Balearic Islands

Overview

Introduction

The four inhabited islands of the Balearic archipelago lie in the Mediterranean east of Valencia and Barcelona and are reached from both cities by ferry. Together they make up one of Europe's most popular holiday playgrounds.

Mallorca—The largest island is also the location of the capital city, Palma de Mallorca. In addition to extensive sandy beaches popular with package tourists, it also has mountains reaching more than 4,600 ft/1,400 m from sea level and spectacular caves.

Menorca—Smaller than Mallorca and less visited, Menorca is known for its coves and crystal-clear waters. It also has a number of prehistoric monuments. The island capital is Mahon, or Mao in the local language.

Ibiza—This beautiful island has long had a reputation as Spain's party capital and is the home of several legendary discotheques. However, there is another side to its personality: beautiful countryside, secret coves and immaculate whitewashed villages. The main town has the same name as the island. Both are known as Eivissa in the local variant of Catalan.

Formentera—The smallest inhabited island in the archipelago is reached by ferry from Ibiza. Its cliffs and long sandy beaches are remarkably unspoiled and good to explore by bicycle. Its capital is the tiny town of Sant Francesc Xavier.

For more information, see the individual guides for each island.

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