Ibiza is often pictured as a place where the sun always shines and it is always warm enough to lounge on the beach. Which is true, about six months of the year. The rest of the time our weather varies from mild to downright chilly, with strong winter winds and enough rain to keep northern European immigrants feeling right at home.
One of the great things about Ibiza is that it rarely gets cold enough for the kind of heavy-duty central heating you need further north, but it gets nippy enough to demand a degree of adjustment if you don’t want to spend the winter months shivering.
Traditional Ibicenco homes and modern Ibiza apartments alike are, for the most part, designed to stay cool in summer, with thick walls and small windows. As a result, they can be quite cool and damp. So how do you stay warm in winter and spring?
Plugging in an electric heater is one solution but, as anyone who has tried that over winter can tell you, the resulting power bill can be astonishing. Not to mention that electricity isn’t the greenest way to heat your home. Here are four eco-friendly ways to stay cosy without breaking the bank.
Free-standing butane heaters – estufas in Spanish – are an essential winter purchase. There is a bit of initial investment to buy new but you can often pick up a good second-hand one via Facebook groups like ‘For Sale in Ibiza’ or classifieds like Wallapop. You have to either buy a second-hand butane bottle, also easy to find online or lease one from a shop that sells them. Once you have the bottle you simply use it, take the empty one back to the shop, and purchase a new one. Current prices for a refill bottle are around 14 Euro, and they can last two-three weeks depending on use, making this an incredibly cost-effective heating system. They are easy to move around your home so you can just heat the space you need.
Keep cold out and heat by placing draught blockers against the bottom of your doors. You can simply roll up a couple of old beach towels or blankets. If you are handy, you could run a seam up the middle of an old pillowcase, or doubled over sheets, to create a tube to fill with sand, rice, scraps of clothing, or any other insulating material you have to hand. These double door-stops you can use year-round.
The tile floors that are common in many Ibiza homes seem to drain the heat right from your body in cold months. Area rugs put a cosy layer between you and the ground, and are a great way to brighten and soften the aspect of a room. You can buy rugs of various sizes and styles at big home-goods stores like Fita and HyperCentro, or keep an eye out online for second-hand bargains via Facebook or Milanuncios.com. They are especially good if you have pets that need a comfortable place to sleep or young children who want to play on the floor.
My mother always said, “If you’re cold, put on a sweater.” It’s not bad advice, especially from an energy-saving perspective. Decathlon is a good source of inexpensive, cosy winter gear, including fleece pullovers, gloves, and hats, which are also lightweight and washable. Markets like Sant Jordi and Cala Llenya are the best place to pick up more eclectic winter wear, vintage coats, quirky hats, cosy wool jumpers. Plus they’re a great place to meet your neighbours what could be more (heart)warming than that?