Debbie Rae Does ... Dalt Vila
Probably the most iconic sight in Southern Ibiza is not the red cherries of Pacha but the 16th-century bastions, Dalt Vila. A breathtaking settlement, first habituated by the Phoenicians, before an ever-switching conveyor belt of civilizations. It stands proud above Ibiza town, with the imposing air of an ever strong guardian.
The best way to describe Dalt Vila is in its parts. The Ramparts, the 25m, Renaissance-era walls that protect the Dalt Vila were built in the 16th century to protect the people from African invaders and the Turkish Navy. It took us under an hour to walk the entire 2km perimeter, and we had two meandering under 8’s with us.
I suspect you could easily get around in under 30mins, but there’s no need to rush. Instead, take your time to enjoy the rich, varied architecture, views of the ocean, and array of bursting Bourgonvilla, which fall from the buildings in all directions.
I have walked these walls both at night and in the morning, avoiding the heat of the afternoon. The 7 bastions that frame these walls are floodlit at night, which gives a beautiful softness to the buildings that have seen heavy artillery and bloodshed over the years.
The lanes that lace the hills down to the marina, packed with it’s luxury yachts and high-end boutiques, are in contrast, a maze of cobbled walkways dotted with tattoo shops, new age jewellery stalls and eclectic fruit markets. You could get happily lost strolling for hours. The looming 2 storey buildings snuff out the view of the ocean. It’s as if you have stepped back in time to a place where nothing can touch you aside from the spectacular plants and flowers that appear to be battling to reclaim this town for themselves.
In contrast to the ancient world outside, the Museu d’art Contemporani d’Evissa is light bright and sophisticated, standing over three floors, the lower one glass, showcasing the ruins below. The entry is free, along with the lockers, that you must deposit your bags, phones and cameras etc. The artwork is subjectively wonderful, but worth a look whatever your tastes.
Tips for your trip:
- Wear solid shoes or sandals. Parts of the walk are up and down steep slopes, and flip flops will do you no favours.
- Take plenty of time to enjoy the winding streets and shops that surround the battlements.
- Go all the way to the top; the views of the port only get more beautiful the higher you climb.
- Take some change for the Placa de la Cathedral's donations box and keep your camera in your pocket. The 14th-century Gothic building might be stunning, but they do not allow photography inside.
- You won’t need a picnic. There are plenty of reasonably priced cafes and restaurants situated beneath the Dalt Vila and not many benches or park areas. Despite it’s historic beauty this is a relic in a town and the surroundings.