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Guide to the Balearic Islands

Balearic Islands East Mallorca

The Balearic Islands lie in the western Mediterranean off the east coast of mainland Spain. The best known and most visited of the four main islands are Mallorca and Ibiza which are two of Europe's top holiday spots.

Ibiza is world renowned for its sizzling nightlife whilst Mallorca is all things to all people – princes and poets are drawn to the island along with pop idols and package holidaymakers.

Menorca is popular with those who want sunshine and breathtaking scenery without the crowds and fast pace of top resorts such as Mallorca's manic Magaluf. Holidaymakers seeking total tranquility head for the beautiful, unspoilt island of Formentera which is a mecca for nature lovers (and naturists) from all over Europe.

The Cabrera National Park, to the south of Mallorca, is an archipelago of 19 small islands which are part of the Balearics but only day trips are allowed and even an overnight stay in a private boat requires a permit.

Together the islands form one of Spain's 17 autonomous communities. Different versions of the Catalan language predominate on all of the islands though English is widely spoken in the resort areas.

Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca all have international airports and numerous low cost airlines offer cheap flights from the UK and other European destinations (flying time from London is around 2.5 hours). Formentera is reached by ferry from Ibiza Town – the journey takes between 35 minutes and an hour depending on whether you take the fast or standard ferry. There are regular ferries between all the four main islands and day excursions from Mallorca around the Cabrera marine reserve.

Which of the Balearic Islands should you visit?

Both Ibiza and Mallorca are ideal destinations for party people as well as families with teenagers or other groups of individuals who may have very different expectations when it comes to a Mediterranean holiday. It's a common misconception that Ibiza is only for round-the-clock razzlers. It certainly boasts some of the world's biggest and best nightclubs but they're largely confined to the two main resorts of Ibiza Town and San Antonio. There are plenty of relaxed resort areas which are ideal for families and the northern end of the island is a delight to explore with its lush, green countryside, rugged cliffs and hidden coves.

Similarly, Mallorca offers both action-packed seaside resorts along with wild, mountainous areas, traditional villages untainted by tourism and remote beaches only accessible by boat or on foot. Magaluf, in the South West corner of the island, is the main magnet for British package holidaymakers and has become notorious for attracting the most hardened revelers.

Castle in the Balearic Islands

Meanwhile neighbouring Palma, the cosmopolitan capital of the Balearics, lures millionaires and movie moguls to its sumptuous five-star hotels.

Elsewhere on the island, serenity seekers spend their holidays in converted castles, medieval monasteries and rural farmhouses which seem a million miles away from Magaluf.

Menorca 's attractions include more than 100 beaches, a wealth of historic sites to explore, some of the finest seafood restaurants in the archipelago and a good range of family-orientated sports and leisure facilities.

All but the youngest kids might find Formentera too quiet for anything more than a day visit. There's not much action on the island but there are some lovely unspoilt beaches and good quality restaurants serving up traditional local fare. So it's the perfect place for those who want to play Robinson Crusoe for a couple of weeks…without the need to catch their own fish!

Market Days in the Balearics

  • Monday
    Calvìa, Manacor, Montuïri
  • Tuesday
    Alcudia, Artà, Campanet, Sta. Margalida.
  • Wednesday
    Andratx, Capdepera, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Llucmajor, Port de Polleça, Santanyi, Sineu, Vilafranca.
  • Thursday
    Arenal, Campos, Inca.
  • Friday
    Alaro, Algaida, Binissalem, Son Servera, Ca'n Picafort.
  • Saturday
    Arenal, Buger, Bunyola, Cala Rajada, Palma, Santanyi, Soller, Playa de Muro.
  • Sunday
    Alcudia, Felanitx, Llucmajor, Pollença, Porto Cristo, Santa Maria, Valldemossa.

Balearic Islands - Views across the rooftops of Ciutadella, Menorca

Transport in the Balearics Islands


Line 1 - Camping Cala Blava-Alcudia Pins-Playas de Muro-Ciudad Blanca-Alcudia-Puerto Alcudia-Palma-Inca.

This line goes virtually every hour starting at 6:30 in the morning from Camping Cala Blava.
On Sunday the service starts at 7:20. It only does 4 more trips at 8:50, 9:50, 13:50 and 18:50.

Airlines and flights to the Balearic Islands

If you are a resident of the Balearic Islands, you are entitled to a special certificate (obtainable from the town hall) granting you a very welcome 50% discount off the cost of flights (Spanish Airlines).

Airport - Tel: + 34 971 789 000

Airport Information - Tel: + 34 971 789 099

Lost and Found - Tel: + 34 971 789 456

Air Algerie - Tel: + 34 971 717 225

Air Europa - Tel: + 34 971 178 190  + 34 971 178 190

Air France – Sabena - Tel: + 34 971 713 500

Air Nostrum - Tel: + 34 902 200 222

Aviaco - Tel: + 34 902 400 500

British Airways - Tel: + 34 971 789 142

British Midland - Tel: + 34 971 789 269

Condor - Tel: + 34 971 787 999

Hapag Lloyd - Tel: + 34 971 787 950

Iberia - Tel: + 34 902 400 500

Lufthansa - Tel: + 34 971 723 664

LTU - Tel: + 34 971 789 910

Spanair - Tel: + 34 971 780 245

Swissair - Tel: + 34 971 789 452