“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
Spain includes dozens of islands that you can visit. Whether they’re in the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea, you can enjoy Spanish culture in some idyllic settings.
Sandy beaches, beautiful coves, and lush vegetation will make you feel like you’re in a postcard. Let’s discover some of Spain’s best islands to visit.
The island of Majorca has around 500km of white sandy beaches and is a paradise on earth. This is the main island of the Balearic Islands and is located in the Mediterranean Sea to the east of Spain. It’s very popular amongst European tourists and is full of rocky creeks, turquoise waters, and Majorcan pine trees.
The capital, Palma de Majorca, is rich with historic monuments such as the Gothic La Seu Cathedral, the Arab Baths, and the Plaza Major. This is the place to go if you want to party during your stay as the nightlife here is popular throughout the year.
Artists such as Joan Miro also helped make Majorca famous by making it a recognisable subject in art and culture and outside of the city, Majorca is also filled with beautiful picturesque villages and landscapes in the island’s mountains. You can visit Valldemossa and walk in the footsteps of Frédéric Chopin and George Sand who used the island as inspiration.
By visiting during the off-season, you can enjoy nature on the island. The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places to walk on the island. You can enjoy breathtaking views of sheer cliffs and crystalline water. A lot of tourists also enjoy scuba diving for a good rate if you go in the off-season and enjoy meals for around €20 per person. As you can see, Majorca is the ideal destination for family trips to the seaside.
Flights to Majorca from the UK take between 2 and 3 hours and you can get flights to Majorca for very little so don’t hesitate to look for offers. You could even stay in a finca, a traditional Majorcan house, for a good price. Guaranteed good vibes.
Why Visit Minorca
The tranquillity is probably the main reason you’d choose Minorca over Majorca. Away from the mass tourism, nightclubs, and large resort hotels, Minorca is home to calm, serenity, and authenticity. This green oasis is home to some magnificent florae and faunae and is very popular with nature lovers.
UNESCO classified Minorca as a Biosphere Reserve back in 1993 and also earned the title of a Starlight Destination in 2018 as the north of the island has very little light pollution and is an excellent destination for viewing the night sky. Those who love astronomy can stargaze to their heart’s content with skies as clear as those in Lapland or Hawaii.
The local cuisine is also worth sampling. With fresh fish, pastries, and local wines, every trip to a restaurant will be a dream come true. The Menorcan Mahon cheese and its gin both enjoy protected geographical status. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy these products while visiting the island.
Menorca is 5 times smaller than Majorca but no less impressive. You can visit some wonderful historical and cultural sites including:
- Prehistoric monuments like the monolithic “taula”.
- The Cala Morell necropolis.
- The Route of the 7 Lighthouses.
- The Naveta d’Es Tudons megalithic chamber tomb.
- The Early Christian Son Bou basilica.
- The Isabell II Fort
- El Toro hill with a statue of Christ and panoramic views over the island.
- The historic centre of Mahon, the island’s capital city.
On this small island, there are examples of its history almost everywhere. With caves, churches, colonial houses, and burial sites, you can walk through centuries of history without setting foot off the island.
The summer festivals honouring the island’s patron saint Sant Joan are a sight to behold, too. During the festes, you can enjoy Minorcan heritage, which involves a lot of equestrianism.
Whether you enjoy hiking, swimming, visiting cultural sites, or just lazing on the beach, you’ll find something to do in Minorca.
Reasons to Visit Ibiza
When you hear of Ibiza, you probably think of the many nightclubs and bars filled with people partying all through the night.
In addition to its reputation as an open-air nightclub, Ibiza is also home to many natural wonders. Its whitewashed villages have earned it the nickname of the “White Island”.
You can walk around Eivissa (Ibiza), the island’s capital city and enjoy the colourful flowers adorning the walls of each white house. The historic city centre is one of the island’s 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The island’s ecosystem is also very famous. The underwater ecosystem is particularly famous, especially the Neptune Grass, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. These underwater plants help contribute to the cleanliness of the water. You can enjoy them on a catamaran or kayak trip or even whilst doing some paddleboarding. There are plenty of aquatic activities for visitors to the Balearic islands.
The heritage of the hippy community that moved here in the 1960s is ever-present. Take the time to enjoy the artisanal hippy markets. Las Dalias, with over 200 clothing and jewellery stalls, is one of the most popular markets.
The weather makes Ibiza a popular tourist destination throughout the year. There are beautiful villas and luxury hotels that are regularly frequented by celebrities.
That said, Ibiza isn’t just a playground for the rich and famous, but rather a great destination for family holidays. There are many water parks and activities for children. There are several beaches with shallow water where children can play in relative safety. Similarly, many of the hotels are suited to visiting families.
As you can see, there are many great reasons to choose Ibiza as the destination for your next family holiday.
Planning a Trip to the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean and consist of 7 main islands:
- La Gomera
- Gran Canaria
- El Hierro
Each of these islands has its own identity, landscape, and culture.
Whether you love incredible views, the black volcanic beaches, surfing, or botany, you’re bound to find something to do here.
Famous for the waves, surfers regularly visit Tenerife and Fuerteventura. You can also see turtles, rays, and dolphins while out snorkelling, but what makes the Canary Islands a popular destination are the incredible hiking trails.
Whether you want to walk around the volcanic craters of Lanzarote, hike through La Palma’s lush vegetation, or stroll around the paths of La Gomera, you won’t be disappointed by the Canary Islands.
The Spanish Colonial influence can be seen in the large cities like Santa Cruz and Las Palmas with coloured houses, museums, and Christopher Columbus’ home, you won't soon forget that these islands were part of Spain’s controversial colonial past.
When you pay for flights to the Canary Islands, you essentially gain access to all the islands as travelling between each island is quite simple and you can do so via ferry if you fancy a day trip to any of the other islands. You can rent a car or a scooter on the larger islands. There’s everything from little creeks to impressive volcanoes to see.
If you're looking for a typical beach holiday with the kinds of attractions that most tourists go for, you'll want to stick to the bigger islands like Tenerife, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, and Fuerteventura. However, for a more authentic brand of tourism, we recommend going to the smaller islands of El Hierro and La Gomera.
Advice for Visiting Spanish Islands
Before you head to one of Spain’s most popular islands, learning a bit of Spanish is recommended.
While many of these are popular tourist destinations, you can still find many places where the level of English is very low or non-existent so speaking Spanish will help you to get the most out of your time on any of these islands.
What better way to reward yourself for learning the language than with a holiday to one of these beautiful islands?
Not only that but learning Spanish can also:
- Help you when travelling in Spanish-speaking countries.
- Add highly sought-after linguistic skills to your CV.
- Further your career.
- Help you to make Spanish-speaking friends.
- Allow you to discover new destinations like Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Teach you about different cultures.
Before your trip, you may also want to consult travel blogs and read more about what to do and how to get the most out of your trip.
Finally, a lot of these places are very popular so try to visit during the off-season. The hardest decision will be picking which place to visit.
So where will you be going to?
Whether you're going to the Canary Islands to enjoy Tenerife and the black volcanic beaches or looking for a place to stay near a natural park in Majorca, learning a bit of Spanish is probably one of the best things any tourist can do.
While a lot of tourists go on holiday to the Balearic and Canary Islands, if you want to do anything outside of visiting the typical tourist attractions that everyone visits, being able to speak, read, and write in Spanish will help you get the most out of your trip.