A tale as old as time, holidaymakers love for the beautiful Balearics is unconditional and unrelenting. With buckets of beaches, spectacular sunshine and endless 'get away from it all' escapes – it's no wonder these idyllic islands are the backdrop for holiday happily-ever-afters year after year.
Strings to Spain's rather impressive bow, the Balearics are crowning glory to an already dazzling showcase of destinations. A twist on the traditional, there's much more on offer than the holiday staples of sun, sea and sand – although siestas and splash happy shenanigans are widely encouraged! Whether your tastes lean towards trendy hotspots and buzzing resorts, or secluded rural retreats and rolling countryside, there's something for everyone on this amazing archipelago.
Holidays here are all about the beach, but if you dare to tear yourself away from the towel you'll see there's more than meets the eye to these Balearic beauties. From towns that time forgot to Megalithic masterpieces, these shores have seen their fair share of action throughout the centuries. History hunters can catch a glimpse behind the curtain thanks to ancient edifices and archaeological sites.
Crowd pleasers to their very core, the islands haven't overlooked nature lovers. If you're in search of an outdoor adventure, look no further than Mallorca's mammoth Tramuntana Mountains or Menorca's Albufera Natural Park des Grau. Whether you're looking to hike, bike or something a little more extreme, there's a whole host of action-packed exploits to enjoy!
Delightfully mild in the winter months, summer is when the Balearics come into their own. With daytime averages of 26°C – 31°C, next to no rainfall and 10-11 hours of sunshine – a visit in July or August means toasty temperatures and plenty of vitamin D. If you favour slightly cooler climes, Spring and Autumn make for perfect off-peak options. September is a firm favourite for many, with wonderfully warm weather and sensational swimming conditions. The Mediterranean Sea feels like a blissful bath at 25°C, awesome for anyone looking to try their hand at wet and wild watersports.
There's never a dull moment on these Spanish sensations, which means choosing your holiday island host is one of the hardest decisions you'll have to make. Like all siblings, the islands have plenty of similarities, but each holds its own paradisiacal personality and charm. From laid-back living to energetic escapades, which one will win your heart?
The biggest of the bunch, Mallorca packs a punch when it comes to adventure antics and escaping the daily grind. Take your pick between bronzed beaches, towering mountain tops, picturesque peninsulas or the bright lights of Palma, and you'll see that barely scratches the surface! It's no wonder the island sees so many returning visitors, as it's physically impossible to squeeze so much into one holiday.
It's fair to say that most people's first port of call are the blissful bays that line the craggy coast. Long, golden shores stretch out for miles, tempting even the fussiest of beach goers with their crystal-clear waters and soft sands. From Blue Flag heaven to hard-to-reach hideaways, take your pick from a whopping 262 sun-kissed coves. Playa de Alcudia, Cala Llombards and Sa Calobra are some of the most beloved.
Postcard pin-up, Pollensa, is an unmissable day of discovery. Nestled in the north, a maze of cobbled streets snake their way around stunning stone buildings and Medieval marvels. From Roman rule to Moorish relics, the traditional town is peppered in historic remnants and amazing architecture that's still standing today. Walk up the main street of Puig and explore some bona fide 14th century real estate, where a modest monastery and charming chapel watch peacefully over the town. Once you've had your fill of uphill exploits, head back to the boutique-lined squares, bustling markets and elegant restaurants for a taste of authentic Mallorcan life.
A stone's throw from Pollensa lies the captivating coastline of Cap de Formentor. Here nature's beauty brims over into the sea, as majestic mountains plummet proudly into the wild waters below. If you're something of a sunset chaser, this is the spot to set up camp. Beside the lonely little lighthouse lies the best view in the house to watch the gorgeous golden display. Nature lovers aren't just restricted to the treasures above ground though, dive deep into the colossal cave system of Cuevas del Drach and explore the largest underground lake in all of Europe!
