The Balearic Islands and Ibiza are well known worldwide as the prime party destination in Europe. However, this Mediterranean archipelago is much more than just a party destination. In fact, the most awesome features of the four Balearic Islands — Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera — are hidden bays, stunning country roads, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and breathtaking landscapes.
Why is the region popular among sailors
The Balearic Islands were, in the past, a haven for European hippies, who used to come to these Mediterranean islands, because of its nature similar to that of Paradise. Hundreds of stunning coves, mountains, and picturesque town - this area has everything a sailor would want on his sailing holiday: the weather, with mild temperatures all year long, a not very rough ocean and a wide range of amenities, landscapes, beaches and marinas to choose from.
These conditions are perfect for novice skippers, who want to sail on their own for the first time on a charter yacht, but also for experienced sailors who want to enjoy the offshore sailing further from the land.
Moreover, we have to point out one more reason that has helped the region to become one of the main sailing destinations in Europe - the huge variety of amenities you can find on each island.
The biggest island in the archipelago, whose capital of Palma is also the capital of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands. Mallorca is an extremely popular holiday destination, and although it can get very crowded from June to September, you can still find routes to escape masses. The mountains of the Sierra de Tramuntana (World Heritage Site) and the West Coast beaches are some of them.
Ibiza is the party capital of the Balearic Islands and, perhaps, of Europe. However, this island is not only a party destination, but it has so much to offer to sailors. Its port, for instance, was named World Heritage Site. Besides that, you can also find a good bunch of coves and secluded places where you will be practically on your own. Then, an another advantage: it is twice closer to the Peninsula than Mallorca.
Menorca is perhaps the best option if you want to escape the crowds. Big enough and full of nice places to discover but not as visited as Mallorca or Ibiza, Menorca is the island for sailors who’d like to spend a peaceful sailing vacation.
The smallest island out of the four, Formentera has been the real hippy sanctuary of the Balearics since the 60s. Located right next to Ibiza and with no direct connections with the Peninsula (you must go through Ibiza), Formentera can also get very crowded during summer season. On the other hand, its white sand and kilometres-long beaches are like no where else in the world.
Climate information and best time to sail
The temperature is mild in the Balearic Islands throughout the whole year, with the typical Mediterranean scheme of precipitations and sun hours. The climate is very alike on all the islands - the sailing conditions are simply perfect. However, unlike in the Canary Islands, the winter months of December, January and February are rather chilly, with minimum average temperatures below 10°C. Nonetheless, the rest of the year enjoys an almost perfect weather and it rarely gets too hot. The water temperature during winter months goes from 12 to 18°C but it gets warmer during the rest of the year, going up to maximum averages of 27°C in July, August and September.
There is no doubt that the months of May, the beginning of June, September and October are the best time to sail in the Balearic Islands because you will be able to enjoy the great weather while escaping the crowds.
Winds and waves
The predominant winds in the western part of the Archipelago - Ibiza and Formentera - are SE winds, whereas N winds dominate Southeast on Mallorca and Menorca. The average wind speed can range between 5 and 15 knots during the summer months, creating a perfect sailing environment. For those who are looking for anchorages and peaceful places to relax, there is a large number of bays along the islands’ coast.
However, both Mallorca and Menorca are more exposed to the Tramontana, a wind which originated in the French Central Massif and the Pyrenees. It blows pretty strongly during certain times of the year, what some experienced sailors will appreciate. Every sailor must constantly check the weather forecast since this NW wind can appear very quickly on a sunny day.
Waves tend to be non-existent during the summer months, although sometimes they do appear. In any case, they are not big enough to scare a sailor on a yacht. Winter can bring bigger waves, but they rarely get close to 5 meters of height.
Tidal ranges are similar to those on the rest of the Spanish Mediterranean coast and don’t usually go over 1 meter.
RYA sailing courses in the Balearics
Prepare yourself for chartering a bareboat yacht, attend one of the certified RYA sailing school courses on the Balearics and spend the week sailing in versatile conditions. Choose among Competent crew, Day skipper, Yachtmaster or Powerboat license courses. RYA courses on the Balearics are the right mixture of offshore and coastal sailing, where you can experience the open waters with a harbour in the reachable distance.
Where to eat and drink in the Balearic Islands
Although similar to the Catalan, Valencian and the rest of the Eastern Spanish Mediterranean Coast, the cuisine in the Balearic Islands has some special features that make it specific. The sobrassada (pork sausage), the lobster stew and the ensaimadas (pastries) are some of its most well-known specialties.
Here is the list of some of the best restaurants in the archipelago:
- Contrabando Tapas Bar, Llucmajór, Mallorca
The place to go if you want to enjoy a fantastic pinchos and tapas. The tartar is just amazingly delicious.
- Restaurante Sa Soca, Sant Josep de Sa Talaia, Ibiza
A family run restaurant which serves delicious Mediterranean food. It has a beautiful terrace dining area with flower beds and a nice view on the island.
- La Guapa, Fornells, Menorca
A beautifully designed little restaurant which offers delicious Spanish dishes. It is located in a back street not far from the harbor. A reservation is needed, especially if you are a party of more than two.
- La Mariterranea, Formentera
The best place in Formentera to taste all the delights the Mediterranean Sea has to offer in the Archipelago.
Most important destinations
- Cala Mitjana
Hidden in the municipality of Ferrerías, this cove is the perfect spot to enjoy Menorca at its best on your yacht - as long as you don’t go there in July or August, when it can be totally packed.
The capital of Menorca, the birthplace of mayonnaise and the second deepest natural port in the world, Mahón is perfect for a day visit. The city’s old town is a must-see.
- Serra de Tramuntana
For mountain lovers, the Serra de Tramuntana is the place to go. It was named World Heritage Site in 2011.
- Sa Foradada
It is a popular destination on Majorca, situated on the Tramuntana coast, near Deiá. You can reach this beautiful place only by boat or on foot. This bay enjoys great popularity among sailors.
- Palma de Mallorca
The Balearic capital and one of the most vibrant cities in Europe, Palma de Mallorca possesses the real Mediterranean charm. The stunning cathedral, the nightlife, a large number of spectacular marinas… What else could you ask for?
Where to anchor and interesting marinas
- Cala Blava
- Porto Preto
- Punta de L’Avanzada
- Sa Dragonera
- Cala D’Or
- Cala Fornells
- Illa den Colom
- Sa Nitja
- Ses Salines
- Calo de S’Oli
Telephone numbers you might need
Local Police and Security – 112
Emergencies – 112
General Information – 012
- Mallorca (0034) 971 712 216
- Formentera (0034) 971 32 28 25
- Ibiza (0034) 971301900
- Menorca (0034) 971 36 37 90