Our top reasons to visit the Balearic Islands
The blue sea, powdery white-sand beaches, and a sunny Mediterranean landscape set the stage for a dream holiday. Spain's Balearic Islands include four gorgeous islands, each with a character of its own. Mallorca has glorious churches, ancient villages, and inspiring monasteries, as well as pristine sandy shores.
Instead, Menorca offers a quiet escape for those who love the seaside and nature. Ibiza is famous for its lively vibe, as well as beautiful beaches. Ibiza's charming UNESCO-listed Old Town, among the best places to visit in Spain for picturesque scenery. For those who appreciate relatively undiscovered destinations, Formentera has an unspoiled coastline and a natural reserve that conceals one of the finest beaches on the Balearic Islands. Discover the best things to see and do in this popular destination with our list of attractions in Spain's Balearic Islands.
- Eivissa: World Heritage Site
The UNESCO-listed Dalt Vila, the original medieval walled city. Perched on a small mountain next to the sea and overlooking the town is the fortified old town of Dalt Vila, a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets, pedestrian lanes, and historic houses. The town's fortifications were built in the 16th century on top of the remains of the Moorish walls, with three gates and seven corner bastions. The main entrance gate is the Puerta de las Tablas featuring the coat of arms of King Philip II, and one of the former bastions now houses part of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Above all the other monuments in the Old Town's crowning glory, the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de las Nieves was built in the 13th and 14th centuries on the site of the Yebisah Mosque, dating to the era of Islamic rule. Originally the cathedral was Gothic but was renovated in the 18th century in Baroque style. From the terrace on the south side of the cathedral, you can take in the marvelous views of the bay.
- Palma de Mallorca
In the heart of the city of Palma stands the magnificent 14th-century cathedral known as La Seu, the most emblematic building in Mallorca's capital. The cathedral is opposite the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, originally a Moorish fortress that was converted to a royal palace for the Catholic monarchs. An imposing golden sandstone building not to be missed, as it is one of Europe’s tallest Gothic structures, perched above Parc de la Mar and a superb sight for those arriving by sea.
La Lonja is the authentic fish market at the Old Town's harbor, and the Plaza Mayor, the Old Town's main square, is also worth visiting. Stroll by the Old Town's maze of narrow streets while browsing the enticing boutiques (especially on Carrer de Sant Feliu) and perhaps stop at an outdoor café or relax in one of the pleasant squares of Mallorca. About 10 kilometers from Palma de Mallorca, the Playa de Palma is one of the island's best beaches with great facilities. Near Playa de Palma, there is Playa del Arenal, an expansive palm-fringed beach adjoined to a yacht marina.
- Formentera Island
Listed as a UNESCO-World Heritage Site, the Natural Park of Ses Salines is a nature reserve from the southern part of Ibiza Island and northern Formentera Island. 75 percent of the natural park covers water and contains Posidonia, an endemic aquatic plant that only grows here. The other aspect of the park is the land (around 2,000 hectares) covered with salt flats, wetlands, dunes, beaches, and pine forests. The Welcome Center of Ses Salines Natural Park is located in Can Marroig on Formentera Island.
Formentera Island has beautiful beaches within the Natural Park of Ses Salines. The island's most famous beach is the Playa de Ses Illetes (four kilometers from La Savina), set in an idyllic location with views across the sea to the Island of Ibiza. Visitors are awed by the paradisiacal scenery, featuring a fine white-sand shoreline and translucent shallow waters resembling a swimming pool, so it's safe for children. The conditions are perfect for swimming, windsurfing, and sailing.
- Mahón: Capital of Menorca Island
Mahón is a laid-back town with a slow pace. Visitors can take strolls through the atmospheric cobblestone streets while admiring the sea views. The Plaza de España is a spacious town square, which can be reached via a pedestrian staircase from the port. It branches out to many streets lined with shops, restaurants, and its fresh fish market (the Mercat del Peix). A section of the market offers delicious tapas along with a convivial ambiance.
Just a few steps away is the Iglesia del Carmen, a Carmelite church with an adjoining cloister. Nowadays, the arcades are a venue for the town's traditional market, the Mercat des Claustre. The bustling market is held every day of the week, and it includes stalls selling fruits, vegetables, food products, clothing, jewelry, and typical items from Menorca.
At the beginning of September, Mahón celebrates the Fiestas de la Mare de Déu de Gràcia de Maò. A joyous festival honoring the Virgen de Gràcia, featuring parades, a children's fair, musical entertainment, dancing, street parties, and fireworks.
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