Located east from the Spanish mainland are a small group of Mediterranean islands known as the Balearic Islands. The two largest islands are Mallorca and Menorca, both of which will be the main focus here, while the island of Ibiza and its counterpart, Formentera, are covered in a separate Ibiza section. The good news is that if you're looking for some epic mountain landscapes, pristine beaches, and plenty of water-based activities then you're in the right place.
The island of Mallorca is the larger of the two, although the two islands do share a number of similarities. Both have excellent weather, particularly in the summer season, and have the preponderance of coastal resort real estate to prove it. You wouldn't be wrong in enjoying both of these islands primarily for a chance to lounge out by the water, but you would hardly be taking full advantage. Mallorca especially has a great mountain region along its northwestern coast called the Serra de Tramuntana, where you can do everything from taking a leisurely weekend to drive the winding vistas along R710 or get more hands on with a number of caves, trails, and mountain biking routes. At its most northern point is the incredible Cap de Formentor, where there are a ton of viewing areas that capitalize on the outcroppings of rock that dramatically emphasize the coastline. The best towns from which to access the area are Lluc, Sóller, and Valldemossa. The Cuevas del Drach on the eastern coast are also very interesting for those who enjoy show caves where subterranean lakes and stalagmites are joined by classical musicans and light shows. There some smaller vistas in Menorca, most notable being the thousand-plus foot Monte Toro that provides the best looks at the island from above.
Then again, the beaches Mallorca and Menorca are the main draw here. There are literally hundreds of beaches in total, many of which have tourist amenities and all of which can be worthwhile for a tan and a swim in picturesque waters. The haven of Cala Figuera on the east of the island is a nice little off-the-beaten-path destination and is close to a handful of fine beaches, as well as the Cala Mondrago Natural Park, which is a preserved section of beach, dune, and wetlands. Other notable beaches on Mallorca include Cala d'Or (a grouping of coves just up the coast from Cala Figuera), the popular Cala Millor (the most developed on the east coast), Cala Alcudia (some of the nicest white sand on the north end of the island), the isolated and attractive Cala Mesquida (also north), and the twin resorts of Cala Nova and Magaluf (nice beaches that target a younger tourist crowd that loves the nightlife). Menorca, despite being smaller, has even more beaches! Cala Galdana, Cala Macarella ,and Cala Preganda are the cream of the crop, but there are plenty more stretches of beach here that haven't been claimed by resorts. There are also a number of dive opportunities off the coasts of both islands; take a look through our activities for a better idea of what is available.
Lastly, the most off-the-beaten-path destination in the islands is the subsidiary archipelago known as the Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park. Accessed from Colonia Sant Jordi on the east coast of Mallorca, this is untouched beach and nature at its best, while there are a number of hikes that can be arrange at the park headquarters that include treks to the island's castle and lighthouse. For other opportunities at adventure, take a look through our dedicated pages and start putting together an itinerary that will spice up the day-to-day of your next big trip.