Although we had a magical year in Granada, I am keenly aware of the many other incredible places in Spain where we could have lived happily during our year away. Each place I looked at offered something special and different which made it hard to choose. Recently I have been talking to my Australian friend Danni who has lived in Ibiza with her partner and young son for the past 8 years. She has shared with me the delights of life on the Balearic Island and it has quashed many of my preconceived ideas about Ibiza as purely a party playground for the well-heeled.
In this guest post, Danni shares insights about what life on the sunny island of Ibiza is like beyond the clubs and bars which have made it a ‘destination’.
Local Life in Ibiza By Danni Landa
I never intended to move to Ibiza. It just kind of happened. My partner, Chris, was offered a job here in 2007. At the time he was a high school English and Media Studies teacher and we were facing a freezing winter in the UK. Being Australian, this was not something I was looking forward to. Then Ibiza popped into the inbox. I knew it was part of Spain and an island in the Med and that was enough…I was sold!
Sure, there is a massive party scene here but it’s not something that infringes on our family life at all. All the hoo-haa that comes with super star DJs occurs in avoidable pockets that don’t even feature on my day to day living (unless you count the huge billboards on the side of the highways). It’s there if you want it and easily ignored if it’s not your thing.
What I love most about Ibiza can be boiled down into four points:
Even in the dead of winter the temperature gauge barely drops below 15C/59F
The Ibicencos are renowned for their welcoming generosity and people from all over the world have made Ibiza home, which means you’ll hear all kinds of languages and stories.
Country with just enough city
It’s a provincial lifestyle with just enough going on to keep you on your toes and the proximity to Barcelona (45min flight), Madrid (1 hr 20mins) and London (2 hrs) means you can get a dose of city action whenever you need it.
My son has an outdoor childhood with beaches, forest and villages to explore. He’s bilingual and has friends from so many different cultures. Childhood in Spain is viewed as something sacred and I love how kids are included in every aspect of daily life.
Ibiza offers something for families that seems so hard to achieve elsewhere and that’s time together. Life is a little slower, things move in time with the seasons and community events are so often based around family. There are several educational systems available such as unschooling/homeschooling networks, Waldorf Steiner, a British International School, a French International School and a private Spanish School as well as the excellent public schools.
Our son was born on the island in 2009. For the last three years he has been attending a school based on Active Education. This year he will move onto a Waldorf Steiner school before entering the public system in a couple of years. We lead a blissful family life here with year round sun, a sparkling sea on our doorstep and a varied community made up of people from all over the world. We spend afternoons and weekends on the beach, in the forest, at flea markets or just hanging out with friends. We buy our fresh food from the local farmer who has a stall at the market and invites us to his place to help feed his baby goats. We attend local festivals and join in some of the curious local customs.
Food, language and travel are things we are super passionate about and being here allows us to enjoy all of that. Our friendship group is made up of local Ibicencos, Spaniards, Argentinians, Brits, Canadians, Dutch, Germans and Italians, which means our son is exposed to a multitude of languages, foods and cultures. And I want everyone to have the same experience!