This wonderful group of islands is divided
into Gimnesias (Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera) in the North, and
Pitiusas (Ibiza y Formentera) in the South-West.
Their excellent climate with some 300 days of sun per year, wonderful
beaches, a rich cultural offer and the unusual hospitality of their
inhabitants make Balearic Islands one of the preferred holiday
destinations in Spain. There are more passengers at the airport of Palma
de Mallorca than at the airport of any other Spanish city. Hardly
anybody who has spent holidays here didn't wish to return, in fact, many
visitors have made the islands their permanent home. Each of the islands
has a strong personality all of its own, and each of them offers much
more but the possibility to spend nice holidays at the beach ...
This elegant island has to offer anything a
visitor might dream of. Tourism at Mallorca started to develop already
in the 1920s, and until the Spanish Civil War it was mainly
intellectuals and artists who were attracted by this island.
Mallorca's wonderful climate, beautiful landscapes as well as its
cosmopolitan ambience make it a privileged holiday resort, with a
cultural offer comparable to the one of many European capitals. The
Auditiorio de Palma, for instance, ranks among Europe's top concert
halls. At Mallorca, you will find relaxation, inspiration, culture and
Mallorca: What to see
||Most visitors spend all their
holidays at the beach where their hotel is located and do not
consider how attractive can be a tour through the island.
Let us start with the capital, Palma de Mallorca, and its
Bahía de Palma.
The way from the port to
El Arenal is ideal for an
excursion by bicycle. At those just 16 kilometers, all the time
along the seaside, you will see the outstanding beaches
Coll d'En Rebassa and
Can Pastilla, before arriving to
the final destination.
Santa Ponça are other great
beaches with fine sand and crystalline water.
Another recommendable excursion from Palma is the mountain range
Sierra de Tramuntana
in the North-East, parallel to the sea. You should visit the
picturesque village Calvía,
located in typical mediterranean landscape, with its Romanesque-Gothic
church Iglesia Parroquial and the 18th century
castle Castillo de Bemdinat.
On the way to Andraitx you will pass romantic fishing villages and
some of the island's most outstanding landscapes. Camp de Mar
is a most beautiful bay with a small island at its center, and
Puerto de Andraitx is a natural port surrounded by pine woods.
Andraitx itself has to offer a
fantastic view over the coast, as well as some interesting monuments:
its church, Iglesia Parroquial, and the house palace of
Son Mas. San Telmo is,
without doubt, the most visited port at the island. Major
attractions are its 16th century fortress and the ruins
of the Sa Trapa Monastery nearby. It is also the starting
point for excursions to the beautiful island
Taking the road N-710 from Andraitx and driving along the marvelous
coast, you should pay special attention to Puigpunyent with
its beautiful cultures of olives and almonds and
Valldemosa, with its Real
Cartuja where Chopin spent the winter 1838/39, and
its charming port. Deiá,
is a beautiful village with architectonical constructions in
remarkable harmony with nature. Another attraction is Deiá's unique
cementery. Bahía de Lluc Alcari
is another most beautiful beach.
with its manorial houses, is another must see. It has as well a
curious tramway leading to the port, and a romantic fishing port.
Monuments to visit are the neo-gothical church Parroquia de San
Bartolomé, the museum Museo de Soller and the Convent
of San Francisco. Very close to Soller there is
, an outstanding example of typical mallorquinian architecture.
Narrow mountain roads through marvelous landscapes lead us to
Sa Calobra with the monastery of
Lluc, located at one of the
highest peaks of Mallorca. Nearby there is the small village
Escorca, with an interesting
a very picturesque place, is located at the foot of two hills. Both
offer a splendid panorama. Pollença's museum includes paintings,
medieval arts and an interesting zoological collection. Worth a
visit are also the 16th century tower Atalaya de
Formentor, the ruins of the 14th century castle
Castell del Rei, the Greco-Roman temple Parroquia de Santa
María de los Angeles, the sanctuary of Puig de Maria, and
the Calvary Mountain . Its "Via Crucis" leads to a 14th
century oratory. The fishing port Puerto de
Pollença, at 6 kilometers, has become an artists' colony,
founded by Anglada Camassara, whose works are exposed in the
museum. Also the birthplace of poet Costa i Llobera
can be visited here. Just a few kilometers from Pollença you will
find the marvelous beaches Cala de San
Vicente and Playa de Formentor.
