The Balearic archipelago, located at the heart of the western Mediterranean, is less than one hour flight from any Spanish city, just a few hours by boat from the Spanish mainland ports, and less than two hours from Europe’s main capital cities.
The best of Mediterranean nature
The natural wealth of the Balearic Islands represents the most beautiful coexistence of the human being with nature, a wonderful natural work sculpted in a landscape that blends with native traditions and cultures. Idyllic areas such as the Sierra de Tramuntana Mountain range, the Albufera de es Grau in Menorca or the Posidonia seagrass in the Pitïusas, among other wonders, are an example of the natural and scenic values that you can enjoy on the Balearic Islands.
The island of Mediterranean scenery and contrasts
Majorca, the largest of the four islands, is full of contrasts: Beaches, mountains and beautiful inland countryside and villages. It’s Mediterranean beauty that has managed to conserve its identity. It is famous for its cuisine and traditional crafts, as well as for its magnificent beaches. There are almost 300 beaches around the island, and they are one of the main reasons why tourists from all over the world choose to spend their holidays on Mallorca.
UNESCO has declared Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana World Heritage Site in the category of cultural landscape in recognition of its landscape, cultural, historical, and ethnological values. The Serra de Tramuntana is a natural area with a vast degree of diversity, a succession of mountains and bucolic, fertile valleys that occupy around one-third of the island of Mallorca. Nor is its coastline negligible, as it begins and ends at two unique places: Dragonera Island and Formentor Cape.
When you choose Mallorca for your holidays, get ready to enjoy a whole world of experiences. Nature, sport, beaches, culture, tradition, fine food, shopping, performing arts, charming villages, secluded corners perfect for couples and leisure activities offering fun for all the family – all in a stunningly beautiful environment that you just have to see for yourself. Mallorca has so much to offer.
Pure, pristine Mediterranean
Minorca is a virgin island with much to discover. It is a magical destination with craggy caves and green hills on one side of the island and sandy beaches and spectacular coves on the other, where all manner of water sports can be practiced. Throughout its history Minorca has been shaped by many different cultures and influences, so that now visitors experience the sensation of being in a vast open-air museum.
On the 7th of October 1993, the island of Minorca was declared a Biosphere Reserve by the International Committee of UNESCO, because of its environmental diversity and landscapes, with natural spaces of special relevance, such as the Natural Park of S’Albufera des Grau. Discover the Menorca Biosphere Reserve in the Mediterranean, where harmony between man and natural resources is joined to preserve the historical heritage and to restore environmental and landscape quality. Enjoy the distinct atmosphere of the specialized establishments, respecting the environment and Menorca culture.
Menorca is sunlight, tranquillity, and nature. A protected biosphere reserve, it boasts a coastline of idyllic coves and beaches, and inland scenery that’s a magnet for cyclists and hikers. Alongside its natural heritage is a wealth of prehistoric archaeological sites, stately mansions, and imposing fortresses. Traditions, culture, and fine food round off the charms of a destination that deserves to be explored without haste, in step with the gentle rhythm of its privileged inhabitants.
The island of a thousand faces
Ibiza is located to the east of the Iberian Peninsula and is the most westerly of the Balearic Islands. Although small in size, it offers a wealth of natural attractions as it extends inwards from the coastline in a gentle slope. Ibiza and Formentera make up the Pithiusian Islands (a name that comes from Greek meaning islands of pine trees), with Ibiza being the larger of the two.
During the 23rd session of UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in December 1999, four items of Ibiza, based on natural and cultural criteria, were declared World Heritage. Ibiza’s marine component is characterised by the presence of dense and very well-preserved prairies of oceanic Posidonia (seagrass) and coral reefs. The oceanic Posidonia beds at the Marine Reserve are the best-preserved beds in the Mediterranean basin.
Ibiza is an island of delightful contrasts. Cosmopolitan and multicultural, yet firmly grounded in its rural roots. Bustling and relaxing. World famous and at the same time unknown. An exceptional corner of the Mediterranean, visited by many for the allure of its vibrant nightlife, but offering many other attractions. More than 18 km of fine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, bright white houses, fortified churches, and the stunning curtain walls of Dalt Vila, a World Heritage Site.
Great little paradise
Formentera is the ideal destination for those who appreciate a rural setting and the special features of a small community. It is an excellent place for cycling, hiking, and enjoying quiet pleasures aligned with the environment and the mind.
