The Balearic Islands are some of Spain’s most beloved holiday destinations. Made up of 151 islands, only five are inhabited - Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera. The rest are easily reached by boat.
Holidaymakers have been coming to this archipelago for years and it’s easy to see why. Thanks to its picturesque port towns, quaint fishing villages, beaches to die for and some of Europe’s liveliest party destinations, the islands are popular with everyone. From fantastic shopping, to sightseeing and sunbathing, the Balearic Islands are varied and have something for everyone.
You can expect year-round sunshine as the islands are set in the Mediterranean Sea, between Spain and the coast of North Africa
If you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday then head to Menorca which is ideal for families and couples. If you want to find the party, then Ibiza and its 24 hour clubs is for you. For a little bit of culture, Majorca has many historical sites for you to discover. For the quiet life, get lost in Formentera or go wild in Cabrera's protected national park.
Floating away from the mainland of Spain, the Balearic Islands offer you something a little different. Whatever you want from your holiday, you will find it on one of these unique islands.
Top destinations in Balearic Islands
from £96 pp
from £128 pp
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Top resorts in Balearic Islands
from £154 pp
Cales de Majorca
from £263 pp
from £129 pp
Most popular hotels in Balearic Islands
Club Cala Romani Hotel
Cales de Majorca, Majorca
BH Mallorca Hotel
Cala Gran - Costa del Sur
Cala d'Or, Majorca
Don Bigote Hotel
Palma Nova, Majorca
Club Del Sol Aparthotel
Puerto Pollensa, Majorca
San Antonio, Ibiza
Sun Club El Dorado
Puig de Ross, Majorca
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Spanish
- Time Zone: GMT +1
- Average flight time: 2h 25m
When to go
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The Balearic Islands are blessed to be surrounded by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, so it’s no surprise that this area is the arrival point for many Mediterranean yacht cruises. The crystal clear waters around the islands are perfect for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving.
Beach lovers can enjoy sunbathing at Las Salinas on Ibiza, find a deserted spot on Formentera, or the perfect little cove on Menorca.
Known as the Jewel of the Balearics, Menorca has many picturesque coves that are worth a visit. Cala Galdana has a train service that runs along the coast. You can explore the nearby beaches of Cala Macarella and Cala Turqueta which can also be reached by coastal path.
Majorca is famous for its caves, particularly the extraordinary Cuevas del Drac where your visit will peak with an unforgettable concert on an underground lake. Another natural wonder that lives on the Balearic’s largest island is the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains. Unsurprisingly, the highest point of the Balearic Islands is the Puig Major on Majorca that rises 1432 metres above sea level. Pack your hiking boots if you want to explore these incredible peaks.
Majorca’s Palma Cathedral is a must see gothic wonder, as is the old capital city of Ciudadella in Menorca. Packed with a stunning cathedral, elegant palacios and medieval churches, the historic city isn’t one to miss.
Wine and Dine
Seafood is a firm favourite on the Balearic Islands. Both the Mallorquin shrimp and the Menorquin lobster are unique to the islands and cannot be found in any other part of the Mediterranean. You will find these crustaceans on many menus and food markets. Fresh fish and shell fish feature on most of the restaurant’s menus, as does traditional Spanish dishes like paella and tapas.
Interestingly, mayonnaise was invented in Mahon in Majorca, so expect to receive this, freshly made, when you ask for condiments.
The best way to enjoy the local cuisine is to visit open-air cafés and restaurants and watch life go by. Washed down with a carafe of sangria, you will always have a meal to remember on the Balearic Islands.
Families will have a brilliant holiday at each one of the Balearic Islands. With the mix of sea, sand, great food, attractions and culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Soller Railway will take you back in time. The electric train will take you to along 28 kilometres of track to Soller, on Majorca’s north western coast.
In Puerto San Miguel, Ibiza the piratey looking C’an Marca Caves play host to a music and light show that light up the caves and stalagmites, which the whole family will enjoy.
Action and Adventure
With great big peaks, hidden caves and miles of beaches, the Balearic Islands have something to set your pulse racing.
If you are feeling adventurous take a trip to the Caves of Drach in Majorca, where a set of four whopping chambers are hidden inside cliffs near Porto Cristo. Stalactites and stalagmites hang on to every surface. The deeper the go, the more you find as the caves are home to one of the world’s biggest underground lakes.
Above ground, the salt flats at Ses Salines are home to flocks of migratory birds. Birdwatchers will love seeing the waders and wildfowl on the saltpans.
Take a rural hike along the path from Sa Gremola to Sant Elm during your Balearic Island holiday. From here the views across the Tramuntana Range and the Mediterranean island of Dragonera are a breathtaking and will be the highlight of your journey.
Life's a Beach
You cannot take a holiday to the Balearic Island without a visit to the beach. Each of the islands offer stunning beaches with various activities. Surrounded by the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea, you will have a choice of simply sunbathing, swimming in the clear sea trying some sort of water sport.
Menorca promises quiet and peaceful beaches like Binibeca and Cales Coves in Cala’n Porter. While Formentera’s bay has a five mile stretch of Blue Flag beach at Platja Migjorn. Off the beaches of Carbrera you might spot a dolphin or two, so don’t forget your binoculars. Or if you want to take the plunge, go snorkelling, wind surfing and kite surfing in the clear waters of the Badia de Palm on Majorca.
With some of the best night clubs in the world, you are bound to find your perfect party island in the Balearics.
Majorca has a healthy mix of karaoke bars, pubs and late night nightclubs in Magaluf which is popular with the 18 to 30 crowd, while the resorts of Alcudia and Cala Bona are filled with many atmospheric bars.
Hedonistic Ibiza has a world renowned nightlife scene. Keen party-goers flock here for the super clubs, which include some of the largest nightclubs in the world with some of the top-selling Djs.
In contrast to Majorca and Ibiza, Menorca’s is much more low-key and nightlife usually hotel-based. However in the cities of Mahón and Ciutadella there is a choice of bona fide nightspots.
If you come to the Balearic Islands for a romantic holiday, you won’t be disappointed.
Formentor Beach, in the Majorca town of Pollensa, offers sunbathers a quiet haven away from the lively town. Treat yourselves, and rent loungers on the private five star Formentor Hotel part of the beach. For a true chill out together, go to one of Pollensa’s top-notch spas that deliver true tranquillity. In the evenings, the best place to gather is in the Placa Major square where classical concerts occur during the summer months.
To completely drop off the radar together, go to Formentera which has 20 kilometre of coastline that is sprinkled with secluded stretches of white sand. In Menorca, the coastal town of Binidali has a variety of restaurants that provide a romantic ambience for couples looking for a quiet retreat. The fishing village of Cala Torret at the eastern end offer wonderful vistas set above the rocks, where most of the restaurants and bars are located.
For those that want more from their Balearic Island holiday, go to towns and villages to find out more about its 8000 year history from the pieces of the past that have been left behind.
Menorca has famous prehistoric formations from the Talayot era that include the most important stone sites of the Talatí de Dalt. Menorca is rich in historical sites such as the navetas, ancient burial sites, with the naveta of Es Tudons being the oldest building in Europe.
In Majorca, the town of Valldemossa is worth a pilgrimage, if only to see the monastery where the composer Frederic Chopin once stayed. Another of Majorca’s monasteries is Lluc Monastery from the 13th century. Expect some crowds as every year thousands come to pay homage.