Balearic Islands — Attractions
Historic sites, stunning volcanic natural beauty, unrivalled beaches with undersea glories, fishing villages, dramatic coastlines, traditional festivals and more – the list of Balearic Island attractions in Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, and Formentera is seemingly endless. Choosing which destinations to head for in a single holiday can be a challenge, especially as boat transport between the islands makes daytrips easy and is an attraction in itself. For history buffs, Ibiza’s picturesque and ancient Dalt Vila is a must.
Translated as ‘High Town’, Ibiza’s stunning old town is fascinating to explore on foot during a stay on the island. The imposing main gate with its two guardian statues is set in high ramparts and leads to an ancient cobbled courtyard fronting onto the Plaza de Vila main square. Steep, twisting alleyways are overhung by Gothic Catalan stone houses, and people-watching here gives glimpses of black-clad residents living their lives in the traditional manner. The medieval castle offers candle-lit fine dining and superb views.
Address: Ibiza Town, Ibiza
Puerto de San Miguel and the Can Marca Caves
Once home to the fishing port of picturesque San Miguel and set around a curving bay backed by pine forested hills, the beach at Puerto de San Miguel is only a five minute drive from the port town. Fishing boats still dot the calm sea where water sport equipment can be rented from a variety of outfitters. Sailing and diving schools are also on hand, and the little bay is lined with eateries, bars, and souvenir shops. Close by are the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites of the Can Marca Caves, once a former home for smugglers and now a favorite site for sound and light shows.
Address: outside San Miguel, Ibiza
One of the most famous attractions on Mallorca is the early 14th century Castell de Belver. It’s one of Europe’s few circular castles and lies on a hilltop just a short drive or bus journey from Palma de Mallorca. From the 18th to the mid-20th century, the forbidden fortress was used to house military prisoners, and is now home to the island’s Museum of History.
Address: Carrer de Camilo Jose Cela, 17 Western Palma 07014, Mallorca
Palau de l’Almudaina
With unbeatable views over the harbor, this magnificent former royal palace was built on the site of a Moorish fortress and includes the original walls in its fantastic design based on Malaga’s Alcazar. A short bus or car trip from Palma, it’s now a museum displaying arms and amour, antique furnishings, artwork, and examples of the famous Gobelin tapestries.
Address: Carrer Palau ReiaL, Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca
Set just 17 kms from Palma, in the foothills of Mallorca’s Tramuntana Mountains, Valldemmossa Monastery was first constructed as a royal residence. In 1399, the ruler conceded the building and its contents to the Carthusian Order and the complex became a monastery until 1935. Nowadays with several museums set up under its walls, the spectacular setting and long history attracts numerous visitors. The annual Chopin Festival is held here, drawing respected musicians from across the world.
Address: Valdemossa, near Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca
One of the best-kept secrets in the region is the small island of Formentera located next to the party island of Ibiza, and is easily reached by local ferry on a daytrip. The island’s people are proud of their efforts to maintain its beauty by encouraging visitors to cycle rather than drive, dune regenerations, building restrictions, and many other measures to limit the impact of modern life on its ecosystems. Glorious, unspoiled beaches, unique flora and fauna, charming villages, and miles of green routes make Formentera one of the most beautiful Balearic Islands attractions for visitors.
Cabrera Archipelago National Park
Located 10 kms south of the main island of Mallorca, Cabrera Archipelago National Park comprises four-fifths of its protected area as sea and one-fifth as land. The oceanic area covers an archipelago of 19 tiny islands, of which Cabrera is the largest. Remote, relatively unchanged and with diverse habitats, its home to abundant marine life and diverse bird species, as well as a 14th century castle, a museum, and many hiking trails.
Address: Cabrera Archipelago National Park
Mallorca’s Marineland makes for a perfect day away from the beach for parents with children of all ages. It’s one of the most-visited attractions on the island, and unique in offering performing sea lions and dolphins. There’s a reptile house with huge snakes, Europe’s largest collection of sharks, crocodiles, aquariums, and a parrot circus, all of which will keep the kids amused for hours. Marineland operates several successful breeding programs, and many of its sea lions and dolphins were bred on site.
Address: C/Gracillaso de la Vega 9, 07184 Calvia, Mallorca