Ten Top Reasons to Visit the Balearics
By Kate McWilliams
Although August is well underway there is still availability to escape to the sun of the Balearics this season. For those that are still undecided on where to visit here are the top ten reasons to visit the Balearic Islands!
300 Days of Sun
With 300 days of sun the Balearic Islands are just a short hop for guaranteed sunshine! If the temperamental British August is too much to handle just a two hour flight will transport holidaymakers to a different world of blue skies and warm seas!
Whilst beaches throughout the whole of the Balearics are amongst the best in the Mediterranean and the World, there are some that are special highlights. In Ibiza there is Salines, which is part of the national park in the South of the island. In Menorca Cala Pregonda, which is without doubt one of the jewels of Menorca, is a beautiful bay with crisp light sand, crystal blue waters all backed by pine and tamarisk woods. In Formentera the multi award winning Playa Illetes is popular and for those seeking out a quiet and peaceful retreat in Mallorca Es Trenc is ideal.
Michelle Obama is visiting Mallorca this summer and meeting the King and Queen of Spain in Palma at the Royal summer residence, the Marivent Palace on the 8th August.
In addition Ibiza has long been known as a celebrity playground, Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud is currently looking for a villa in Ibiza, Kate Moss regularly visits both Ibiza and Formentera and supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Elle Macpherson have villas in Mallorca and Ibiza respectively. Those on the look out for the Royals should head to Menorca where King Juan Carlos of Spain reportedly heads for fresh seafood lunches incognito!
Perhaps better known for pleasures of a relaxing nature the islands are actually great for exploring by bike. Both Mallorca and Ibiza have a large network of cycling routes with downloadable maps available from the website. Stephen Roche (winner of the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and the World Championship) says “Mallorca is quite fascinating! It has a great climate and great scenery and it offers unbeatable conditions for both holiday cyclists and professionals.” Whilst everyone not be up to the challenge of the Sierra de Tramuntana Mountains, spring and autumn provide a perfect chance to check out some of the rural scenery of both of these islands and take in the scent from the olive, lemon and orange groves and enjoy the almond blossom.
Few people would think of the Balearics as the place to learn to dive. A shorter, less expensive flight than the Red Sea or Caribbean the Balearics have highly commended English speaking instructors making getting a PADI fun, stress free and a great way of building an activity and skill into any holiday. In Ibiza Punto Dive, Anfibios and Punta Dive all offer PADI diving courses and diving packages for more experienced divers. The Ibiza coastline was actually declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 due to the 750km of rich seaweed known as the Posidonia Prairies – and this natural phenomena brings divers from all over the world!
The Balearics are a must-see paradise for golf enthusiasts. With over 30 golf courses to explore in Mallorca alone and a temperate climate that means golf enthusiasts can visit all year round the islands are popular with golfers with over 150,000 golf holidays taken each year in the islands.
Culture and Heritage
Traditionally known for beaches the culture of the Balearics is impressive. Art lovers in Mallorca should visit the Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art and the impressive La Seu cathedral. Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s UNESCO site Old Town, dominates the skyline of Ibiza Town, and the cathedral and steep, cobbled streets are a real treat to explore, whilst in Menorca the megalithic stone monuments and the 17th century sites in the previous capital Ciutadella are well worth a visit.
The Balearics has a varied and delicious cuisine which features both meat and fish. Seafood dishes are popular with fresh sea bream, Dorada, sardines and calamari all locally caught and simply grilled to make some of the most popular and flavorful dishes. For meat lovers, locally reared pork served with prunes or apricots are popular as is slow roasted pork shoulder and belly of pork.
Mallorca produces a large amount of almonds which crop up in a number of the island’s recipes. The harvest is still carried out in the traditional way by beating the trees and catching the nuts in nets, these nuts are often used to flavour the typical sweet and traditional pastries that are popular throughout the islands. Paella the national Spanish dish which originated on the mainland is also a Balearic favourite.
Detox & Spa
In recent years the Balearic Islands have seen a growing number of state-of-the-art Spas such as the Revival Wellness Club in Ibiza’s five star eco-luxury hotel Aguas de Ibiza. Enjoying a Spa treatment just moments away from calm Mediterranean waters is an indulgence that can be experienced across the Balearic Islands and there is also a wealth of therapists available so that guests can choose from a range of pampering treats to sooth the body and the mind. From yoga, massage and Pilates to tai-chi, meditation or reflexology, the Balearic Islands offer a range of experiences for all those in need of a little me-time.
Most people think of the Far East or the Caribbean for pure escapism. BUT those looking for a true Castaway style escape should consider Formentera. Just a quick hop on the ferry from the other Balearic Islands Formentera is small and peaceful with fewer people, quiet traditional villages and paradise style beaches.