Located at the other extreme of the Bahía de Pollença there is the
medieval town Alcudia
. Take yourself time to have a walk through its narrow lanes flanked
by house palaces of 16th and 17th century and
to see its church, Iglesia Parroquial, its town-gate,
Puerta de la Ciudad, and its Roman Theater . The road
N-717 leads us to Inca, known
for its highly reputated textile and shoe production. Worth a visit
are, apart of the Cathedral, its wine cellars with huge
barrels called botes congranyades. The nearby mountain
Puig de Santa Magdalena offers a great panorama. Now, via
Binissalem, you'll arrive back to Palma.
Taking the N-717 from Palma direction South-East, you should visit
Llucmajor and the outstanding
landscapes around, as the well-known Bahía de Pi
. The fortifications of
Santanyí remind us of
a time when pirates from the neighboor island Cabrera frequently
attacked the town. The old town-gate, Porta Murada, is still
conserved. In Felanitx, well-known
for its wine production, you should visit the church Iglesia
Parroquial and the Sanctuary of San Salvador.
Manacor is the second town in
size on Balearic Islands. It has an important production of
furniture, glass and artificial pearls. Its Archaeological Museum,
with an important collection of prehistorical and paleochristian
objects, is well worth a visit. The nearby
Petra was the birthplace of Fray Junipero Serra,
foundator of missions in today's California. You may visit the house
where this monk was born, the monastery of 17th
century, and the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Bonany.
Porto Cristo is an area of high
touristical importance. Major attractions are the beautiful natural
caves Cuevas de Drach, with a subterranean lake, the
Acuario showing the submarine fauna of Balearic Islands, and
Exotic-Park with a wide variety of cactus and exotic birds.
Continuing your way along the coast you pass most beautiful bays, as
Cala Millor, located at the
Bahía de Artá. Artá is
highly interesting thanks to its richdom in monuments: its castle,
several small palaces, the San Francisco Monastery,
Iglesia Parroquial, and a museum with important
prehistorical objects. In Ses Paises were made
important findings of the megalythical epoch. Last but not least let
us mention the beautiful natural caves, Cuevas Naturales de Artá,
and the fantastic view over Bahía de Alcudia which you may
enjoy from Capilla de Betlem.
The picturesque fishing village Cala
Ratjada with its 13th century castle
Castillo de Capdepera has been converted into a residential area.
You should visit the Jardines de Casa March, a very important
private collection of modern art, the giant 12th century
tower Torre de Canyamel, and the beautiful
Bahía de Alcudia is certainly
one of the island's most outstanding places. Enjoy the view from
Monte San Talaia! And do not miss the beaches in its South as
well as Puerto de Alcudia. Worth a visit is also the natural
park Parque de la Albufera.
Cyclists should know: there is a bicycle path of 12 km length around
Ibiza: The White Island
Ibiza, often called the White Island for its typical
architecture, became a major center of touristical attraction during
the 1960s, being then famous for its "Hippie-Culture" and nudist
beaches. Today Ibiza has an ample offer as well for families and
older visitors, anyhow, still there are the young ones who are
attracted by the island's rollicking nightlife, which already starts
in the afternoon, at the beaches and in the center of town, to
continue until dawn in the numerous discotheques.
If you leave the beaches behind you to explore the island's
interior, you will find a pure and simple Mediterranean culture, and
remains of populations which inhabited Ibiza thousands of years ago,
as for instance the famous wall-paintings of Ses Fontelles.
The Windy Island
Legend tells that the winds of Menorca modify the personality of
people. Maybe that is the reason why those who came here once as
tourists mostly return ... Menorca certainly has a very strong
personality, and a very different one to the rest of the islands.
Menorca, the "minor" island, as it was called by Romans, has an
almost virginal interior (compared for instance to the "major"
island, Mallorca) and shows interesting remains of its old history.
On the other hand, there are beaches and lonely bays around it at a
length of 216 kilometers. An ideal resort for all those who are
looking for true relaxation.
The Happy Islands
This paradisiac group of islands, with a
preferred climate and constant temperature through all the year, and
splendid beaches of fine sand, consists of 7 larger islands (Gran
Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, Gomera, Hierro)
and a few smaller ones (Alegranza, Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Roque del
Este, Roque del Oeste und Lobos). Surprisingly, the landscape of each
island is radically different to the others.
Already Greeks and Romans reported on this archipelago of volcanic
origins, and called it the Happy Islands, Garden of the Hesperides,
Atlantida, ... Some historians suppose that the legendary continent
Atlantis was located here. The islands' original population,
called Guanches, is tall and of white skin.
