5 Balearic Island gems to discover when we get the green light to visit the Spanish isles

·6-min read
Photo credit: Jorg Greuel
Photo credit: Jorg Greuel

Spain's heavenly Balearic Islands are a Mediterranean glory, with their boho vibes, insanely gorgeous beaches and picturesque scenes that go beyond their sands.

When the UK announces the next batch of destinations on the 'green list,' we're hoping these sun-kissed isles make the cut. For now, we'll continue dreaming of escaping to the Balearic Islands this summer and have brought you five of its breathtaking gems to discover when it's safe to visit.

From stunning stretches of golden sand to historic landmarks, the Balearic Islands are dotted with postcard-worthy sights and breathtaking landscapes.

Despite being one of Europe’s most popular summer holiday destinations, the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera offer many undisturbed, hidden gems to be discovered by visitors this summer.

Here's how to experience the Balearic Islands on a trip when we can travel there again...

Explore Cabrera, the national park island off Mallorca

Cabrera is an uninhabited island floating 10 miles off the coast of Mallorca and one of the Balearic Islands' best kept secrets. In recent years, a number of its heritage and natural sites, such as the Cabrera Castle, have been restored thanks to the income from Sustainable Tourism Tax.

Photo credit: Sebastia Torrens, AETIB
Photo credit: Sebastia Torrens, AETIB

Its landscape has remained unchanged for centuries, attracting an abundance of seabirds, rich marine life and indigenous flora and fauna, and since 1991 it has been recognised as a National Park. When visiting Cabrera, you'll want to dive or snorkel to explore the biodiversity underneath the water’s surface - including turtles, cuttlefish and over 500 other species.

There is a boat service running every day during the summer season, which allows you to reach Cabrera from Colonia de Sant Jordi, located in Las Salinas (Ses Salines) in the south of Mallorca.

Try this: Visit Cabrera during Good Housekeeping's cruise in Southern Spain and Morocco this September. You'll spend three nights in Mallorca, giving you time to get to know Cabrera, too.

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Alternatively, you can discover Cabrera before boarding Good Housekeeping's 10-day Italy and the Med cruise this September.

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Try mouthwatering local cuisine on the blissful beaches of Formentera

Dangling off the south coast of Ibiza, a mere half-hour away by fast ferry, the 20km-long island of Formentera is somewhat left out from the collective conscience of Britons when thinking of the Balearics. The dream-like island treats visitors to pristine, Caribbean-style beaches and panoramic views over the island's beautiful and preserved nature, which all contribute to its secluded charm.

Photo credit: Andy Brandl - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andy Brandl - Getty Images


Due to its isolation, Formentera’s gastronomy is based almost exclusively on slow food cuisine and organic produce. The island’s bohemian vibe and deeply rooted sustainable agricultural traditions have given rise to a great variety of local delicacies and flavourful dishes, such as ‘peix sec’ (dried salted fish), ‘bullit de peix’ (a fish stew with potatoes), ‘flaó’ (cheesecake with a hint of mint) and locally produced herbal liqueurs.

Lively beach bars, cafes and restaurants, such as the modern ChezzGerdi, can be found in the area of Es Pujols. You can also follow the island's new slow food map, which highlights its traditional cuisine, local products and distinct flavours

Find medieval treasures in the heart of Palma de Mallorca

Besides being home to iconic monuments such as the ‘Le Seu’ cathedral, Palma de Mallorca hides a number of treasures right under the noses of visitors. These medieval streets are adorned with gargoyles, arches, rose windows in gothic churches, secluded squares and the famous Mallorcan patios.

Photo credit: stocknshares - Getty Images
Photo credit: stocknshares - Getty Images

There are more than 40 patios in Palma and each of these in Palma’s stately homes makes up a unique architectural space with its own aesthetic, identity and character. Many are located in private properties and can only be viewed from the outside in however there are a number that have become public institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Spanish Art, the Palau March Museum or San Pere I San Bernat Hospital.

You can stroll through Palma’s ancient streets discovering different patios and the history behind them. Tourist guide company Tomir offers professional walking tours for visitors interested in Palma’s cultural heritage, including the routes around the city’s historical patios (‘rutas de patios’).

Try this: Explore Palma de Mallorca's patios during Good Housekeeping's cruise to the Balearics this September, when you'll have three days to explore Mallorca.

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Discover the authentic charm of Ibiza in its hidden villages

Besides its bohemian vibe and picturesque beaches, Ibiza is also known for its charming villages with characteristic whitewashed buildings. Many of the island’s traditional lime-coloured farmhouses have been turned into stylish rustic hotels and retreats (known as agroturismos) for you to enjoy the island’s tranquil and natural surroundings.

Photo credit: pkazmierczak
Photo credit: pkazmierczak

Nestled in the north of the island, Sant Joan de Labritja is one of the White Island’s hidden gems. Surrounded by pine tree-covered hills, the quiet Ibizan village is a rural haven. Thanks to its slow pace of life, tiny bars and cafes and a charming village square, Sant Joan de Labritja is often referred to as ‘the last real village in Ibiza’. While landmarks such as the whitewashed 18th-century church looms large over the village, modern establishments like The Giri Cafe make it a must-see when visiting Ibiza.

Enjoy an abundance of Menorcan sea life in secret diving spots

Home to winding coastal paths and rugged coves, the varied landscape and dramatic scenery of Menorca makes it a prime adventure destination. From the iconic Cami de Cavalls trail which circles the island, to lesser-known coastal paths, the island’s numerous paths allow you to explore even the most hidden corners of Menorca, such as Cala Rafalet.

Photo credit: Balearic Islands Tourism
Photo credit: Balearic Islands Tourism

Hidden at the end of a rustic trail and nestled on the island’s eastern coast, this uniquely narrow cove offers crystalline waters perfect for snorkelling, allowing keen divers to enjoy a sumptuous array of Menorcan sea life.

Due to its size, Cala Rafalet can only allow few people at a time but watersports fans can experience an array of other activities offered in the local S’Algar area, including diving in the Isla del Aire marine reserve.

Try this: Explore Menorca's sea life during Good Housekeeping's 11-day cruise around Spain this September, when you'll have a day to get to know the island.

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