Click for more information about Balearic Islands
2014 Sep by Carlos Anies
Menorca 2011, 2012 - Mallorca 2014, Ibiza 2016 |
2008 Nov by Michael Novins
November 2008 -- I visited Mallorca and stayed in Palma, the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands, at the Hotel Born, situated in the Palace of the Marquis of Ferrandell (built in the 16th century) (http://www.hotelborn.com/). In Palma I visited the Catedral, Palau de l'Almudaina and Banys Arabs. My favorite place to eat was Lonja del Pescado (Casa Eduardo), located behind the fish market and operating since the 1930s. I also made a day trip to Soller on the narrow-gauge Ferrocarril de Sóller (operating since 1912). |
2007 Jun by Leopold Kleedorfer
On the list of TCC this was my country Nr. 100.Went there with my family and we had a time of celebration.|
I did´t like Palma de Mallorca because for me it was just a big city with no flair. But, who knows, maybe I was in the wrong street.
A very nice place for me was Söller in the north-west of Mallorca. A tiny place at the coast, a sandy beach, a fancy railway along the beach, a beautiful sunset. In Söller we rented a car and went beautiful mountainroads along the coast.
2006 May by Jorge Sanchez
Balearic Islands are a favourite place for kings as our Juan Carlos, writers as Robert Graves or George Sand, musicians as Frederic Chopin, and tourists and travellers alike. In this island there are megalithic dolmens and caves with stalactites, imposing cathedrals, beautiful nature, good weather and beaches, and excellent daily connections by boat from the Spanish peninsula or direct charter flights from most of the European countries. Apart from the Spanish, the Balearic language is also official.Here below are the five islands forming the Balearic archipelago:MALLORCA is the biggest island. In it there are so many Germans (tourists and others who live there for ever) that many people call Mallorca with a touch of humour “the seventeen German lander”. In Palma de Mallorca, the capital, there is a beautiful cathedral, considered one of the greatest in Spain, and the impressive Bellver castle. MENORCA is the second Balearic island by surface. During a few years of the XVIII century it was occupied by the English, but after a Treaty we recover it. It is a quiet island, without many discotheques, as Mallorca has. There you can also find many megalithic vestiges. IBIZA is the third Balearic island and in the sixties and seventies was a Mecca for the hippies in their route to India via San Francisco, Isle of Wight, Crete, Istanbul, Kabul and finally Manali in Himachal Pradesh and the Kathmandu valleys, or Goa beaches in winter. Today Ibiza is a pleasant and nice island where their people produce the famous white fashion clothes, and many of the hippies of the past (all of them are today sixty or seventy years old) sell handicrafts to the tourists.FORMENTERA is an artist shelter. In this small island of about 75 square kilometres live just about 6000 people, but in summer this number increases dramatically.CABRERA Island is today a National Park. In the middle of it there is an old castle.
In July 2014 I visited again Mallorca Island and this is what I wrote about my journey: The best and loveliest way, in my opinion, to appreciate and admire the UNESCO wonder Sierra de Tramontana, is by train, from Palma de Mallorca to Sóller. The train dates from 1912 and runs the approximately 28 kilometers separating those two places in over 1 hour. The train makes several stops and in one of them (Mirador de Pujol) you can disembark for about ten minutes, when you can take pictures to the landscape filled with lemon and oranges plantations. The train crosses a tunnel of about 3 kilometers.
But the best are the mountains; some of them have a pyramidal form. The highest peak in Sierra de Tramontana is called Puig Mayor (over 1.400 meters).
The rails are narrow and the train has four wooden carriages. No cafeteria or toilets are provided. The train looks like a toy. Inside the wagons there are some pictures showing pictures representing old paintings of Spanish artist Juan Miró, (who was born in Barcelona but lived and died in Mallorca).
Practically all the passengers in that train are tourists (foreigners and Spanish); local people prefer to travel by car or bus, which is much cheaper. In Sóller you can board a tramway (built in 1913) to get to Port de Sóller (about 4 more kilometers), where you can enjoy the lovely beach and bay.
In Sóller, as well as in Port de Sóller, the travel agencies offer trekkings around the Sierra de Tramontana.
I travelled in that train in July 2014 and paid 26 euro for the round trip Palma – Sóller and tramway to Port de Sóller............................................................................. On July 2014 I travelled to the island of Formentera and this is what I wrote about it: I had been in Formentera when I was very young, but only during one day. I remember that I rented a bicycle at the port of Formentera, visited the island for a few hours and returned to the port in the afternoon to catch my ferry back to Ibiza (there is no airport in Formentera, only in Ibiza). The island is very small (with scarcely a surface of 130 square kilometers)
In June 2014 I spent a whole week in Formentera and got to know that island pretty well. This time Formentera enthralled me!
