Choose from 27 Fun Things to Do in Balearic Islands
The glittering disco ball of the Mediterranean, Ibiza is famed for its stylish clubs, scantily clad starlets, world-class DJs, and powdery white beaches. Its auto-tuned siren song calls out to every hennaed hippy and jet-set D-lister able to hold his or her liquor, tempting each to make their way across the sapphire sea and dance into an international playground of exceptional beauty.
Of course, Ibiza is much more than its infamous party scene. With a rich history hearkening back to the Phoenicians, it has its share of ancient edifices, and even a few museums. Diving, sailing, hiking, and bicycling are just a few of the healthy ways to work off your hangover. For a change of scenery, take a boat over to less developed Formentera Island, known for both its natural and naturist beauty.
Ibiza is also beginning to market its family-friendly resorts, perfect for the heavily tattooed couple eager to show their children that perfect beach where they first fell in love. If they could only remember which one it was. Cheers!
Ibiza (Eivissa in Catalan) is a seasonal destination, with some 80% of visitors arriving between May and October. Many flights to Ibiza Airport (IBZ) are cut back during the off-season. Direct flights serve Alicante, Barcelona, Belfast, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Munich, Naples, Paris, Rome and Zürich, among many others.
Ferries serve destinations on the Spanish mainland, including Alicante, Barcelona, Denia, and Valencia. Several companies offer boat transportation between Ibiza and the neighboring island of Formentera.
You can rent a car on the island, but this isn't usually recommended; some roads are poor, and drivers may be intoxicated (not you, of course).
- Bring sunscreen and a hat, as the sun can be very strong here, especially between 12pm and 3pm.
- Lodging is available on the island during the summer season.
- Note that some of the island’s beaches are clothing-optional.
International visitors and residents alike routinely flock to the Almudaina Palace in order to see how antiquity lived throughout the centuries and to catch a glimpse of this venerated architecture. Muslim kings living in Roman-built archways lead to a unique blend of culture which has infused the palace, as told by the magnificent tapestries on the wall telling stories long lost to time. The throne room from the 14th century, with huge pointed-arch ceilings, and the Santa Praxedis Chapel are highlights of any tour, and walking out into the courtyard with the smell of the ocean salts just beyond the parapet is second-to-none.
- Cala Comte is a must-visit for families and those looking for a safe and beautiful swimming spot.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection; there isn’t much shade at this Ibiza beach.
- Beware of incoming tides; they’ve been known to wash away belongings.
- Catamaran tours often include snorkeling gear.
- The Palma cathedral is a must-see for all first-time visitors.
- If you plan to visit the cathedral terrace and bell tower, be sure to reserve your tour ahead of time.
- Choose between a basic Palma Cathedral entrance ticket or a private or small-group tour that includes entrance to the cathedral.
- The cathedral is wheelchair accessible.
The western inlets include: Cala d´Hort, Cap Llentrisca i Sa Talaia Natural Park and the Es Vedrà, Es Vedranell and Els Illots de Ponent Nature Reserves. Spend time here exploring the 10 islets in the area, which are packed with birds – including the Audoin gull and Elearnor falcon, lizards and more. Or, grab a seat on the beach and keep a look out for dolphins frolicking off the coast.
To get in touch with the past, the area also features the remnants of a Punic-Roman settlement and La Torres des Savinar, an old lighthouse.
- Beaches in San Antonio bay typically have sunbeds and parasols available to rent, lifeguard-patrolled swimming areas (in peak season), restrooms and showers, and beachside bars, shops, and restaurants.
- As well as sunscreen, a hat, and some cash (for beachside amenities and activities), carry your passport (or a photocopy)—it’s often required for credit card payments or booking activities.
- Most of the bay’s beaches are wheelchair accessible.
- Bellver Castle is a must for history buffs, architecture geeks, and sightseers.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the approach to Bellver Castle is up a steep hill.
- Bring a camera to capture the great views over Palma bay and the city afforded by the hilltop castle.
Enter the plaza and the first thing you’ll notice is its imposing size. The enormous square is surrounded by old Spanish buildings of the 14th century and once housed the offices of the Spanish inquisition. Today, this area is known as the artist’s quarter, so you’re bound to spot a few galleries highlighting some of the local talent. In addition, a weekly market is held in the square, and a variety of notable goods can be purchased from colourful vendors here.
Labyrinthine streets emanate out from Plaza Mayor and the cobbled walkways are known to be a confusing but enjoyable jaunt down winding streets lined with boutiques, cafes, and evening revelers. Costumed street performers and street musicians typically help fill the plaza in daylight and night-time hours and locals and tourists together can be seen enjoying evening cocktails and music in the plaza.
The Plaza Mayor is now one of Palma’s main attractions and few can contend that a visit to Palma without seeing the Plaza Mayor is a visit at all.
Plaza Mayor (Placa Mayor) is located at 07003 Palma de Mallorca, and lies directly between the Parc de la Estacion and the Palma Cathedral. Weekly Markets are held every Monday, Friday and Saturday mornings. The easiest way to find the Plaza is to South on Calle de San Miguel and continue South, past the Museo d’Art Espanyol Contemporani.
- Puerto Pollensa and Cape Formentor are must-sees for families, couples, and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the Spanish sun.
- Tours to Puerto Pollensa from Palma can last more than eight hours.
- Dalt Vila is a must for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.
- The cobbles can prove challenging for flip-flops, so be sure to wear sturdier shoes.
- Dalt Vila is not wheelchair-friendly, with most routes featuring cobbles, uneven surfaces, or steps.
- Shore excursions typically include port pickup and drop-off.
- Most shore excursions are half-day tours, leaving plenty of time to get back to your cruise ship.
- For a more flexible tour, opt for a hop-on hop-off bus tour of Palma and explore at your own pace.