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Sink your toes into pristine white sands and gaze out across the azure ocean

The Balearic Islands are dazzlingly beautiful and, thanks to their Mediterranean setting, enjoy a balmy climate year-round. Ibiza is perhaps the most famous island of the archipelago, but if flashing the cash in the clubs of San Antonio isn't really your bag, then visit out of season to enjoy the island in its peaceful repose. Alternatively, you could head to Formentera - often referred to as Ibiza's little sister, this diminutive island makes a point of taking everything just that little bit easier. Majorca, known as the ‘Queen of the Mediterranean’ beckons with its sheltered coves and abundant countryside, while Minorca turns down the tempo even further with its tranquil coast and sleepy, white-washed villages.

Things to do

Breakfast on the terrace? Don't mind if I do. On all of our stay and relax holidays to the Balearics we've chosen the very best hotels in standout destinations. Explore the islands from home base, or drop in and visit on one of our Mediterranean cruises. Discover Majorca’s impressive Drachs cave system, stop for a spot of al fresco dining in the island's capital of Palma, or wander the elegant streets of Mahon in Minorca before whiling away the hours on the perfect Cala Blanca Beach. For active types a guided walking holiday through the picturesque hilltops and olive groves of Majorca might be just the thing.

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Enjoy a great-value stay in Majorca mere steps from the white sandy beach at Cala Millor.

It’s time to experience relaxation the Minorcan way…

Enjoy a great-value half-board holiday and explore Minorca's beautiful east coast.

A charming resort on Minorca's west coast.

Enjoy a stay at a peaceful resort on Majorca's south coast.

Hotel Agamenon QQQQ

Stay and Relax

Enjoying an enviable location overlooking Es Castell’s pretty bay, the locally rated 4-star Hotel Agamenón is a haven for those seeking relaxation in the Minorcan sun

Discover the sandy coves and charming towns of Minorca's south coast from the Hotel Playa Azul

Enjoy a great-value break at the purpose-built resort of Sa Coma, situated between the bustling marina towns of Cala Millor and Porto Cristo.

Make the most of this hotel's excellent sporting facilities.

The white sandy beach at Cala Millor in Majorca is just a short step from this excellent all-inclusive hotel.

Take your pick from two tempting coves at this great value clifftop hotel.

Relax in the Majorcan sunshine in the coastal resort of Sa Coma, during a beachside stay at the adults-only Hipotels Mediterraneo hotel (4Q+).

Enjoy a stay at a peaceful resort on Majorca's south coast.

Set your own pace at the Hipotels Bahia Grande aparthotel on this great-value half-board holiday.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded holiday at this charming resort on Minorca's west coast.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded holiday at this clifftop hotel overlooking a dramatic cove and the sea in the resort of Cala'n Forcat.

Opt for a special upgraded package to get your holiday off to a great start: it'll put you in good stead to discover the sandy coves and charming towns of Minorca's south coast from the Hotel Playa Azul.

Situated on the island of Majorca, the purpose-built resort of Sa Coma lies between the bustling marina towns of Cala Millor and Porto Cristo. Look forward to enjoying its sandy beach and promenade, or just take it easy at your hotel, located just 150 metres from the beachfront promenade.

Set your own pace at the Hipotels Bahia Grande, a spacious beachfront aparthotel in Majorca's lovely Cala Millor.

Opt for a special upgraded package to get your holiday off to a great start, then relax and the most of this hotel's excellent sporting facilities.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded package at this excellent hotel in Majorca mere steps from the white sandy beach at Cala Millor.

Opt for a special upgraded stay at the Hotel Globales America, a great value clifftop hotel.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded holiday stay at a peaceful resort on Majorca's south coast.

For the ultimate relaxing break, opt for a special upgraded holiday at this hotel in the purpose-built resort of Sa Coma.

Opt for a special upgraded package to get your holiday off to a great start, at the Hipotels Bahia Grande.

Experience the essence of the Mediterranean on this rewarding cruise around its eastern shores…

Cruise the east coast of Spain from top to toe.

Balearic Island Adventure

Escorted Tour Pace 2

Discover the fascinating history, rich culture and beautiful scenery of Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca on this island-hopping adventure.

