Ibiza or Eivissa (Catalan) is a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea 79 km off the coast of the city of Valencia in Spain.
It is the third largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community of Spain. With Formentera, it is one of the two Pine Islands or Pityuses.
Ibiza is a very firmly established among Europe’s trendiest resorts, is wholly unique, with an intense, outrageous street life and a floating summer population. Ibiza is a very tolerant and cosmopolitan place where you can have a great time in the many clubs.
From breathtaking scenery to local arts and crafts, Ibiza has a lot more to offer than just sunbathing. The city of Eivissa –the island's capital-, is a must for visitors to the island. Its fortification, declared a World Heritage Site, is full of narrow streets and monuments such as the Castle and the Cathedral. Its construction was ordered by Philip II of Spain, giving Eivissa a strategic role in his defence policy for the Mediterranean. The fortification's aim was to stop the Berber pirates' invasions and plunders. It was the Italian engineer Giovanni Batista Calvi who conducted the ambitious project of erecting these defensive walls. Afterwards, Jacobo Paleazzo Fratín enlarged the initial project and carried it out. The construction started in 1554 and it is believed to have lasted 31 years.
Nowadays, Dalt Vila's historic centre has been transformed into an outdoor museum. It is a place where the visitor can find traces of all the peoples that have settled in the island: Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Muslims, up to the Conquest of Catalonia in the XIII century. The main gateway to enter this historical complex is the Portal de Ses Taules drawbridge, as well as the Mercat Vell (Old Market), although other beautiful gates can be used, such as the Portal Nou, next to the Reina Sofia Park.
Once inside the fortification, there are several monuments you can visit: the Cathedral, which is the Diocesan Museum's See; Santo Domingo's Church; San Ciriaco's Chapel, the City Council's See whose cloister is used as a venue for many sort of exhibitions, concerts, and cultural events throughout the year; and finally, the Archaelogical Museum, where you can find an impressive collection of pieces that belonged to the island ancient inhabitants, from Prehistory to the Islamic Middle Ages.
A series of signs shows the visitors where to go and informs them about the citadel's history and the magnificent Castle located inside, which is about to be transformed into a Parador Hotel.
Both the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Puget Museum are located in Dalt Vila, as well as the Madina Yabisa Interpretation Centre, which allows the visitor to know more about the city's history through visual technology.
Dalt Vila's historic centre is strongly influenced by History's weight and the charm of a lively cosmopolitan city. Life flows in the Squares (Plaza de la Vila, Plaza de Sa Carrosa) or in the Calle de la Virgen, where the visitor can find people from all over the world who are keen to enjoy a multicultural inspiring atmosphere. There are many handicrafts shops, art galleries, hotels and restaurants all along this area.
Each year on the second weekend of May, the Institutions' representatives and the people living in Dalt Vila celebrate the fact that the town has been declared World Heritage. The fortification then turns into a great medieval Fair, full of minstrels, artists, goldsmiths, musicians and confectioners, who can enjoy a wonderful view of the coast and the harbour. The event is free so that everybody can attend. It lasts three days and gathers over 100.000 people every year.
Other interesting places outside the fortification are the necropolis Puig des Molins, which was used as a cemetery for more than one thousand years, nowadays having 3,500 underground tombs, and the ancient irrigation systems, known as "Portals de Feixa", declared "Site of Cultural Interest" by the Island Government.
Eivissa City offers a good number of services to travellers and residents, such as hospitals, chemists', banks, European countries' consulates and shopping areas. The Barrio de la Marina, the Plaza del Parque, the Paseo de Vara de Rey, the Avenida de España, the Calle Bartolomé Roselló, and the Avenida de Isidoro Macabich are some of the main shopping areas. Several bus stations, as well as taxi ranks, can be found in the latter, from where the visitor can go to different places in the island.
The Barrio de la Marina is a district that has grown around the Harbour, where many liners and cargo ships depart from and go to Dénia, Valencia or Barcelona. Apart from welcoming the travellers who come to the island by sea, this area is one of the most visited places by those who love going shopping or just wish to enjoy their spare time. Many shops and recreation facilities can be found in the city's marina, located in the Marina Botafoc area. Botafoc's cruise ship dock extension offers magnificent views of Dalt Vila, being one of the locals' favourite places to go for a walk.
Scattered along the coast line, there are several beaches such as Talamanca and Platja d'en Bossa, where the visitor can enjoy any sort of nautical sport. Another beach, Ses Figueretes, is accessible from the city centre.
This article uses content from wikipedia and the official tourism site.