The sunny Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca are perennially popular with families, yet each has its own distinct personality and vibe. Which one do you think will suit you and your family best?
The largest of the Balearics, friendly Mallorca is blessed with striking and diverse scenery: the rugged Tramuntana mountains run SW-NE along the island; its coastline is over 500km in length with over 70 delightful white-sand beaches and picturesque coves. The bustling capital, Palma de Mallorca, sits on a wide bay and has an attractive Old Town and good restaurants. Inland, on the central plain, you’ll find hidden valleys and ancient olive terraces, citrus groves and orchards, historic small towns and picturesque villages. The lovely coastal town of Soller can be accessed by train and tram.
Frequent flights and some fantastic (and affordable) family-friendly places to stay make Mallorca an ideal destination for those travelling with children.
A townhouse turned lovely light-filled apartments for 2-5, all with terraces or patios and well-equipped kitchenettes. It’s a short stroll to the harbour and the Old Town, and there are loads of restaurants and shops on the doorstep.
On the mountainous NW coast, this hip hotel has excellent views across the horseshoe bay, bright and airy rooms (most with seaview terraces) and a swanky heated pool with a shallow section for kids. The beach below is safe and shallow, and there are boat trips, ice cream shops and tram rides to enjoy.
If more privacy and space is preferred for larger families or two families travelling together, this stylish open-plan villa is ideal. There’s a freeform swimming pool surrounded by daybeds, a shady dining terrace, three acres of orchards, lawns and a movie room. The four-bedroomed villa is halfway between Pollensa and Alcudia, so beaches, watersports, hiking, horse riding are all close.
In a honey-coloured market town, these beautifully restored townhousessleep 6 & 8 apiece, have high spec kitchens, a secluded shaded internal courtyard with a plunge pool each, and are 10 minutes from idyllic turquoise coves.
Renowned as the home of Balearic beat, and with a well-established party reputation, Ibiza is surprisingly beautiful and peaceful away from the clubs. It boasts lots of Unesco World Heritage sites, hidden caves, secluded bays, traditional countryside and gorgeous beaches.
On the wilder side of the island, this relaxed finca comes with wonderful huge grounds and flowering gardens for hide and seek, a 25m heated infinity pool with a shallow end and sun loungers, and special mealtimes for families. There’s a farm next door, plenty of kid-friendly beaches nearby and bikes to hire.
Alternatively, this boho hilltop agriturismo has incomparable views, a vast sea-facing terrace, gardens and swimming pool, home-cooked meals, charming service, and innumerable coves within a 10-minute drive.
If a villa with a pool is what you’re after, these chic villas on the island’s western tip are the answer. You’ve a choice of three to eight bedrooms, with funky Bali-meets-Med decor, fabulous sea views, and lots of outdoor lounging areas. Discover sandy beaches, hippy markets and salt pans.
The second-largest Balearic island, tranquil Menorca is the least crowded and most unspoilt of the trio. It has traditional summer fiestas, megalithic stone monuments, is rich in wildlife, yet boasts the same number of beaches as Mallorca and Ibiza combined – perfect for a relaxing potter-about family holiday.
The island’s charming harbour capital is on the east of the island. Small, retro-styled hotel Casa Albertiis in its old quarter and has a roof terrace, a shady courtyard garden, an honesty bar and a shared kitchen where you can help yourselves to tea, coffee and fruit.
On the outskirts of peaceful Alaior, a derelict 19th-century manor house has been re-imagined as an enchanting four-bedroomed villa with sunny patios, magical gardens and orchards with a pool in a former water tank. It’s a quick drive away from the unspoiled beaches on the southern shore.
A former farm, this peaceful and authentic rural hotel now produces chilled-out guests and delectable Mediterranean dinners under the stars. Kids can roam around secure landscaped grounds, splash in the pretty pool, and walk 2km to splendid beaches; there are paths from the hotel for horse riding and cycling.