The Balearic Islands are one of Spain's most popular summer holiday destinations, a group of island gems in the Mediterranean Sea to the east of Valencia on the mainland of Spain. But, despite the arrival of hordes of sun-seekers to its shores each year, all four of the islands have retained much of their intrinsic beauty.
The largest of the islands is Mallorca, where the original sun-and-sea tourism has developed in recent years to incorporate agro tourism initiatives and boutique accommodation in its rural and mountainous interior – a very different holiday experience to the traditional coastal resorts and an increasingly popular alternative. There are also opportunities for walking in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, playing golf on world-class courses and driving along scenic coastal routes. Each of these activities could easily be the basis for a Mallorca holiday in its own right, or as a diversion from lazy days beside the sea at one of the main coastal resorts.
Cathedral Palma de Mallorca
Ibiza, the home of the rave, also has plenty of surprises – not least the stunning northern half, as well as its charismatic capital, Ibiza Town, which has history and architectural ambience alongside its buzzy bars and cool clubs.
Bay in Ibiza
Minorca – the ‘small island' – and tranquil Formentera are the other two islands in the Balearic group. Holidays to either are typically much calmer here than those in Mallorca or Ibiza, often based around relaxing on or exploring secluded sandy bays, or venturing into the interior for historical excursions or wildlife spotting.