The legendary Ibiza nightlife is just plain electric. It’s concentrated in a couple areas around the beaches of the two largest cities, Ibiza Town, and San Antonio. But this isn’t the only place you will find Ibiza clubs and all-night parties. Inland about halfway between the two cities is the largest nightclub in the world (Privilege). Another of the chic clubs and Ibiza bars—the Blue Marlin—is set in a fairly isolated area to the west of Cala Jondal Beach. For a more laid back bit of nightlife in Ibiza you can head to the secluded hippie beach of Benirras on the northeast coast about three miles west of the town of Portinatx. Here are fabulous sunsets that occur about the same time that impromptu drum concerts are apt to erupt.
In other words, the hedonistic Ibiza nightlife that has been drawing party animals since the 1960s can be found in many places around this small island. It is the primary reason that hundreds of thousands spend their vacations here each year. Do be aware that you are going to pay solid Western Europe prices to participate in the best of the night scene. Cocktails are expensive, and getting in to the more popular clubs can cost more than 100 euros ($150) per person per club. You might get into the VIP section to rub elbows with the rich and famous jet setters for a great deal more than that. The nightlife in Ibiza is so popular that it’s possible to purchase vacation packages in Europe that include round-trip flights, hotel accommodations, and tickets to one or more of the big parties.
Clubbing in Ibiza follows a pretty regular pattern during the peak season of about mid-May to about mid-October when the weather is the warmest. Sometime in the late afternoon, the Ibiza girls change into party outfits and just about everyone heads to relatively quiet bars to get their pre-club libations in preparation for a night of partying. Sometime after 10 p.m. or so, they begin to head to some of the most famous discotheques and nightclubs in the world.
The many Ibiza clubs include some of the most famous nightlife names in the world. Privilege, acknowledged as the largest nightclub in the world with a capacity of more than 10,000 people, is the one located between Ibiza Town and San Antonio, in the little hamlet of San Rafael. It began in the late 1970s, and by 1987 when Freddie Mercury took part in a concert broadcast around the world, was a true Ibiza nightlife legend.
There are several more Ibiza clubs like Privilege, including Eden, the newcomer to scene located in San Antonio. This little club is known for its foam parties, and is just across the street from the grand old dame of the nightlife in Ibiza—the Paradise. The Paradise has been welcoming visitors since the late 1970s. “Es Paradis” is famed for the quality of its eclectic music and for showcasing a respected group of disc jockeys from around the world. It is also legendary for its “fiesta del agua,” one of its parties in which the entire huge dance floor is turned into a swimming pool. The interior of Paradise is quite striking, with grand white marble columns covered with ivy. Another of the oldest clubs is Pacha, located right in Ibiza Town a few blocks north of the harbor and ferry pier. When it was opened, it was located so far from the action of Playa den Bossa that people predicted failure. Today it is one of the most popular clubs on the island, and is surrounded by apartments, bars, and restaurants. Down around the middle of Playa den Bossa is Space, which opened in 1989 in the mornings after all the other clubs had closed—a gimmick that many again predicted was doomed to failure. Today, this is a thriving, world-famous club.
The Ibiza nightlife scene has undergone numerous transformations since it began to blossom in the 1960s. When it first opened, Space took advantage of the laws of Spain stating that nightclubs must close for at least two out of every 24 hours, by opening at 8 a.m. for 22 straight hours. The late 1980s and 1990s saw the beginnings of island crackdowns on what was an active illegal drug and sex scene and the unsavory reputation the clubs presented, and moves have been put in place to prevent clubs from being open during most of the daytime hours. The incredibly popular Manumission parties that had always been held at Privilege moved to Amnesia because of disputes over drugs and other violations. There was no Manumission Ibiza in 2009, and its future on the island is up in the air. More transformations are sure to come, but the hedonism and tolerance that have always marked Ibiza’s clubs still thrive even as the party scene evolves.