Sail the Tides of Ancient Traders: The Balearic Islands of the Mediterranean
During ancient times, these ideally-located islands were the sailing crossroads of the Mediterranean. Pine-clad rocky coastlines carved with quiet inlets, steep mountains and sparkling beaches, and the gracious welcome of tiny picturesque ports.
A stone’s throw from Barcelona in Spain, (actually about 100 M) these are the waters of the Spaniards, Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and Arabs. The attraction and allure continue today and Mallorca, Ibiza and their sister islands are among Europe’s favorite places in the sun. Your yacht is the way to enjoy them all, sailing through brilliant azure waters as you slip back through time. Perhaps the most timeless feature of this paradise is more than 300 days a year of dazzling sunshine.
Each island has its own landscape and delights, where every inlet and bay provides an opportunity to fish or dive in these rich warm waters. Sail Mallorca’s coast of rocky outcrops and white sand beaches, stop at the picturesque port of Ciutadella and the magnificent port of Mahon. Take a leisurely stroll on the secluded beaches of Formentera and Cabrera. History surrounds you on the narrow 12th Century streets of Ibiza where whitewashed buildings contrast brilliantly against the sea and sky.
Visit the medieval fortress overlooking Santa Eulalia, then dance the night away at an island club. Back at our base in Palma, be sure to visit Abaco, a bar in San Juan, an old house surrounded by lovely gardens, and filled with music and fine conversation.
In addition to its stunning beaches, there are also caves to explore. The most popular are the Dragon Caves on Majorca with their sensational stalagmites, stalactites and an underground lake. Ibiza is world-renown for its sizzling nightlife. There are at least 13 wineries on the Balearic Islands, and wine has been produced on these islands since Roman times. Among Minorca’s treasured archeological sites are megalithic structures called talaiots and taules.
The Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park comprises a group of 19 small islands and islets located approximately 10 kilometers (a little over 6 miles) south of Majorca. The park is home to many species of seabirds, and its waters teem with dolphins, whales and other marine life. With nearly 300 days of sun each year, gorgeous beaches, crystal clear waters, a rich cultural history and friendly locals (most of whom speak Spanish as well as their native Catalan), the Balearic Islands attract visitors from all over the world.
Whether you prefer lazing on the beach or engaging in water sports, visiting the islands’ nature parks or touring archaeological ruins, winery hopping or clubbing at exclusive local nightspots, there’s something for everyone in the Balearic Islands. Use our expertise to your advantage – let us do the hard work of finding the right vessel in the right place at the right time. We can find that unique and special luxury yacht for your unique and special luxury vacation. Call us 24/7.
Accessing Majorca, Ibiza, and the Balearic Islands
- The simplest way is to fly into Madrid or Barcelona in Spain from where there are frequent flights each day to Majorca or Ibiza. Pick up your yacht in Palma and GO CRUISING.
- You can access Majorca directly from most major European cities.
- Unfortunately the Balearics are quite far away from other Mediterranean destinations so it’s difficult if not impossible to include it as part of a larger longer Mediterranean itinerary of say a week or even 10 days.
- Beyond the distances involved, charter yachts without a Spanish flag that operate in Spanish waters are subject to the rather stringent Spanish maritime regulations that require special inspections and permissions. However yachts that are based in Spain will usually already have this cruising permit. So it’s always better to choose a Spanish registered charter yacht to cruise these islands.
For Foodies Only – The Delights of the Balearic Islands
Balearic cuisine is often regarded as part of a wider Catalan cuisine as encountered in Barcelona, since it shares many dishes and ingredients with the Catalan and Valencian Communities. The big claim to fame however, and that eclipses all other culinary events is that Mayonnaise was invented here on the Island of Mahon. Here are some classic Balearic dishes:
- Caldereta de Langosta, seafood with peppers and herb-flavored liqueur, or Arroz con Langosta.
- A true Menorcan gastronomic delight is the spiny lobster stew reminiscent of Valencia’s Paella.
- The Perdiz Menorquina – partridge prepared in the island’s typical style.
- Queso de Mahon is a cheese exported from the port of Mahon. It sticks out on cheese counters because of its heavy yellow wax seal. It has quite a strong and pungent taste.
- Mallorca offers a variety of clear soups with noodles, fish or meat, and vegetable sauces, and for vegetarians or Vegans, the dish ‘Tumbet’, made from sliced potatoes and eggplants covered with tomato sauce and peppers.
- Seafood lovers shouldn’t miss the ‘Cigala Mallorquina’- a species of prawn that is unique to the islands.
- Rostit – a pork dish prepared in the oven with liver, eggs, bread and apples.
- Then there is Pollo relleno de Granada- chicken stuffed with pomegranates, or Pechuga de Pavo con Salsa de Almendras – turkey in almond sauce and Pichones en Salsa de Castanas – pigeon in chestnut sauce.
- The islands also offer excellent sausages; especially the typical and well-known ‘sobresada’ or the blood sausage (named after the protected area Sobrassada in Majorca). There are also the mouth-watering grilled sausages ‘Butifarra’.
- In the dessert department, you’ll get spoiled with temptations such as baked cottage cheese and special favourite’ coca de albaricoques’ (apricot cakes). Or the very traditional ‘ensaimadas’, spiral shaped pastries which are officially named Ensaïmadas de Mallorca and are famous world-wide. Or the small sponge cakes called ‘quartos’, ‘rubiol’, ‘crespell’, ‘flao’ and ‘gato de almendra’.
Wines of the Balearics
The Balearics are not noted for their unique varietals but It was sweet Malmsey wine that first put the Balearic Islands’ wines in demand, particularly from England, the Netherlands and Germany. This wine style all but disappeared in the late 19th Century with the arrival of phylloxera. Several native varieties never recovered from this attack, but other local varieties such as Manto Negro, Callet, Fogoneu and Moll are still in use today. However let me say that in Spain you can never find a really bad wine. Classic Catalan wines and heavy Riojas and Ribera del Duero wines from the mainland are always available. It doesn’t have to be grown locally to be good.