Mallorca or Menorca when it comes to planning a trip to the Balearic Islands? Here's what I would advise...
Mallorca or Menorca?
For years, Spain has hidden her beauty, exporting pics of high rises and overcrowded beaches to Britain while her inhabitants knew the truth. Alongside empty beaches, turquoise sands, tapas and siestas, Spain contains world class art, UNESCO biosphere reserves and more flavours than you'll find in a paella.
And now, today, we're going to drill down to one of the most difficult questions about Spain.
Should you travel to Mallorca or Menorca if you're looking to holiday in the Balearic Islands?
How to arrange a trip to Mallorca or Menorca?
You can arrange everything yourself. Of you can use a dedicated tour operator or travel agent. Voyage Privé, for example, can arrange everything you need to visit any one of the Balearic Islands.
What about the other Balearic Islands?
Check out Ibiza for partying and nightlife and Formentera to get away from it all.
You can't really go wrong, whether you choose Mallorca or Menorca. Both are calm, beautiful islands with heritage, water sports and picturesque beaches. After that, it just comes down to taste and the type of holiday you'll most enjoy.
Reasons to choose Mallorca for your trip to the Balearic Islands
Whether you call it Mallorca or Majorca, the bigger island of the two has a bit more buzz in its chief city, Palma. But it's far from a city-based island, with beautiful beaches easily accessible by foot and by car and resorts for every taste and budget.
Palma de Mallorca - Chic sheets and charming streets
As Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, so Palma has more of a city swagger than other holiday destinations on the island.
It has atmospheric lanes, stylish boutique hotels, fascinating architecture and late night bars.
The stately, gothic 13th century Santa Maria cathedral overlooks the Bay of Palma and makes a good place to rest from the heat. Right next door, the Almudaina balances out the history of this region, having switched roles from a Moorish fortress to a Spanish royal residence.
Sierra de Tramuntana - UNESCO Protected Land
What a place. With 62,000 hectares of land, almost 1,000 hectares of sea and mountains that pierce the sky, Sierra de Tramuntana calls out to those who love outdoor activities and the sights of bright white sands.
The Song of the Sybil - UNESCO Intangible Heritage
OK, so this may be hard to come by but if you are in Mallorca for Christmas then prepare to treat your auditory canals to the sound of UNESCO-approved heritage. The Song of the Sybli is a solemn, medieval musical work that's only performed on 24th December to welcome the arrival of the Christmas Mass.
What to eat in the Balearic Islands?
Look out for fresh lobster, caught on the shore and the hard cheese made on the islands. For sweet flavours, nibble on crespells and ensaïmades, all dusted with fluffy white sugar.
Reasons to choose Menorca for your trip to the Balearic Islands
As the name suggests, Menorca is the smaller of the two islands in question and as a result, a choice often favoured by families and grandparents for its sheltered coves and pristine beaches.
But don't be fooled. Her towns and villages still offer up culture and gastronomy aplenty.
The Whole Island of Menorca is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
That's right, from the edges of the turquoise water to the craggy, rocky peaks, Menorca has been classified as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Mysterious Pyramids - the Talayotic Settlements
Not only does the area of Poblado Torre d’en Galmes suit hikers, it helps historians too with these bleached stone remnants of life before records even began.
Sin, Gin and the British Navy
Menorca also happens to have a surprising historical love affair with gin, which all began with Lord Nelson and the arrival of the British Navy. You can visit the Xoriguer distillery and call gin tasting a cultural experience.
The Invention of Mayonnaise (Probably)
The honey-stoned town of Mahon claims to have invented this egg and olive oil condiment (as do many places in France.) In Mahon, you can treat yourself to dinner and a cooking lesson at the same time.
Ciutadella - Medieval Streets and a Lovely Harbour
This part of the island really does turn on the charm. Plaça des Born, its main square, bewitches with the Gothic-style City Hall and the palaces of Salort and Torre-Saura, which date back to the 19th century. As befits any self-respecting city with a medieval bishop, the cathedral puts on a display of might and grandeur. Santa Maria of Ciutadella, built in the 14th century, includes an impressive marble altar and a poignant, baroque-style Chapel of Souls.
So, there you have it. Two fascinating Balearic Islands, each with options for lazing on the beach, hiking through untouched land and catching up with history and architecture surrounded by crystal clear waters. All with great Mediterranean food.
So, would I choose Mallorca or Menorca? The honest answer is, and having visited both several times, it depends. With family, probably Menorca. With friends or as a couple, Mallorca.
But either way, you'll have a great time. And find yet another chance to be able to leave those stereotypes of Spain behind.
More on Travel in Spain
- Read more about travel in Spain with our collection of articles on the best of Spain over here.
- Learn more about each of the Balearic Islands (beyond Mallorca and Menorca) through the Illes Balears site.
- Remember to pack a European two-pronged travel adapter if coming from the US, UK or Australia and be sure you have travel insurance to cover you while on your trip.
- Pack hiking boots, swim suits and sunscreen and don't forget to leave space to bring back souvenirs. Enjoy!