In 1496 the islands became part of the Spanish kingdom, and the ships of
Christopher Columbus stopped here on their travel to discover the New
Island of Eternal Springtime
Tenerife is the largest island of the archipelago. There are most varied
landscapes: a mountain range with the mighty volcanic crater Cañadas
del Teide, with a diameter of 20 kilometers, and the 3.718 meters
high Teide in its center; extremely fertile valleys with
important cultures of bananas and tomatoes; and a seaside offering as
well beautiful steep coasts as wide beaches of fine sand.
National Park "El Teide"
|This National Park offers a
fascinating landscape, created by the elemantar forces of the
volcano Teide. Christopher Columbus observed its last
great eruption in 1492 from the nearby island Gomera, just before
continueing his discovery travel to America. In 1798 there was
another smaller eruption. The Teide has piled up some 12 million
cubic meters of volcanic material at its sides, those formations
being popularly called the noses of Teide.
With a height of 3.718 metern the Teide is not only the highest
mountain of Spain, but as well the highest elevation in all the
Atlantic Ocean. A cableway takes visitors up to 3.600 meters. From
there you may climb the peak by foot.
On clear days you have a fantastic view. But at least equally
impressive is the volcano's immense crater, with a circumference of
approximately 80 kilometers. After previous agreement with the
park's administration you may participate (by free!) at a visit. You
will then enter the crater, first with a cross-country car, then by
foot, until you arrive to volcanically still active parts.
Around the Teide there are several smaller volcanos more, as
Mount Rajada (2.509 m) and Mount Chahorra (2.995 m).
|At the side of Teide there is a
large flat country called Cañadas, having been used by
the island's original poulation, the Guanches, as pastureland.
Today it is covered with petrified lava having very bizarre forms,
as the Roques de García, and several caves, as
Cueva del Hielo or Cueva de los Cazadores.
In this area exist some extremely rare species of plants, as the
Guanche Rose, of which are known only some 50 exemplares
worldwide, the Teide Violet and animals, in particular
The Beaches of
Playa de las Americas, being
located at the island's south-eastern extreme, offers fabulous beaches
of sand as well as the most modern infrastructure for tourism.
Playa de los Cristianos: fine beaches of golden sand and
crystalline water, close to a picturesque fishing-village. Its
outstanding infrastructure makes it one of the most attractive places
Playa de las Galletas: at the island's southern extreme, with
great hotel and sports installations. Punto de Rasca offers an
Playa de El Puertito: a 1,6 kilometers long beach of black sand,
located close to the village Güimar.
Very close to it there is also Playa del Roque, another wonderful
beach of black sand.
Playa de las Caletillas:
another center of international tourism, three marvelous small bays
close to Candelaria.
The Old Land
Fuerteventura, the island with the oldest
history, has the longest beaches of all the archipelago, of wonderful
Only a narrow channel separates Fuerteventura from the African continent.
It is a paradise equally for spending holidays at the beach as for
fishing. There are great beaches even very close to the islands capital,
The Small Continent
... that is how this island is called
because of its extremely varied landscapes with European, African and
even American vegetation. The mountain range in the island's center, of
a height of about 2000 meters, is cut by some bizarre canyons.
Hardly anywhere else you can find such different landscapes and even
climatical zones being geographically that close one to each other:
mountain massives, desert land, tropical forrests, ...
Along the seaside there are wide beaches of sand, and while elsewhere
people are shuddering of cold, here the tourists are lying in the sun
and looking at those mountainpeaks being covered with snow ...
Landing on the Moon
Lanzarote is different, not only compared to
the other islands, but to everything else on this planet. This
extraordinary landscape seems to be of another world, and the
inhabitants of the islands use to say that God forgot of Lanzarote on
the Seventh Day of the Creation.
Lanzarote is of volcanic origin, as the other islands of the archipelago
as well, but here volcanos have been active still in 18th and
19th century. Great parts of its surface are covered with
ashes and lava, making you feel that you were on the moon.
Anyhow, Lanzarote's inhabitants made a great effort to cultivate this
land, and today you find large plantations of fruits and vegetables.
Most surprising is perhaps the region of Geria, with
vineyards between volcanic craters.
Not to forget about are also the works of great Canarian architect and
artist Cesar Manrique, adding more attractions to this unique
The Beautiful Island
La Palma, the green island, has
to show two world records: La Caldera del Taburiente is the
world's largest volcanic crater, with a diameter of 9 kilometers and a
depth of 770 meters. From the view-point Mirador de la Cumbrecita
this terrific natural monument can be overlooked best. On the other hand
you will find at La Palma the greatest elevation compared to the
diameter. The island's highest mountain, Roque de los Muchachos,
with an astronomical observatory at its peak, measures 2423 meters.