Just off the coast of Spain in the glistening Mediterranean Sea, the Balearic Islands open their arms up to scores of holidaymakers each year, all eager to absorb the mild climate, beautiful coastlines, picturesque locations and fantastic cuisine.
While the vast majority of tourists come here to take advantage of numerous holiday resorts and lively nightlife, there is a quieter, relaxing and more peaceful side to this archipelago.
Both Majorca and Menorca boast endearing towns and landscapes, while holidays to Ibiza 2014 no longer revolve around dancing the night away. What’s more, all of these differing and varied locations can be visited on a budget.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Ibiza by MrHicks46
Having gained recognition as a hedonistic party island, Ibiza is now more relaxed and easy going. The charming villages, hidden coves and the sunsets are enough to convert and surprise any cynic.
If you rent a scooter to explore the island, check out the former coastal Atlantis Quarry, the source of Ibiza Old Town’s defensive walls, which features stone hand carvings created over the past few decades by the influx of hippies.
Other points of interest include Las Salinas (White Gold), found on the island’s southern tip. Situated in a salt field area where mining has taken place for over 2,000 years, this natural attraction is surrounded by pinewoods and flora and fauna are abundant.
Elsewhere, the lookout point of Torre des Savinar, the old pirate watchtower, is a great spot for watching the sunset beyond the imposing limestone rock Es Vedrà.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Majorca by DJPetty
The Tramuntana Mountains may dominate the west coast of Majorca and hog much of the limelight, but the rest of the island offers scenery, terrain and a number of natural parks on which it can pride itself.
You don’t have to break the bank either to discover the island’s surroundings. La Reserva Park in Puigpunyent is perfect if you like to walk and hike amongst innate scenery. Meanwhile, Llevent Natural Park on the east coast’s Cala Millor provides enough hills to challenge even the most experienced cyclist.
Photo Credits (Flickr CC): Menorca by List_84
Designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve due to its outstanding natural beauty and native wildlife, Menorca is arguably the most tranquil, most unspoilt of the Balearic Islands. There’s more to the island than just beaches in the masses. Visitors can awe at the medieval architecture and archaeological sites in between quaint towns and villages.
So you like cycling and hiking, do you? Well, not to be outdone by Majorca, the island’s countryside is ripe for exploring, especially if hiking and cycling is your thing. You can pick up a map or two of the island’s walking routes at the island’s tourist information office and explore the island for much less. If you just want to be sure that you’ll see everything there is to see, you can hop on the buses around the island. The fare is cheap and the buses run frequently.
But for a novel and even more leisurely way of seeing the island, you can make your way around the paths of Cami de Cavalls, which dates back to the 14th century and encircles the whole of Menorca, on horseback.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post.