Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel Community! The cool, crisp days of the fall season are here for most of us in the US, and the steamy hot days of July and August are long in our review mirror. This summer was the hottest on record for the planet, and much of Europe felt the heat. Next summer will likely be no different but that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative choices for your European summer vacation.
One idea that I have for you is the Balearic Islands of Spain. While it will be hot, you’ll always be close to the water. Of course, if you can travel in the shoulder months of late spring and early fall, that’s ideal.
Haven’t heard of these islands or want to learn more? Read on for the scoop…
You’ll find the Balearic Islands (pronounced BAL-ee-ARR-ik) off the coast of the eastern coast of Spain, just a short flight from Barcelona, in the western Mediterranean Sea. You may not have heard the name Balearic, but you’ve probably heard of Ibiza and Mallorca. Actually, the Balearic Archipelago comprises four major islands – Mallorca (spelled Majorca in Spanish), Menorca (Minorca), Ibiza, and Formentera, and they are all beautiful!
In a recent Forbes Magazine article, they said, “Ibiza is for partying, Mallorca is for partying and relaxing, and Menorca is for relaxing.” What they all have in common is gorgeous water, beaches, and coastline, plus fascinating historical sights, gastronomy, and culture; you won’t be bored as there is a diversity of outdoor activities to enjoy. Read on for a bit more information about what makes each of these three islands special.
💎Hidden Gem Tip: Barcelona is one of my favorite cities – be sure to add time there before or after your island stay!
You’ve likely heard that Ibiza is a hot spot for trendsetters, the ultra-wealthy with their mega-yachts, and Instagram influencers. However, according to the tourism website, there’s something for everyone – even families. There are quieter sides to the island, and vacations can be active with exploration by horseback, bicycle, kayak, or even hot air balloon. It is home to the best preserved coastal fortress in the Mediterranean, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have college-aged kids who like to go out at night while on vacation (and get the perfect photo for Instagram), Ibiza is a good bet.
Mallorca is the largest Balearic Island and offers the best of both worlds whether you want nightlife or a quiet, relaxed vacation. The capital, Palma, is known as ‘the city of courtyards’ which tells you that it’s charming and historic with interesting architecture. Love hiking or cycling? Head to the mountains of Sierra de Tramuntana for scenic routes.
Beach and water lovers will fall in love with Mallorca. According to Spain’s tourism board, Mallorca offers ‘coves of turquoise water so clear that boats seem to be floating in the air, venture into hidden caves, visit lighthouses with endless views, and see unforgettable sunsets.’
A few months ago, I shared that Menorca made the cover of Conde Nast Traveler, and I was fortunate to visit in May (photo below). It was beautiful, charming, and not overrun with crowds. Like its sister islands, the island tour showed a wide variety of coastlines to explore: a total of 216 kilometers that include reddish beaches, golden sand coves, and rugged rock formations. The one commonality is you’ll see crystal-clear waters.
Menorca earned a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation due to its many ravines, caves, wetlands, isles, dune systems, and beaches that are the habitat of numerous species, some of which are endemic.
The capital city of Mahon is historic but also offers fun shops and delicious restaurants when you’re ready for a break from the beach and water activities. You can venture beyond Mahon for some nightlife in a very special setting; Cova D’En Xoroi is built into a cliffside cave that literally hangs above the water (I’ve been there). Sip creative cocktails while listening to live music and dance the night away.
Inspired? Reach out to me now to begin the planning process and get your questions answered.
Wishing you unforgettable travel adventures,
Make your own Wanderlist for 2024! As a reminder, Wanderlist is an online portal where you can research, explore, and create shareable lists of destinations and experiences. Share your list with me so I can make it happen for you. Check it out here: https://bit.ly/wanderlisthgtc