Atlantis – A magical mystery tour

Atlantis – A magical mystery tour

Of all the myths in our culture, the legends of lost cities contain the most exciting plots lines. El Dorado, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Camelot, Shangri-la – each possesses the promise of rousing adventure, thrilling perils, daring acts of death-defying courage, extravagant riches and outfits to rival Indiana Jones. But the one tale that truly grips the human psyche like a thick vine across the bow of an abandoned ship in the jungle is that of the lost city of Atlantis.

Unfortunately for starry-eyed would-be adventurers, Atlantis was the fictional creation of Plato. That never stopped armchair enthusiasts and the literary and scientific greats prophesying and poetising their theories on the whereabouts of the ancient city. The legend even reached the shores of Ibiza sometime in late 1950, more or less, and while the location of Ibiza’s own Atlantis is literally epic, the true story is even better.

The real name of Ibiza’s Atlantis is Sa Pedrera – the quarry – clinging to the coast near Cala D’Hort.

The real name of Ibiza’s Atlantis is Sa Pedrera – the quarry. It clings to the coast near Cala D’Hort under the watchful eye of Es Vedrà – the striking monolith rising out of the water, which has its own set of stories and myths. The hands of Phoenicians made the angular forms of the sandstone as they mined the pliable rock to build the walls and citadel of Dalt Vila. Just think about that for a minute – no electric tools, no health and safety officers, no machines. Masses of sandstone were cut by hand and transported under sail to Ibiza town – an incredible undertaking.

But let’s go back to the source. Plato created the fictional island of Atlantis as a way to illustrate the superiority of his theoretical ideal state. The war between the Atlantans and the imagined city-state of ancient Athens ends with Atlantis plunging into the ocean as a result of a deadly earthquake produced by vengeful gods. Lost forever to the depths where it would eventually emerge from the murky deep into the human imagination as the perfect mythological vessel to store utopian fantasies. Sounds just like Ibiza.

Getting to Sa Pedrera (which is what the locals prefer it to be called) is not for the faint-hearted. The descent down a massive sandy slide is pretty thrilling but for the uninitiated (and the unfit) it can take 45 minutes to get back to the top again. Whatever you do don’t go alone. Toby Clarke of Walking Ibiza creates bespoke guided walks across the island with Atlantis/Sa Pedrera being one of the most popular. Taking the trip with Toby and his very knowledgeable guides makes the journey sublime.

Toby Clarke of Walking Ibiza creates bespoke guided walks across the island with Atlantis being one of the most popular.

Toby spent the first ten years of his life in Ibiza and eventually came back to the place he always felt most at home. One day he had the idea of walking around the entire island and a week later set off with a tent and one euro in his pocket. That walk has become the stuff of Ibiza legend and gave birth to a burgeoning family business that provides a gateway to the soul-restoring beauty of nature. While some are sipping margaritas and waking up with headaches on the white isle, others are enjoying a contact high with Mother Nature.

The walk to Sa Pedrera starts at a dusty parking lot which doesn’t sound very romantic until you step beyond it and come to the first magical stop in this cosmic tour. An energy spiral made of large stones marks the entrance to this legendary place. It was made in 2012 along with 12 others spirals across the island to mark the end of the Mayan calendar. “We do a little ceremony here,” explains Toby. “It’s a place where you can put your love and gratitude. Even the most non-hippy people love the spiral.”

An energy spiral made of large stones marks the entrance to Atlantis.

The descent continues past an incredibly intricate rock painting of Shiva. The next stop is a large cave where various people have lived over the years including one of Walking Ibiza’s guides and a Japanese man who used to play his violin every day to the setting sun. The last part before reaching the quarry is a scrambling, frolicking romp down a steep sand dune. “Everyone turns back into a kid again running down there,” says Toby. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Along the way and over time, various characters have created stone sculptures and carvings into the rock face that have withstood the vagaries of the weather – crafting a kind of modern-day temple. The work of the Phoenicians left a series of ancient man-made rock pools that fill up with the tourmaline waters of the Med. Floating with a clear view of the angled rocks below and the eternal blue of the sky above is transcendent. “We always take masks and snorkels,” says Toby. “The snorkelling there is amazing.”

Over time, stone sculptures and carvings were created into the rock, crafting a kind of modern-day temple.

What goes down must come up and the trek back to the top can test one’s commitment to life. Walking Ibiza takes the easiest of the routes, carving right through the middle to avoid the sandy slope. Back at the top, the energy spiral and a naturally formed meditation platform present the perfect pit stop for a snack. Invigorated by the magical energy of the quarry and the magnetic vibrations of Es Vedrà, the walk continues to another piece of Ibiza history – Torre des Savinar, the pirate tower.

A Turkish map dating back to 1521 shows 18 watchtowers positioned along the coast of Ibiza. Author Vicente Blasco Ibáñez called this one a pirate tower in his 1919 book Los Muertos Mandan and since then, that’s how they’re known. Watching out for pirates and other marauders were only one of the purposes of these imposing stone edifices. They were utilised as part of a complex communication system and as a refuge should any invaders make landfall.

Give your body positive energy on this walk under the magnetic vibrations of Es Vedrà.

Toby leads the way through a wild landscape filled with native fennel, rosemary, thyme, Phoenician juniper for stews, standard juniper for gin and oddly, French lavender. Arrival at the tower presents a view of the Mediterranean that is truly breath-taking. As the sun sets with a celestial artistry across the sky, most walkers fall silent for a moment. While the day may come to an end, opening the sky for the romance of starlight, the mysticism of Sa Pedrera continues to vibrate. The heartbeats of the thousand souls that built this dreamscape over millennia pulse within the very earth leaving us modern-day humans awestruck with wonder.

Talk to our Guest Relations Team or email us to explore this and all the incredible walking experiences available through Walking Ibiza.

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