Boasting some of the bluest waters in the Mediterranean, Spain’s Balearic islands are bursting with barefoot, bohemian soul where you’ll find a less-is-more approach to luxury. Each island has its own distinct identity, from up-beat Ibiza to chilled-out Formentera, there is something to suit every type of traveller. Simply select an answer from a-d in the questions below, count up the number of each letter and start browsing boutique hotels in the corresponding category. Spanish summer holiday plans, sorted…
a) Drink toes-in-the-sand cocktails at a beachfront bar
b) Take a refreshing dip in the sea
c) Stroll through a market to pick up some local produce
d) Just get lost in nature – think olive groves, farmland, and rolling hills!
a) Sipping healthy smoothies on a sunbed
b) A sunrise yoga session listening to the waves
c) A soothing spa treatment like a salt-and-seaweed wrap
d) Sitting down to a picnic surrounded by vineyards
a) A stylish swimsuit
b) Skincare essentials
c) A big, basket-style bag
d) Comfortable shoes
a) In a king-size bed with sea views
b) On a boat after a nap in the sun
c) On a rooftop lounger overlooking the city
d) To the sound of cicadas in a converted farmhouse
a) Holiday OOTDs (outfits of the day!)
b) Laid-back beach scenes
c) Food shots and tablescapes
d) Wild landscapes
a) By boat
b) On foot
c) By bicycle
d) On horseback
a) Dining and drinking alfresco
b) Being barefoot everyday
c) The friendly locals – it’s the people who make a place!
d) The peace and quiet
With its well-known party set and charming Old Town, Ibiza paints a pretty picture of whitewashed finca, blooming bougainvillaea, and blue-painted fishermen’s huts. But there’s more to the world’s clubbing capital than meets the eye. Relish just-caught seafood and local recipes in traditional tapas restaurants, climb up and over headlands to find deserted coves, or listen to sundown grooves at a beach bar.
Where to stay: For poolside bento-box nibbling and beach cabana massages, Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is your best bet. This White Isle icon takes up prime position on Talamanca Bay so you’re only ever just steps away from the sea. Meanwhile, La Torre del Canónigo commands one of the best outlooks on the island from its hilltop perch, with a rooftop terrace and pool that promises marina views.
Think of Formentera as Ibiza’s chilled-out little sister – a desert island dream of wild, rocky coastline and off-grid beaches. As the smallest of the Balearic islands, Formentera is brimming with unplugged, castaway charm, and much of the island’s allure is that there’s very little to see – leaving you free to appreciate its natural beauty. Picture icing sugar sand dunes and whitewashed villages punctuated with green pine forests and impossibly blue waters, with a dash of bleached blonde beaches. Platja de Migjorn on the southern coast is true escapism territory, with little more than a handful of chiringuitos for company.
Where to stay: Go boho-chic at Gecko Hotel & Beach Club, a light-filled boutique retreat on one of the island’s best stretches of sand. Rooms overlook the blue Mediterranean or palm-filled gardens, while suites come with private plunge pools surrounded by hammocks and terraces with sink-into sofas. Little touches like beach bags and towels are all thought of, so all you have to do is decide how you’d like to relax.
Fringed by cliffs and heavenly beaches, with long stretches of fragrant countryside peppered with olive trees and citrus groves, Mallorca is the largest of the Balearics and reveals the Mediterranean at its most wildly beautiful. Whether you like your beach with white sand and azure waters, or rocky and rugged, Mallorca has something to suit every taste, while its quaint hilltop villages are overflowing with charm.
Where to stay: Choose between our four fabulous Mallorca hotels here, from a converted farmhouse on a bucolic estate to a clifftop fortress overlooking the Bay of Palma – or hotel hop around the island with our off-the-beaten-track itinerary here.
While there is plenty to discover inland, Menorca has that desert island spirit – you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve landed in the Caribbean when you escape to the beach in Menorca. The sand is white, the seas are clear, and there are quiet crescents and coves right along the coastline. When you’re not choosing between beaches, the protected area of Parc Natural S’Albufera d’es Grau is an unmissable sight. At the centre of Menorca’s Biosphere Reserve sits a huge, freshwater lagoon where you’ll spy wetland species of every size and colour, as well as migrating birds.
Where to stay: A traditional finca with fuschia flowers covering whitewashed walls, threshing floors, and a stable yard, the 27 rooms and cottages at Torralbenc are decorated in a soothing, creamy palette. Trot along in tranquillity through the 77-hectares of the estate on horseback to make the most of the surrounding agricultural landscape, sprinkled with wild olive forests, fragrant orchards, and Mediterranean underwood.