Formentera has a Natural Park of particular ecological interest and natural beauty: the Ses Salines Natural Park. An area situated between the south of the island of Ibiza and the north of Formentera, covering an area of 1,786 hectares on land and 13,611 hectares offshore. A wide variety of unique natural features can be found, from salt lakes and beaches to lunar cords with centuries-old ghost trees, cliffs and rocky coastline.
Formentera also has a maritime component: The sea represents 75% of the park´s total area, characterised by the ecological value of its underwater meadows of Posidonia oceanica. This underwater plant, which can only be found in the Mediterranean, helps to maintain communities of fish and other underwater organisms. At the same time, it also oxygenates the water, whilst protecting beaches from wave erosion and conserving the dune systems. The Natural Park has been declared an Item of World Heritage by UNESCO.
Formentera itself is a postcard. Within a few square kilometers all the ingredients to be considered a paradise are present. Its beaches of gleaming sand contrast with the transparent waters, where the valued Posidonia inhabits. You can explore the island on foot, by bike, or motorcycle, in search of secret corners and beautiful places where you can lose yourself. Its lighthouses are an iconic, its landscape the best image to remember. Hippie flea markets and megalithic monuments merge into an island that, although small, will not leave you indifferent.
The chosen places are confirmed as the most valuable of the whole world: small pieces of paradise, which must be protected and admired. The Balearic Islands are one of these privileged places. They have won six awards from the (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (UNESCO). Would you like to know them?
One of the most magical places on the island: 90 kilometres of mountains along the western coastline of the island, nature in pure essence condition harmoniously coexisting with the work of mankind: valleys with picturesque villages, impressive cliffs, beaches with fine sand and turquoise water. The Serra de Tramuntana, appointed World Heritage in the culture landscape category, is one of the island´s main attractions and a pride for all the islanders.
The Song of the Sibyl was awarded as intangible cultural heritage in 2010 for its cultural and historical value. It is a solemn medieval song, which is sung every year on the 24th of December during the midnight mass, filling all the churches with ardor and respect. Do not miss this experience if you are staying on Mallorca during Christmas.
Click here for a guide to Serra de Tramuntana.
It was not possible to select individual parts; it had to be taken as a whole. All Menorca is protected by the UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. The recognition was granted in 1993. The remarkable richness of Menorca’s prehistoric settlements is also awaiting its turn on the list of near future UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The inhabitants of Menorca have managed to use the natural resources of their island wisely. They have increased the value of endemic species and contributed to
Menorca´s heritage with the network of stone walls built without mortar and other architectural elements. You should not miss these elements. Well known as ‘Green Island’, Menorca is an oasis of calm with an invaluable natural heritage: an environmental treasure in pure condition.
The beautiful fortified Dalt Vila became a World Cultural Heritage site in 1999, and is the best preserved fortress in the Mediterranean.
The award comprises the island´s historic center, as well as the Puig des Molins y Sa Caleta archaeological sites and a large part of the beautiful sea ecosystem that the island shares with its sister island Formentera.
The sea grass meadows on the seabed are among the most admired in the world, not only thanks to their excellent conservation status but also because they are responsible for the extraordinary colour of the water. Refresh yourself on the beaches of the Pitiusas islands; they are waiting for you; dive with the fishes and begin to believe in it: Yes, you are on the Balearic Islands!
The Balearic Islands’ success as a tourist destination is thanks to its climate, the beauty of its beaches, and the quality and cleanliness of its waters. It should also be remembered that the Balearic Islands enjoy more than 300 days of sun a year for visitors to soak up the unique beauty of its sandy beaches and magical coves, which have an important ecological and environmental value. Moreover, all water sports can be practised on the majority of the islands’ beautiful beaches with their clear, turquoise waters.
See more about the beaches of the Balearics here.
The Balearic Islands are a favourite destination for sports lovers and adrenaline junkies. The year-round good weather, the spectacular scenery, the beauty of the trails, the quality of its sports facilities or the extensive network of quiet secondary roads make the islands the perfect setting for practicing outdoor sports and hold important sporting events. No wonder they are the birthplace of elite athletes such as Rafa Nadal, Jorge Lorenzo or Rudy Fernandez, among many others.
See more about active tourism in the Balearics here.
The Balearic Islands are an absolute paradise for golf lovers. Efforts to attract winter tourists who wish to practise have led to a proliferation of golf clubs. There are now 26 high level golf clubs on the islands, of which 24 are in Majorca, one in Ibiza and one in Minorca. As well as the golf courses there are multiple specialized hotels and a wide variety of additional leisure activities on offer for the whole family.
