Long gone are the days when ‘the water in Majorca don’t taste like it ought to’ – nowadays this sunny Med island and her sisters are the height of fashion. In fact, the Balearics (a.k.a. the holiday islands) offer all the great things about holidaying in Spain, but with even more emphasis on the beautiful beach and ocean!
So, while you may already have a love affair with Majorca (completely understandable) – you may not be aware of the other, less well-known, Balearic islands. Luckily, we’re here to fill you in, so you can jazz-up your next Spanish holiday with something a little different…
As the largest of the Balearics and one of the more popular islands, Majorca remains the jewel of the Balearics and is easily accessible and affordable. Sometimes unfairly stereotyped as only offering sunshine, booze, British grub and high-rise hotels (which in fairness, are all readily available if you want them), there’s plenty more to this gorgeous island. The stunning capital city of Palma offers history galore, plus you don’t have to roam far to find quaint old towns, villages and plenty of isolated coves. The lush hilly terrain of the island also provides a hotbed of opportunities for hikers, and for serious adventures there’s the incredible Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, which was granted World Heritage Status by UNESCO in 2011.
Offering more tranquillity than Majorca, but still plenty of options for tourists, Menorca has over 200 kilometres of coastline and a healthy sprinkling of beaches, many of which remain untouched. A popular choice for family holidays, there’s less of a party-vibe here than in Majorca. As well as spending lazy days on the island’s fantastic beaches, the pretty capital city of Mao-Mahon makes for a great day trip, offering scenic ambles and cultural wonders such as a historic fort (La Mola) and the ruins of an ancient village (Torralba d’en Salord).
Renowned for glitz, glamour, parties and celebs – Ibiza has a unique character and lures die-hard clubbers from far and wide. Touted as the birthplace of the rave, you’ll find the world’s most famous clubs and bars and a splattering of celebrities. But aside from the parties, Ibiza actually offers a little something for everyone, with accommodation ranging from five-star to budget hotels, huge country villas, hippy-esque hostels and boutique Bohemian resorts. Unlike the south, the north of the island has a more chilled vibe with plenty of quiet spots, scenic walking trails, woodland and lonely coves.
Located just four miles south of Ibiza and easy to reach by boat, the tiny island of Formentera has a completely different atmosphere to its neighbour. Quiet and unpretentious, it’s home to pristine white-sand beaches, lantern-lit hippy markets and bohemian restaurants. Oh and if you do fancy livening things up a little, the island is renowned for its relaxed approach to nude sunbathing – dare to bare? Plus, there’s also a smaller, more intimate nightlife scene on the island’s north coast with beach-lined cocktail bars and al fresco restaurants.
Privately owned, you MAY be able to holiday on this pretty island – just as long as you are loaded, that is. With just one villa, Tagomago can accommodate a maximum of 10 guests in five suites, and prices start from a mere £88,495 for a week’s stay – with specific fees available on request. It’s the seclusion (and unaffordability for us mere mortals) that gives this island the celeb-appeal, with Cristiano Ronaldo and his girlfriend on the list of previous holidaymakers.
Small, rocky and uninhabited, Es Vedra is claimed by many to have a mystical presence and a boat trip from nearby Ibiza is a popular excursion. Abundant legends and myths surrounding the limestone island include the existence of sea nymphs, and (more recently) UFOs sightings – with conspiracists claiming there’s a secret UFO base under the sea. Hmm.
This uninhabited islet is located off the southern coast of Majorca and with a postcard-perfect National Park, makes for a great day trip. It can be easily reached by motorboat from Majorca (most people travel from Sant Jordi – 45 minutes) and sightings of flying fish and dolphins are common. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular, with untouched beaches, fantastic snorkelling opportunities and breathtaking mountain walks. Many boat excursions also include a trip to the magical Blue Cave, where the shallow turquoise waters are great for a dip!
Tempted? low-cost flights from the UK to the main islands are easy-peasy during the warmer months and competitive holiday packages are readily available. Plus, there are plenty of ferries if you fancy visiting the more remote islands. Or how about an island-hopping holiday? Exciting huh? Just remember to plan ahead as the boats between islands can get busy in summer. Happy travelling!