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Balearic Islands



 
Palma de Mallorca

The Balearic Islands are composed of four main islands - Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera - nestling in the Mediterranean Sea and surrounded by a number of small, rocky islets. They cover an area of roughly 5000 sq km and are situated between Spain and the North African coast, but have a largely Spanish speaking community whose notable hospitality and sense of cultural pride makes the Balearic Islands a particularly popular holiday destination for tourists the world over.

Many young people flock to the Balearics to take advantage of not only the exceptional weather, superb beaches and good food, but the decadent nightlife that has evolved in certain areas where the nightclub culture has a global reputation. But the Balearic Islands are not just crammed with fun-seeking youngsters; this is a holiday hot-spot for the whole family and has many attractions, from water sports and beach games to quiet excursions into the countryside to explore the ancient monuments, stunning scenery and dramatic landscapes. Whatever type of holiday you need to escape the routines and rigours of modern life, and whatever budget you have, holiday accommodation in the Balearic Islands can be found to suit your requirements and give you the freedom to exploit the endless possibilities the Balearics present.

Mallorca: The Island of Mallorca, often called Majorca, is the largest of the Balearic Islands covering an area of around 3,500 sq km. The capital, Palma, is home to almost half the island's population, and is a bustling, cosmopolitan community that stretches for 15 km along the coastline. The many visitors to Mallorca tend to stick to the coastal resorts, taking advantage of the exquisite beaches and ample facilities, including a vast selection of hotels, guesthouses and self catering holiday villas and apartments, but further inland, the magnificent landscape begs to be discovered. The back-bone of Mallorca is the impressive Serra de Tramuntana - a mountain range that peaks at Puig Major (1445m) and affords a scenic backdrop of unrivalled beauty overlooking unspoilt plains and olive groves. You'll find exciting examples of Gothic architecture and tiny, charming hilltop villages looking down on quiet, rocky coves and harbours, all fringed by the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean.

Menorca: The Island of Menorca is 47 km long and roughly 15 km wide, but it has a magnificent coastline of some 200 km giving the impression that this Balearic Island is not much more than beach! In reality it is so much more, with several unique ecosystems within the island's natural environments earning it the accolade of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status. Menorca is largely flat, but rises up to the highest point of Mount Toro from where the breathtaking views can be shared with the shrine to the island's patron saint. With a population of 62,000, Menorca has been the island least affected by tourism, but holiday home accommodation is easily found among the dazzling, whitewashed villas and farmhouses and the welcome is as warm as the Mediterranean sea that features so significantly in the everyday lives and traditions of the locals.

Ibiza: The third largest island in the Balearic archipelago is Ibiza, covering an area of roughly 540 sq km, with its smaller neighbour, Formentera, situated close to it's southern coast. It has a hilly terrain and great swathes of the countryside are heavily wooded, mainly with pine, but also almond, fig, olive and even palm trees grow particularly well in this land of perpetual sunshine. Rainy days on Ibiza are very scarce and the historic use of water-wheels and windmills is kept alive in many parts of the island today to make the most of any available precipitation. There are many upland areas of outstanding beauty, and picturesque villages and towns from where stunning views can be had across the island and out over the sparkling Mediterranean. One such place is Ibiza town, the capital; a bustling port built into the side of a mountain beside the sea, where traditional white painted villas demonstrate the architectural heritage handed down through generations of Balearic islanders, and historical cultures mingle happily with a cosmopolitan, up-beat pace of life.

Formentera is the fourth inhabited island in the Balearic archipelago and forms a perfect contrast to the hectic hedonism of Ibiza. It is a haven of natural beauty and its tranquil environment attracts many visitors to its unspoilt shores. The only access to Formentera is by ferry from Ibiza, running up to ten times a day during the peak season. With its breathtaking landscapes and traditional white painted villas, this island has a peaceful atmospher.


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