Choosing the right Balearic Island

by Audrey on November 29, 2012

The three main islands that make up the Balearics in the Mediterranean are: Ibiza, Menorca, and Mallorca. They all have exquisite beaches and ideal weather, but their personalities couldn’t be more different; from party islands to ones with historic sites and traditional festival. There is something for all tastes.

Sunset in Ibiza - Flickr CC st33vo

Ibiza

Ibiza is perhaps the most infamous of the three islands. Say the name to anyone; booze, electronic music, and wild clubs are likely the first things that come to mind. Then again, centuries later it remains true to it’s Phoenician name (Iboshim) which means dedicated to the god of the music and dance Bes. If the nightlife is what you came for, you’ll want to check out the world renowned clubs like Privilege, Space, Pacha, Eden, Amnesia, and Es Paradis. You can expect to pay a hefty admission, but you’ll also be dancing to the rhythm of globally acclaimed djs.

Despite its wild side, Ibiza does also have a historic side. The Upper Town (Dalt Vila) has fortifications that date back to the 16th Century. The main sights include the cathedral of Santa Maria d’Eivissa, which is located on the top of the hill, and the necropolis of Puig des Molins. Just 10 kilometers from the city center you can also find Sa Caleta; the ruins of a Phoenician settlement that dates back to 650 BC.

Sunset in the streets of Menorca - Flickr CC rudeworks

Menorca

This island is very popular for its summer fiestas, which draw visitors from far and wide. The ‘Festes de Sant Joan’ (Feast of Saint John) is held annually in Ciutadella and lasts three days. This is an intriguing parade to say the least; it includes a man parading a sheep on his shoulders around town, a night of bonfires on the main streets, all followed by plenty of song, drink and dance.

Aside from its summer festivals, the island of Menorca is also home to megalithic stone monuments (much like those that can be found at Stonehenge). With over two thousand of these monuments scattered across the island, it’s easy to see why Menorca is considered an outdoor museum. The nearest of these sites is only 8 kilometres from Ciutadella. You’ll find that admission to these ruins is often free, while the larger sites charge 2 Euros.

And lastly, to drink like the Menorcans do, you’ll want a glass of gin mixed with bitter lemon to make a golden liquid known as a Pomada.

Sunrise over Palma Cathedral, Mallorca - Flickr CC vix_b

Majorca

This is the largest of the three Balearic Islands. Though the beaches are one of the main draws, Palma de Mallorca sees a lot of action as it is the biggest city on the island. Many visitors choose to rent scooters to explore the islands shores, but the Old City and its winding alleys are best explored on foot. Popular attractions include La Seu, a cathedral that was built on the ruins of an old mosque; the Banys Àrabs, which are the ruins of public baths that date back to the Byzantine period; and El Jonquet, which are a set of ancient wind mills.

If you are looking to leave the city, there are many places worth visiting across the island. These include Deià, a little village located in the north west end of the island, which is best known for its olive groves, orange trees, and picturesque fishermen’s homes. This village has also been home to many writers and musicians over the years.

Artà is another town located in the northeast end of the island, and it is also an important archaeological site. Today you can see the remains of the one-meter thick fortress wall, its nine towers, as well as the pilgrimage church of Santuari de Sant Salvador.

And when in Mallorca you’ll also want to make time to eat pamboli; a traditional sandwich made with Majorcan bread, and a hefty does of olive oil, tomato, and other toppings.

If you’ve already spent a great deal of time in the Balearics, another holiday to consider are the Spanish Canary Islands located just off the North African coast. With its exotic landscapes and warm beaches, these islands are quickly gaining popularity,

Which island would you choose?

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Spencer November 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Personally I would go for Mallorca. I love everything about it including the food, climate, people and beaches. I can’t wait to get back there again one day.

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My Travel Affairs December 14, 2012 at 2:20 am

I have to say Majorca! I went there this summer and I was nicely surprised, superb and extremely beautiful place!

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