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Seven defence towers in Ibiza: a stroll through the island’s history

Throughout history, the island of Ibiza has served as a strategic point in the Mediterranean and as a result, between the 16th and 18th centuries…

Throughout history, the island of Ibiza has served as a strategic point in the Mediterranean and as a result, between the 16th and 18th centuries, several watchtowers were built to prevent attacks from the seaboard, thus a defence system based on these coastal defence towers was created.

In Sant Josep de sa Talaia there are four such towers. At the southern end of Platja d’en Bossa you will find the Torre des Carregador (Salt Loader’s Tower), also known as Torre de sa Sal Rossa, one of the oldest in Ibiza, built to protect the local inhabitants and the workers in the salt pans which were constantly under attack from pirates. Of all the island’s defence towers, the Carregador Tower is the only one that offers guided visits (bookings:

Close by is the ses Portes Tower, set between the beaches of Es Cavallet and Ses Salines, notable for its height and because it was one of the first towers to be restored. The ses Portes Tower, together with the tower on the islet of s’Espalmador, located in the Ibiza and Formentera Natural Park, formed a fort that was designed to provide protection from attackers in the Es Freus passage, by establishing a crossfire between the two towers preventing the advance of unwelcome vessels.

Another tower in the municipality of Sant Josep de sa Talaia has views of that most impressive and imposing of Ibiza’s little off shore islands, the islet of Es Vedrá. This is the Torre des Savinar, also known as Torre des Cap des Jueu, and it is considered by many to be the most beautiful, as it is perched on the cliff top. This tower is mentioned in the novel “The Dead Command” by the Valencian writer Vicente Blasco Ibañez.

The Torre d’en Rovira can be found in the area of Sant Agustí, between the beaches Platges de Comte and Cala Bassa, a construction built in the 18th century, which is still in perfect condition. The islets of Sa Conillera, S’Espartar, S’Illa des Bosc and Ses Bledes are visible from the tower, and it has views of the entrance to the port of Sant Antoni as well.

Sant Carles, in the district of Santa Eulària des Riu, is the site of the Torre d’en Valls, also referred to as the Campanitx Tower, commissioned by the Spanish crown in the 18th century. From the top of this tower, you can see the island of Tagomago. It is located in the area of Cap Roig which has been declared a Nature Area of Special Interest.

Finally, in the north of the island in the district of Sant Joan de Labritja, there are two more towers, the Torre de Portinatx and the Torre de Balansat which is also known as Torre des Molar, both built in the 18th century and designed by the engineer Juan Ballester y Zafra. These towers are two storeys high with an upper terrace connected by a spiral staircase embedded in the wall. The entrance door was originally on the first floor and was reached by climbing a rope, although later a door was added on the ground floor where in the past ammunition and other tools were kept. The Torre de Portinatx is located on Portinatx spit next to the beach of the same name, and the Torre des Molar is close to the Port de Sant Miquel with views of the islets of s’Illa des Bosc and s’Illa Murada.