The White Isle, a magical place on the Mediterranean. We love it 😃 Here’s our pick of the best beach clubs Ibiza you need to experience!
Cala Conta, San Josep
We wandered up to the front entrance not thinking too much of it. Of course, we guessed it might be kinda cool – we were standing on top of a small clifftop and ocean surrounded us, after all. But, we had no idea the spectacle we’d receive inside! Crystal blue and aqua ocean all around; diners, drinkers, beach-goers. And a DJ playing sweet house tunes. Blissful.
Sunset Ashram is a little out of the way so you’re best to get there in a car. But, you have to go at least once. The location is stunning. Just have a look in my Ibiza Insta Stories!
Not for the expensive part, but for the stylish bit.
This is your stereotypical up-market Ibiza beach club. Beautiful people laze about drinking Moet. The beach is sandy white and spectacular. Inside the decor is classy and breezy. A nice experience, if you’re into this scene.
Babylon Beach Bar
When you’re done at Wednesday’s huge hippy market in Es Canar, pop into Babylon. It’s about ten minutes drive away. We got there at lunch time and to our happy surprise there were places to sit, have a cool drink and enjoy the view. You do have to pay for the day beds though, which is where it gets pricey.
Babylon is more of a laid back yet stylish beach club in Ibiza, set in a peaceful cove. Definitely one of our favourites.
San Antonio Bay
In a fun little corner of Ibiza, not far from Sant Antonio, Kumharas is set right on the beach. It’s known for its hippy-chic vibe. Prices for food and drinks are comparatively better than other Ibiza beach clubs.
This is one for a ‘lil dance on the beach as the sun sets.
Stylish, secluded with serene ocean views – this one is set on a hot sandy beach ⛱ Start the day with Yoga at the far end of the beach, then settle in for a relaxed day filled with good vibes.
This option is more private – if you too love a secret beach, have a read here for more of the world’s best.
Playa d’en Bossa
Some may say it’s over-rated, but we had a brilliant time when we inadvertently stumbled into this beach club.
Bright colours, even brighter personalities, music, great cocktails and all set on the beach.
It’s easy to while away a few hours in bubbly bliss here.
These are 6 of our favourites. We’re aware there’s plenty more awesome beach clubs in Ibiza though. Ibiza Spotlight highlights a few more if you’re keen to look around.
Have other tips or questions? Let us know in the comments.
Wherever we travel, it’s always thrilling to find a secret spot: a cave, forest, ruins and especially a secret beach.
Secret beaches are particularly great during holiday high season when it’s hard to escape people. If privacy is something you crave, opt for beaches that are less well-known or only accessible by boat. Narrowing the search for us, the Samboat.com team has compiled a secret beach list of just this kind of escape!
Ten of the best from around the world 🙌
Secret beach top 10
Es Portixol beach, Ibiza, Spain
Surrounded by hills, this small cove is a hidden gem located in the north of Ibiza. It’s usually only frequented by fishermen of the boat huts.
Perfect for those looking for their own little private beach, Es Portitxol features amazing turquoise green waters, creating your own mini paradise. The serene cove is protected from the elements. It’s completely surrounded by hills covered in pine trees, making the hike to get there totally worth it.
Known for its sparkling white sands that gleam a shade of pink in patches thanks to the vast expanse of seashells on the shore, Palm Beach is one of the world’s most spectacular secret beaches.
The beach is only accessible by boat, meaning it acts as a quiet escape away from the hordes of tourists and with nothing but sand and sea for miles it’s important to bring a sun hat and sun cream.
Take a visit to Palm Beach as the prefect opportunity to go swimming or snorkelling in the dazzling apple-green water.
Koh Lanta, Thailand
An hour’s speedboat journey from Krabi airport, Koh Lanta is home to nine secret beaches, all surrounded by the beautiful Andaman Sea.
Head to Lek beach (also known as ‘secret beach’ to locals) for perhaps the most beautiful beach on this island. Away from tourist hotspots, this quaint spot is typically only visited by those tipped off by Thai residents, exaggerating its ‘secret’ status.
