The Balearic Islands are an autonomous Spanish archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The Balearic Islands, which consist of the islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera as well as a number of smaller islands, are found off of the Iberian Peninsula. The Balearic Islands cover a total area of about one thousand nine hundred and twenty seven square miles, and have a population of approximately one million, one hundred thousand residents. The islands’ name is derived either from Phoenician or Greek terms, a reflection of those cultures’ influence on the early history of the archipelago. For a time, the Balearic Islands were a Phoenician territory, although they subsequently fell under the control of the Roman Empire, the Vandals, the Byzantines, the Moors, the Republic of Pisa, and the Kingdom of Aragon. The French and the British also controlled the archipelago during the eighteenth century, until the Spanish finally retook control of the Balearic Islands through the Treaty of Amiens. The Balearic Islands were popular and critical for these different nations for strategic and military reasons, although modern day visitors and residents appreciate the archipelago for its scenic beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage.
Majorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, is also home to the territory’s capital, the city of Palma. Majorca is the site of several remnants of prehistoric settlements, including Ses Paisses, S’Hospitalet Vell, and Novetiforme, as well as more recent historical sites. Like the rest of the Balearic Islands, Majorca has a Mediterranean climate, with the temperature generally hovering between sixty and eighty five degrees Fahrenheit. Majorca’s scenic coves and beautiful white sand beaches have made the island an international tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors to the island. Majorca has its own cuisine and unique culture, drawing thousands of new residents in addition to droves of visitors. Minorca, which literally means “minor island,” is located next to Majorca. Majorca’s ninety five thousand residents are familiar with the huge stone monuments on the island, which are both an important historical site and a popular tourist attraction. Minorca boasts considerable biodiversity, including more than two dozen different species of butterflies, wildflowers, and rare birds.
Ibiza, the third largest Balearic Island, is a popular party destination for young adults, as a result of its fair weather, famous nightclubs, and ubiquitous clubs. Ibiza has a thriving nightlife, attracting thousands of visitors to Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni. Notable clubs in Ibiza include Es Paradis, Privilege, Space, and amnesia, which feature well known DJs and live music. Ibiza is also famous for its beautiful sunsets and the white sand beaches along the island’s coastline. A number of locations on Ibiza are World Heritage Sites, such as cultural sites and natural phenomenon. The last major Balearic Island is Formentera, covering about thirty two square miles to the south of Ibiza. Notable communities on Formentera include Sant Ferrran de ses Roques, La Savina, and Sant Frances Xavier. Formentera’s beaches are well known throughout the archipelago, and much of the island is accessible by either moped or bicycle.