The Hippy Market in Ibiza is so much more than just an overgrown flea market – it’s an experience. Cheesy as it may sound, it’s true; you are exploring a new community, filled with tradition and culture, and it is incredibly worthwhile. Here I will provide an account of my family trip to the first Hippy Market (Punta Arabí), situated in Es Cana…
First I will provide a historical overview, because the hippy market is all about traditional values and antiquity. The phenomenon began in 1973, when Club Punta Arabí realized that hippy produce had great business potential. The hippies on the island were granted space to flaunt and sell their goods, thus securing the location as the original hippy market.
The market has done wonderfully to preserve the hippy movement and has become a sensationally popular tourist attraction, drawing between 12-14,000 visitors every Wednesday, and after visiting it myself, I find it easy to understand why.
Our adventure began the moment we passed underneath the large white “Hippy Market” sign and met with a pleasant fellow covered head to toe in silver paint. After stopping to take photographs with the man who resembled a statue, we set off to explore what has been boasted ‘one of the islands top attractions’.
The stalls were laden with handmade souvenirs; a diverse range which will appeal to people of all ages, which I can exemplify using my own family members: my mother was drawn to the wooden animal ornaments with their polished features and intricately carved details, whilst my sister and I took to the curtain of beautiful necklaces occupying many a stall. My father examined the mass of watches; some chunky and large-faced, others slender and modest, as my younger brother found a new obsession collecting stuffed lizard toys in various different colours and patterns.
It is no exaggeration to claim that every stall holds something special and unique, from engraved wooden wind chimes to breath-taking pieces of art. The market offers fine clothing, shoes and handmade leather goods amongst many other mesmerising trinkets.
My favourite items were the exquisite fairy-tale inspired decorations, as they were so enchanting and unique; with such detail and effort gone into their making. On one booth dozens of charming, dainty pixies dangled delicately from strings and I was mesmerised by their beauty, even more so when the stall owner informed me that their limbs were made from thorns. Another stand saw a handful of quaint little fairies, varying in size and style, suspended from the top of the stall clutching real gem stones in their tiny hands – simply stunning creations.
Finally, once we were all shopped out, we took a leisurely stroll back to the beginning, stopping at the café situated conveniently by the entrance. After a hot afternoon browsing, a cold beverage was definitely what was required, and ended a brilliant day out perfectly.
The one downside is that as it is one of the biggest of its kind, it can be easy to get lost. Boasting approximately 500 stalls, the market is like a maze of winding paths and similar stalls, so if travelling in a group wandering around separately isn’t recommended! It also means that you may not find your way around every booth, but content can be similar so this isn’t necessarily a problem – for example, many of the stalls featured the stuffed lizard toys and owl necklaces. Some repeated produce means that it may be wise to look around first to be aware of the best prices, but generally everything is decently priced.
Overall, the trip was immensely enjoyable. Live music made the ambience lively and vibrant and browsing was leisurely and pleasant. The original handcrafted goods make for thoughtful gifts, quality collectables or long-lasting keepsakes and these quirky mementos are also good value for money; you don’t have to dish out small fortunes for them.
So, if ever you find yourself in Ibiza, and fancy a little taste of culture or even just a relaxed shopping session, be sure to pay a visit to the Punta Arabí Hippy Market in Es Cana for a truly memorable experience!