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Walking Ibiza take us Around the Island in 10 Walks part 6

Outstanding natural beauty

As part of their 10th Anniversary celebrations, Toby Clarke and his team of experienced guides at Walking Ibiza are circumnavigating the entire coastline of Ibiza. Over 10 consecutive weekends, we will explore the island as we have never seen it before and to enjoy views and experience moments that we will never forget.

Around the Island in 10 Walks' will build up into a definitive guide to the coastline of Ibiza that we hope will inspire you to explore the island on foot. It's still not too late to join in each epic stage.


STAGE 6: SAN MATTEO to Benirrás

Setting off from the quiet village of San Matteo, we are treated to dreamlike scenery as we make our way through the autumnal vineyards, wisps of fog hanging in the air. With 26km along the rugged northern coastline and some considerable climbs ahead of us, our destination for today is Benirrás beach in the north of Ibiza, famous for its hippy drummers and the striking ‘Finger of God' rock formation that reaches out from the sea.


OLIVIA EBELING TAKES UP THE STORY…

It's 9.13am on a chilly Saturday in November and I have already shed actual tears brought on by the crisp morning air, before wiping pearls of sweat off my forehead just half an hour later. All that before I have even had a bite of my ham and cheese breakfast ‘bocadillo'! It's Stage 6 of the Around the Island in 10 Walks series of weekly hikes and once again, I am experiencing another Saturday worlds away from my usual weekend routine. And it's great!

Toby's word of the day for Stage 6 is ‘journey', a fitting choice given that we are just over the halfway mark of this incredible challenge – and some of us have already noticed the positive impact it has had on our lives. The group is getting fitter (and faster), new friendships are beginning to form, and we are gaining a vast variety of insider knowledge about the island we all love. As well as the bragging rights that come with tackling a challenging 30km+ walk, of course (on which I am personally planning to dine out on for the rest of my days).

It's not long until we reach the first ‘showstopper' of the day, the ancient stone bridge that spans the cove of Cala d'Albarca. Creating a natural walkway 27 metres above the churning waves, it takes a bit of nerve to make your way to the middle of this raw structure. “I'll give you one tip: don't look down,” shouts Tim, who has agreed to take a photo of my daredevil moment.

With the adrenaline flowing through my veins, the ascent that follows shortly after doesn't seem too bad compared to previous climbs. Could my strength and stamina really be increasing, even though I'm doing little exercise on my non-walking days? Chuffed to bits, I start to brag to Toby about my ‘fitness journey' before being promptly sent flying by a lose rock. A little reminder from nature not to get too cocky, perhaps?

We follow along the coastline on ancient, overgrown fishermen's paths past ‘devil's whip' brambles and moss-covered rocks. Every now and again, the woods clear to reveal breath-taking views on the turquoise sea below. Toby leads us to a spectacular clifftop viewpoint he has named ‘Dolphin Lookout' and for the umpteenth time, I betray my promise to myself to ‘retire from heights'. I get rewarded with vast views of the coastline we have traversed and a great little Toby anecdote, which I won't retell here…

We come across several crumbling settlements, each a welcome opportunity to learn more about the island's fascinating past. Tales of pirate attacks may sound like children's bedtime stories, but instead were a significant part of Ibiza's colourful history. We walk, and we learn.

Around 1pm, it's time for lunch and this Saturday we are stopping at the outrageously beautiful Es Portitxol bay, close to the Port of San Miguel. Lined by quaint fishermen's huts, the circular cove can only be reached on foot and remains one of Ibiza's hidden gems. We climb on top of the flat roofs and stretch out, tucking into our snacks while watching the waves crash against the rocks below us. It is refreshing in so many more ways than just the physical sense!

With renewed energy, we tackle the next big climb of the day, which brings us right to the top of the cliffs that are home to the luxury hotel and spa Hacienda Na Xamena, famous for its romantic sunset views and infinity swimming pools overlooking the sea. From here, we can already see the iconic rock structure that marks the entrance to Benirrás from the water – but we still have a good two hours of walking ahead of us.

One final steep ascent stands – quite literally – between our group and the finishing line: Cap Blanc. Summoning up our last reserve of strength, we follow the winding road up the mountain, before turning off to continue on a picturesque forest path. All of a sudden, surrounded by woods, the wind carries music into our ears. Could it really be… a saxophone?

Well, this is Ibiza, so of course it is! The closer we get to Benirrás, the more instruments we can hear joining the distinctive sound of summery beach lunches. The famous hippy drummers fire us on with their hypnotic beats as we clamber down the mountainside towards this beautiful and magical beach. Ibiza may not be dancing right now, but the music never truly stops.

As has become a little tradition, we finish the day with a few stretches while sharing our thoughts on this week's hike. With the waves crashing in our ears and looking at the elated faces around me, one thing is clear: We are all happy to be on this journey - and even happier that there is still some way to go – and grow - ahead of us!


If you want to join the next part of our ‘Around the Island in 10 Walks' adventure, from Benirrás to Tanit's Cave, you better hurry because spaces are going fast! Are you up to the challenge?

Words: Olivia Ebeling & Tim Dackombe

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