Guide to the Balearic Islands
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 tranquillity 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?
Ibiza and Mallorca
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 revellers.
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 the 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
Calvìa, Manacor, Montuïri
Alcudia, Artà, Campanet, Sta. Margalida.
Andratx, Capdepera, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Llucmajor, Port de Polleça, Santanyi, Sineu, Vilafranca
Arenal, Campos, Inca
Alaro, Algaida, Binissalem, Son Servera, Ca’n Picafort
Arenal, Buger, Bunyola, Cala Rajada, Palma, Santanyi, Soller, Playa de Muro
Alcudia, Felanitx, Llucmajor, Pollença, Porto Cristo, Santa Maria, Valldemossa.
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