Ibiza-Fiesta Capital of Europe

Survey any fun-loving Italian, Brit, or German, and you’re sure to uncover some wild tales involving a vacation on the Spanish island of Ibiza—the rental car that ended up in the surf, the missed flights, the inexplicably lost pieces of clothing. . . .
In the western Mediterranean, there is no place whose name is more synonymous with extreme partying.
As the little sister of the larger and more popular Majorca , Ibiza was fairly unknown until the middle of the 20th century, when it became a favorite sundrenched destination for hippies and artists. Nowadays, this second largest of the Balearic islands has evolved—or devolved—a long way from its flower-child-tourism roots and become one of the most legendary destinations in Europe for summer revelry. Most visitors here, who come in droves during the sweltering months of July and August, are middle-class Europeans on air-and-hotel package tours, but the island is also a mecca for glamour girls like Kate Moss and Jade Jagger (both firm fixtures here in summer) and gays, which ensures a certain amount of chic amid the mass-market, alcohol- and drug-fueled madness.
The main towns on Ibiza are Ciudad de Ibiza (often referred to as Ibiza Town or Eivissa in local Catalan dialect) and San
Antonio, which are also the island’s biggest nightlife destinations with legendary clubs and bars like Pacha  in Ibiza, and Café del Mar  in “San An.” Hotels in San Antonio traditionally draw heavily on the British soccer-hooligan demographic,
especially in San Antonio’s notorious West End, so for something slightly more relaxing between rounds of clubbing, it’s worth spending a bit more for a private villa on or near the beach somewhere. Whatever you do, don’t show up on Ibiza in high summer without accommodations already booked.
Ibiza, for all its focus on hard-partying, does offer more than all-night strobe lights and pounding bass: The beaches are quite beautiful—and because most people on vacation here spend much of the day sleeping off the previous night’s  excesses, you can have them largely to yourself for the entire morning and early afternoon. Broad and brilliant white Es Pujols is the most popular beach, while horseshoe-shaped Es Cana is another good choice with plenty of watersports and beach bars. The beach of Playa des Cavallet is clothing-optional and very gay-friendly. For a break from the sun and sand, Ibiza’s dramatic coastline even hides away some wonderful caves like Cova de Can Marçá, near Puerto de San Miguel.
Ibiza is also an island with historic roots, and wandering around the charming old architecture of Ibiza town is a great antidote to all the craziness. The island’s interior contains some lovely countryside—between omnipresent billboards touting this nightclub or that. The writers and artists who pioneered tourism to Ibiza from the 1950s to 1970s used to frequent Bar Anita  in San Carlos, a sort of community center that still retains a bit of that bohemian atmosphere. You can also visit the two famed “hippie markets” of El Canar (at Es Cana beach) and Las Dalias (in Eivissa) for more tastes of this heritage.
It’s worth noting that the authorities on Ibiza are not as permissive as their island’s free-wheeling reputation would lead you to believe: Heavy fines and deportation are not uncommon for drunk and disorderly conduct.