Inspired by Walking Ibiza founder Toby Clarke’s now-famous jaunt around the entire coastline of Ibiza, the ‘Around The Island Adventure’ is one of our most iconic treks. And the weekend following our 10th Anniversary celebrations should have seen another group of brave walkers set off on the 12-day challenge, ten years after Toby and Cosmo first completed their mission.
However, as we find ourselves in a ‘new normal’ with ever-changing Coronavirus travel restrictions and social gathering rules, we had to adapt the experience. Determined not to completely give up on the idea, Toby has broken up the original route into ten stages that will be spread out across 10 consecutive Saturdays. And while we are hoping to continue with our original ‘Around The Island Adventure’ in 2021, the silver lining of this new format is that it makes this incredible journey accessible to more walkers.
Many of our regular hikers have in the past expressed their regret about not being able to leave behind their families or work responsibilities for a whole 12 days, and so we were delighted to see some familiar faces join us on Stage 1 of our ‘Around The Island in 10 Walks’ series. Amongst them was Charlie, a long-time Ibiza resident and one of the first ever walkers to be led by Toby ten years ago. There were also several hikers, including Dominic and Andrea, who have already successfully completed the original ‘Around The Island Adventure’ and came back for more!
Choosing an intention-setting ‘word of the day’, Toby encouraged the group: “Our word for today should definitely be ‘adventure’. Because whether you’re just joining us for one day or all ten walks, you’ve all signed up for an amazing adventure. And what these walks are really about as well are the people you are walking with, our community.”
An ambitious route of no less than 22km awaited us on Stage 1, with the group setting off from the fisherman’s statue in the harbour of Ibiza Town. From there, the route would lead us through Dalt Vila, descend into Figueretas and pass through Playa d’en Bossa. Behind the ancient watchtower at the end of Ibiza’s longest beach, the difficulty level would go up a notch as the walkers navigate the ‘Seven Sisters’, a group of wooded hills sitting between Bossa and Es Cavallet.
After enjoying a breather while walking along the flat terrain of the Salinas Nature Park and the iconic Playa de Ses Salines, the final challenge of the trek would await in the shape of what we like to call the ‘5 MFs’: the steep peaks of Cap d’es Falco. It’s no mean feat, but the hikers were in great spirits and up for a challenge!
As seems to be tradition on our ‘Around The Island Adventure’ every October, the weather was spoiling us with glorious sunshine. Making our way up into the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dalt Vila, we were greeted by stunning views over Ibiza Town, the harbour and our sister island Formentera all the way across the water. Leaving town behind us, the crystal clear waters were tempting us as we walked through Figueretas and Playa d’en Bossa, which was free from holidaymakers at this time of year but brimming with runners and dog walkers.
After picking up the last walker to join us, Andrea, from Nassau Beach Club, we eventually reached the watchtower overlooking Playa d’en Bossa. By now the group was warmed up and ready for the first real challenge of the day: the ‘Seven Sisters’. So named by Toby himself, these ‘friendly’ hills were a gentle sign of things to come – with the infamous ‘5 MFs’ waiting for us at the very end of Stage 1.
Climbing through the fragrant pine forests on rocky trails, our efforts were rewarded by breathtaking views onto Es Cavallet from high above – like you can never usually see it! Having already walked for several hours, soon it was time for our lunch stop, sharing snacks and stories while we rested. With renewed vigour, we left the ‘Seven Sisters’ behind us and arrived on the sandy shores of the beach that had been tempting us from below.
After a short walk alongside the salt flats, where we spotted the elusive Salinas flamingos, our jaws dropped as we emerged from our shady pine trail onto the white sands of Es Cavallet. The water was dazzling in a myriad of shades of turquoise and deep blue. If you had told us that we’d accidentally ended up in the Caribbean, we would have believed you!
However, despite the stunning vistas, the first signs of sore feet and tired legs began to show themselves along the moon crater landscape of the far end of Salinas beach. Each part of the ‘Around The Island Adventure’ is a challenge to your stamina, but it’s important to respect your limits and not push on beyond reason. With that in mind, we waved off Charlie at Salinas beach bar The Jockey Club, which, with its comfortable daybeds, looked incredibly tempting to all of us at this point!
Alas, there is no rest for the wicked and we still had the ‘5MFs’ to tackle. The peaks of Cap d’es Falco are amongst the most challenging routes we offer, however, they are also amongst the most rewarding because of the simply incredibly sights. We may have been huffing and puffing as we worked our way up the long, steep inclines, but as soon as we reached the top all the hard work was instantly forgotten. Uninterrupted views on Salinas beach and Formentera, with the mythical rock island of Es Vedra greeting us from the other side, make this a real ‘bucket list’ walk.
After our daredevil guides Toby and Patrick posed for a nerve-tingling picture on a rock formation sticking out from the cliffs, eventually our tired feet tip-toed down the final descend into Cap d’es Falco. Somehow, we still found the energy to sprint (well, jog) across the finish line of Stage 1. There were a lot of happy faces as we hopped into the Walking Ibiza jeep to be ferried back to our cars after a long day of hiking. Finishing the day with a well-deserved beer in Can Toni, despite our tiredness there was a lot of excitement about Stage 2, which will take place on Saturday, October 24th 2020.
If you want to join the next part of our ‘Around The Island in 10 Walks’ adventure, you better hurry because spaces are going fast! Are you up to the challenge?
Written by Olivia Ebeling