Dalt Vila is the historic core of Ibiza town and is considered the most important cultural and artistic site on the island. On 4 December 1999, UNESCO declared the Renaissance period city walls as a World Heritage Site, as it is the best preserved Mediterranean fortress.
The area also included the districts of Sa Penya, Es Soto, la Marina and la Necrópolis des Puig dels Molins, which are located in the vicinity and have been linked to the old town of Ibiza throughout its history. Its construction began around the year 1555, under the reign of King Philip II, and work was directed by the Italian engineer Giovanni Batista Calvi.
The main entrance of the historic area is the Portal de ses Taules, which is a drawbridge opposite the old market of Ibiza, in the Marina district. Every Sunday morning in summer, a local market is held here with local products and handicrafts from the island. This access site is known as el Rastrillo and it opens onto a beautiful courtyard and the Plaça de la Vila. The area and its walls are composed of seven bastions: Sant Pere or es Portal Nou, another access located next to the Reina Sofia park; Sant Jaume, which houses a small interpretation centre within its walls; in Sant Jordi you can observe the ancient archaeological remains of the Muslim wall; Sant Bernat offers a spectacular view of Formentera and Ses Salines; Santa Tecla, Sant Joan and Santa Llúcia, the bastion that houses the old powder magazine, which is now an exhibition hall and is another great place to view the harbour and Ibiza town.
Dalt Vila is the setting for the major artistic, cultural and social events that are held on the island throughout the summer. The Ibiza International Meetic Summit in May, the Ibiza Jazz Festival in late August, the Adlib Fashion Show is occasionally held here, as well as dramatized tours, live music concerts and a host of events organised over the San Ciriaco festival in Ibiza town on 8 August. Undoubtedly, the most significant event in recent years is the Medieval Fair that is held for three days in the second weekend of May.
The Citadel has become a great outdoor museum and throughout the tour there are information points on the history of the walls. There are also cultural points of interest in this enclave. At the highest point, you can visit the Gothic style cathedral and the museum, which houses the Diocesan Museum; beside it stands the castle, inside is the Governor’s house, which is currently under renovation and will become the Parador hotel, and the Cathedral Square houses the Archaeological Museum. Continuing along the route, you will arrive at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, around which you can visit the church of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Convent, Can Botino, the Town Hall, the church of Sant Cristòfol, the Chapel of Sant Ciriac, the Puget Museum, The Yabisa Madina Interpretation Centre, the Casa Broner and the newly restored Museum of Contemporary Art.
Dalt Vila truly is a little city. In its cobbled streets and squares you will find authentic shops, excellent restaurants with different types of cuisines, clothes shops with different styles, lovely terraces, and interesting art galleries. It is a small cosmopolitan microcosm in the island of Ibiza.