If you head to Spain, no spot will get more covetous comments from your friends back home than the gorgeous Balearic Islands. These three idyllic isles in the Mediterranean - party-hardy Ibiza, luxe Mallorca, and tranquil Menorca - boast sandy beaches, turquoise water, well-preserved ruins, and charming city boulevards. Any of our Balearic Islands vacation rentals will bring this magical land of sand and sea to you.
The Phoenicians were the first lucky inhabitants, settling here in 654 BC. The Romans, Visigoths, and Moors followed in quick succession. A busy trading center for several centuries, the area went into decline due to piracy and famine. The British ruled until 1802 but it wasn't until the 1950s that the islands' fortunes reversed. Today, all three destinations boast considerable wealth thanks to tourism. Hedonism reigns supreme in Ibiza, which sees an influx of more than two million tourists each year alone. Still, Mallorca and Menorca offer charm and relaxation aplenty and our Balearic Islands vacation rentals reinforce that feeling.
If nightlife is your scene and bikini-clad merrymaking your goal, than look no further than Ibiza. The party-loving isle is home to a club scene that rivals 1970s Manhattan. DJs are the celebrities de rigueur and many a party hopper will revel in the myriad spots to dance the night away. Still, to claim Ibiza is only for hedonists would be a disservice to this lovely island.
Ibiza City is the main port of call and while it is club-central, there are plenty of historic sites and boulevards to get lost among. The Ibiza Cathedral dominates the skyline and the whitewashed buildings of the old quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll through the Roman Aqueducts or The Necropolis Puig des Molins a former Phoenician settlement with 3,000 burial caverns and a museum featuring terracotta figurines. Head to the Ramparts, a fortification built on the Portal de ses Taules in 1585, which overlooks the city. The Ibiza Museu d'Art Contemporani displays a unique collection including drawings by local Mari Ribas Portmany. On the south side of the island, don't miss the well-maintained Phoenician archaeological site in Sa Caleta.
Your Ibiza holiday will features several beaches that offer a respite from the young, alcohol-fueled crowd. Cala Llenya and Cala Mastella are both small beaches (the former with soft sand, the latter with small pebbles) that are far from the madding crowds. Cala de Boix is a place to enjoy the blue water in peace and Es Figueral boasts golden sand in a turquoise-infused cove.
While Ibiza draws a younger, boisterous crowd, Mallorca in contrast is all about luxury and refinement. Many European celebrities call it home, including Rafael Nadal, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and Claudia Schiffer. While the main city, Palma de Mallorca, and certain coastal areas have crowded beaches and cafes, the southern part of the island boasts unspoiled golden sand and nary a tourist in sight. Hike natural parks or the Tramuntana Mountains, cycle past castles and ruins, or sunbathe on more than 200 beaches.
Alaro Castle is the first stop here. Head up by foot and admire the fortifications that resisted the invasion of Alfonso II of Aragon. The Lluc Monastery is a great walk for anyone wanting to admire the mountain scenery. Capdepera Castle boasts a watchtower and housed the island's governor in the 14th century. Pollentia Alcudia is the only Roman ruin on the island. Almudaina Palace, built by the Moors in the 14th century, is now the national museum of Mallorca.
A number of great, quiet beaches await. Cala d'en Borgit is a secluded beach that's perfect for sweethearts. Cala Falco is sheltered in a cove and is great for children due to its shallow waters. Sa Rapita is another beach offering privacy as well as spots to surf, windsurf, and enjoy family fun. Your Mallorca holiday is sure to be a dream!
While Ibiza and Mallorca get the majority of those on holiday on the Balearics, Menorca is the hidden gem of the chain. Quiet and charming, the island offers a pleasing respite from the cacophony of Ibiza and Mallorca. The entire island is a UNESCO natural biosphere, which helps preserve the tranquil, rural nature of the land. You'll find rare plants as well as cozy cafes and secluded beaches at which to while away the hours.
The town of Ciutadella was built in the 14th century and is worth a tour. You can head through the bastion of Sa Font, a medieval wall that was rebuilt in the 17th century. The Llatzeret, another fort, was commissioned to keep out the Bubonic plague in 1793. The Museum of Menorca is based on a 15th century Franciscan monastery and highlights the history of occupation on the island.
Menorca has a plethora of beaches on both the north and south side of the island. The south side beaches are more touristy. Head to Mitjana, Turqueta, Son Bou, or Trebaluger for white sand and turquoise water. The north side beaches are bit harder to reach and due to that, offer plentiful seclusion. You'll spy terracotta-colored clay and coarser sand here. Cala Morell is great for snorkeling. Cala Tortuga and Pregonda are truly remote and offer peaceful coves for luxurious privacy.