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When I told friends that I was going to spend a week in Ibiza to relax with my family, most people were surprised at our choice of destination. The third largest of the Balearic Islands, situated in the Mediterranean Sea 80 km from the Spanish east coast, has somewhat of a reputation as a party destination for young Europeans. But away from the two main towns of San Antonio and Eivissa, there are some exquisite agricultural areas to discover. Areas that have minimum exposure to man-made noise and where the natural world is brimming with activity.

Our base for the week-long stay was the Can Pere Sord Agroturismo (a working farm guesthouse) in the remote countryside outside of Sant Joan de Labritja, in the north of Ibiza. The area of San joan with it’s beautiful agricultural landscape and exquisite beaches, was one of the main areas for the hippy movement in the 1960s. Today the legacy of the hippies is still present and there is a genuine “chilled out” vibe in the north of the island.

Our aim of spending a relaxing week was facilitated by the location of our guesthouse, encircled by four different farms and far enough from the nearest road to enjoy soundscapes almost entirely free of man-made noise. On one of our first days we went for a walk along the small country lanes that intersect plantations of oranges and lemons. As I stopped to record the soundscape of birdsong and a local cockerel a dog began howling up in the hills, the sound from it’s howls echoing off the rugged, hilly landscape.

– for an optimised listening experience, use headphones –

One of the most pleasant times of the day for me during our stay was towards the end of the day, as the local bird population would enter into a hive of activity. There were many finches (serin and greenfinch) and wood pigeons, accompanied by the local cockerels. Almost every evening I would sit on a small bench overlooking the lemon grove and enjoy listening and watching the birds.

– for an optimised listening experience, use headphones –

Our room was situated away from the main house in what would have probably been previously used as stables. Immediately next to the small building were a number of bushes and trees. Each morning, shortly after sunrise, a group of European Serin finches would forage actively in one of the small trees. The serin is known to forage in small groups, feeding mainly on seeds, buds, shoots and flowers. A few days into our stay, I headed out to record the birds. I was able to get within about 2 metres of the dense bush without disturbing the birds. The recording captures perfectly the hive of activity.

– for an optimised listening experience, use headphones –

I would highly recommend Ibiza to anyone looking for a relaxing getaway. It’s a stunning island and small enough to easily get around to visit the different parts of the island. From a soundscape perspective, it’s relatively quiet for Europe and nature is abundant. We were there in Spring, which is low-season and apparently it can be really busy during July and August. But I will hold fond memories of my time there.