What To Do In The Balearic Islands
The Balearic Islands are located on the west coast of Spain, surrounded by the Mediterranean. The Balearic Islands are made up of 4 islands - Mallorca (Majorca), Menorca (Minorca), Ibiza and Formentera. The islands are known for their beautiful white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and colonial towns.
When Should I Go To The Balearic Islands?
July and August are the hottest months, averaging above 30°C, but they are also the busiest. If you prefer a quieter holiday but still want the sun, then September is when the peak season is drawing to a close but the temperature is still in the 20s.
Maybe you don’t mind a bit of a chill, though, and want to go to a peaceful island. In December, the average temperature is 15°C. Some people even prefer it in winter; check out Inma from A World To Travel’s guide to an off-peak break in the Balearics. Still warm enough to walk on the beach without freezing but you won’t have to fight with any tourists for tables in the restaurants or rooms in the hotels.
Which island should I go to?
It depends what you’re looking for! All 4 islands have their peaceful side whilst also having an exciting nightlife, but there are some elements that are characteristic to each island:
- Mallorca is busy, vibrant and got a bit of something for everyone.
- Menorca is quiet, authentic and perhaps better suited for kids.
- Ibiza’s notoriety as a clubbing destination isn’t misplaced - this is where you go to party.
- Formentera is for the nature lovers looking for a slower, peaceful holiday.
Things To Do In The Balearic Islands
The capital of Mallorca is definitely a family destination so if you like the all-inclusive big family holidays, then Palma is the place to be. Most of the hotels and villas are part of big resorts which usually have kids clubs, huge pools and activities throughout the day. It’s a great place to meet other families, so the younger members will have kids their own age to play with whilst you relax by the pool or beach.
If you’re more adventurous, immerse yourself in the underground world of the Caves of Drach. The tour of the stunning stalactite formations is breathtaking and ends with a classical music concert on one of the largest underground lakes in the world.
Just off the south coast of Mallorca, there is an archipelago. The biggest islet is Cabrera, a National Park which is home to an amazing variety of wildlife. If you’re a nature lover, this is the place for you in Majorca where you can see lizards and birds of prey in their natural habitat. Hire a boat early in the morning so you can make the most of a full day trip there. Make sure you have plenty of food and water for the day!
Glass-bottom boat rides in Mahon
Mahon is the biggest natural harbour in the Mediterranean. Take a boat trip around Port Mahon to see the town from a whole new perspective. Yellow Catamarans have boats with underwater decks, submerging you into the water so you have a panoramic view all the sea life. This takes the glass-bottomed boat to a whole new level. After, you can spend a whole day in Mahon; the pictures in this post from Yaya on the Hand Luggage Only blog show just how many hidden gems the city holds.
Climb El Toro
El Toro is the highest hill in Menorca. Even though it is only 358m tall but the view still stretches across the whole island - just search ‘Monte Toro Menorca’ on Instagram to see why so many people climb to the top.
Walking through Ciutadella Old Town, you can’t help but marvel at the beautiful Baroque and Gothic architecture. Sit along the quay for dinner or visit the open-air markets which showcase amazing street food, colourful clothes and handcrafted homeware.
Ibiza is party central. Everyone has a different opinion about which club is the best but there is a lot to be said for Amnesia (3-time winner of Best Global Club in 2007, 2008 and 2009) and Pacha Ibiza, an international clubbing brand which originated in Ibiza. However, this will all depend on whether you like the venues with a 3,000-5,000 capacity or you prefer to find somewhere a little less mainstream. If you don’t know where to start, head to Playa d’en Bossa, the Sunset Strip in San Antonio or the Port of Ibiza Town for the buzzing atmosphere. It is always worth having a quick search online to see what clubs are available and if tickets are needed in advance, as paying on the door can often cost a fortune.
Ibiza’s party towns are in the east and west of the island, so head north to the quiet, white sand beaches. Cala Xarraca is a tiny bay, only a 5-minute drive from San Juan, with crystal clear water and a natural mud bath said to have healing qualities. And if you always dreamed of horse riding by the beach at sunset, be sure to visit the Ibiza horse valley in the north of the island. This rescue horse centre offers guided rides in the forest or the beaches surrounding.
Formentera is the quiet neighbour to Ibiza. Just a ferry trip away from the party hotspots, this peaceful island is best known for its beautiful white sand and blue waters. Laze on the beach, indulge in gorgeous food and drink, and unwind from daily life. Although there are lovely sights to see on the island, the best way to experience it is to dip your toes in the ocean and embrace the peace.
What To Eat
You can’t go to a Spanish island and not try this dish! It’s made with rice, seafood or meat, beans, snails (occasionally), as well as a variety of herbs. Cap Roig in Mallorca is located at the top of a hill, has been in service for 30 years, and is popular with locals. For more inspiration, you have to read this mini guide to Mallorcan food from Travel with Kat - it’ll make your mouth water!
- Arroz negre
(Black Squid Ink Rice), is a dish made with cuttlefish or squid, mixed with rice. The traditional recipe contains squid ink as a dressing which is poured onto the paella style rice. A great place to try this dish is Es Codol Format in Formentera.
- Guisat de Peix is a typical fish dish from Ibiza. The dish contains potatoes, rock fish, onions, tomatoes almonds, oil and seasoning. A great place to try this typical dish in at Restaurante Es Pins in Ibiza.
What Should I Know Before I Go?
Don’t drink the tap water
It’s fine for washing dishes and brushing your teeth, but don’t drink it. It’s not going to make you particularly unwell but it is high in sodium and chlorine in some areas so it tastes pretty unpleasant.
Don’t wing a night out in Ibiza
Not only are tickets for the best events more expensive on the door than if you pre-pay, you might not be able to get in. Also, make sure your tickets are legitimate as lots of people will try to sell you fakes.
Did you know?
Mallorca’s capital, Palma, has 4 times more residents than its neighbour, Menorca has on the whole island.
Menorca has 121 miles of beaches which is more than Mallorca and Ibiza combined.
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