Holidays in the Balearic Islands: Menorca, Majorca, Formentera and Ibiza
The Balearic Islands have long been one of the U.K.'s most popular travel destinations. In fact, this archipelago is one of the most popular holiday destinations in all of Europe. This should come as no surprise, given the mild climate, hikeable trails, and secluded beaches these islands offer. Read on to plan your trip and discover the island that's right for you.
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General information about the Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago in the Mediterranean off of mainland Spain. The largest of the four islands is Majorca, measuring around 3,600 square kilometers. The much smaller island of Menorca is located east of Mallorca while Ibiza and Formentera, the smallest of the islands, are located 150 kilometers to the southwest. Overall, about one million people live permanently in the Balearic Islands, but this number multiplies drastically during the summer months.
What are the most beautiful destinations in the Balearic Islands?
Our favourite destinations represent the diversity of the archipelago.
Holidays in Majorca
There is much more to Majorca than well-known party destinations like Magaluf: small coastal towns, secluded bays, wide sandy beaches, and winding mountain trails. Some of our favourites spots include:
- The extensive coast of Alcudia in the northeast has miles of sandy beaches perfect sunbathing and swimming, plenty of smaller, boutique-style hotels and several nature reserves for exploring. The tourist centers for this area are the port cities of Alcudia and Can Picafort.
- The area around Cala Ratjada in the hilly east is one of the island's party hotspots, but visitors can also enjoy the enchanting coves and diverse coastline.
- The two picturesque harbor towns of Porto Cristo and Porto Colom have retained some of flavour of old Majorca. The romantic, rock-lined coves of the area are very popular in summer—be sure to grab a spot early to beat the crowds.
- For beautiful views further inland, book a hotel in Santanyi or Ses Salines and travel to the nearby beaches by rental car or scooter. These towns also make great bases for trips to the sheltered island of Cabrera.
- Families and travelers looking for a bit of R&R should check out the numerous mid-range hotels in Peguera, about 30 kilometers northwest of Palma. The town is located near two scenic bays and has all the amenities of larger tourist areas minus the crowds.
Pirate Tip: If you're looking to avoid the huge tourism centers, plan your trip to the north coast of Majorca between Estellencs and Pollenca. The coast is mountainous, the bays small and quiet, and the beaches wildly romantic.
Holiday in Menorca
Holidays in Menorca are more relaxed than in Ibiza or Mallorca. The following holiday destinations are some of our favourites.
- The island's capital, Mahón, is well worth a visit and boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Menorca, the bay of Sa Mesquida, in the vicinity. There are no hotels on the beachfront, but Cala Longa's aparthotel is just a stone's throw away.
- The second main tourist center in Menorca is the port town of Ciutadella on the west coast. Around the rocky bay of Cala en Brut, north of the city center, you will easily find apartments for short- and long-term stays.
- There are many hotels across the island, mostly in the vicinity of smaller coves and beaches. In contrast to Ibiza and Majorca, Menorca (outside of Mahon and Ciutadella) does not have large concentrations of hotels.
Holidays in Ibiza
Ibiza has a reputation as a hot party destination for the rich and famous, but there's plenty to do on this beautiful isle if that's not your scene. Seek out the secluded coves and smaller hotels outside the busy marinas to relax away from the crowds.
- The chic party life focuses on Ibiza Town, the harbor and especially the neighborhood on the marina. Even a bay next to Cap Martinet resides much quieter and remains within walking distance of the city center.
- Around the port city of San Antony de Portmany in the northwest of the island, numerous hotels and pensions have settled.
- Away from the two port cities Ibiza scores with the Cala Comte, the Cala Saladeta or the Cala de San Vincente: secluded coves with beautifully situated hotels.
Holidays in Formentera
Remote Formentera is still considered a retreat for the more alternative crowd. Since the eighties, however, mass tourism has started creeping in on the island.
The capital, Sant Francesc, in the north is the most populated area with the most hotels. There are also large hotel complexes along the Platja de Mitjorn on the south side of the island. However, Formentera has largely been spared the impact of the construction boom and many beaches are still undeveloped.