Most Americans associate the Balearic Islands with the parties and nightlife, beloved by jetsetters and celebrities. But these islands also offer a fascinating mix of history and modernity, mingling cultural influences from Spain, Catalan, and the Mediterranean with their own distinctive legacy, and offer extraordinary experiences for all kinds of visitors.
The islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera are the principle islands of the archipelago, which also includes many smaller islands, tempting guests across the water for day trips and tours. Whether your aim is to relax on a golden beach, wander a tiny fishing village, enjoy exciting water sports, explore historic sites and museums, or experience a world-class party, the Balearic Islands have something for everyone.
Whatever draws you to the Balearic Islands, here are some experiences you shouldn't miss:
Dance the night away in Ibiza
Ibiza is known all over the world for its legendary club scene, driven by local electronic music and world-famous DJs. In some cities, these entertainments might also include exclusive entry and a dress code, but not in Ibiza. The atmosphere is welcoming for people of all ages (above 18), and the culture is focused on tolerance and enjoyment. People of all ages are welcome, and attire can be as fancy or as casual as you like (although football jerseys generally excluded, and some clubs won't allow shorts). Clubs usually open at midnight, and include fantastic music, enthusiastic dancing, and elaborate light shows and atmosphere. Find out for yourself why people from all over the world travel to this city to get their groove.
Wander old town Ibiza
Ibiza was founded in 600BC by the Phoenicians, and its fascinating history encompasses 2500 years of culture and change. In the old town, Dalt Vila, you can prowl winding streets, reaching terraces with breathtaking views of the ocean, beaches, and city below. Pass little storefronts that showcase local arts and crafts, small cafes and restaurants, and architecture and museums teeming with history. From the top, you can walk along the towering battlements, visit the historic cathedral, and find the unexpected around every corner.
Tour the Palma Cathedral
Begun in the 1200s, the La Seu Cathedral on Majorca is one of the biggest Gothic cathedrals in the world. This magnificent landmark showcases classic gothic architecture, complete with flying buttresses and one of the largest stained glass rose windows in the world, built with unique golden sandstone that gleams in the sun. Because construction spanned nearly 400 years, the essentially Gothic architecture incorporates elements from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and even the legendary Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi contributed to the current design. This stunning landmark is unique and fascinating, and well worth a visit.
Get away from it all on Menorca
Minorca, the last of the islands in the chain, is a designated Biosphere Reservation and hosts gorgeous beaches, with unique flora, fauna, and landscapes. While it's only 47 kilometers at its longest point across, it boasts 216 kilometers of coastline. Hosting one of southern Europe's most important wetlands for aquatic and migratory birds, visitors to Menorca enjoy calm and relaxation with nature, while also taking advantage of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, sailing, windsurfing, and scuba diving in the crystal-clear water.
Altogether, the Balearic Islands encompass a rich range of historic communities, serene natural settings, and modern urban atmosphere. They not only offer something for everyone, but are a fantastic one-stop destination for a vacation experience that accommodates every interest, every activity, and every mood you might have while visiting. The wide variety of unique experiences and opportunities are why more and more people are making these islands their vacation destination of choice.
Be sure to check out our photo tour of all the Mediterranean's hottest destinations for 2018!