Almost everyone knows the Balearic Islands – particularly Mallorca and Ibiza – and for good reason. The mediterranean climate, the glittering blue sea and the many beautiful white sandy beaches make this part of Spain a holiday paradise without equal. If you prefer your holiday destinations less overcrowded with tourists, you’ve come to the right spot. We believe the Balearics are best explored by water, surrounded only by the sun and the sea. The Balearic Islands – with the main islands Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, as well as 146 smaller, unpopulated islands – is one of the most popular and versatile sailing areas in the Mediterranean Sea and the perfect destination for your next summer holiday. We’ve put together our top tips for sailing in the Balearic Islands.
Palma de Mallorca, the capital of this island, is a fantastic city with many attractions, from churches and museums to shops and great restaurants. We recommended visiting the Gothic cathedral near the port, the royal palace La Almudaina, which was built by the Moors in the oldest part of the city, and the 13th century castle Castillo de Bellver.
Palma is a bustling city and if you love to shop and eat well you’re in the right place. On a balmy summer nights, countless bars and cafés offer local delicacies and fantastic Spanish wines in Palma’s generous squares and charming alleyways.
Palma is not to be missed and mooring here is a breeze: the harbour is generous and welcoming, with great facilities and service.
Another great sailing destination in Mallorca is the beautiful Cala Formentor in the north of the island. Stunning cliffs and green mountains line the turquoise waters of the bay and make sailing in the Balearic Islands a particular pleasure. Sail past the Cabo Formentor during the day, the most northern point of the island, and treat yourself to dinner at the Barcelo Hotel Formentor, a famous 5-star-Hotel with breathtaking views across the bay.
We also particularly recommend Porto Cristo, a small village with lots of traditional charm. It is known mostly for the caves that were discovered here in 1896 – the spectacular Cuevas del Drach (caves of the dragon) and the Cuevas del Hams. Don’t miss out on a visit to the caves if you’re in the area and combine your visit with a lovely walk through the nearby wildlife park.
Menorca, the most northern of the Balearic Islands, is less popular and also very different from the better known islands Mallorca and Ibiza. Menorca is still relatively untouched and loved by many for its tranquility and charm. Mahón is a great starting point for a sailing trip here. Mahón has a very impressive harbour – 5km long and 900m wide – and the views from its entrance are fantastic.
Sail up to Cala Grao, a bay in the north of Menorca. Here you can visit the nature park Albufera, where you can wander through olive groves, go hiking along the cliffs or admire the huge variety of bird species.
Even further north on the island lies the beautiful bay of Fornells, where the surrounding nature is still completely unspoilt. Fornells itself a small, picturesque village that offers many great walks along the coast. Fornells is a fishing village and the seafood on offer here is truly spectacular. Don’t miss out on the local dish Caldareta de Langosta, a seafood casserole prepared with fresh lobster. If you love lobster, a trip to Fornells is an absolute must.
Ibiza is known for its nightlife, but it’s a beautiful island in its own right. Between San Antonio and San Vicente, in the northwest of the island, the coast is lined with almond, olive and fig trees, small woods and green valleys. Large and small bays with stunning white sandy beaches and turquoise waters invite you to relax in the sun.
Before heading down to Puerto de Ibiza make a stop at Cala Mastella. This fantastic little cove is surrounded by lush nature and offers a great little beach and romantic seaside restaurant.
A little further south lies Puerto de Ibiza and the old town of Ibiza. If you love the nightlife, this town will not disappoint. Give the many famous beach parties and open air bars and clubs a try and see for yourself why Ibiza is beloved by partygoers around the world. Daytime activities are also not lacking in this UNESCO World Heritage site, which boasts a great number of fantastic old sights. Visit the 16th-century church Santo Domingo or the archaeological museum Museo Puig de Molins.
Formentera, the last of the four main islands, is a lot more tranquil during the summer than its busy neighbour Ibiza. Almost the entire island is a nature conservation area which boasts a whole 20 km of beautiful, untouched sandy beaches with crystal clear water. Unlike Ibiza, the vegetation in Formentera consists of beautifully scented pine trees, rather than palm trees.
The only harbour on the island is Puerto de Sabina, an attractive and quiet mooring place. We highly recommend taking a tour of the island by bike from here.