Welcome to our guide about The Balearic Islands which also briefly touches on the smaller islands and islets. The four main Balearic Islands are located off the eastern coast of mainland Spain and include Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera.
The Balearic Islands, The 4 Main Islands
The Balearic Islands are a grouping of tiny islands and islets known as an archipelago, much the same as the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The Balearic Islands chain actually comprises of over 100 small islands and islets, many of which remain uninhabited.
The four main islands are all popular tourist destinations which predominantly attract northern Europeans who travel south to enjoy the excellent climate on offer.
There are two official languages spoken across the Balearic Islands, these are traditional Spanish and Catalan which is also an official language of Catalonia in mainland Spain.
Balearic Islands Travel & Tourism
Due to the multiple languages spoken and some pronunciation difficulties for the Brits especially, the collective name for the Balearic’s and some of the individual islands often change. In Catalan the correct name would be Illes Balears while in Spanish the translation is Islas Baleares. Mallorca would be a good example of what the Brits commonly refer to as Majorca whilst the Italians the Brits and the official Catalan translation often refer to Menorca as Minorca.
However you refer to this grouping of islands there is no doubt that they are still one of the top tourism locations in Europe. Some 12 million visitors were recorded back in 2014 spread across the main islands. Below we give a brief introduction to each of the main islands and some points of interest in each.
Majorca – Mallorca
Majorca is by far the biggest of the Balearic Islands in both land mass and population. Majorca is hugely popular with the German and British nationalities who make up a good chunk of the yearly visitors to this pretty island. The population here is around 850,000 inhabitants which is the vast majority of the 1.1 million total population of the Balearic’s. We have just completed an extensive article which provides detailed information about Majorca, the best resorts and things to do during your visit.
Ibiza – Eivissa
Ibiza or Eivissa as it’s officially known in Catalan is actually smaller in land mass than Menorca but has a bigger population. Currently there are around 130,000 permanent inhabitants in Ibiza but the numbers swell along the 150 kilometres of coastline during the summer months. Ibiza is one of the top locations for nightlife in Spain and consistently welcomes well over 2 million international visitors a year to it’s shores.
Menorca – Minorca
Menorca is larger than Ibiza in terms of land mass but has a smaller population with around 100,000 inhabitants. Menorca is not as vibrant as Ibiza or Majorca in terms of nightlife and ideally suits those that are looking for a quiet relaxing holiday. Menorca is famous for it’s many Megalithic sites and T-shaped altars that are found across the island which date back to 2000 BC. Talatí de Dalt, Torretrencada and Trépuco are three of the most important sites where early iron-age settlements can be seen.
Mahón or Maó in Catalan is the capital of Menorca where a third of the population is located. A further third are located in Ciutadella de Menorca with many smaller districts making up the rest of the local population. This island has many beautiful beaches and coves such as Cala Macarelleta and Cala en Turqueta (pictured above) which are famous for the turquoise sea colour.
Formentera is the smallest of the Balearic Islands with a total length of 19 km and a population of around 9,500 inhabitants. Located just 6 km south of Ibiza, Formentera is well known for it’s white beaches and much slower pace of life in comparison to it’s vibrant neighbouring island. Formentera is made up of many small districts which are no bigger than villages, these include San Fernando, La Savina, Es Pujols and San Francisco among others. A tiny island in it’s own right, Formentera is surrounded by many smaller uninhabited islets.
Interestingly, before tourism became the major source of income, salt and agriculture were the major contributors to the economy as recent as the 1980’s. Being a tiny island, there is no airport in Formentera, visitors will need to catch a ferry from Ibiza which takes around 30 minutes.
AT Mallorca Transfers
AT Mallorca Transfers are a professional company based in Alcudia that specialise in Palma Airport Transfers to Alcudia, Magaluf and the top resorts found on the island of Majorca (Mallorca). This company have a reputation for excellence and reliability so make sure to get in contact for your requirements upon arrival.