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The four main Balearic Islands - Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza - are located to the east of mainland Spain. They each have a character which is quite distinct, both from their mother country and each other.

Ibiza is a wonderful mix of the historic and the ultra-modern. Ibiza Town, the capital, is packed with interesting historic sites, but is also the home of one of the liveliest night scenes in the whole of Europe. Travel north though, and you will find a more traditional, somewhat Bohemian vibe. The north of the island is a great place to stay if you are looking for an authentic experience, and there are some great, quirky places to stay from boutique guest houses to up-scale camp sites.

Mallorca is probably the best known of the islands and is also the largest. It too offers plenty for those seeking a party destination, but it has so much more to offer besides. With gorgeous scenery comprising mountains, pretty coves, gorgeous old stone towns, it is a walker’s paradise, with swathes of lovely golden sands tempting those who just want a traditional beach holiday.

Menorca is Mallorca but on a smaller scale. Quieter and probably more family friendly, it is dotted with pretty resorts and a good choice of accommodation for all budgets.

Diminutive Formentera has the best beaches of all the islands, and is an unspoilt haven packed full of rustic charm. Don’t head there looking for night life though, this is the very definition of a ‘get away from it all’ destination.

The islands are easy to get to, with lots of flights from all UK airports during the summer months. Additionally, catamarans and ferries link the ports of Denia, Valencia and Barcelona with the islands, plus several ‘inter-island’ options during high season although be warned - these can work out to be quite expensive and are quite often booked up quite some weeks in advance.

The language of the islands is Catalan, which each island having its own distinct dialect, although, most of the locals also speak Spanish. If you are planning to hire a car you will need to bear in mind that maps generally use the Spanish place names, whereas many of the road signs are in Catalan. For example, the capital of Menorca is now referred to by the locals as Mao, not Mahon. Remember too that most car hire companies do not allow the vehicle to be taken from one island to another.

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