can find our maps of the Balearic Islands here.
A beautiful Spanish enclave set in the Mediterranean Sea -
are famous throughout the world. Their climate, scenery and
beaches are exceptional, and their inhabitants have a tradition
for being particularly hospitable.
The capital of the islands
- Palma de Majorca - is 132 miles from Barcelona, 287 from
Marseille, 172 from Algiers and 140 from Valencia.
It would appear that these islands are the ideal location
for resting and relaxing since they contain all the necessary
ingredients for achieving this aim: beautiful scenery, forests,
fertile farmlands, quiet and secluded beaches with crystal-clear
waters, interesting folklore, a mild climate and temperatures,
and a first-class hotel industry.
In spite of the close proximity of the different islands and
the very many common ties between them, each one has its own
very different landscape. Majorca has a magnificent coastline
consisting of rocky outcrops intermingled with many small coves
that offer excellent sandy beaches. Menorca, on the other hand,
is noted for its tranquility, while Ibiza has a personality
all of its won. Formentera and Cabrera are extremely solitary
History of the Islands
There are still some interesting remains of megalithic monuments
that date back to prehistoric times to be found on the island
of Majorca. Examples include the talayot (towerlike monument)
of Sa Canova, the settlements of Ses paisses, Capicorp Vell
and Claper dels Gegants, and especially on Menorca the naveta
(prehistoric tomb) of Els Tudons. The most famous civilizations
in Antiquity left their mark on the island of Majorca, including
the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines
and the Arabs. In the year 1229 King Jaime I "the Conqueror",
who was king of Aragon at the time, took control of the island
and added it to his domain. At his death it was passed over
to his son Jaime II and given the title of kingdom. Nevertheless,
after a very short time as an independent state it eventually
became part of the Crown of Aragon around the year 1343.
is an ancient island, full of history and tradition. Throughout
the centuries it has borne witness to the passing of the
most diverse and illustrious civilizations. Back in the very
past it saw the setting-up of a most primitive culture, evidence
of which can still be seen today in the large quantity of
enormous megalithic monuments that are spread all over the
was the culture of the talayot, naveta and taula (T-shaped
monument), which can still be encountered in some of the
prehistoric settlements that abound here. The number of monuments
kind is so great that it has made the islands appear as if
they were open-air archeological museums. In more recent
times Menorca also witnessed the passing the Greeks, Carthaginians,
Romans, Vandals, Byzandines and Arabs. The later, who remained
on the island until 1229, were driven away by King Alfonso
III of Aragon. Following it reconquest the island was repeatedly
besieged by pirates. The most savage attacks took place during
the reign of King Felipe II and were perpetrated by the famous
Red Beard and Mustafa Piali and their followers. Spanish
of Menorca was lost in favour of England, as stipulated in
the Treaty of Utrecht , and his situation lated for almost
one hundred years. As a result, there were constant attempts
at recovering the island by the Spanish, and this provoked
struggles between the British, Spanish and also the French
throughout the 18C. The Peace Treaty of Amiens finally saw
the return of Menorca to Spanish control in the 1802.
also has a very long history. Thanks to its strategic position
in the Mediterranean, many different civilizations left their
mark on the culture of the island. As a result of all these
comings and goings, the people of Ibiza are renowned for
their extremely hospitable nature. Nobody is a stranger here,
the islands is used to the movement of travelers. Ibiza was
an important Carthaginian colony, evidence of which can be
seen in the archeological remains that have been found. Later
on it became a Roman colony, and following a relatively short
time period under the Vandals and the Byzantines, eventually
fell under Moorish domination around the year 707. It was
reconquered by Christian force under King Jaime I "the Conqueror" and
the continual struggle against pirates forced King Carlos I
to set about the construction of the walls.
The history of Formentera is practically the same as that
of Ibiza. It gets its name from the fact that its land was
probably once given over to the cultivation of wheat (forment
in the local dialect). It was occupied by the Phoenicians Greeks
and Romans, and later was invaded several times at the hands
of the Berbers. This was to cause its inhabitants to abandon
the island, and it was not until the 17C that it was repopulated
once again when it was finally safe from any pirate attacks.
The Balearic Islands have provided Western culture with a large
number of poets, missionaries and philosophers, including,
for example, the mystic and philosopher Romnters are renowned
for their mildness.
