There are countless reasons for you to make Spain's incredible island of Ibiza your next weekend getaway or vacation destination, but those who are attracted to the area's rich history will definitely want to make it a top priority to visit Dalt Vila. You'll discover thousands of years of history at this amazing UNESCO World Heritage site, and you're free to spend as long as you like exploring this popular area of the island. These are just a few things that you'll need to know to get the most out of your visit.
About Dalt Vila
Dalt Vila is Ibiza's true Old Town, which is located on a small mountain that overlooks the sea. It's a walled city within the capital city of Ibiza Town, and it dates all the way back to 654 B.C. with the first known settlement of the Phoenicians. Like most of Spain, Dalt Vila boasts a rich history of significant ups and downs. The good news is that it prospered for years as a prominent commercial center that exported many goods from its perfect vantage point on the Mediterranean Sea.
Unfortunately, the city suffered terrible damage during the 10th century when the Arabs invaded the island and again in the 16th century when the Turks attacked. This resulted in the city being fortified to protect its citizens from further attack from possible enemies, and its fortress-like walls were also used to put a stop to the rampant smuggling and piracy that plagued the island. Today, the great walled city of Dalt Vila holds many treasures that honor the legacy left behind by the Christians, the Arabs, the Romans and the Phoenicians.
Ways to Enjoy Dalt Vila
During any time of the year, you're free to put on a good pair of walking shoes and explore the winding cobblestone streets that are found throughout Dalt Vila. The main entrance requires you to cross an authentic drawbridge that is carefully guarded by huge Roman stone statues, and it takes you directly into the original stone courtyard that gives way to the main square, which is normally filled with local craftsmen offering their wares. You'll see historic remnants, ancient battlements and Gothic-style Catalan buildings at every turn, and these are just a few of the many highlights.
Catedral de Eivissa
Beautifully situated at the very top of Dalt Vila is this 14th-century Gothic-style cathedral that is locally known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows. It was constructed in the exact spot where a Carthaginian temple once stood in the 7th century, and it was first used as a parish that was dedicated to St. Mary. It didn't become an actual cathedral until the 18th century, and it's fully functional today with regular religious services.
Because its construction was not fully completed until the 16th century, visitors will discover many different architectural contributions that include influences from Valencia along with the main Catalan Gothic style, and there are also a great many works of art from throughout the ages that include two incredible Gothic paintings that were done in the 14th century by the artist Francesc Cornes. The positioning of the cathedral at the town's highest point also offers stunning views of the sea, but you should be in reasonably good shape to safely navigate the steep hills and stairs that take you to the top.
Perfectly located in a 17th-century Dalt Vila building, this museum features art that was created on the island during the 1960s by well-known artists such as Miralles and Tapies, and its collection of engravings is considered of great importance. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy some time in the extraordinary gardens that surround this museum.
While you can certainly enjoy a wonderful visit to Dalt Vila during any time of the year, you'll experience something really extraordinary if you arrive in May during the annual Medieval Festival. This popular three-day event inevitably attracts over 10,000 people from all around the globe, and they arrive to find Dalt Vila transformed back to the days of old. The entire event is one big street party, and you'll enjoy incredible street performances at every turn that include actual snake charmers, daring acrobats, lovely belly dancers and talented musicians.
Each day brings new events, and you'll see medieval reenactments, enjoy live musical performances and have access to the large marketplace where you can see medieval crafts being made and sample some old-time food and drinks from the many food vendors. Children are more than welcome to this event, and many of the activities are set up specifically for them. These include camel and donkey rides around the cathedral square, magic shows, a puppet theater and many games that mimic those played by children in medieval times. If you still have some time after all of that, then you may also enjoy free entry to all of Dalt Vila's museums and art galleries.