The Balearic Islands are found off mainland Spain and offer some of Europe’s most blissful beach holidays. While there is much more to discover than the sand across Majorca, Ibiza, and Menorca, the stunning coastline with its warm Mediterranean climate and irresistible bays are certainly a highlight.
While Ibiza and some of Majorca are known for their electric nightlife, Menorca is an equally beautiful island that lives life at a gentler pace. Whether you are looking for some of the largest nightclubs in the world in Ibiza, an exciting mix of whitewashed village history and vibrant nightlife in Majorca, or an island paradise ideal for couples and families in Majorca, you’ll find the seductive Balearic Islands to be the perfect holiday choice.
Beach worshippers – Majorca, Menorca, and Ibiza all have spectacular shorelines with warm waters.
Clubbers – Ibiza and Majorca’s Magaluf have some of Europe’s best-loved (and sometimes wildest) nightclubs.
Families and couples – The beaches, kids clubs, and more secluded cafes and bars are great for visitors looking for family-friendly fun or coupley romance.
Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, and its capital Palma is also the capital of the whole Balearics. The island’s abundant variety coaxes over a million visitors each year, ready to fall in love with Majorca’s astonishing scenery and the beautiful culture of its towns and villages. As well as the beaches and beautiful weather, Majorca’s homely tapas bars are wonderful spots to sample the local cuisine, and the nightlife in the capital is alive with music, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Menorca is the more humble, low-key sister to the more high-spirited and cosmopolitan Ibiza and Majorca. Menorca’s chilled-out atmosphere is intoxicating, and the island’s sleepy vibes run through the laid-back cafes and bars, as well as the shady coves and along the sun-dappled coastline. A perfectly tranquil day could include sampling a delicious local dish on the Cala’n Porter harbour-front, taking in the rays lounging on the beach, and rounding off the evening visiting the popular Aloha Cocktail Bar.
This island’s reputation as a hub for ecstatic nights out and staying out until dawn is justified, but the heart-racing parties are just one part of the Ibiza experience. If you are visiting for the world-class DJs and dancing you will be more than satisfied, but perhaps you are equally excited by the history and culture of the island. If so, you can visit the old quarter of Ibiza Town which is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, the wild flower-strewn hills of Portinatx, or travel inland for some authentic villages.
Must visit – Aside from the perfect beaches, what you consider a “must visit” in the Balearics will depend on what you want from your holiday. Looking for a family getaway? Try one of the many waterparks, explore a gorgeous wildlife area by taking a horse ride at the Menorca a Caballo, or enjoying a long stroll through the hidden gem Parc Nacional de Cabrera. Hungry for a great night out? Try Ibiza’s San Antonio or Playa d’en Bossa, Majorca’s Palma de Majorca or Magaluf.
Family fun – Kids and parents love the dreamy coastline around each of the Balearics islands, with the soft golden sands, the cafes and bars that line many of the beaches, and of course the warm sea that is perfect for paddling, swimming, and watersports. Majorca and Menorca are often visited by families, but Ibiza has plenty of family charms to enjoy away from the flashing lights of the clubs, too. When it comes to family holidays, Majorca’s Alcudia and Playa de Muro fit the bill, Menorca has the Aquarock waterpark and the capital city of Mahon, and Ibiza has Santa Eulalia and Es Cana.
Natural attractions – The Balearics are a treasure trove of beautiful views and sites, from the huge Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains in Majorca, to the beaches of Las Salinas in Ibiza. A cove on Sa Calobra beach in Majorca leads to 200m of shadowed tunnels that take you towards Torrent de Pareis, where you’ll find secluded spots that have never seen daylight. If you prefer the sun to underground gorges, Menorca’s Cala Turqueta is one of the most perfect and most photographed beaches in the Balearics, while Ibiza’s Cala d’Hort is a small beach with a spectacular view of the island of Es Vedra.
Culture and history – Visitors looking for culture in the Balearics will find it in droves throughout the islands’ museums and historical sites. There are ancient and prehistoric ruins in the shape of the Taulas of Menorca, the Teatre Roma in Majorca, and Sa Caleta Phoenician Settlement in Ibiza. As for museums, Majorca’s Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has more than 500 works of art, the Museo de Menorca is in an impressive baroque ex-convent and will reveal the island’s history, and Ibiza’s Necropolis del Puig des Molins is both a museum and an incredible and enormous cemetery.
Food and drink – The food and drinks you’ll find in the Balearic Islands are an evocative blend of Spanish dishes, Catalan cuisine, and a sprinkling of unique flavours from Majorca, Menorca, and beyond. You’ll be able to gorge on vegetable stews and fresh seafood, piquant sausages, light pastries and the Balearics twist on ratatouille: tumbet. Dishes are often topped with Mahon cheese and baked, such as the berenjenas rellenas which are stuffed aubergines, and the pizza-like coca de trampo which is topped with fresh vegetables. You can conclude each delightful meal with a measure of hierbas mallorquinas, which is a thick green locally-made herbal liqueur.
Night life – Ibiza is Europe’s barely-disputed nightclub Mecca, where clubbers from across the continent have been flocking for decades to enjoy the outrageous sights and sounds of the world’s greatest DJs. If this doesn’t sound to your tastes, there are countless ways to enjoy the Balearics experience in a more relaxing, even sophisticated way. Menorca offers a less boisterous nightlife, where revellers can hear live jazz and blues, sip sensuous cocktails, or relax in the chiringuitos (beach bars). Alternatively, Majorca’s diverse nightlife allows you to sip wine and enjoy the warm, tranquil Mediterranean evening, or to spend a party-packed night on the tiles.