Sant Antoni's Sunset Strip of chill-out bars showcases the more relaxed side to Ibiza's most notorious resort. For years, this rocky coastline was the forgotten back end of town, but today it's lined with a string of elegant terrace-bars that come into their own as the sun sinks. A refurbished promenade links the various sections, which stretch for 1km between Carrer General Balanzat at the south end and the little bay of Caló des Moro to the north.
Until 1993 there was only one bar, Café del Mar, where pioneer resident DJ José Padilla spun vinyl and sold mixtapes to a small, well-informed bunch of music lovers, mainly from the UK. British DJ Phil Mison later took to the helm, continuing the mellow vibe. Café Mambo opened in 1994, and by 2000 there was a scattering of similar bars along the coast.
Café del Mar and Café Mambo remain the best-known venues, attracting big crowds – thousands gather here in high season, when the BBC's Radio One bounces live DJ events back to the UK, TV crews broadcast live shows and webcams beam the scene around the world. The commercialism is relentless, with many bars stocking branded merchandise.
The sunset hype has exploded in the last decade or so, and you'll now have to book a table for dinner (with a minimum spend of at least €60 per person) to secure a space at the main bars. Many people bring their own drinks, find a patch on the rocks and tune into their DJ of choice rather than pay the bars' inflated drinks prices. The sunset remains the same and, when that giant fireball starts to dip into the Mediterranean to a soundtrack of electronic beats, the spectacle is still quite something.
Don't bother bringing your bikini though: you'll have to scramble over sharp rocks for a dip along most of this coastline. The one spot with easy access is Caló des Moro.
San An has long been the 'entry-level' point for young Brits in Ibiza. As the rest of the island goes increasingly upmarket, the town remains (almost) as down to earth as ever, retaining an undeniable edge and energy. It's a place where underground music finds a home and wannabe DJs get the opportunity to deliver in backstreet bars.
Backtrack to 1987, and all the main players who initiated the acid-house scene were holidaying in San An. Four soul boys from London – Danny Rampling, Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway and Johnny Walker – found inspiration at bars in the town, discovered ecstasy and raved to DJ Alfredo's Balearic Beats under the stars across the island at Amnesia.
José Padilla and his eclectic, emotionally provocative sets at Café del Mar in the '80s and '90s really put San An on the map. A unique chill-out scene developed around Padilla's cinematic, largely electronic sets, inspiring musicians around the globe.