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While the Balearic Islands have long been a holiday destination, their popularity has gone through the roof of late – and with few signs of letting up. So with prices on the rise and hotels filling up fast, it’s all the more important to choose which one is best for you. And like any individual, each island has its own distinctive foibles, features, and flavours. So we’ve put together this guide to help you pick the perfect island for your personality.
In a nutshell: Probably the best known of the Balearics, Ibiza has been at the centre of Europe’s clubbing scene for almost a generation now. As well as attracting the beautiful people sipping Mojitos amongst the gleaming white aesthetics of the Ibiza beach club, the likes of foam parties, drunken boat trips, and general debauchery are also common. But this island is not just about throwing shapes (or throwing up) the isle has attracted a steady stream of artists, writers, and like-minded bohemians for almost a century.
There’s still no doubt that Ibiza’s main draw is its clubbing and nightlife, so if you’re into partying hard and rejuvenating in stylish beach clubs or on beautiful beaches this is the island for you. And if you’re also artistically inclines, its thriving art scene will be right up your street.
In a nutshell: The smaller, more peaceful, and much more laid back of these twin island, Formentera boasts miles of unspoiled beaches with white sand and crystal-clear waters. Hippies flooded here in the sixties and imbued the isle with a distinctively free-spirited way of life, and are largely to thank for the enduring popularity of naturism. Lack of airport also helps maintain a remote vibe, while its reputation for seclusion has attracted its fair share of A-listers.
Formentera provides the ideal setting for (re)connecting with your inner hippie, especially if that means relaxing au naturale on the beach – and who knows who else you’ll see there!
In a nutshell: The largest of the four main islands, Mallorca has it all, from stunning natural beauty (pretty coves, sweeping picturesque beaches and dramatic mountain ranges) to thousands of years of history, top-class dining, and buzzing nightspots. There’s also a resort for every taste, from the laid-back, family-friendly Pollensa to the infamous wild partying of Magaluf. The charming streets of Palma’s Old Town are also a major must-see draw for most. Beware summer overcrowding, however, when parts of the island can feel overrun.
Whatever your vacation interests may be, you’re bound to find it somewhere on the island. Choose from booze-fueled fun (Magaluf), unspoiled mountain views (Deia), countless coves (Cala d’Or), or fascinating historic heritage (Palma) – or all of the above! Mallorca really is a destination for any personality.
In a nutshell: One might say Menorca is to its Mallorca, as Formentera is to Ibiza – and to a certain extent this is true. Like its (much smaller) counterpart, Menorca’s miles of picturesque coastline are mostly unspoiled, with pristine beaches, shallow turquoise seas, and idyllic sheltered coves. Also like Formentera, there’s far less overcrowding here compared to Majorca and Ibiza. Surprising to many, however, it also boasts hundreds of megalithic monuments and standing stones dating from pre-history, as well as two wonderfully historic cities – Mahón and Ciutadella. Also designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, its natural beauty is outstanding. Low-key nightlife and peaceful vibe also make it particularly popular with young families.
Those after a less-developed and more laid-back version of Mallorca, then Minorca is the island for you. Due to its often shallow and calm beaches, it’s also a great option for families with smaller children. It’s also a winner for nature lovers and archaeology buffs.