Dalt Vila, the Old Town of Ibiza

The old town of the city of Ibiza is known as “Dalt Vila” or the upper town, as it is situated on a hill known as Puig de Vila. This walled city, crowned by the Cathedral of Ibiza, not only hides charming streets, magnificent corners, and impressive viewpoints, but it also houses some of the city’s most emblematic buildings. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, a visit to Dalt Vila has become a must when in the city. Enjoy it!

What to See in Dalt Vila

Walking through the narrow streets of the city, you will notice that the old town of Ibiza is located on Puig de Vila, and at its highest point, you will find the castle and the cathedral, unmistakable symbols of the city.

The walls you see today were built in the 16th century during the Renaissance, with the main objective of defending and protecting the island from pirate attacks. This impressive fortress has five entrances, but the main one is found in front of the Marina district, at the old drawbridge of Portal de ses Taules. From the Santa Llúcia bastion, you can start a walk from bastion to bastion, an interesting route that will undoubtedly surprise you.

There are many buildings of interest you can see within the walled area. The Town Hall, the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Puget Museum, or the Convent of San Cristóbal are some of them.

In the most notable points, you will find various informative panels with some interesting explanations. You can finish the walk at the Ibiza Cathedral and enjoy unparalleled views of the city.

Ibiza Walls

The walls surrounding the old town of Ibiza were built in the 16th century under the direction of the Italian architect Giovanni Battista Calvi. With five entrances and seven bastions, they are among the best-preserved in the world, with a fortified perimeter of 1,800 meters.

You cannot miss seeing the Portal de Ses Taules, the most beautiful of the five, located in front of the Mercat Vell, between the bastions of Santa Llúcia and Sant Joan, built in 1585. Once you cross the portal, you will find the Patio de Armas, which was the space that hosted the first market on the island. This May, as every year, Dalt Vila celebrates the Medieval Fair. It is a good time to take a stroll and enjoy the many craft stalls.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Ibiza

At the foot of the Ibiza Cathedral, you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art of Ibiza, a two-story building that is worth knowing.

The museum opened its doors in 1964 but was temporarily closed in 2007 for expansion and remodeling works that lasted for 5 years. The old, sober, and rational building contrasts with the new construction, where the building expands downwards, instead of upwards, making the most of the natural light.

Interestingly, during the works, archaeological remains dated to the 7th century BC were found, making them the oldest in Ibiza.

The museum includes temporary exhibitions and a permanent collection of contemporary art, highlighting a collection of drawings, photographs, posters, and Japanese prints.

Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and Formentera

Next to the Cathedral of Santa María de las Nieves, you will also find the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza and Formentera, which houses an interesting display of the history and culture of the islands.

The museum, located in the old University building and within the Santa Tecla bastion, was founded in 1907 and is considered the oldest in Ibiza. Access is through the El Salvador chapel, built in the 14th century.

Inside, you can enjoy various interesting collections, including a display of prehistoric, Roman, and Islamic objects and remains, among many others. Additionally, outside the walled enclosure, you must visit the Punic Necropolis of Puig des Molins, which is also part of this museum. It includes a large collection of objects such as figures, amulets, or ceramic pieces, as well as more than two thousand excavated tombs. The visit to this necropolis, which was the city’s cemetery in ancient times, is surprising and certainly worth it.

Ibiza Cathedral

The location of the Cathedral, at the highest point of Puig de Vila, represents the culmination of all the routes that run through the walled area of Dalt Vila. Moreover, being visible from any point in the city, it has become a characteristic symbol of Ibiza.

Since it is not in a busy area, its surroundings are generally quite peaceful. Therefore, it is a good place to disconnect from the bustling Ibiza and enjoy unbeatable views of the city and the bay. Oh! And if you go to the viewpoint located at the back of the temple, you can also enjoy magnificent views of Formentera.

The temple is known as the Cathedral of Santa María or Virgen de las Nieves and it was from the creation of the diocese of Ibiza in 1782 that the old church was granted the status of a cathedral.

As for the building, it presents different styles. Initially, it was a Gothic temple, of which only the tower remains today. Years after the construction of the Renaissance walls, the main nave of the temple was remodeled in Baroque style.

Inside, which is quite sober, the altarpiece of Sant Antoni Abad and a copy of the original figure of the Virgin, which was destroyed during the Civil War, stand out.

Get ready to walk through the narrow streets of Dalt Vila and discover its hidden charms. We await you!

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