The Balearic Islands are located in the western Mediterranean Sea between Spain and Africa’s northern coast. This archipelago (or cluster of islands) is also near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The Balearic Islands are collectively considered a province of Spain, although they maintain relative autonomy. The capital is the city of Palma, and there are two official languages on these islands: Spanish and Catalan.
There are a plethora of Balearic Island beaches (almost 300 to be exact) located in the archipelago. The Balearic Islands are comprised of four main islands, and a series of smaller, or “minor” islands. The four major islands, in order from biggest to smallest are, Mallorca (also known as Majorca), Minorca (sometimes referred to as Menorca), Ibiza, and Formentera. An interesting side note is that Mallorca, Minorca, and one of the minor islands, Cabrera, are often times referred to as the Gymnesian Islands, while Ibiza and Formentera are grouped together and collectively referred to as the Pine Islands.
On a vacation to the Balearic Islands, you can enjoy a variety of activities. Besides the obvious relaxation in the sun and warm waters, tourists are able to take part in boat excursions to uninhabited islands such as Cabrera. Island goers looking for things to do in the Balearic Island chain will find deep-sea diving and fishing, scuba, surfing, hang gliding, hiking through the mountainous regions, and much more.
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, is known not only for its breathtaking beaches and island sunsets, but also for its mountains that cover a good portion of the island. These mountains are a popular attraction for hikers visiting Mallorca. Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands have become such famous tourist destinations, that the island now boasts an amazing more than 2,000 restaurants. There are also a range of options to suit any desired vacation in terms of lodging, from beachfront condominiums and villas, to hotels, motels, and even hostels. Mallorca is home to some of the most frequently visited Balearic Island beaches.
Minorca, which literally takes its name from being smaller than nearby Mallorca, is less developed than its larger counterpart and has managed to remain a bit less affected by tourism. Different cultural influences meld together on this island to offer a distinctive travel experience for its visitors. Evidence of Catalan, Spanish, and British traditions can be seen in the island’s cuisine, architecture, summer fiestas, and as a result of their former colonial rulers, a lingering affinity for gin. If you are planning a vacation to the Balearic Islands, you should consider including Minorca in your itinerary.
Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic archipelago, and although it is trying to a large extent to shed its image as a wild party tourist destination, it is known as the hotspot for nightlife and partying. Ibiza is a popular destination for many celebrities who visit during the summer months for the fabled beach parties and clubs. For a taste of nightlife off of the Spanish Iberian Peninsula in the Mediterranean, Ibiza is the place.
The Balearic Island beaches on Formentera may in fact be the most tranquil and pristine. Tourists looking for a more serene and relaxing time plan their vacation to the Balearic Islands with one destination in mind: Formentera. The southernmost of all of the islands in the archipelago, Formentera, is less disrupted by tourism and draws a host of visitors interested in water sports, luxurious beachfront living, and the tranquil atmosphere.