Cala Mastella, Santa Eulalia
Much of the area north-east of Sant Carles de Peralta is bucolic, with smallholdings and farms, people on bikes, dusty roads and sleeping dogs. This is the right beach for the neighbourhood: natural, quiet and accessed (ultimately) along a dirt road through cane and pine forests. A rocky seabed means clear water, with good snorkeling over patches of seagrass. To be honest, the highlight is lunch: book weeks in advance and follow a dip with lunch at El Bigotes, in the miniscule harbour just over the rocks at the far left of the beach. There are tables right on the harbour’s edge, outdoor cooking over wood, and just one option: fish (offered noon-12.30pm) or bullit de peix (fish stew, offered from 2pm). It’s perfect, if in a slightly ramshackle way.
• Between Punta d’en Ribes y Caló Roig, around 5km from Sant Carles de Peralta; 10km from Sant Eulalia. Restaurante El Bigotes, +34 650 797 633 (call 11am-1pm only), no website
Cala Xarraca, Sant Joan de Labritja
This rough sandy beach is relatively bustling for the north end of the island but use it as a base for exploring smaller, quieter neighbouring coves, starting with Sa Cova de Xarraca, just around the rocks to the right (100m). Swim or rent a kayak; those who go too far will bob into S’Illot des Renclí, which is no bad thing. Cross the headland to the left and go to Es Canaret, a beautiful deep and turquoise bay, dominated by a swanky house of dubious design, and which feels private but is not. It is possible to walk but the more straightforward option is to drive, then walk for about 10 minutes along a signposted trail to Es Canaret. Alternatively, stay at Cala Xarraca; the area of flat rocks to the far left is generally quieter. Kayaks, loungers and umbrellas are available from the eponymous restaurant, along with, unsurprisingly, fish.
• C-733 Sant Joan to Portinatx, signposted at 17km. Watch out for the steep but short, one car-wide descent to limited parking. Continue past the parking area for Es Canaret, taking the third unpaved road to the right
S’Illot des Renclí, Sant Joan de Labritja
As with nearby Xarraca, this lovely, small beach with eponymous restaurant mops up most visitors, leaving little inlets to the right virtually untouched. Admittedly, it’s tempting just to just to stay and eat the famously good paella here, particularly if there’s a table free under the pines on the bluff above the sea. Or to paddle out and snorkel round the little island, where the stony seabed gives way to sand, and starfish and various other marine life loiter in the wafting posidonia oceanica (seagrass). But if splendid isolation is the goal, wade and swim around the mini headland with boathouses, or follow the trail that leads off to the right looking at the sea from the first parking area reached after turning in from the road. Overgrown to start with, it widens out and follows a low cliff to a couple of stony but secluded spots, ending up before long at Cala Xuclar.
• C-733 Sant Joan to Portinatx, signposted at 25.3km
Cala Xuclà, Sant Joan de Labritja
Keep a sharp eye out for the sign in time to make the turn off a fast, swooping coast road, and head down a short, steep, rutted track that descends through pines and junipers to a circular sandy cove with gently lapping water and maize growing around the edges. Through summer, there is a proper chiringuito – a wooden shed with hatch, and half a dozen tables set out under a sail shade – which also rents out loungers and umbrellas. Despite the top-notch facilities, this remains a hidden gem. Note: the parking space is small and rutted, and while it is possible to tuck in along the track, be warned that turning around on it in a rental car is a tense business.
• C-733 Sant Joan to Portinatx, signposted at 26.5km
Punta de Ses Portes, Sant Josep
For those jetting in for Ibizan glamour, half a day in a quarry may not be top of the “to-do” list. But this quarry is half a millennium old, facing Formentera on the southern tip of Ibiza in the Ses Salines natural park, and sploshed by clear sea. And the blocky holes left when rock was removed to make the walls of the Dalt Vila are now shallow, smooth-walled designer pools with warm water and spectacular views. Park at the creamy-sand party beach Ses Salines, with its of loungers, beach clubs, music and people, or at Es Cavallet beach, and follow the wooden walkways south over dunes or through pine forest (about 1.5km). Take water, mosquito repellant and some form of shade. There are many attractions, and even some buildings – an interpretation centre (open at weekends), fishermen’s huts, a splendid tower built to defend Ibiza from Algerian corsairs – but a chiringuito selling cold beer isn’t among them.