Although completely undeveloped, there is a small wooden shack beach bar named by the synonymous Lek and a spectacular view of the sunset, what more could you really need?
Featuring a distinct heart-shaped coastline, this island is also known as lover’s island and it is one of the most popular islands in the world right now.
With no man-made features or tourist facilities, there are countless secret beaches to be explored, and the best bit? Seclusion is guaranteed as the island is only accessible by boat.
With a terrain empty of commercial infrastructure, the beaches here are indeed the perfect lover’s paradise, setting the stage for an idyllic and uninterrupted getaway.
St. Peter’s Pool, Malta
With crystal clear waters offering incredible snorkelling opportunities, the sea at St. Peter’s Pool is one of Malta’s most spectacular natural swimming pools.
Okay we’re cheating a little here as it isn’t technically a beach; however it is an experience second to none.
The pool is so remote that you’ll never struggle to find a spot, no matter what time of year it is and the surrounding rocks are perfect for some secluded sunbathing.
Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico
Only a brief journey from the mainland, Flamenco beach is constantly ranked amongst various lists of the World’s best beaches.
The rolling hills in the background combined with clear waters and gorgeous white sand make this one of the most memorable beaches you’ll ever experience.
Salema, Algarve, Portugal
With dinosaur footprints embedded into the limestone, this is a palaeontologist’s haven. The half-mile-long beach boasts fantastic golden sand and seas that are perfect for swimming thanks to the strong waves and strikingly clear waters.
Seaweed is replaced by a variety of small shells on this beach, emphasising clarity. Free from tourists, this is the perfect secret beach to dig your toes into.
Praia Do Penedo, Portugal
Take a break from the big city in Lisbon and chase secret beaches around the country.
Located on the small Portuguese island of Porto Santo, this beach is covered in a layer of sugar-fine golden sand that have alleged healing attributes.
Due to its location at the furthest southern point on the island, this is arguably the quietest and most secret beach on our list but it is definitely worth the journey.
Kauapea Beach, Hawaii
You’d think tourists would flock here thanks to its breath taking beauty, however, with no public roads leading to it; Kauapea Beach is often referred to as ‘secret beach’.
Privacy is easy on this beach as it’s so vast that you often feel like you have the entire beach to yourself; however be aware that if you walk too far down you may encounter the unofficial part of the beach where clothing is considered ‘optional’.
Navagio Beach, Greece
An exposed cove surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, Navagio beach is located north of the Greek island of Zakynthos. The cove is more commonly known as ‘Smugglers cove’ as it is said to be the location of the shipwreck of an alleged smugglers ship many years ago.
Adding to its secluded status, the beach is only accessible by boat and the silvery white sand and clear waters are a must see if you’re on the island.
With so many beautiful sites to visit, days out in Oxfordshire are becoming increasingly popular with all sorts of visitors. Around 41.7 million tourists are estimated to have visited the UK in 2018. Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy the aesthetics of Oxfordshire. Many want to see the architecture in the historic university buildings. After spotting famous landmarks, they’ll seek a picturesque picnic spot overlooking the Thames for a relaxing afternoon out.
We’ve published details on London staycations before. But what about getting just out of the big city? Here are four of the best destinations for enjoying days out in Oxfordshire…
Where to go on days out in Oxfordshire
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
Built between 1705 and 1722, Blenheim Palace in Woodstock is the only non-royal house in England to be called a ‘palace’. Blenheim is an imposing building, certainly worthy of its title. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Blenheim is now home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough and his family. It’s best known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Several tours and exhibitions dedicated to the home life and work of the former Prime Minister are hosted here.
The palace staterooms, gardens, butterfly house and miniature railway provide further fun for all ages. Special events like cycling and supercar exhibitions are also held throughout the year within the estate’s 2,000 acres of parkland.
Broughton Castle near Banbury is a fortified manor house set within an idyllic parkland location. The core of this impressive building was initially crafted from locally sourced Horton ironstone in 1306 with additions being made in the 1550s.
Inside the castle, you will find fully furnished living quarters in addition to the impressive great hall.
Outside, the colourful castle gardens have been stylistically designed with benches conveniently placed for relaxation.