Magical Menorca might seem like it plays second fiddle to its bigger brother, but this little slice of island paradise is not to be overlooked. Perfect for family fun in the sun, the easy-going ambience and unspoilt natural landscapes are a one-stop-shop for rest and relaxation. Whether you're making the most of lazy mornings by your private pool, or taking a refreshing dip in the glistening Mediterranean Sea – the 300 days of sunshine have your holiday well and truly in hand.
This tranquil treasure was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993, so back-to-nature antics are a given on this relatively rural island. Adorned with rolling fields, sweet-scented woodland, soaring cliffs and wonderful wetlands, S'Albufera des Grau Nature Reserve is always a great place to start. Home to a whole host of wildlife, keep your eyes peeled for lizards and tortoises tucked away in the luscious vegetation. For the more seasoned explorer, take a hike along one of the island's most famous walking routes, the Camí de Cavalls. Handily divided into 20 sections of five to ten kilometre stints – you can pick and choose which gorgeous parts of the captivating coastline you want to see!
Get to grips with Menorca's heart and soul with a trip to the capital, Mahon. Here lies the biggest natural port in the Mediterranean – impressive for such a small island. Indulge in long, lazy lunches on the picturesque promenade or eat on the go courtesy of tasty Spanish street food. Saunter through colourful streets lined with colonial architecture or ready your sea legs for a boat tour around the harbour. The water is one of the best ways to take in the sights, so be sure to have your camera at the ready.
Boasting over 100 beaches, the islands' iconic white sands, rocky coves and sapphire blue waters are the real reason holidaymakers find themselves hooked – and who can blame them? Caribbean-style shores just a few short hours flight from the UK, what's not to love! Trademark essentials like gently sloping sands and shallow waters are all part of the package. So if the beach is at the centre of your holiday, finding your bliss will be easy on this Balearic.
Proof you should never judge a book by its cover, Ibiza is so much more than Spain's party playground. Beyond the buzzing nightlife and glamorous party scene, the island showcases all the laid-back characteristics of its chilled out neighbours. Carpeted in pine forests and speckled with scores of stunning coves, Mother Nature has left her mark on every inch of this rugged retreat. Dare to look under the surface and you'll discover a rich history and heritage lingers, with previous island ownership from the Romans, Byzantines, Moors and even the Catholic Church – there are traces of these ancient civilisations hidden in plain sight.
Dazzling Dalt Vila is sure to spark your wanderlust. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the maze of steep, cobblestone streets will lead you to the top of this iconic part of the island. Exploring by foot gets you up close and personal with the heart of Ibiza's capital, where you can wander the 16th century walls and look out in awe over the cultural treasure chest below. Picture-perfect panoramas and unparalleled sights sprawl out in every direction, with countless architectural creations and sweeping seascapes to swoon over. Once you've exhausted your legs and your camera battery, savour the one-of-a-kind atmosphere and stick around for the fabulous restaurants and bars.
Holidays and sunsets go together like buckets and spades. As luck would have it, watching the fiery ball dip into the shimmering, sapphire sea is a long-established Ibizan tradition. The infamous White Isle has no shortage of scenic spots to catch the sky show, from the rocky islands of Es Vedra and Es Vedranell to the quite coves of Es Codolar or Bennirás. Clue's in the name at San Antonio's Sunset Strip! Bubbling with excitement, the bustling waterfront is the most beloved place to watch the beautiful spectacle unfold.
Not to be outdone by its Balearic counerparts, Ibiza brings its a-game when it comes to natural beauty. Teeming with tranquil beaches, captivating caves, craggy coastlines and an unmissable, underwater world – there's plenty of outdoor activities to go around. If you're visiting during the summer months, be sure to visit one of the island's most distinctive landmarks, the Las Salinas Salt Flats. Water evaporates leaving behind a sparkling layer of salt, which locals dub 'white gold', as it became a huge export for thousands of years. Now a protected area within Ses Salines Natural Park, a huge eco-system that stretches all the way to Formentera!
Whatever tempo you're after, Ibiza is sure to play a tune that you can groove along to.
What picture do you conjure up when you're deep in beach daydreams? Whether you're picturing yourself on palm-fringed sandy shores or pebbly coves with no sound except the waves crashing against the stones – you'll be ticking all your beach boxes with a Balearic Island holiday. Embrace your inner islander and make the most of all things unhurried, where a 'leisurely pace' is as fast as things get!