The relative humidity oscillates around 70% throughourt the
year. As a result, these two factors - temperature and humidity
- help to produce a feeling of extreme well-being on the human
body. There are approximately 300 days of sun during the year,
with an average of five hours a day in winter and more than
ten during the summer months. The sea is an intense blue colour,
crystal-clear along the coasts where the temperatures are at
their Best. The prevailing wind is generally from the south-west,
and the average yearly atmospheric pressure is 758.7 mm.
Local Festivities and Folklore
Among the typical festivities that are held in the different
towns and villages of the Balearic Islands, one of the most
important is that at Ciutadella around June 18th, 23rd and
24th. The festivities of La Devallament at Pollensa (March
23rd), Sa Pobla (January 16th and 17th) in honour of San Antonio
Abad, and the Day of La Beata at Santa Margarita (September
3rd), are all of interest to tourists. Ibiza celebrates its
festivities on the days between July 30th and August 5th, while
The Balearic Islands maintain a rich and flourishing tradition
in local crafts. Embroidery, carvings in olive wood, wrought-iron
works, cut glass, objects made from palm leaves and raffia,
cultivated pearls, pottery, handmade shoes, and exquisite imitation
jewellery are just some of the things that entice all those
who come to visit. At Ciutadella, Alaior and Mahurn
The islands can accommodate approximately 250,000 visitors
in their modern and constantly-growing hotel network.
The province can also accommodate up to 350,000 holiday makers
in other modern and comfortable establishments that range from
apartments, villas and bungalows.
There is also the possibility of renting accommodation (with
or without furniture), as well as buying property and land
(although this largely depends on the availability in different
areas). Nertheless, the prices are generally quite reasonable
The Balearic Islands have the airports of Palma de Majorca,
Ibiza and Mahir and sea services have extra flights and crossing
during the "high season" (July 1st-September 30th),
the latter being organized through the company Trasmediterrnds,
i.e. Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
We can find certain differences in typical local cooking within
the main characteristics of Mediterranean-type food. In all,
the experts have encountered some 600 different recipes, which
give some idea of the range there is available.
On Majorca the most popular dishes are the soups, of which
there are two main varieties. The first are of a more liquid
nature, composed of fish or meat, while the second - considered
true Majorcan soups - are drier and more substantial and are
nowadays much more difficult to find. They probably originate
from the ancient cabbage soup and are the piece of resistance
of a rural community. They consist of vegetables, in particular
cabbage, slices of bread soaked in the cooking broth, paprika,
tomatoes, and garlic. The end result is soft, light and very
After the soups the main dish consists of port (known locally
as porcella), which is prepared in variety of styles, especially
roast (known as rostit). It can also be stuffed with an incredible
mixture of pig's liver, eggs, bread, spices, apples and plums.
Mention should also be made of the famous sobrasada, a mixture
of soft lard and paprika. One of the most popular vegetable
dishes is el tumbet, a kind of pie which has a layer of potatoes
and another of aubergines. It is then covered with a sauce
made from tomatoes and peppers. Aubergines, which are a typical
ingredient in this local cooking, can also be stuffed with
meat or fish or even baked.
Egg dishes include huevos al estilo Sestnuts. As far as desserts
and confecionery are concerned, the most well-known sweet dish
is the ensaimada, an exquisite kind of large bun which requires
a complicated elaboration and is made using lard.
On the island of Menorca the most important dishes are those
based on fish and shellfish, both of which are found in great
quantities off the coast and are of an exceptionally high quality.
Perhaps the most outstanding dish of all is lobster stew, consisting
of pieces of lobster, peppers, onion, tomato, garlic and a
liqueur made from herbs. Other typical dishes include lobster
with rice, tunny fish with mayonnaise, partridge "a la
menorquina" and roast goat with sobrasada. The cheese
from Mahsoned with an almond sauce; lobster with squid and
herbs; and el guisat de marisc - a succulent stew made with
fish and shellfish. Throughout the Balearic Islands there are
a large variety of coques - rectangular tarts that are covered
with minced vegetables, fish or meat.
As for wines, Majorca is the only islands which produces them.
Nevertheless, these islands do have other interesting drinks.
For example, Menorca is noted for its gin production, which
is used in the preparation of the very popular pallofas, and
on Ibiza there is a very strong herb liqueur known as frigola
which is normally served with ice.
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car hire - Low cost car hire from Majorca Airport.
car hire - Cheap car hire in Mallorca with easy collection
at Mallorca Airport