Floating between Spain and the North African coast, the Balearic Islands are so packed with attractions that you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice. Who needs the mainland? Culture, history, fabulous cuisine, natural beauty in every direction…there’s something for everyone here.
You don’t have to be a party animal or package-resort fan to enjoy the balmy Balearics. Between them, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera have far more to offer than lazy days on the beach and all-nighters in sizzling super-clubs. Dive in and see for yourself!
Day 1: Marvelous Mallorca
The largest of the four islands, Mallorca is a well-rounded destination in its own right, with interesting museums and galleries, grand old buildings and dramatically diverse landscapes. Capital Palma's waterfront is dominated by a huge golden Gothic cathedral, and remnants of the island’s Islamic heritage dot the city: fountains, courtyards, well preserved 10th-century Arab baths and the Palau de Almudaina, an imposing Moorish palace. Picturesque coves, beaches and cliffs define Mallorca’s coastline; inland, you’ll find typical Mallorcan villages such as cultured Valldemossa, and Sóller with its cute wooden train. Towering sierras and a vast network of atmospheric caves add to the variety. Home to an enormous subterranean lake, the Caves of Drach are a must – there might even be a classical concert on while you’re there!
Day 2: Magical Menorca
Perhaps because it’s the furthest island from the mainland, Menorca is less of a holiday hot-spot than its popular neighbors…which means you won’t be battling the tourist hordes when you lay your towel on one of its unspoiled beaches or visit its fascinating Bronze Age sites. , the island’s elegant capital, will charm you with its historic port and open-air market; while the sleepy fishing village of Fornells is famous throughout Spain for its caldereta de langosta (lobster stew). Take in the panoramic Mediterranean views from Monte Toro, the island’s highest peak, or sip a locally brewed gin (ginebra) in the cliff’s-edge bar at the Caves of Xoroi…¡Salud!
Day 3: Soaking up the Sunshine
In a climate like this, you’ll want to take advantage of all those glorious rays. Menorca’s southwestern coast is crammed with craggy coves and secluded, sunny beaches that can’t be reached by land – so why not take a cruise? You’ll probably have this dreamy corner of the island to yourself! Northeastern Mallorca also has some lovely swimming spots: from the Bay of Pollenca, you can take a short boat ride to Formentor, a scenic beach with crystalline water. For a bird’s-eye view of Mallorca’s northern coastline, the splendid vista from Es Colomer will leave you breathless.
From Palma de Mallorca, there are two train lines and an extensive bus system that services just about everywhere on the island. There are loads of car rental companies in the city, and you can hire bikes here and in many of the smaller villages.
Menorca isn't quite as developed; to get from the airport to Mahón you'll need to take a taxi. Three bus companies offer access to most of the island, as well as plenty of places to rent cars, motorcycles and bikes.