Places of interest / 18 Jan 2021

Sant Antoni Bay, the heart of Sant Antoni

T

he natural setting of Sant Antoni Bay gives its surroundings a superb combination of attractions that make it a great leisure spot and an ideal meeting point for visitors and residents alike. In terms of size, it is one of the largest bays on this side of the Mediterranean – not surprisingly, it was named Portus Magnus by the Romans -, with a large expanse of water that is ideal for practising and enjoying a wide range of recreational activities of all kinds. The inner part of the bay stretches for almost 4 kilometres, from the breakwater of the town’s port to Punta d’en Xinxó, in the Cala de Bou area, although its natural catchment area is much wider.

Photographs taken from the Facebook page “Fotos Eivissa Antiga

As a natural harbour, the bay was first used commercially by the Punics, who used it as a starting point for their trading voyages and as a fishing port. The Romans, and later the Moors, increased the activity in the area, which gradually became a very prominent and strategically important town. With the Christian reconquest it gradually grew around the original 14th century church, which was later replaced by the current 18th century one.

Today, the bay of Sant Antoni is the major landmark of the whole western area of the island. Its attractions are many and varied and it is open for public enjoyment at any time of day. To begin with, it contains a whole range of beaches, all of which are accessible on foot: from the largest beach, S’Arenal, with a wide strip of sand and calm waters, which has the services of an urban beach and numerous leisure facilities, to the secluded cove of Caló des Moro, at the northern end of the town, which, with its charming surroundings, offers beautiful sunsets and unobstructed views of the Poniente islands. Es Pouet, the other large urban beach of the bay in the municipality of Sant Antoni, also offers a varied range of services, a large area of sand and shallow waters, ideal for families with children.

Es Pouet beach

The bay also has various points of interest that are well worth visiting. One of them is the Cap Blanc Aquarium, which can be reached via the town, along a footpath from Caló des Moro, or by sea on any regular boat connecting it to the port. Formerly known as Cova de ses Llagostes (Lobster Cove), because it was used by fishermen as a natural nursery, the aquarium is now part of the network for the recovery of marine species (CREM). Its facilities house a representative sample of the species found in the island’s waters and it carries out important educational and dissemination work. Its kiosk offers grilled sardines and has a pleasant terrace from which to enjoy the views.

The natural alignment of Sant Antoni Bay is another attraction, especially when it comes to admiring spectacular sunsets. From the port’s breakwater, a promenade runs along the entire coast of Ses Variades to Caló des Moro. This is the birthplace of legendary establishments from which thousands and thousands of visitors and residents have enjoyed the most beautiful sunsets accompanied by the best chill-out music. Indeed, the bay as a whole is the exceptional setting for one of the widest ranges of leisure options on the island, with a whole succession of venues and clubs offering a full calendar of events every season run by the best international DJs.

The port itself is another of the great attractions of Sant Antoni Bay. The modern building that houses the Club Nàutic (Marina), quite an institution in the town, stands among its jetties. It has been the training ground for generations of sailors and yachtsmen and actively participates in and organises numerous sporting events throughout the year. Its restaurant, which specialises in seafood, is another of its great attractions. Very close to the Club Nàutic there is another highly recommended site, the fishing dock and the guild, which implements and promotes sustainable fishing activity, under the banner of the Peix Nostrum quality seal. The fleet is of an essentially traditional nature and provides high quality fresh fish and seafood to fishmongers, supermarkets and restaurants. And, naturally, the bay is also the setting for all kinds of recreational water activities.

Sant Antoni fishing pier

Numerous sports and leisure activities take place in its waters, which is one of its greatest attractions. Sailing, kayaking, parasailing, boat hire for all ages, jet skiing, diving courses and a wide range of other activities are available. Boat trips and regular lines connecting it with nearby beaches, both to the north and to the south, also depart from its docks, so visitors can enjoy a perfect day at the beach without having to resort to any other means of transport.

Walking and enjoying the surroundings of the bay is a leisurely activity everyone can enjoy. The large expanse of the promenade and the adjacent pedestrian areas allow tourists to visit such emblematic places as Sa Punta des Molí, a completely renovated cultural facility, or, at the other end of the bay, the Ses Coves Blanques lighthouse, now totally integrated into the urban fabric of Sant Antoni, as well as the Passeig de Ses Fonts, the heart of the port area.

Passeigs de ses Fonts, Faro de ses Coves Blanques and Sa punta des Molí cultural center.

Another of the bay’s strong points is its outstanding hotel infrastructure, which covers the whole possible range of accommodation. Whether on the seafront or in the immediate vicinity, the bay boasts an exceptional portfolio of accommodation, from economical and up-to-date guesthouses to state-of-the-art hotels with the latest facilities and services, not to mention traditional family hotels and flats of various categories. All of this is accompanied by a wide range of shops and restaurants that grows year by year, offering products and services for every type of visitor, from traditional Ibizan cuisine to the most innovative and ground-breaking dishes, worthy of a Michelin star.

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