Click here to see more about Golfing in the Balearics.
If there is one way to enjoy the island’s countryside and do exercise at the same time, it has to be hiking, which offers the added incentive of being able to stop and take in all the beautiful sites along the way. The island’s gentle climate is perfect for enjoying routes that cross valleys, mountains and plains. The ever-changing landscape of the archipelago allows to choose the itinerary that best suits you. You can also hike in the natural parks and public land that cover the four islands.
Get more information on hiking in the Balearics here.
The Balearics are seemingly designed to be discovered by bike. Fine weather year round, picture postcard landscapes of sparkling coastlines, charming villages, ancient meadows, and the imposing Serra de Tramuntana. Plus everything imaginable in terms of services for cyclists. Don’t just dream about it, come and try it!
See more about cycling in the Balearics here.
To discover the islands’ history and the contemporary arts scene there are numerous cultural centres that house treasures from the past and the latest cutting-edge temporary exhibitions.
Delving into the islands’ history, which goes back thousands of years, is one of the many tourist attractions that they offer: from the relics of its surprising megalithic culture and the Punic remains to the flourishing Modernism of the early twentieth century. The archipelago’s past is marked by the different cultures that have influenced the historical evolution of each island from ancient times to the present day.
See more about Arts and Culture on the islands, here.
The traditional festivals of a nation are part of its oldest cultural legacy. They are the values with which the inhabitants identify themselves with and that differentiate them and make them unique among other cultures. If you want to know and approach the roots of the islands, come and participate in any of the festivals celebrated throughout the year, where you can discover our land and its people in a magical and different way. Immerse yourself in the deepest traditions, like the dimonis de Sant Antoni (devils), the colourful ball dels cossiers (a group of traditional popular dances celebrated in several villages), or the Moors and Christians performances in Mallorca; the celebrations of Menorca, where the horse is the main protagonist, or the traditional ball pagès of the Pitïusas.
Thanks to the long and rich history of the different cultures who have populated the Balearic Islands, we now enjoy rich craftsmanship. Old trades continue to exist in the daily life of the islands, bringing to life traditional products and showing how the old traditions lives alongside the smartest and most refined trends. From objects such as the siurell (pottery whistle) or clay pots and from the palm branches, to important leather, shoe, pearl, and jewelry industries. Mallorca offers a rich variety of crafts and handicrafts, Robes de Llengües (Majorcan fabrics) and the blown glass. In Menorca the avarques (hemp shoes) and the traditional blue ceramics enjoy a special position. Ibiza and Formentera – strongly influenced by the hippie movement – have numerous handicraft street markets; Ibiza is also known for its Adlib fashion.
Gastronomy is a fundamental part of the culture of the Balearic Islands. Whichever island you visit, you’ll have access to the best top-quality produce, from the finest olive oil, to wines, cheeses, and local favourites like ensaimada (a pastry product), sobrasada (cured sausage) and, flaó (a typical pastry).
The islands also offer an excellent range of food and wine. Traditional Balearic cuisine is very rich and varied and is the result of the intense fishing and farming activity in the islands before the tourism boom.
The excellent Balearic cuisine is accompanied by the best wine. The islands have a long history of wine-making. Avant-garde techniques have been incorporated to the traditional process to produce excellent quality wines which have been granted protected designation of origin status. The wines have received awards at international fairs and competitions. They are an excellent accompaniment to the island’s food and capture perfectly the scents and flavours of the islands in a bottle.
The fair weather of the islands lends itself to an abundance of fresh produce all-year-round, so there’s never a shortage of authentic and traditional products to try. From Mediterranean olive oil, renowned wines, artisanal cheeses and delicious desserts.
the weekly markets and fairs pop up in towns and villages all over the islands, almost all year-round, are a fantastic way to sample some local cuisine, learn about the cultures of the islands, purchase some beautiful crafts, and experience daily life alongside the locals.
Diversity is the key work when it comes to the Balearic Islands, in terms of culture, cuisine, landscapes, and also in crafts. From glass-blowing, ceramics, embroidery, clothes, shoes, leatherwork, hand-crafted jewellery, and pearls, to artisanal and local foodstuff such as sobrasada and ensaimada. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find the perfect souvenir to remember a perfect holiday.