Silky white sand beaches, crystal blue waters, luxe hotels, fine dining, shopping for days, sights, activities and water sports to keep you occupied for an endless amount of time, the draw of the Balearics is clear to see. The four islands that make up this Mediterranean hot spot – Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca and Formentera – are distinct and have managed, through years of tourism, to retain their individual identities. Often will a traveller be left wanting more, with a future trip or even the notion of a more permanent return in mind, such is the draw of the islands.
So, what it is that makes the Balearics such a desirable place to travel to for so many people? The versatility of the islands and the resorts and landscapes within offer up so many options for every type of traveller. Whether you are looking for a romantic trip with your loved one, a family-friendly holiday, a solo wellness retreat, clubber’s paradise, a vacation with friends, whether you are hoping to relax, party, explore, you will find a holiday to suit your desires here.
When to go
Though the archipelago enjoys mild winters, and the destinations will offer up a pleasant holiday throughout the year, the best time to visit is during spring and summer. Temperatures have been known to hit the forties, but the beaches, pools and evening strolls are a great way to cool off and the average temperature for the hottest month of August is around the mid-twenties. With travel restrictions still currently in place and lockdowns affecting many countries still, it may not be the best time to book, though if you have a trip in mind for this year, then it’s certainly worth opting for Covid holiday insurance should the pandemic get in the way of your plans.
Which island to choose
As mentioned, the four main islands all provide something unique, so consider what it is you want from your destination and where best you can find it. Here, we take a closer look at the islands and explore what each place offers up.
The largest of the islands, Mallorca offers up lush landscapes, excellent shopping opportunities, pretty towns and villages, gorgeous beaches, trendy bars and restaurants and medieval sights, among other highlights. Head to the north and east of the island for the best resorts and beaches, which are second to none in the Mediterranean, while capital Palma is a busy hot spot hosting half of the island’s 900,000 plus population alongside historical highlights, including the 13th century Santa Maria Cathedral. Explore the island and discover the winning coast, inviting inland towns, thriving Palma and Roman and Moorish remains.
Ibiza has the reputation of being a clubber’s paradise, and while it plays host to some of the top tier DJs in the world at some of the more renowned clubs (Amnesia, pacha and Ushuaia) it certainly isn’t all that this island offers. Partygoers can head to Playa d’en Bossa and San Antonio to get their fill, while families, couples and those looking for a quieter trip will enjoy Santa Eularia, Cala Llonga, Portinatx and Puerto San Miguel. The food on the island is sublime, there are yoga and wellness retreats, stylish marinas, pine-clad hills, and plenty of excuses to get out exploring.
Those looking for a low-key getaway will enjoy the laid-back nature of Menorca, boasting more pristine beaches to enjoy, archaeological sites to discover and the charming capital of Mahon, which overlooks a harbour and boasts Georgian mansions and a church with 13th century origins. Ciutadella and Fornells provide pretty places to stay in between exploring the endless beaches, enjoying water sports and scaling Monte Toro.
The smallest isle, Formentera has a more artsy and hippy vibe thanks to its influx of visitors from the sixties who recognised its more relaxed nature than neighbouring Ibiza. The low-lying landscape will leave you mesmerised – white sands and turquoise waters at every turn – while the cool bars and beachside eateries provide the perfect setting for a romantic moment at sunset.
Reached by Ibiza via ferry, Formentera provides the perfect day trip from its busier neighbour, or visitors can stay here for a completely chilled vacation in stunning surroundings.