Island Vacations in the Spanish Balearics

Choosing an island for your perfect dream vacation takes time. Matching one’s personality with an island is important and cruising gives a good overview

Sailing into Mediterranean Island Ports - WIndsurf Cruises

Sailing into Mediterranean Island Ports – WIndsurf Cruises

Islands in the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is the perfect sea for an introductory sail to find an island that suits your personality. I found that the Balearics, a group of resort islands in the western Mediterranean off the coast of Spain offers something for practically everyone. There are three main islands: Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza and a fourth island, Formentara, that is very small.

Majorca’s Palma is Capital of the Balearics

Arabia may have its thousand and one nights, but Majorca has Palma, which tourism officials refer to as the “city of a thousand and one tomorrows.” In this exotic Mediterranean playland it’s more than just a saying, for manana (tomorrow) seems to be the island’s magic password. Many North American sybarites have yet to discover Majorca, the largest in the group of Balearic islands to be found 100 km. off Spain’s Mediterranean coast. The island’s reliable summers and spring-like winters are a magnet attracting many British and European sun-worshipers. In fact, “bangers and mash” and “wiener schnitzel’ were just as easy to find on the menu as paella, hake and squid.

Majorca has a 400-km. coastline perfect for cycling or hiking enthusiasts. It has many private little coves for snorkeling, swimming or sunbathing, plus perfumed orange groves, bougainvillea, ancient windmills and fascinating prehistoric megalithic monuments. Swimming is possible from the end of April through October.

The Downtown Area of Palma

The other wordliness of Palma starts a quick drive from souvenir stalls and sunning chaises at the tawny gold Gothic cathedral that towers over the sea. For a stroll through centuries we started at the beautiful gardens near the Puerta del Mirador. A glance across the Bay of Palma reveals the 14th century Castle of Bellver, a true fortress. Right beside you is the impressive door of the Seu Cathedral with 14th and 15th century Majorcan and Catalonian sculpture. After a peek into the Cathedral to see magnificent stained glass windows and an altar composed entirely of micro-mosaics, take a look at the Palacio de la Almudaina, the former residence of the Arab kings. It is directly in front of the Cathedral. After that, it is almost obligatory to see the Casa Font y Roig with Arab Baths, a relic dating from the time of the Moors.

Ibiza, the Party Island

Ibiza or Iviza, still known as the party island of the Balearics, lies southwest of Majorca and has only 572 sq. km.to it, but the beautiful scenery, almond trees, olive groves, island figs and other fruits as well as the marvelous fish in the markets and restaurants will almost certainly seduce the most jaded travelers. The capital of this island is Ibiza and tourism is now an important business. As well as Roman, Carthaginian and Phoenician artifacts found all over the island, there are many sophisticated boutiques, bars, and restaurants in the island’s walled capital, which is Ibiza.

Minorca, Island for History Buffs

Minorca is the second largest of the Balearic Islands. Its southern coast is known as its Riviera. According to notes from the Spanish National Tourist Office, this island “is synonymous with peace and luxury.” The accommodations here “range from ultra-spectacular to charming and rural hotels” but one is not likely to find a bargain on this vacation island. Port Mahon is the chief city but most people prefer to stay near the secluded beaches, to sail and play golf and to explore the historical sights.because, as The Columbia Encyclopedia states, this is the island that has “a large number of megalithic monuments.”

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