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Balearic Islands Palma de Mallorca

Balearic Islands Introduction

Palma de Mallorca is the main airport in the Balearics although Ibiza and Menorca both have international airports.

The Balearic Islands are made up of four principal islands, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. These islands have their own character and preserve a character distinct from the rest of Spain although the gastronomy and culture are Mediterranean.

The islands lie to the east of the Spanish mainland and rise out of the Mediterranean. They have become best known for their sunshine and beaches. However just a little inland from the coast beautiful scenery and fine-looking old towns hide away.

For a long time the Balearic Islands have been a popular target for tourists, with spectacular landscapes and a wealth of culture and local customs.

English is spoken by a few but Catalan and Spanish are spoken throughout the Balearics islands, each island with its own dialect. Street, place names and road signs are predominantly in Catalan.

Mallorca is the most famous and largest of the islands. Mallorca has everything, beaches, nightlife, lovely old towns, mountains and much more. Palma de Mallorca airport is the third busiest in Spain and is considered a gateway to the Balearics.

Palma is the capital of Mallorca and unlike many of the modern resorts here, Palma is a real city with charm and culture. It has a muddle of old streets, a Gothic cathedral and Moorish royal palace (Almudaina), mixed in with vibrant nightlife.

Menorca has often been overshadowed by its preeminent neighbor of Mallorca. The island is suited for the more restrained and family orientated tourist. The island has a wide range of scenery, beautiful beaches and coves and small towns and cities to explore.

Ibiza has a reputation as a party/club capital of Europe. This is based around the capital of Ibiza, the adjacent Playa d’en Bossa resort and San Antonio. The rest of Ibiza is rural and has a whole host of family beaches and resorts to explore.

Formentera is the smallest of the big four and although it hasn’t as much history as the others, it boasts some of the best beaches natural landscape in the Balearics.

Once you visit the Balearics there is a very high chance you will want to return!

Access to the Balearics from most of the major European airports is easy if there is a flight route. If there isn’t a direct flight to the island you want to visit, there are plenty of inter-island flights and ferries. There are also ferry links from the mainland, those being Barcelona, Valencia and Denia.

Geography

The autonomous community of the Balearics is separated into two groups. The larger of these is Gimnesias. Located to the North East of the Balearics it includes Mallorca and Menorca. In the South West Ibiza and Formentera form the Pitiusas.

Some of the better known minor Balearic islands are, Cabrera, Dragonera and Illa de l’Aire close by Mallorca. Also Es Vedrà and Illa de Tagomago close by Ibiza.
The archipelago lies east of the Spanish mainland approximately 150km / 100miles. The capital of the Balearics is Palma de Mallorca and Mallorca is the largest of the islands. The land area is approximately 5,000 sq. km /1,930 sq. miles and has a population of roughly 1.1 million.

With around 300 days of sunshine a year the Balearics are left with a typical Mediterranean landscape. Annual precipitation is low taking place mainly during spring and autumn.

The land rises and falls with mountains and plains down to an all pervasive coastline. The concentration of the population live along the coastline with the exception of the capital cities.

History

Some architectural ruins exist in the Balearics from as far back as the third millennium BC. There have been a number of civilizations who left their mark on the Balearic islands and culture.

These being largely, Talayots, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Moors, and the Spanish.

The Talayotic civilization, one of the oldest left their mark on the islands with lots of defensive conical rock buildings.

The Roman presence here has resulted in many roman archaeological sites on the islands.

The Moors gave a large contribution to the island’s history and culture like much of southern Spain.

The final Christian overthrow left the largest impression on the islands as they effectively fell under the power of Catalonia which amongst many of its contributions left a language.

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