Ibiza's Historical Buildings Tour (Self Guided), Ibiza

Thinking of Ibizan buildings, one may struggle a bit to imagine anything but the whitewashed villas peppering the landscape. However, a closer encounter reveals some less obvious examples of local architecture, each with their own place in the colorful and ever-evolving history of the city and the island.

The unique and long-stretching past of Ibiza produced an incredible architectural variety. With so many various cultural influences exerted over a great number of centuries, there is an eclectic blend of historic sites to behold. Here are some of the most iconic architectural landmarks in Ibiza:

Castle of Ibiza – the heart of the island, established in the 12th century;

Saint Mary of Ibiza Cathedral – a major local landmark since the 13th century;

St Vincent and St James Church and Convent – an excellent 16th-century blend of Moorish and Christian influences;

Baluard de Santa Llúcia (Santa Llúcia Bastion) – the largest bastion of the walled old city; designed in 1575;

Portal de ses Taules (Ses Taules Gateway) – built in 1585; the main entrance to the fortified old town;

Teatro Pereyra (Pereyra Theatre) – the Neo-classical structure, renowned for its pink-and-white façade; the city's first theater, built in 1898;

Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza – a true symbol of the past with its colonial style; built in 1932.

To discover these and other historical buildings of Ibiza, take this self-guided walking tour.
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Ibiza's Historical Buildings Tour Map

Guide Name: Ibiza's Historical Buildings Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Ibiza (See other walking tours in Ibiza)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 Km or 0.8 Miles
Author: rose
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Castle of Ibiza
  • Saint Mary of Ibiza Cathedral
  • St Vincent and St James Church and Convent
  • Baluard de Santa Llúcia (Santa Llúcia Bastion)
  • Portal de ses Taules (Ses Taules Gateway)
  • Teatro Pereyra (Pereyra Theatre)
  • Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza
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Castle of Ibiza

1) Castle of Ibiza (must see)

The Castle of Ibiza, or Castell d'Eivissa in Catalan, can be argued to be the heart of the island. The castle grounds are located at the top of the fortified Upper Town. The castle is comprised of numerous buildings that include the Tower of Homage, the 8th century Almudaina, the governor's home and the 18th century infantry barracks.

The original foundations of the castle were created in the 12th century, though additions and restorations were continued for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the castle fell into extreme disrepair and is now in a partially derelict state. Recent restorations have allowed portions of the castle to be open to the public.

Reconstruction efforts have been primarily focused on the Sant Jaume Bastion and the Sant Pere Bastion. Each of these bastions offer exhibitions that are open to the public. While visitors cannot enter the main castle, it is worthwhile to tour both of these bastions and the castle grounds.

The Sant Jaume Bastion is now a military museum. It houses a weapons exhibition with a focus on military technology from the 16th and 18th centuries. Visitors are welcome to touch the items on display, which include cannons, mortar, muskets, helmets and swords.

The Sant Pere Bastion shows the history of the castle. Tourists can see how the city wall was built through an audio visual display. The exhibition includes a reproduction of Renaissance-era scaffolding. Both bastions were designed by Giovanni Battista Calvi in 1555.

The buildings are open from Tuesday through Sunday throughout the year. During the winter months, from October to March, the hours are 10 AM to 4:30 PM on weekdays and 10 AM to 2 PM on weekends. From April to September, hours are 10 AM to 2 PM Tuesday through Sunday. The buildings are closed on bank holidays and from December 10 to February 28.
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Saint Mary of Ibiza Cathedral

2) Saint Mary of Ibiza Cathedral (must see)

The Saint Mary of Ibiza Cathedral is a major landmark on the island. It has stood at the top the old town of Ibiza since the 13th century. Once you step inside the walls of the Ibiza's historical quarter, your eyes are instantly drawn to the imposing fortified walls of the church.

Following the Catalan Conquest in 1235 when the Christian conquesters ousted the Moorish from “Yebisah”, a grand cathedral was commissioned for the town. It is said that the church was built upon the site of a former Moorish mosque, which was a common practice in colonial Spain to impose the Christian faith to the local population.

The Gothic style tower and chapel are part of the original construction and the interior of the church was redone in the Baroque style in the 18th century. The ancient Monstrance made of silver and gold and dating from 1399 is the cathedral’s most treasured artifact.