Located at the junction of three streams and with a surrounding moat, the stunning grounds of Broughton Castle make an ideal spot for a family picnic. Alternatively, take advantage of the on-site tearoom and gift shop.
A summary of beautiful locations wouldn’t be complete without featuring the city of Oxford itself.
Famed for its ornate university buildings, the colleges here provide an architectural feast for the eyes.
Christchurch is arguably the most popular college to visit. This castle-like building comes with its own cathedral and has featured on-screen in films such as Harry Potter.
The striking red brickwork of Lady Margaret College is another draw for visitors, along with the neo-classical style Radcliffe Camera building.
So many dazzling attractions, but its food and wine stand out as favourites of ours, so wine tasting in Italy is always an experience we pursue. Wine, like food (and we’ve touched on food tours in Italy here) tells the story of the land, people and culture. Italy is an exciting country, producing all types of famous drops.
Discovering your perfect wine tasting in Italy experience
With so many options for wine tasting in Italy, where should you start? The country is a big producer of reds, whites and sparkling. You could choose your adventure based on region that you want to visit. Or choose the region based on the wines you want to taste.
Tuscany is obviously very famous, and to stay among the vineyards here is a real treat. We had the chance to visit Tuscany and its wineries a couple of years ago and highly recommend the experience. There’s so much to do though, we need to go back with a bigger and brighter plan!
This year we travelled through the Lombardy and Veneto producing regions. Take a look at the map linked above for more. In Verona we tried some delicious reds from around the region.
In Venice we went to a Prosecco tasting. Some were local blends and others came from Bologna.
We feel there are three simple ways you can discover wines on your trip to Italy.
Wineries are all over Italy, and a great way to get stuck into wine tasting here. Tuscany is a prime example, but you’ll need to know how you want to do it. We needed to drive a lot there, which isn’t ideal if you’re doing a lot of wine tasting in Italy. You can contact wineries in the regions you’re going to, to find out when they’re open and how to take part in tastings. Alternatively, you could search for bus tours (day trip or longer) that take in a number of options.
Destinations tourism websites often offer helpful advice as a first step. But do some research on blogs or YouTube to see if you can uncover smaller local offerings that will give you an even more unique experience.
Wine tasting in Italy at vineyards and wineries is a wonderful opportunity to get underneath the skin of the business. Many of these places are family run with centuries of history behind the land and brand. You learn about production and grape types, and will walk away with a true appreciation for wine production.
If you’re short on time but want a snapshot of the industry in a particular town, look out for short tours or tastings.
In Verona and Venice, Airbnb suggested inexpensive options that were wonderful for a few reasons:
We made new local friends and supported their businesses
They showed us around their back streets and to places we’d never have found on our own on a short break away
We tasted local wines and learnt about the place through the stories of our hosts.
Many local experiences are showing up like this now, if you ask around on TripAdvisor, search Viator, and read tourism websites, Facebook groups, or blogs.
On our travels through Italy I also spotted that many little boutique bars or wine stores offered their own tastings. Admittedly, our Prosecco tasting experience in Venice, while good value and served lovely food and drinks, wasn’t exactly personal. We wanted to learn more about the bubbles we were trying.
That said, plenty of options were on offer through Airbnb, and all over the place (as referenced above), or you could search a hashtag on Instagram for inspiration. Our Prosecco experience was still enjoyable, and it’s a fun way to spend a couple of hours.
These simple tastings are great because they’re in the location where you area already, they’re usually good value for money, and you may even find a favourite boutique store or bar in the process.
Do you have questions, tips or advice on this subject? Let us know in the comments
There’s nothing quite like discovering a place through the eyes of a local. Everywhere in the world has its own culinary traditions and stories. Italy is of course, no exception.
Our week long trip in Italy this past April opened up a plethora of foodie delights we never knew existed. If we’d not found a guide to take us on a food tour (which usually included discovering local secret places too), we’d perhaps not have discovered:
– Aperitivo – the best Italian tradition you’ve never heard of! Start in Milan. For a set price you buy a drink like a cocktail and can indulge in a large buffet too! Read more
– Cichetti – like Spanish tapas, served at bacari, traditional bars, in Venice. Live like a local. Read more
– Italian coffee culture. Start your day drinking a macchiato standing at a bar in a coffee shop. Don’t sit down out the front, you’ll look like a tourist! Cappuccinos or lattes are for the morning only, never after lunch. An espresso is ok at any time of the day. Here’s a quick guide on your options
– Gelato – support local when in Italy. We discover in Italy how to keep the prices down and determine the difference between authentic and not-so… Read more
– Panzerotti (deep fried pizza dough) and the place you should queue up to taste it in Milan. Read more
Why do a walking tour? It’s easy, fun and you get to live like a local for a couple of hours. Not to mention, you can grill your walking and food tour host with any questions you like. Mostly you get an authentic experience that’s inexpensive, and you can find gems off the tourist trail. We took a walking food tour in Verona and Venice, both booked on Airbnb.
Learn to cook
One glance across experience promoters like Airbnb or Viator shows just how many cooking tours there are around the world now. Most mean you turn up to someone’s home, or a family restaurant’s kitchen, and spend a few hours learning (or honing) a skill. It might be pasta, desserts or a uniquely local cuisine you’re learning. Either way, what better opportunity do you have to learn about a new place?
The bonus of this type of experience is you’re usually supporting a local business. Win win!
One of our most popular blogs on Travel Live Learn is about pursuing creative travel experiences including this type of trip. Have a read here.
There’s plenty of this type of class or food tour on offer all over Italy. If you have any that you’d recommend, do please share details in the comments below.
Organised coach tours
If you’re fully committed to spending a few days discovering Italy through the eyes of food, there are coach tours available exclusively for this purpose. A simple search, ‘food tour Italy’ brings up a number of options. You might explore the regions we did, like Milan, Verona or Venice. Or, the famous Tuscan food and wine region. There are plenty of small towns that offer amazing insight into food and wine, and if you don’t have a car, a booking like this is the way to go to not miss anything important.
An organised tour takes the stress out of figuring out what to do and may include an itinerary of a few days. You don’t have to worry about driving or finding your way – just focus on what’s important. Your taste buds!
Other ways you can find a food tour in your country or region of choice, might be by searching for recommendations on Tripadvisor, YouTube or running a hashtag search on Instagram for #foodtour, for example.
We discovered the Brussels option on the destination’s tourism website, and our Italy experiences (including wine tastings, which you can read about here) popped up as recommendations alongside our Airbnb bookings.
Do you have tips or a personal example to share, or even questions? Let us know in the comments
Varying images may be conjured in your mind when considering a romantic Romeo and Juliet setting. Perhaps your view is bright and Baz Luhrmann like? Or, splashes of a fabulous stage version you’ve seen somewhere around the world – a ballet?
While I do love all that is this most famous of stories (especially Leo and Claire circa 1996), I hope you’re with me in picturing Verona as the true setting of Romeo and Juliet.
Over the years Verona, Italy kept popping into our sphere. We finally scheduled a trip due to so many friends mentioning the place!
Verona is an easy city to walk around. It’s ideal for a long weekend away, or a longer trip of three or four days.
We incorporated Verona into our train trip itinerary, where we started in Milan and finished in Venice.
There’s plenty of things to do in Verona. It’s not an overwhelming amount of choice though, which we liked.
First of all, there’s Juliet’s balcony Verona, an important part of the Romeo and Juliet narrative here. It’s pretty touristy, but a sentimental must-do in Verona.
For a list of the best things to do in Verona, read on…
Romeo and Juliet setting
If you’re a fan of William Shakespeare as I am, you’ll be interested in this spot as the original Romeo and Juliet setting.
You may want to book additional time in the area to explore other Shakespearean links because did you know Shakespeare set a third of his plays in Italy?
His most famous works are set in Verona, plus nearby Padua, Venice and Rome. It’s not known whether Shakespeare had the chance to visit Italy in his life, but he certainly dreamt of it as a location.
Interesting resources on ‘Shakespeare’s Italy’ include:
‘Secretaries of Juliet’ reply to letters from all over the world from this very space and advise on matters of the heart in a wide variety of languages.