I loved the colors of the sea, unique in Spain. According to a friend who lives in Formentera 30 years so far, those colors are even more beautiful than in the Caribbean Sea. And he, being a prestigious artist (Alfonso Biescas) was right because nobody better than a painter can give such an opinion about colors with authority.
I would recommend to forget about Els Pujols, because is too crowded with Italian tourists. Instead, pretty places such as Cala Saona or Els Arenals, Migjorn, Salines, or Illetes are a better choice for its lovely beaches. But check the weather conditions before going to the correct beach because it all depends on the wind to enjoy the sea.
Formentera shares with Ibiza the UNESCO Patrimony called Biodiversity and Culture. In both island you can find a unique shoreline with marine life. Its ecosystem possesses very well preserved huge quantities of a sea grass called Posidonia; the most notable colony of Posidonia on our planet Earth.
Formentera has a population of about 10.000 souls. Everybody speaks Spanish and many of them also a local language that is known as Formenterer or Pagčs.
Lizards form part of the reptile population in Formentera and Ibiza. It is an endemic sort called Ibiza Wall Lizard.
Formentera is composed mainly by four little towns. The island capital is San Francisco Javier (Sant Francesc in local language). The village by the port is called La Savina. And there are still San Fernando (Sant Ferran in the local language) and Pilar de la Mola. Only three villages shelter churches: San Francisco Javier, San Fernando and Pilar de la Mola.
There are three lighthouses in the island, one in La Savina, another one near Pilar de la Mola, called Faro de la Mola, plus the Faro del Cabo de Barbaria, on the south west of Formentera.
During the sixties of the XX century Formentera was a place frequented by the hippies, who in order to make a living used to paint, play music and to manufacture handicrafts and ornaments for ladies. Some of them are still living in Formentera. There is still a popular hippy market in Pilar de La Mola.
I advise you that everything is more expensive in Formentera than in Ibiza or Mallorca, for instance. Hotels range from 150 to 250 euro per night and even higher. But there are some hostels at around 60 euro per night; cheaper than that you will not find anything to sleep in Formentera. There are not Youth Hostels and sleeping on the beaches or camping is prohibited.
These high prices prevent Formentera from being a too touristic place. Today Formentera is considered a prestigious selected resort.
Formentera was inhabited since the second millennium before Jesus Christ. The first visitors were Phoenicians, and then came the Carthaginians, the Romans and the Arabs. After we expelled the Muslims from Spain, Berber pirates made some incursions in the island until we also expelled them forever. Finally, at the turn of the XVII century Formentera was repopulated by people from the neighboring island of Ibiza................................
In July 2014 I visited again Palma de Mallorca and this is what I wrote about my trip: The arrival to Palma de Mallorca by ferry makes you feel that you will love that city. The views from the sea over the lovely cathedral plus the imposing castle Bellver advance you that you are going to visit a beautiful place.
Most of the tourist attractions are close each other, that is the cathedral plus the Almudaina Palace, then the Lonja and the fortress. The castle of Bellver is a little far, but there are buses to the base and then you have to walk for about ten minutes up to the castle.
Plaza Mayor, in downtown, is not as spectacular as the one in Madrid or in Salamanca, nevertheless it is worth to go there, especially if you are heading to the train station bound to Sóller.
To find accommodation is a problem because all of them are ridiculously expensive. Even the hostels with bathroom in the corridor ask you a minimum of 70 euro per a double.
It is better not to sleep in Palma, but going somewhere else for a cheaper place.
I did it and took the train to Sóller, then the tramway to Port de Sóller and found a decent place by the beach at a good price.
Mallorca was invaded by the moors but conquered by Jaime I el Conquistador, born in Montpellier when the south east of France belonged to Spain (to the Crown of Aragon).
Every island in the Balearic speaks its particular dialect. In Mallorca is spoken the balear, which is very close to the Valenciano and the catalan languages, and even to the Aragonese (in Spain, apart from the Spanish, that everybody knows, several regions have other language, also official, which are spoken by approximately half the population of the determinate region).
There is a Rambla avenue with two statues of the Roman emperors Julio Cesar and Neron.
I also found in a small square a bust devoted to Chopin, who lived in the Cartuja de Valdemosa, Mallorca several months, with George Sand.
Having done the Camino de Santiago on foot many times, I did not miss the church devoted to Saint James, in street San Jaime.
When I had visited all these places, I headed by bus to the castle of Bellver and then travelled by train and tramway to Port de Sóller, to spend there a couple of nights. |
1997 Jul by Leslie Rutledge
I visited Mallorca in the Balearic islands in the summer of 1997 and stayed at the lovely seaside resort of Santa Ponsa, not far from the hot-spot of Magaluf. Santa Ponsa is very much a resort with a mixture of different nationalities (a lot of places on Mallorca are strictly British, German and so on). Santa Ponsa has a large pristine white sand beach, which the locals use for the most amazing beach sculptures, and a thriving night life. Most of the hotels put on free shows in the evening.
Not far from Santa Ponsa is the island of “Sa Dragonera”, the island of dragons, so called because there are thousands of lizards running around the island. We took a boat trip there which included a stop-off at the lovely seaside village of St. Elmo where we sampled the local Sangria, freezing cold and filled with fruit. The coastline in this part of Mallorca is slowly disappearing as ever more foreigners build their holiday homes here.
One of only two main roads in Mallorca goes in a straight line from Palma De Mallorca to Alcudia, a quiet resort where mostly the elderly stay. On the way is the nice little town of Inca which has a daily market place which sells everything including the kitchen sink, don’t take the wife or you’ll be here all day.
Not far from Inca to the north is the quaint monastery of Lluc, a nice place where the monks are self-sufficient and grow their own crops and fruit in some lovely gardens and orchards. A few kilometres to the north is the scenic “Port De Sa Colabra”, one of Mallorca hidden gems which is difficult to get to without transport. This very picturesque little bay is perfect for a day trip with a few bars spread around the bay. Only downside is that the shingle beach is full of sharp rocks so suitable footware is a must.
On the East of the island near the town of “Porto Cristo” are the “Coves Del Drac”, the caves of the dragon which is definitely worth a visit. The inside of the caves are well lit up with different coloured lights showing off the stalagmites to stunning effect. The cave even has a lake, which for a small fee, you can be taken on a gondola whilst being serenaded by a violin.
The locals say that the best beach in Mallorca is El Arenal, which is firmly in German hands and is jam packed with tourists all lying like beached seals on the sand trying to get a decent sun tan. You cannot go to El Arenal without visiting the most famous German bar in Mallorca “Ballerman 6”. This place never seems to close and usually there is always something going on here. Here you can try your hand at sinking the contents of a “German Stein” in one go (only 5 litres) but make sure there a swill bucket nearby. |
1991 Aug by Alfredo Fournier-Beeche
In 1991 I made a tour of Spanish beaches with wife Elizabeth and daughter Anabel. As I remember, the Balearic Islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. We visited Mallorca and Ibiza, both nothing under most beautiful. All this Islands were first populated by the Chartagians, during their expansion on the Mediterranean, before being defeated by Marius, the Roman general who defeated Hannibal and his elephants. Both have a very livable ambiance, with mild climate in winter and both are hot in summer. The best time of the year (this is an opinion) is in summer, when all the beaches are full of people and the restaurants giving their best performances. Once in Mayorca, I stopped at a sidewalk restaurant upon leaving the beach and ordered a seafood paella for two -with a bottle of very dry white wine, of course- served with all the delicious ingredients possible. It was excellent, a masterpiece! Although I have not been in Valencia (is this a sin?), I understand that the Islands contend for the best paellas. The cathedral in Mallorca is very interesting and beautiful, built at the end of the Middle Age, and deserves a careful visit. Walking the city is a must, so take good walking shoes. The Yacht Club is very active and a meeting place for European aristocracy and the affluent. I was allowed to enter because of my membership to the Costa Rica Yacht Club; but it is private. Many members do go at aperiff hour and wear topsider shoes, as if it was an obligation. Food and scotch were good. Ibiza is much smaller, but no less interesting. It is mainly a beach community, catering to the mass beach tourist. Ambiance is fun-beach, fun-beach, fun-beach. Full of dermatologists future clients! There you find everything, including large naturist beaches. Food is excellent in every restaurant, provided it is not fast food. At night, fun is also an obligation, because there is no sense in goin on vacation to be serious. Pacha is the discotheque, with several dance floors and bars; and the inevitable caged-in dancer, very light on clothing. The churches are ancient and very nice, but not as large as in other places. Probably not attended by many... |
1978 Sep by Veikko Huhtala*
That time Balearic Islands were most popular place for Finnish tourists to spend their holidays. I spent my one week in Majorca and did not visit to other islands, for example Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera at all. So, my flight was 31 years ago and maybe it would be the time to visit there again! |