The Village of Sant Joan de Labritja, Ibiza
If there was ever one unique spot to visit on the island, then the village of Sant Joan would come highly recommended! The north of the island, well-known for its outstanding countryside and untouched beauty, is not only home to some incredible beaches, nature excursions, and panoramic views, but also occupies one of the most picture-perfect villages, Sant Joan, which resides quietly, another world away from the rest of the island.
Sat at the peak of a gentle gradient, this little village is set apart by its novel-like white-washed housing with iron balconies and brightly coloured wooden doors, which are all perfectly placed along its authentic cobbled streets and lined with the sweet-scent of Mediterranean botanicals and quaint gardens.
The central white church sits majestically against a backdrop of rustic pine-clad hills and overlooks the village’s beautiful array of boutique restaurants, local bars, and community shops.
It is not unusual to hear the sound of the local community enjoying a fresh morning coffee or running daily errands, and casually chattering throughout the streets.
Sant Joan de Labritja: A Village Stood Still in Time
In fact, Sant Joan village has innocently retained much of its original community spirit from the 60s and 70s. One of the very few places left on the island where time seems to have stood still and a strikingly peaceful culture resounds like wind among the trees.
Although small, the possibilities offered by this beautiful village are numerous, especially during the height of the season, and are surprisingly a lot more trendy than may first meet the eye.
Sant Joan de Labritja is Culturally Trendy
You may take a drive through Sant Joan village during the low season, or even in the early part of summer, where you would be forgiven for thinking there is not much happening. However, an inviting and atmospheric ambience is always on offer every Sunday throughout the entire year with the hosting of a very famous weekly artisan market that first began in 2012, and has run ever since.
Crowds gather by the many to enjoy a fun-filled day of live music, street-food, and market stalls, drawing many different cultures, age groups, and tourism. Sant Joan is nothing less than a very popular and vibrant village, despite its tranquil setting during the rest of the week.
The market overspills onto the streets every Sunday and offers a wide variety of local farmers’ produce, a street food paella performance, handcrafted artisan gifts, jewelry, healing crystals, Hierbas liqueurs, organic bread, coffee, leather goods, typical bohemian fashion, and plenty of local art.
Gastronomy in Sant Joan de Labritja
Sundays are where the streets are bustling with life and vitality, giving a true reflection of the local Ibizan spirit. If you’re not enthused about joining the crowds perching themselves on the edge of the street, or in front of the central village church steps (enjoying street food paella with a takeaway beer from the local bar), then you must come prepared beforehand. The village restaurants on a Sunday are almost always fully booked or heaving with customers waiting at the doors, attempting to get a spot of lunch.
The village hosts some fantastic, modern, and high-standard cuisine restaurants, including a traditional bar, two boutique hotels, and vegetarian-only options, which is often less common for smaller authentic villages.
The boutique hotel and restaurant Gare Du Nord, located at the top of the hill has a beautiful hidden secret garden, an artsy cocktail bar, and a brand new front garden terrace, which serves an amazing daytime and evening menu at the hands of the Head Chef, Emmanuel Martinez. Just look out for a car park with various parked Ducks United Vintage 2CV cars, often brightly hand-painted, and there, on the opposite side of the road, you’ll find Gare Du Nord Ibiza.
The pleasant Giri Cafe, located in the centre of the village is also a popular must-visit, which is renowned as one of the top food hotspots in the north of the island. Their philosophy is to simply provide the finest quality of food using fresh, local, and seasonal produce through a carefully curated menu bursting with flavour, vitality, and goodness. This boutique restaurant might seem only small from the front, but upon entering guests will immediately be enticed by the lush greenery of their secret garden in the back courtyard for dining.
Sabores Naturales is a vegetarian cafe with a modest and authentic style. Their fresh vegetarian menu gives a feeling of visiting grandmother’s kitchen for a home-cooked meal and is one that will keep you returning again and again for more.
Restaurante Vista Alegre is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in the village centre, which has always been a central attraction and still is, to many locals, expats and the renowned northern hippy culture. This local classic has been passed from generation to generation, catering daily Ibicencan recipes, becoming one of the most famous restaurants of the area.
Naturally, Sunday is not the only significant time to book yourself into any of these popular restaurants. Despite being one of the furthest points north, residents and tourists will travel to spend blissful summer evenings dining under the moonlit skies just to get a taste of the unique atmosphere and delicious culinary menus on offer in Sant Joan.
Festivals in Sant Joan de Labritja – St. John’s Festivities in June
Sant Joan de Labritja or San Juan Bautista (the Castellan version), directly translated in English means Saint John the Baptist. For this reason, you may hear the term St. John’s Festivities (Festes de Sant Joan / Fiestas de San Juan), which is the annual village celebration. On the night of June 23rd, Sant Joan village attracts the multitudes to celebrate this extravagant evening of firecrackers and bonfires. The tradition is thought to scare away evil spirits and eradicate all the bad from our past through the act of jumping over bonfires, and into a new cleansed rebirth before the beginning of summer.
The local Ibizan community takes part in a traditional mass ceremony, then later a street parade throughout the entire village with loud music, folk dancing, fancy dress costumes, fireworks, market stalls, children’s entertainment, and plenty of food and drink is on offer for one big party. And yes, people are still jumping through bonfires as holy-fire all-night long as part of the fun!
Celebrity Appeal of Sant Joan de Labritja
The village’s almost backslidden lifestyle has rendered much attraction in the celebrity world. Not necessarily in the village itself, but in the surrounding municipality and countryside of Sant Joan, where an inevitable lifestyle of privacy and tranquillity is far from the urban metropolis. Jade Jagger is a well-known celebrity of the area, unsurprisingly as her father spent many trips over the years roaming the island especially during the 60-70s.
To buy a property in San Juan is to desire rustic culture and a humble community lifestyle. The village, in particular, is quiet yet fashionable for all year round living, and the municipality’s demand (which has quickly increased in recent years) is reflective of the property market’s high-end price valuation.
The north is less urbanised and therefore incredibly appealing to many, especially now, since the pandemic, an increased desire for returning back to simplicity and nature are high on the buyer agenda.
If you’re interested in living in the countryside here in Ibiza, why not check out our most recent blog on the Benefits of Living in the Countryside:
Sant Joan de Labritja’s Property Market
Buying a property in the area of Sant Joan offers many opportunities for families, couples, holiday home buyers, and in particular nature lovers, with both plenty of authentic charm and modern villas in exclusive cliff-top locations. Those looking to buy a property in the San Juan village are typically attracted to the authenticity and classic Ibiza design of the village and subsequently the stylish Mediterranean homes that mirror its traditional style.
The property market within the north of the island, specifically the rural countryside, has seen an increase in demand and a ‘boom’ in the rise of housing prices over the past few years. With popularity moving towards the trending rural Ibiza, and recent road improvements to the area, many high-end clients are seen to be shifting preference to buy a property in the North, instead of the South.
However, properties on the market in Sant Joan are often a rare occurrence and only a handful are ever on the market at any given time.