• Es Cavallet and Ses Salines are both around 8km from Ibiza airport, via PM-802
Cala Llentrisca, Sant Josep
This is probably the most famous “hidden gem” on the island. Nevertheless, some confusion regarding exactly how to get there, the walk (albeit short), and perhaps the fact the beach is rather pebbly, keep visitor numbers low. Backed by pine forests, and usually quiet but for the chirruping of cicadas, this still feels like an escape. Inevitably, there are fishermen’s huts, but slipways and a well-positioned jetty are nice spots for a lie-down while contemplating the return hike. Buy supplies in Es Cubells before heading there.
• Access by foot (700m) from the point where the road ends in Urbanizació Es Cubells. A path heads west along the top of the cliff before descending to the beach
Cala Tarida, Sant Josep
There are steps down from a car park roundabout – beside the somewhat tawdry Hotel Club Cala Tarida – to this west-coast beach. It is popular but also wide (50m) and long, with fabulous rock formations. Head to the rocky areas at the end of the beach and secure a rock platform for an uninterrupted bask with uninterrupted sea view. Better still, there’s a second beach – a small sandy cove, reached by going back up the steps by the Can Yucas bar, and down a track accessed from the no-entry road beside them. And beyond that, there’s a third: the lovely Es Pujolets, with lots of fishermen’s huts, white sand, the most extraordinary turquoise water and, often, bobbing boats.
• The easiest, least slippery, way to reach the smaller coves is to park at the Cala Tarida Norte car park (signposted) and to walk back with the sea to the right until Es Pujolet’s huts come into view below
Cala Saladeta, Sant Antoni de Portmany
Leave the car in the big pine-shaded car park at Cala Salada, follow the trail down to the beach and up and over a low rocky headland to its little sister: Cala Saladeta. This is a classic example of the beach beyond the beach and while it may not be the quietest, it is quieter and, protected from wind, with gently shelving sand and a decent restaurant back on the main beach. The restaurant is a good option for families. An even better option is lunch at the legendary and laid-back Restaurante Can Cosmi beside the quietly glorious church in Santa Agnès de Corona (go for the tortilla: it’s almost obligatory).
• Just under 5km north of Sant Antoni de Portmany
For those who simply must have a beach of their own … here’s one that involves a hike and potentially some scrambling. Es Portitxol is an easier alternative to others that fit the bill (for example Cala d’Albarca, Ses Balandres and Cala d’en Sardina) and sufficiently special and spectacular to merit the modicum of effort (most associated with finding the start of the 1.5km trail). The beach is almost circular, and shingly, the water transparent, all green and turquoise over the patches of seagrass. In fact, the place has the stillness of a forgotten world, despite the ubiquitous fishermen’s huts and the presence of other people seeking somewhere solitary.
• From the Sant Miquel to Sant Mateu road, take the turning for Urbanizació Illa Blanca. Once there (under 1km), take the right zigzagging road to a fork then the right downhill track for 350m and park by the stone wall. At this point, there will be an arrow indicating the trail
Caló des Moltons, Port de Sant Miquel
It’s a resort (with a pug-ugly development scar) but the northern Port de Sant Miquel still feels remote, clean, fresh and other-worldly up here at the end of the road – and there’s plenty of space on the wide sandy beach for all. However, a track from Restaurante Port Balansat leads up and over a second and very different seaside proposition: Caló des Moltons, a long, deep inlet shaped like a dressmaker’s dart, with flat rocks and pebbles, boathouses, and cool, still water. While it has the feel of a private find, the inlet has its own chiringuito: Utopía – a pretty, white-wood and surprisingly upmarket place, with good cocktails and sardine specials. From June to September, rent stand-up paddleboards as it’s the perfect place to try the sport for the first time: those who can’t get onboard here, never will.