Heart-of-the-action hotspots are sprinkled across this amazing archipelago, with a mix of lively resorts and family-friendly facilities to boot. Swap hustle and bustle for tranquillity and seclusion with your own slice of peaceful paradise. Countless little bays are hidden away between pine-clad hills and craggy cliffs. Although it might take a little more effort to track them down – the feeling of having an entire beach to yourself will never get old…
Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza know a thing or two about leaving their visitors spoilt for choice. Boasting 369 blissful beaches between them, how many will you visit?
It's no secret that Spanish dishes are some of the tastiest in the world, and the Balearics are no exception. Tantalise your tastebuds on a whole new level and tuck into mountains of mouth-watering tapas, as well as traditional culinary creations and a whole host of international cuisine. Fish dishes are in strong supply, with Menorca bringing something extra special to the table. Caldereta de langosta is the island's signature stew, lovingly cooked with onions, tomatoes, garlic, parsley and the pièce de résistance – lobster. Sourced locally, it's only available during the summer months and is often served with slices of freshly baked bread.
If you're too busy exploring to stop and eat, street-food stalls are the answer to all your hunger pang prayers! Serving up a selection of sweet-smelling treats and meat eats, you'll be salivating from the intoxicating scents long before you choose your on-the-go grub. To be fair, picking between patatas bravas, paella and empanadas isn't exactly easy!
Sugar fiends can satisfy their sweet tooth on all kinds of dessert deliciousness. Custards, pastries and the Balearic speciality of ensaïmadas can be found in bakeries everywhere. Of course, the iconic churro is often the first confectionary binge for most travellers. A holiday classic, dip the donut-like sticks into a pot of hot, melted dipping chocolate and savour every second of this delectable any-time-of-day dish.
If holidays are all about indulgence, then what better time to treat yourself to a spot of retail therapy? Teeming with one-of-a-kind keepsakes, well-known stores and a flurry of local markets, the islands have a lot to offer shopaholics and bargain browsers alike. Traditional craftsmanship is part and parcel of the Balearics cultural heritage. Using techniques passed down from generation to generation, you'll find unique, handmade souvenirs in open-air stalls and quirky little boutiques.
Mallorca is the go-to for fashion outlet stores and unbelievable discount deals, find your favourite brands at a fraction of the price and enjoy a stint of guilt-free splurging! A day out in the island's cosmopolitan capital, Palma, means luxurious designers, high-street havens and delectable dining. One of Menorca's most famous creations are the authentic Abarcas sandals. From peasantry, royalty and even celebrity – these shoes have seen it all, and they've gone global! Although you'll be able to track down a pair almost anywhere in the world, it doesn't hold a candle to bagging the real deal from an authentic Menorcan shoemaker. The capital of Mahón has a handful of rustic hideaways and mainstream stores, just be sure you've allowed enough time to painstakingly choose between all those different colour options!
Ibiza is a law unto itself when it comes to the shopping scene. Thanks to the jet-set elite and chic celebrity hangouts, the island has a whole host of designer boutiques lining glamorous streets. Swoon over stylish collections and luxury labels, or trade in A-list prices for beautiful bohemia at trendy open-air markets. Ibiza takes the crown when it comes to individuality, from artisan crafts to hippie clothes and fresh produce, there's countless places to browse all things beautiful and bespoke.
Hitting the open road and having unfettered access to all the Balearics' best bits will be the icing on your holiday cake. With a simple and straightforward road system, you'll be cruising along coastlines and winding along hilltop highways in no time. Transporting you from panoramic viewpoints to the seclusion of your dream villa, buckle up and let the good times roll! Journey across luscious landscapes, majestic mountains and seaside streets as you discover the diverse islands and all they have to offer. Hiring a car gives you oodles of freedom to explore on your own steam, so you can pull over for those extra-special view points and detour to last-minute recommendations. Divide and conquer with bitesize bucket list chunks and you'll never want to holiday without your own four wheels again…
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