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Sun, sea and sand and loads of beautiful villages and stunning scenery. The Balearic Islands offer some of Spain's most beautiful seaside destinations and have long been a favourite destination for holiday makers. Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera each have their own unique charms to attract visitors.

THE BALEARIC ISLANDS TOURIST SIGHTS AND PLACES TO VISIT

The Balearic Islands are a group of islands in the Mediterranean Sea just off the east coast of Spain. Between them the islands of Ibiza, Formetera, Mallorca (Majorca) and Menorca have something to offer everyone:

Ibiza is well-known to clubbers everywhere and its combination of sun, sand and trendy nightspots keeps it popular with the young throughout Europe.

Mallorca, or Majorca as it is known in the UK has many beautiful beaches and a strong cultural heritage. It is a beautiful island with an incredible variety of scenery. Whilst mass tourism exists, largely on the east coast, it can be avoided. The regional capital of Palma has a wonderful historic centre.

Menorca is quieter than Ibiza and Mallorca and has Neolithic remains and the lovely old towns of Mao and Ciutadella.

Formentera is the perfect beach destination with white sand and clear waters.

Below are the highlights and favourite destinations for each island to enable you to get the most from your trip to the Balearic Islands.

Ibiza

Beautiful beaches, wooded hills, trendy resorts, nightclubs and clubbers. A great place if you are looking for nightlife, or come between October and May to enjoy a much quieter island.

Es CanarWorld famous nightclubs can be found at Ibiza town, San Antonio and San Rafael. At Ibiza town Space, Pacha and DC10 are favourites whilst the Privilege at San Rafaeil is the world's biggest nightclub. Eden and Es Paradis are two favourite clubs and San Antonio.  Ibiza town also has a lovely historic centre and is well worth a visit.

Ibiza's seaside resorts include Portinatx, Es Canar and Santa Eularia.

If you prefer hills to beaches head for the north of Ibiza to Els Amunts, a hilly area which is fairly unspoiled by tourism. Dotted with tiny white churches and covered with pine, olive and almond trees it is a good place to relax. Alternatively head south to Sant Josep, a pretty village near to the Sa Talaiassa mountain. Close by are the salt lakes of Ses Salines.

Ibiza has a number of cultural sights which together have been given UNESCO World Heritage Status. These include a Phoenician settlement at Sa Caleta.

Mallorca / Majorca

A beautiful island with scenery ranging from alpine peaks to terraced orange groves to lovely beaches. Culturally too there is a lot to offer including the beautiful city of Palma.

AndratxMallorca is a very popular holiday destination and rightly so. It has some stunning scenery and some great beaches. Whilst areas have been spoiled by overdevelopment this is largely limited to the beaches either side of Palma itself.

Palma is a great city with some wonderful historic architecture. Soller and Pollenca are two more pretty towns worth visiting. Deia is another lovely town and the coast between Soller and Deia is superb.

Around the coast some favourites are Alcudia, El Arenal, Cala Mondrago and Cala d'Or. If you are looking for beaches and nightlife then BCM in Magaluf is one of Europe's biggest nightclubs. Andratx, clustered on a hill above the sea, is one of the prettiest and most exclusive holiday resorts.

If you are looking for some peace and tranquility head for the beautiful hill town of Valldemossa with its monastery famous for its one time residents - George Sands and Frederic Chopin. Alternatively head for the Albufera Natural Park which is a small wetlands park.

The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is beautiful and has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for the diversity of techniques designed to farm the steep slopes over the century. These days it is a popular location with cyclists, particularly for winter training. Lluc and the Santuario de Lluc is an important pilgrim destination in the mountains.

Other highlights include Alfabia, a typical Majorcan estate, with its lovely Moorish flavour and superb garden. The megalithic remains at Capocarb Vell and the Coves del Drac, one of which has an underground lake, are also worth visiting. There is also a lovely former Cistercian convent at La Granja that is open to the public.

Menorca / Minorca

Quieter than Ibiza and Mallorca, Menorca also has lovely beaches and in addition has a lot of Neolithic remains to visit. Visit outside the hot season and there are lots of lovely coastal paths to explore.

MahonThe attractive old towns of Mao (Mahon) and Ciutadella are well worth exploring and both have lovely seaside locations as well. Another lovely seaside town is Fornells which has a charming harbour. One of the first resorts on the island and still popular is the town of Cala-en-Porter.

Walkers will be tempted to walk stretches of  the 'Cami de Cavalls' coastal paths which goes right around the island.

Inland, Ferreries and Es Mercadal are both delightful villages of whitewashed houses. Es Mercadal is close to El Toro which is Menorca's highest mountain. It has been a pilgrim destination since medieval times and there is a monastery at the top.

There are 1600 megalithic monuments on the island of Menorca. Some of the most notable ones are at Talati de Dalt near Mao. Prehistoric remains can be found at Trepuco and Naveta d'es Tudons.

Nature enthusiasts will be amazed by the wealth of wildlife on the island which has been classified a UNESCO bioshpere reserve. The S'Albufera des Grau nature reserve is particularly good for bird watching.

Formentera

Formentera has lovely sandy beaches and crystal clear water and is great for water sports.

Visit Fomentera for its beaches not its nightlife. This small island has some superb beaches, a largely arid landscape and not much in the way of development (though it does get a lot of day trippers from nearby Ibiza).

To visit Formentera catch the ferry from Ibiza. The port is in the attractive town of L Savina. Just 3km away is the peaceful capital of the island - Sant Francesc. The main resort on the island is Pujols and this is a great base for water sports enthusiasts.

Whilst Menorca is the main island for megalithic monuments there is a monument at Ca Na Costa on Formentera, a circle of upright stones dating from 1800-1600BC.

Balearic Islands tourism and sightseeing

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Ibiza, biodiversity and culture

Cultural Landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana on Mallorca

Monasteries in the Balearic Islands

The Santuari de Lluc in Lluc on the island of Mallorca

The Monastery of Valldemossa in Valldemossa on the island of Mallorca

Museums in the Balearic Islands

Contemporary Art Museum - Palma

Joan Miro Foundation - Palma

Palau March Museum - Palma - contemporary sculpture

Cathedral Museum of sacred art - Palma

Museum of the National Treasure - Palma - housed in the royal palace of the Almudaina of Islamic origin

Cultural House and Museum of Soller - Soller - archeological finds and antiques

Museum of Polllentia - Alcudia - excevations of Pollentia

Gardens in the Balearic Islands

The Botanic gardens of Soller

Jardines de Alfabia - on the main road between Soller and Palma about 17km from Soller

See also:

Map of Balearic Islands and places to visit

Balearic Islands places to visit