will be open for some serious retail therapy business. The square is surrounded by cute cafes, bars and restaurants and looks set to step in for the Plaza del Parque crew by offering locals a place to hang out over the winter months, complete with big outdoor heaters and fab food and drink offerings. For those with kids in tow, the new location makes it easy to walk between the neon-blazed fun fair (behind the National Police Station and the Diario de Ibiza building) and the Christmas markets and tree, meaning it’s possible to do both activities in one night! Bad news for me is, now it’s not within a 200-metre walk of my front door, I won’t be able to eat endless Nutella crepes or gorge on the 1€ cheese and wine combinations every night unless I make the effort to walk a little further (on second thoughts, perhaps that’s good news for my figure!).
But the market, fun fair and tree are not all there is to get excited about. The biggest, best and most awesome news about Christmas in Ibiza in 2016 (to me, anyway!) is the launch of Ice Park Ibiza in Plaza Reina Sofia. It’s a temporary, intimate ice skating rink set up right below the fortress walls of Dalt Vila, under cover of some protective white tents (after all – we’re not in New York’s Central Park – ice would melt in our Mediterranean climate if we had it in the open air). This is my Ibiza winter dream come true – after attending a truly disastrous version of an ice skating rink in Ibiza a few years back (where slabs of white plastic-like material were placed on the ground as fake ice), I have been dreaming that this exact part of town could be transformed into a ice capades-like winter wonderland, and now it has! It’s just a two minute walk from my house (and much better for me than Nutella crepes), and it’s only 5€ for a 25-minute skating session, so I expect to be an Olympic level figure skater by January 8, when the rink shuts up shop for the season. I have my sparkly dress, ear muffs and woolly mittens at the ready for tomorrow night’s opening event. Well, while it’s not technically an ‘opening party’, I say why not dress the part anyway? Ibiza on ice!