The eye-catching Madonna, known as Our Lady of the Snows, is another key feature of the cathedral. Inside the cathedral there is a Diocesan Museum where you can learn more about the church’s historical influence in Ibiza. Admission is free.
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St Vincent and St James Church and Convent

3) St Vincent and St James Church and Convent

The St Vincent and St James Church and Convent is nestled in the Old Town of Ibiza. Established in 1592 as a convent church, it was not granted public church status to the San Pedro Apostol Parish until 1929. Inside the church there are several chapels that can be visited and which provide a glimpse of the “old Ibiza”.

The architecture of the church is an excellent example of the blending of Moorish and Christian influences on the island. Inside the church there is rich iconic artwork and many statues and grottoes featuring sumptuous gold leaf.

Several chapels feature impressive frescoes adorned with religious artworks. They include chapels of Madre de Dios del Rosario, Immaculate Conception and San Antonio. Each of these chapels has a distinctive style featuring architecture from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

The church is dedicated to Holy Christ of the Cemetery, and the site of the previous convent cemetery is where the Town Hall now stands. The church can be visited every day, except on Mondays.
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Baluard de Santa Llúcia (Santa Llúcia Bastion)

4) Baluard de Santa Llúcia (Santa Llúcia Bastion)

Whenever you visit the Dalt Vila, make sure to go up to the Baluard de Santa Lucía. This is the largest bastion in the fortified Old Town of Ibiza – designed in 1575 by the Swiss military engineer Giovan Giacomo Paleari Fratino (1520–1586), known as El Fratin or Il Fratino ("The Little Friar"), who served the Spanish Emperor Charles V and his son Philip II.

The structure has a rather unusual, asymmetrical plan, with original canons still seen at the top, that once guarded the upper town. Part of the bastion is the so-called Polvorin, a building that used to serve as a powder and weapons depot – currently an exhibition hall. The bastion is also frequently used as a venue for concerts or other events, including parties for the International Music Summit.

Other than that, Santa Lucía offers fantastic views over the harbor and the Gulf of Ibiza, as well as onto the roofs of the old houses of the Sa Penya district, formerly a fishing quarter and now one of the town’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
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Portal de ses Taules (Ses Taules Gateway)

5) Portal de ses Taules (Ses Taules Gateway)

The Portal de ses Taules, built in 1585, is the main entrance to the fortified old town of Ibiza and is situated between the bastions of Sant Joan and Santa Llúcia. The entrance gate forms part of the declared UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dalt Vila old city. The entrance is flanked on either side by headless Roman statues and above the gate is the coat of arms of Phillip II on whose orders the city walls were built.

The statues that adorn the entrance were unearthed during construction of the gates in the 16th century. These days the statues are replicas, but you can see the originals in the Ibiza Archaeological Museum in the Ibiza Old Town. A plaque beneath the Phillip II coat of arms describes his dominions and the components of his royal shield.

When you pass through the gate you will see that the walls are two meters thick. Ibiza was under constant attack by invaders and marauders and needed strong defensive support. Originally there was a moat and a drawbridge that protected the city within its walls from siege. The drawbridge was replaced with a permanent bridge at the beginning of the 20th century.
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Teatro Pereyra (Pereyra Theatre)

6) Teatro Pereyra (Pereyra Theatre)

Teatro Pereyra is a music bar that features live performances of multiple genres. The theatre is located near the Vara de Rey. It is noted for being the first social building constructed outside of the city walls.

The theatre was built in 1898. Most of the original features have stood the test of time or have been restored. This includes the stone walls that echo the old town fortress.

The Teatro building was refurbished by Eric-Jan Harmsen and Kees ter Bruggen in 1987. Performers themselves, the couple opened the theatre to create a musical culture in Ibiza that was still new at the time. Since then, the theatre has featured acts from near and far. Music albums based on performances at the theatre have proven to be popular as well.

The bar is open every day except Sunday from 8 AM to 4 PM. Musical performances begin at 11:30 PM and continue through 3 AM.
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Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza

7) Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza

The Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza is a historic hotel near the Vara de Rey Walkway. The hotel was built in 1933 in the neocolonial architectural style. The hotel has a storied history that dates before the Spanish Civil War.

The hotel is known for being used by the Spanish army during the Spanish Civil War and World War II. It remained in use by the army through 1945. It has also been long used by artists who find inspiration in the history of the building and the beauty of its location in the Mediterranean.

The Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza was declared of good cultural interest by both the Spanish Ministry of Culture and UNESCO. It has been part of the Curio Collection by Hilton since 2014.

Visitors can book rooms in the hotel or visit the Sabbaba Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant focuses on uniting the cuisines of Spain and Jerusalem. Located on the rooftop of the hotel, it is an excellent place to get a view of the island and the sea.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles