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BlogTravel tipsExploring Spain’s Balearic Islands: best things to do on Mallorca & Menorca
Travel tips

Exploring Spain’s Balearic Islands: best things to do on Mallorca & Menorca

May 03, 2024 by Emily Houston

One part sun-kissed shores, one part lively cities, a heap of local cuisine, and a dash of historical treasures—that’s the recipe for the perfect summer getaway. Embrace this unique brand of island living on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour and check off all the best things to do on the isles. Before we jump in, though, it helps to have a bit of background on the Balearic Islands.

Spain Balearic Islands

What are the Balearic Islands?

The Balearic Islands are an archipelago that sit off the eastern coast of mainland Spain. Menorca and Mallorca are the two largest islands, both of which you’ll visit on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour.

Mallorca vs. Menorca: What’s the difference?

  • Menorca is the most laid back of Spain’s Balearic Islands and is known for its variety of unspoiled beaches and pine-fringed coastlines. It’s smaller than next-door neighbor Mallorca, but you can travel between the two via ferry.
  • Mallorca is the largest and most urban of the Balearic Islands, where ancient history, modern and urban living, and jaw-dropping coastal landscapes meet. It’s also home to Palma, the largest city on the islands.

The best things to do on Spain’s Balearic Islands

Spain Balearic Islands

Get in touch with the laid-back coastal culture

Of all the places in Spain where you can embrace la buena vida on tour this summer, the Balearic Islands might be our personal favorite. It has a little something to do with how easy it is to enjoy the sea and a lot to do with the seemingly perfect weather. Set your watch to island time as you enjoy these activities on the Balearic Islands.

  • Feel the Mediterranean’s glow during a sunset cruise around Menorca. Spain’s Balearic Island of Menorca is one of the best places to travel during summer 2024 because that easygoing feeling many of us crave is baked into the local way of life. With the Balearic Sea as your backdrop, take to the water for a relaxing cruise on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. Our Sunset Cruise of Menorca excursion takes you along the island’s stunning coast—and you can sip a drink or two as the sun dips below the horizon.
  • Flaunt your island style in a pair of handmade sandals. Whether you forgot to pack a pair of sandals or you want a chic souvenir to take home, you’ll find a reason to love your visit to a sandal shop on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. Artisans at the store creates avarcas, an iconic shoe designed to keep farmers’ feet cool yet protected in hot, dry summers. Resourceful craftsmen back in the day used recycled tires for the soles. Today, you’ll find more lightweight rubber on the bottom, and leather—coming in every color of the rainbow—on the top. Want to make sure the avarcas you’re buying are the real deal? Look for the Avarca de Menorca label. This stamp signifies that the sandals meet quality standards and are made on Spain’s Balearic Island of Menorca.
  • Soak up some Vitamin C while sailing on the Balearic Sea. When picking where to travel in August, you’ll want to bump Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca up higher on your list. To start, it’s one of the emerging travel destinations to see in 2024. Plus, it’s bathed in a golden, sunlit glow all summer long—and don’t forget the coastal charm exuding from every nook and cranny. Savor these types of summertime scenery on the Mallorca Coastal Cruise, Snorkeling & Lunch offered on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. You’ll board a catamaran and set sail along the island’s coast. Along the way, stop to swim and snorkel in the turquoise Balearic Sea, and enjoy a barbecue lunch buffet aboard your vessel.
Sail your way around the islands

Spain Balearic Islands

Dig in to local specialties

Calling all foodies: Spain’s Balearic Islands are among the European islands you need to visit, in part because of their rich culinary history. From the pastries to the olive oil to the wine—oh, yum—the isles will show you that Spanish food and wine traditions extend way beyond the mainland.

  • Satiate your sweet tooth at an ensaïmada tasting. When you eye a sign bearing the word pastelería, pause whatever you’re doing and make a pit stop. These shops serve sugar-packed pastries, none more iconic on the isle of Mallorca than ensaïmada. Curled like a snail’s shell and topped with powdered sugar, these treats are meant to be enjoyed any time of day. Go traditional and enjoy this bread-based snack sans any filling, or try one stuffed with crema (pastry cream) or cabell d’àngel (pumpkin jam)—a local favorite. Your Tour Director will take you to a pastelería serving the best of the best on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour.
  • Taste what makes Mallorcan olive oil and wine so flavorful. Spain is the world’s largest olive oil producer, and you’ll dip, dunk, and dive right into the heart of this 3,000-year-old culinary tradition during the Mallorca Olive Oil Tasting & Farmhouse Wine Dinner excursion offered on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. Step onto the grounds of a masia (rural farmhouse). It’s here where Oli de Mallorca, the highest grade of Mallorcan olive oil, and island wine varietals are produced. See the groves and vineyard before taking your seat at the dinner table. Your meal comes complete with olive oil and wines, as well as a selection of pairings, like bread, shrimp, sobrassada (Mallorcan sausages), olives, and cheese.
  • Savor slices of salty Menorcan cheese. Spain’s Balearic Island of Menorca has got culinary history in spades. Just take Mahón cheese, for example. Since 1985, the production of this cheese has followed strict quality guidelines to ensure the flavor never waivers. You’ll visit a farm where the cheese is produced on the Menorcan Cheese Farm, Coastal Lunch & Nature Walk excursion offered on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. After seeing cows grazing in the fields, you’ll hear how their milk is used to make the cheese. Mahón cheese falls into three different categories based on how long it’s aged. Tierno, aged less than four months, is mild and buttery. Once it’s semi-curado, aged four months to one year, it develops a more robust, herbal taste. Mahón curado, aged one year or more, is the saltiest of the bunch and has caramelized flavor profile. End the tour on the farm’s terrace, where you’ll sample house-made Mahón cheese.

Spain Balearic Islands

Embrace the liveliness in the capital cities

Every memorable summertime trip needs those nights when you’re too busy eating the best dinner with even better company to notice that a balmy, starlit evening has replaced the day’s rays. You’ll have plenty of that when you spend time in the capital cities of Palma and Mahón.

  • Paseo the night away in Palma, Mallorca’s capital. You may have heard of the Italian passeggiata, an evening stroll through a city, but in Spain they have the paseo—and there’s no better place to partake than in Palma. If you’re choosing between Italy vs. Spain, the Balearic Islands show that you can get all the cultural traditions, with an added element of beachside bliss. Come to Old Town Palma on Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca to stroll past Plaza Mayor, Passeig del Born, and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Plus, the city is home to one of Europe’s few circular castles. You’ll enter the iconic Bellver Castle on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour.
  • Meet Mahón, Menorca’s capital. Menorca may be the baby of the Balearic Islands we visit on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour, but, boy, does it pack a punch. The capital city of Mahón is situated atop a bluff overlooking one of the Balearic Sea’s deepest harbors. It’s here where the scents of fresh fruit waft from the stalls at outdoor markets and colorful architecture beckons you to take just one more photo for your camera roll. Stroll through the city’s historic center to view Santa Maria Cathedral and Teatro Principal. They’re two places that’ll show you why Menorca is one of the stunning islands you need to visit in Spain.
Enjoy all Menorca & Mallorca have to offer

Spain Balearic Islands

Settle into the serenity found in tucked-away towns

Part of the beauty of Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca is finding villages nestled into the more rural areas of the isle. Every town you find delivers its own unique charm, and these are two of our favorites.

  • Set off for Sóller. If sipping fresh-squeezed orange juice under the cooling shade of a leafy tree while people-watching in a plaza sounds like heaven, Sóller is the place to be. It’s the town jewel of the Serra de Tramuntana Range and we take you there on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. Indulge in orange sorbet or hierbas, an orange-and-herb liqueur, while in the Old Town. It is nicknamed the Valley of Oranges for its abundant citrus groves, after all! After you and your camera roll are full, bid adios to Sóller and hop aboard the town’s historic tram to descend the mountains to the seaside resort town of Port of Sóller.
  • Wander the day away in Deià. Some of the world’s biggest stars have gone to Deià to seek refuge from prying paparazzi. So, pop on your big sunglasses and even bigger beach hat and try to blend in. (Okay, so you may not have fame to evade like residents Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Douglas, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, but a traveler can dream!) Make a photo stop here on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour—you’ll want to get your good side in every single shot.

Spain Balearic Islands

Time travel to the pre-historic era

If historic sites are what you travel the world to see, Spain’s Balearic Islands have a few spots that’ll be right up your alley. Whether you want to stay in the sunshine or head underground (yes, you read that right!) check out the ancient sites you’ll encounter on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour.

  • Descend underground into Cuevas del Drach. We’re going back in time—11 million years into the past, to be exact. That’s when Mother Nature began creating Cuevas del Drach, an enormous collection of underground caves. Descend into the network of limestone caverns, which feature jagged stalactites and stalagmites. You’ll ride a boat across majestic Lake Martel, a massive, underground lake considered to be one of the largest of its kind. Admire the otherworldly sight while enjoying a live, classical music concert, which has been a staple part of the visiting experience since 1935. When you come here on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour be sure to bring a sweater. Since you’re underground and out of the sun, the temperature sits at a cool 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Get in touch with pre-historic culture at Trepucó. Sure, it’s easy to think that the Balearic Islands are all salty seas and charming towns, but the island has a history stretching back long before the beachgoers came to town. Trepucó, one of Menorca’s largest Talayotic sites, is where you’ll uncover the island’s pre-Roman history. Many of the archaeological remains date back to around 1,000 BC. Walk among the preserved burial mounds, walls, and monuments with your Tour Director on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour to be in the know about Menorca’s first inhabitants.
Explore Spain’s Balearic Islands

Spain Balearic Islands

Find a moment of peace at religious sites

By now you may have realized that Menorca and Mallorca deliver on the natural wonders, but it’s time to shine a light on the standout religious icons on each isle. Connect with this side of the culture and round out your experience on the Balearic Islands with these two experiences.

  • Discover Chopin’s religious connection to the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa. The history of the Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa goes beyond bell towers and holy sermons. This monastery winds together tales of kings, artists, and even one famed composer by the name of Frédéric Chopin. Join your group for a guided tour of this religious site on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour. You’ll hear about the building’s 14-century roots, when it was a palace for the King of Mallorca’s son, before it later became a monastery. During your exploration, you may spy the remains of an old on-site pharmacy, an expansive art collection, and the monastic cells. Then, cap off your time listening to a piano concert featuring music composed by Chopin. He spent one winter here in the 1830s and, in addition to finding artistic respite, left a longstanding cultural mark.
  • Step inside the Cathedral of Mallorca, Palma’s architectural gem. Located in the city of Palma on Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca is the seaside Cathedral of Mallorca. Head inside the spectacular site, which the local crowd calls La Seu. More than 400 years of history are etched into every inch of the architecture—just take the Gothic stained-glass windows, Baroque chapels, and Gaudí-designed candelabras. If you have time while here on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour, head out onto the roof terraces. They open once winter passes, and the panoramic views of Palma are unmatched.

Seek out sun-kissed cities, salty seas, and the sweet life on our Spain’s Balearic Islands: Menorca & Mallorca tour.

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About the author | Emily Houston
Emily loves the simple travel moments—like watching hours pass by in minutes while sharing a meal and a laugh (or many) with her friends and family. Outside the office, you'll find Emily listening to anything and everything John Mayer, attempting to cook a New York Times recipe, or dreaming up her next trip.

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