Although the general trend shows that UK holidaymakers have moved away from beach breaks and towards shorter, city-based trips, there are still millions of people who enjoy nothing more than searching for sun, sea and sand on their travels.
The Balearic Islands are one of the closest destinations where you will find all three ingredients – a mere two-hour flight away. Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and even some of the smaller islands have some fantastic beaches, but here are some of the best if you looking to relax on the coast.
Port de Sóller, Mallorca
If you enjoy a beach that has all the services and facilities you need but is not too overrun with tourists, then this area on the west coast of Mallorca is perfect. There are actually two beaches here, Es Traves and Repic (the larger of the two), shaped like a horseshoe and accompanied by a row of shops, cafés and bars along the shoreline.
The charming little harbour offers a nice place to stretch your legs in between all the sunbathing and there are some fantastic views all around. These are dominated by the Tramuntana Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and somewhere that can be explored on foot from Sóller. Finally, when you’re not swimming in the shallow waters, a vintage tram will take you along the promenade.
Es Grau, Menorca
This patch of sand is slightly more rustic than most but is great if you enjoy nature. Situated within the S’Albufera des Grau Nature Reserve, it’s reached by walking through the protected wildlife area where you may see various species of bird and other animals along the way. It’s not just the nature that’s protected though; the whole area is also restricted from being overdeveloped, so you’ll never have to fight off the crowds.
The water is ideal for families with small children as it remains shallow until quite far out from the shore. It is still possible to swim, though, if you go out further and there are even snorkelling, kayaking and other water sports offered. Before you return to your hotel, take a stroll along the recently restored coastal path.
Benirrás Beach, Ibiza
Whilst the south-east coast of Ibiza is obviously famous for its clubs, bars and 24/7 partying, the opposite is often said about the north of the island. Here, detox resorts have made a name for themselves by offering the chance to relax and get away from everyday life – whether that’s a response to over-partying or simply a way of escaping the daily grind.
The fact that the beach is made from pebbles and not sand may mean it is not great for sunbathing, but the daily sunsets are what really draw the crowds. Families and free spirits gather in the evening to watch the sun fall behind the horizon, many filling the air with ritual drum beats. You’ll also have great views of a rock formation just off the coast known as God’s Finger.
Cala Macarella, Menorca
This is definitely the beach to choose if you love to cool-off with a swim in the sea, as the waters here are strikingly blue. You’ll be joined in the water by shoals of tiny fish that zip around beneath the surface and various boats that gently bob up and down with the waves. This cove can get quite busy during peak periods but it’s definitely worth it for the soft sand and azure sea.
Further inland, Cafeteria Susy offers casual food for when your stomach forces you to move from your beach towel. Then, having been suitably refuelled, you can wander along the coastal cliff path that takes you to the nearby Macarelleta Beach – a smaller cove with equally beautiful features.
Playa Illetes, Formentera
The smallest Balearic island arguably does beaches better than any of the other three and the mile-long peninsula where you’ll find Playa Illetes is a fine example. Whereas the other islands all have their hedonistic sides, Formentera is more relaxing and more natural in general. Named after a range of islets along the coast, which you can swim to if you wish, this beach appeals to everyone – from the famous to families.
Luxury yachts moor just off the coast and order hand-waited service from the nearby restaurants as the rest of us look on from the pristine white sands. And, although Playa Illetes gets quite busy, its length means that you can often find a quieter spot further along. Walking too far, though, will take you to an area predominantly used by nudists.
If you would like to plan a relaxing holiday to the Balearic Islands, or learn about any of our other beach breaks, we have many great hotel deals for you to choose from. Simply call us on 0800 021 3237 or click here to submit your enquiry via the website.