Sant Antoni de Portmany
History and museums
Sant Antoni de Portmany (Catalan pronunciation: ˈsant ənˈtɔni ðə purˈmaɲ, Spanish: San Antonio Abad) or San Antonio is a town on the western coast of Ibiza. It is the second-largest town and municipality in Ibiza; an island described by Time Out magazine as "arguably the clubbing capital of the universe". The town is situated on Sant Antoni Bay on the west coast of the island, part of the Spanish autonomous community of the Balearic Islands.
For two thousand years, Sant Antoni was a small fishing village that rose from the Roman natural harbor Portus Magnus, but it began to grow in the late 1950s when many hotels and tourist resorts were built as part of a mass tourism initiative which took place across Spain. As the number of tourists grew, the development of bars, hotels and other tourist infrastructure spread right around to the other side of San Antonio bay, as far as Cala de Bou which lies in the adjacent municipality of Sant Josep de sa Talaia.
Since the 1980s British tourists have made up the majority of summertime visitors to San Antonio, though this is changing as more eastern Europeans and Russians stay in San Antonio; many are attracted by programmes such as the Ibiza Uncovered series on Sky TV as well as the laid-back Ibiza lifestyle. Due to the sheer number of noisy and drunken tourists during the summer season, many websites have begun to actively advise against staying in San Antonio, recommending quieter locations like Santa Eulària Portinatx or Es Canar. San Antonio has a bad reputation because of the type of tourists it attracts, but some will argue that it is simply a by-product of the cheap and low quality holiday packages that the town encourages. San Antonio is not a family resort and towns to the north of the island are more suited to this type of holidaymaker.
The Egg is the best known landmark in Sant Antoni, located in the centre of the main roundabout at the entrance to the town.
The Egg is a statue erected in the early 1990s to commemorate the local claim of having been the birthplace of Christopher Columbus (there is a similar claim that Hannibal was born in the region). The statue is in the shape of an egg, containing at its centre a model of his ship: the Santa Maria.
The choice of an egg comes from a story about Columbus, who when seeking funding for his Western route to the Indies, was told it was impossible. He then allegedly asked if standing an egg upright was impossible, and when told that it was, he cracked the base of an egg, thus making it possible for it to stand upright. He was then granted funding. See Egg of Columbus.
Part of Sant Antoni's harbourside promenade, Passeig de ses Fonts, is an area which was developed in the early 1990s to improve the appearance of the town. There are many plants, including palm trees and rubber plants, as well as massive fountains, which are illuminated by night. Across the square are a host of restaurants and cafes offering a view over Sant Antoni Bay. It is also the best place from which to watch the massive fireworks display which celebrates the fiesta of Saint Bartholomew on 24 August.
The 'West End' is an area of San Antonio. Only a couple of streets wide; the main street is the Carrer de Santa Agnès, it hosts a variety of bars ranging from the dance and house music Ibiza is famed for to rock and indie music. PR staff line the street trying to attract tourists into any of the many bars on the strip with special deals on alcohol. Originally the name "The West End" refers to a night time minibus trip from hotels in Es Cana in the 1970s that would come to San Antonio's bars (as Es Cana had no bar scene) and the name of this tour package was "The West End Experience". Since then the area has become known simply as "The West End".
Along the coast in the west is the Sunset Strip where various bars including Café del Mar and Café Mambo are situated, where the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Carl Cox, David Guetta and Pete Tong DJ on a regular basis. The west-facing strip of coastline means that visitors can enjoy beautiful sunsets.
Among the harbour of San Antonio there are various boats and ferries that have multiple connections to beaches such as Cala Bassa, Cala Compte, Pinet Playa, Es Puet, Cala Grasió, Cala Salada and Port es Torrent. These have daily departures from may until end September or October. Also once a week there is a ferry to Formentera.
Sant Antoni is home to one of the main Ibiza nightclubs, Es Paradis, established in 1975.