Another nice thing to do if you don’t hit a huge line of people, is pay the small entry fee to get into the house. It’s fun because you to can go up to Juliet’s balcony Verona and get a photo taken. Head inside the old house, explore, walk out onto the balcony and recite a line from the play.
Also remember to take marker (pen). You can add your love note to the millions already scrawled along the walls outside the house.
In need of a little luck? Legend has it that if you touch the right breast of Juliet’s statue underneath Juliet’s balcony in Verona, you’ll find your true love. Every little bit helps, right?!
Things to do in Verona, Italy
Verona itself is a delight.
“A city built on hills arranged like banks of theatre seats.” (BBC Travel)
From its romantic Adige River that runs through the middle of town, linked by pretty bridges to the beautifully maintained ‘old town’. It’s straight out of a Shakespearean romance.
Juliet’s balcony Verona is just one of the things to see here. Another of Verona’s unavoidable wonders is the sublime old town market square, Piazza delle Erbe.
The medieval walls have been beautifully taken care of, and as a result showcase some of the city’s finest architecture and ancient frescoes. They set the scene for a market and dining spot that – while mostly geared towards tourists – has been a meeting spot for people for centuries. That’s pretty special, we think.
Within the square you’ll find the Venetian lion, which has gazed upon visitors since 1405. It was put there to remind residents that Venice was in charge (at that point, anyway).
Look up and around – everywhere
Always look up in old cities. Here, you’ll eventually spot a famous whale’s rib that’s been hanging from an iron chain since at least the 1700s. Legend goes that the whale rib will not fall until a person who has never told a lie walks underneath it.
It’ll probably stay there for a while then. The rib has not fallen, despite Popes and kings testing it.
A little less whimsical is the fact that the rib was likely a souvenir brought home to Verona from the orient by spice traders.
The best things to do in Verona include walking around and exploring along the riverbank, cross bridges, browse in old churches and generally be curious.
We’d advise getting out of the main part of the old town for a better deal on food and coffee. Walk across one of the bridges and see what’s on the other side.
More great things to see in Verona:
Castel St Pietro, positioned on the hill above Verona. You can walk up for a look. It’s a mysterious fort that boasts cypress tree-lined avenue and offers a spectacular view across the city.
Piazza dei Signori, a quiet, beautiful old square boasting lovely medieval arches and architecture.
Toree dei Lamberti. Construction begun on this tower in 1171. You’ll spot it from the Piazza delle Erbe. In the Middle Ages, such towers would have helped to organise life, because the bell would ring to signal a fire, summon war councils and let people know it was time to finish work.
Shopping in the Centro Storico, full of fabulous fashion and gorgeous Italian things to splurge on.
Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, ‘containing’ the crypt where Romeo and Juliet got married. It’s a typical example of Romanesque architecture with 12th Century bronze doors and a ‘wheel of fortune’ rose window.
Juliet’s tomb, housed in a 13th-century Franciscan convent. This is where Juliet died in the play. People pay tribute here to Juliet and Shakespeare. Even Charles Dickens visited.
Castelvecchio, is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled Verona in the Middle Ages.
Unmissable is the Verona Arena, a 1st Century open-air Roman amphitheatre that’s still fully operational. Locals and visitors can enjoy opera and concerts in the unique space.
Not only is it one of the best preserved ancient structures in the world, it’s touted as being one of the ten most beautiful places in the world that you could see a live show! The stone structures here have seen everything from gladiator games and jousting competitions to Adele and Elton John in concert.
Verona things to see and do: travel tip
Finally, we’d suggest you book a local experience to get the best out of the place. In Venice and Verona we purchased a walking tour with food experience. Our Verona option was an evening wander with Wonderful Verona.
Across three hours our host, Jessica, introduced us to Verona’s popular and secret sights, while pouring healthy glasses of local wines in choice locations. We’re all pictured above. It was very hard to leave Verona, thanks to this lovely localised experience and our stylish ‘dream loft’ Airbnb.
Got questions or a tip to add? Let us know in the comments below
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