Photo Credit: Pablo Andres

The Lost City of Atlantis: a simple phrase that conjures up a deep sense of mystery and intrigue. The fictitious city originated in Plato’s writings around 330 B.C. and has captured the world’s fascination as a civilization hidden from the rest of the world ever since. Plato’s description of Atlantis led scholars to believe it was located near the Strait of Gibraltar, at the mouth of the Mediterranean. Over the years, however, claims have arisen that the city is actually in places as far flung as Antarctica, Turkey and the Caribbean.

The mystical island of Es Vedra, which sits off the east coast of Spain, has long been flaunted as the tip of the long lost city and sees no shortage of visitors who come to investigate. Of course, no evidence has been discovered that Atlantis truly exists but the scenery is unparalleled, the atmosphere is congenial and spending an afternoon hunting for a hidden world is our idea of a serious adventure vacation.

Photo Credit: Steve Marvell

The Facts

Es Vedra floats less than two miles off the west coast of Ibiza, a hugely popular vacation destination, but the two islands couldn’t be more different. Es Vedra is a quiet, uninhabited outcrop that most people aren’t allowed to step foot on, while Ibiza sees more than six million tourists every year and is a haven for those who revel in long nights and lazy mornings. The island is made primarily of limestone and its highest point is 400 meters above sea level. It is a part of the the Cala d’Hort Natural Reserve and even though the human footprint is reduced as much as possible, wildlife is abundant. Brightly colored Ibiza wall lizards skitter around the rocky terrain, endangered gulls and falcons perch on coastal cliffs, and 166 rare plant species flourish.

Photo Credit: Jose Ramon

The Myths

Es Vedra is touted as the tip of Atlantis, but according to legend and tradition there several other out-of-this-world forces at play as well. Stories circulate that it served as the birthplace of Phoenician goddess Tanit and that seductive sirens and sea nymphs hung out there in Ulysses’ day. More modern reports say UFO’s and USO’s (Unidentified Swimming Objects) lurk in the waters around the island after reports of mysterious circles of light emerged from the sea. We don't know where all the stories come from but there certainly seems to be something strange around these parts. Some think that as the third most magnetic place in the world the island gives off weird vibes, but who's to say?

Photo Credit: Alex Harries

How to Do It

Those who get to experience Es Vedra in person only do so with special permission, so the rest of us have to find another way to enjoy this supernatural wonder. There are several companies like Ibiza Boat Cruises that can get you close. Most trips leave from the port of San Antonio and offer 3-4 hour tours of the Ibiza coastline before sailing farther out toward Es Vedra. From your glass-bottomed boat you’ll have unique views of the marine fauna and flora and may even catch sight of a pod of bottle nosed dolphins cruising the bright turquoise waters beneath you.

If you'd rather view the island from land, there are two lookout spots on Ibiza: Torre des Savinar and a small cove called Atlantis (not to be confused with the previously mentioned lost city). With a car, your own two feet and a little determination you can enjoy the views from both without hordes of tourists surrounding you. To get there take the road to Es Cubells and turn toward Cala d'Hort. Before reaching the beach, turn left onto a dirt road. You will come to a small esplanade where you’ll ditch the car and continue on foot. One path leads to a watchtower, Torre des Savinar, which was originally built in the 1700s to defend from pirate attacks. The other trail veers to the left and leads to Atlantis, more formally known as Pedrera de Cala D’Hort. The terrain is rough, but you’ll end up surrounded by unique rock formations and several natural green pools that are fed by rain and seawater. As you splash around in this Atlantis you can glance across the water and take in the spectacular view of Es Vedra, the tip of the legendary Atlantis.