Make a circuit of the Balearics, visiting the capitals of Ibiza, Minorca and Majorca, explore the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, and pay a visit to Sicily before cruising home via the historic cities of Cartagena and Lisbon.

Discover the buzz of Lisbon and Barcelona en route to the sparkling shores of the French Riviera. Stroll through the historic streets of Toulon and Nice, perhaps visit Monaco, and explore high-class Cannes.

The Western Mediterranean is hard to beat for culture-rich ports, whether it's the museums and galleries of Lisbon or the fantastical works of Picasso and Gaudí in Barcelona. As well as the region's big-name attractions, this cruise also calls at quieter Spanish ports and peaceful islands where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of Mediterranean life.

Combine a classic Mediterranean cruise with the festive magic of Christmas aboard Saga Sapphire…

Enjoy overnight stays in Valletta and Venice as well as visit the tiny island of Gozo on this Mediterranean voyage.

Language

Spanish; Castilian -

Castillian Spanish is the official language, with other Spanish languages and dialects varying in different regions.

English isn’t widely used outside of the main coastal resorts, so you may find it very handy to learn a few words before you travel.

Tipping

Tipping is similar to the UK: the typical amount in restaurants is 10% (most establishments don’t add a service charge to the bill). Taxi drivers and porters expect a small tip too.

Population and size

Spain has a population of 47.4 million, which is relatively low in comparison to other European countries such as France and Italy.

At 505,988 square kilometers, Spain is more than twice the size of the UK.

Currency

Euro - The currency is the euro, divided into 100 cents.

Culture

The main religion in Spain is Roman Catholic, which accounts for around two-thirds of the country, along with a small minority of Muslims.

When meeting new people, a handshake is the common greeting among men, and a kiss on the cheek between women - the number of kisses can vary, so prepare yourself for two or even three!

You'll also find that the Spanish eat much later than we do in the UK, with lunch between 2-3.30pm and dinner between 9-11pm, so don't be alarmed if you find yourself in a relatively quiet restaurant. Oh, and the Spanish love to party - depending on when you visit you might find yourself embroiled in one of their many annual celebrations, including one that involves a battle with tomatoes!

Pablo Picasso is among Spain's most celebrated sons, along with Antoni Gaudi, whose eccentric architecture enlivens the Barcelona cityscape. More recent times saw Spanish cinema come into its own with directors like Pedro Almodovar breaking into the English-speaking world. And films like Guillermo del Toro's darkly fantastic masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish-Mexican venture, solidified Spain as a big player in the film industry.

History-wise there has been a lot going on, from its dominating position when the Spanish Empire set out to discover the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries, to its catastrophic civil war in the 1930s and radical change following the death of dictator Franco in 1975. For an insight into the country's most recent history and the Spanish psyche, Giles Tremlett's Ghosts of Spain is well worth a read.

Phrases

A few basic words of Spanish to get you started…

Hola – hello

Adios – goodbye

Por favor – please

Gracias – thank you

Si – yes

No – no

Perdon – excuse me

No hablo espanol – I don’t speak Spanish

Timezone

Spain is one hour ahead of GMT, two in British summertime.

Electricity

Mains voltage is 220-240 volts AC (50 cycles) and all sockets take small round two-pin plugs. You’ll need an adaptor for your British appliances, so remember to bring one with you as you probably won’t be able to find one in Spain.

Climate

The climate varies depending on the region, but generally the further south you go, the warmer it will be. The weather on the south and east coast is fairly reliable all year round, enjoying a balmy Mediterranean climate, while the interior tends to stay hot and dry as it’s located on a plateau.

Health

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre – see www.nathnac.org, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad at www.fco.gov.uk/travel.

Passports and visas

You’ll need a current passport valid for the duration of your stay. British citizens don’t require a visa.

Smoking

Smoking is banned in enclosed public areas and is not allowed on public transport, in bars or restaurants, except in designated areas. Be sure to remember this or you may be stuck with a hefty fine.

Flight time

London to Madrid and Barcelona – from 2 hours

London to Seville – from 2.5 hours


Places in the Balearics

Ibiza

A bohemian playground that uncovers its true character out of season

Majorca

Step ashore the Queen of the Balearics, the island that thinks it's a continent

Minorca

Soak up in the relaxed atmosphere of this charming island, which basks in sunshine 330 days each year