The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of islands set like jewels in the azure Mediterranean Sea; from South to North there lie the islands of Formentera, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
Mallorca is some 180 kilometres distant from the port of Barcelona to the North, and Ibiza is around 90 kilometres to the east of the port of Denia on the Costa Blanca. All four inhabited islands have at their disposal modern international airport links.
The largest island, Mallorca (also known as the ‘Isle of Dreams’), has a varied landscape of mountains and valleys, rocky coves and sandy beaches. The main geographical feature is the Sierra del Norte, a mountain range running along the northern coast. The island is covered with pines, and with olive and almond trees, which blanket the countryside with blossoms in springtime.
Menorca still has the marks of its ancient history and a strong connection with Britain; owing to Admiral Nelson’s stay on the island. Both the capital Mahón and the old town of Ciutadella, at the north end of the island, are set at the ends of deep inlets forming natural harbours. There are many bays and lovely beaches on the island.
Ibiza, the third-largest island, has a rugged coastline with many fruit orchards and woods. The main town of the same name is situated above a busy harbour.
A narrow channel separates Ibiza from Formentera, the smallest inhabited island in the group.
Between them the Balearic Islands have around 375 recognised beaches, ranging from fine city and resort beaches with fabulous facilities for leisure and relaxation, to tiny coves reachable only by boat; where you can be alone and at peace with the world.
There is no doubt that the fine sand on many of the beaches, coupled with glorious scenery and excellent installations make the Balearic Islands one of the worlds premier beach holiday destinations.
Whichever island, whichever resort that you choose, there will be a fabulous selection of beaches to suit all tastes within a short distance of your accommodation.
Of course the bigger the resort the more likely you are to find comprehensive leisure activities, options for food and refreshments and playgrounds for children, along with the security of lifeguards and first aiders. Most beaches have good quality restaurants and bars offering a wide choice of local and international refreshments.
Leisure & Recreation
The Balearic Islands are a Mecca for all sorts of sports activities; the range is quite staggering. There are riding schools, tennis clubs, golf courses, athletics clubs, go-kart centres, and much more. Check local information of your intended destination to see what is available.
Likewise with water-sports, from diving to windsurfing, all options are covered. Fishing is also very popular and the waters around the islands are rich and fruitful. Surf-casting, rock fishing, along with boat hire – crewed or self hire, are available for fishing expeditions. Alongside fishing there are a number of companies who can offer hunting expeditions and equipment.
Cycling is very popular on the islands and several international teams make this their base for pre-season training; as a consequence there are many easy to follow routes of varying difficulty. Even the casual cyclist can enjoy a day or two cycle hire and gently meander along the quiet roads, drinking in the scents and scenery, stopping at a roadside inn for delicious local refreshment.
Walking and rambling in the hills and valleys of the islands is a year round pleasure. There are many rural locations, which make ideal bases to intimately enjoy the glorious countryside. Again, safe marked routes are to be found in most areas.
In summary, whatever your sport, it is likely to be represented in the Balearics and the local associations welcome visitors with open arms.
Culture and Excursions
The Island’s local authorities have produced multilingual guides for those interested in discovering the history and culture of their chosen destination.
Whichever island you travel to, you are unlikely to be far from a local fiesta or event during your stay. Check with your tourist office on arrival. They will often also be able to give your discounted entrance tickets to leisure parks and other attractions. Don't be shy about asking!
The traditional cuisine of the Balearic Islands stems from the cultivation of the rich farmland and centuries of hunting and fishing; from the popular fried Mallorcan fish to shellfish with vegetables and lobster stew; fresh island lamb (either roast or in dishes such as Panadera, Freixurat, and Trunyelles) to flavoursome pork sausages (Sobrassades, Botifarró blanc, Botifarró negre, Carn i xua, Cuixot) and fabulously delicious fresh goats cheese with herbs.
Here and there are reminders of an English influence, perhaps best seen in the meat and fish pies. Many of the islands sweets and desserts make use of the lighter cheeses, herbs, honey and almonds.
The Balearics enjoy a mild Mediterranean climate, with often very warm temperatures even in the depths of winter; at the same time snow has been seen on the mountains during winter.
The temperate nature of the climate and the fertile nature of the landscape mean that in the autumn, winter and spring you may encounter some rain, which is often heavy, but short lived. The summer months are long and lazy, with plenty of sunshine to enjoy.