Earlier this year we packed our packs and headed off to Europe, and more particularly Spain – drawn by promises of warm water, sunshine and kitesurfing…
1st stop: Ibiza
Our first stop on the agenda was the beautiful beaches of Ibiza. We didn’t know much about this Balearic Island, other than its reputation as a party hub. However, we were looking forward to discovering a different side to Ibiza with Ibiza Cruise Experience. We were to join their 24-metre gulet, sailing from bay to bay, in search of the best wind and the most beautiful kitesurfing locations.
Unfortunately, due to some logistical hiccups, our arrival in Ibiza preceded that of the boat and we had to spend our first-night land bound. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as our first day in Ibiza was spent exploring hidden beaches, old cities and having lunch at a darling local spot right on the water – all things we wouldn’t have had the chance to do otherwise.
With the boat arriving the following day, we hopped on board and our adventure began. The next week was spent between the island of Ibiza and the shores of Formentera – a smaller island located slightly south. Unfortunately, unpredictable weather conditions meant we only got one day of kitesurfing in and weren’t able to sail the boat to its full potential, but we enjoyed a fun week of stand up paddle boarding, water skiing and exploring the islands on foot. Ibiza has actually banned kitesurfing on the beaches, so when the wind is right this experience gives you a unique opportunity to kite on uncrowded shallow blue waters. The boat is also a fantastic way to see a different side of the islands where nature and the elements reign – far away from the crowded beach bars and party scene this part of Spain is better known for.
Next up: Barcelona
En route to the mainland, we took a few days out to explore the beauty of Barcelona. With a melting pot of cultures and interesting sites to see, combining both ancient traditions and modern architecture, Barcelona has a vibrant atmosphere few other places can match. We took a break from the sea here and headed inland to appreciate Gaudi’s buildings, including the fantastic Sagrada Familia whose stain glass lighting and tree-like interior blew us away.
After being wined and dined with Ibiza Cruise Experience, we enjoyed apartment-style living at Aparthotel Silver. With a kitchenette and large private terrace as part of our room, we cooked up our own Spanish storm in the evening after exploring the city by day. Located a 10-25 minute walk from all the city’s main attractions, it was the perfect central point to stay and they even had a handy foot massager in the room for reviving weary feet!
Another night in Barcelona took us outside of the tourist centre to the El Prat district where we discovered Mucha Masia – a hostel run by passionate locals. Located close to the beach and the airport, a night here gave us the chance to see what life was really like in Barcelona. We cycled down to the beach through a natural reserve, where sailing, windsurfing and games of beach volleyball were the order of the day, before exploring the main street where we were lucky enough to stumble upon a Castell ( a traditional Catalan human pyramid) building competition.
While we didn’t have time for kitesurfing in Barcelona, we weren’t too worried, as the best was yet to come…
Final Stop: Golf de Roses
Our final stop on our Spanish adventure took us out of Barcelona and up north to the Gulf of Roses in the Costa Brava region of Spain. Dotted with farms, vineyards and old stone villages, this part of Spain offers an authentic, rural beauty with a slow pace of life. We enjoyed a night here at the traditional boutique hotel of Can Pico – this rural farmyard is set in a little ‘village’ of only about 4 other houses. We thanked our lucky stars we had a small Fiat 500 just so we could make it down the tiny cobbled streets to the property!
After checking in, we headed down the beach where we enjoyed a fantastic final day of kitesurfing. A wide open bay stretched out before us with just a handful of kitesurfers on the water. The wind was blowing a gentle 8-10 knots and thus big kites were needed but it was a joy to get going off the Spanish coastline, with a huge open expansive of water all to ourselves and lots of space to hone our skills.
What a way to end our holiday!