The Balearic Islands are renowned holiday destinations of western Mediterranean. Breathtaking coastlines, Marine of Mallorca, non-stop parties of Ibiza attracts millions of visitors every year. However, only a few know about the long winemaking traditions that the region holds since the Ancient Roman times. All four regions offer a diversity of experiences. Minorca and Formentera are two smaller islands but extremely calm and beautiful. When Ibiza is one of the most popular destinations for the nightlife. On the other hand, Ibiza is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural attractions and biodiversity. Come and discover the hidden side of The Balearic Islands, taste local products and pair them with wines made from indigenous grape varieties.
Balearic Islands form archipelago located to the east of the Spanish mainland in the western Mediterranean. The archipelago includes four largest and the most popular islands such as Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Islands’ nearest provinces from the mainland are Valencia and Murcia to the west and Catalunya to the north.
This guide will take you through the hidden places of the Balearic Islands, away from tourist crowds and will introduce different face of the region. Here, you will learn more about:
The vine cultivation tradition in the Balearic Islands is ancient and dates back to around 120BC. Ancient Romans as in many other places in Europe were first also here to introduce viticulture. The vocation went on and on until in 1891. The advent of phylloxera heavily damaged the vineyards and wine industry, although the dedicated winemakers managed to surge it back over the past three decades. All the local wineries have professional and dedicated viticulturists that have mastered the art of grape farming. They have been delivering top-class wines to natives and tourists.
Hillside Island Vineyards
All four major islands from Balearic Islands wine region produce wines but Mallorca is the only island that produces appellation wines. Today, around 130 million square feet of land is covered with vineyards, and most of them (approximately 60%) belong to two renowned appellations – DO Binissalem and DO Pla i Llavent on Mallorca.
Along with two main DO zones, the Balearic Islands wine region exhibits many VT(Vino de la tierra)-based zones, extended throughout the territory, such as Formentera VT, Ibiza VT, Mallorca VT, to name a few. Even though most of the vineyards are alocated on Majorca, you will find some artisan producers on Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera with only small territory but breathtaking vineyards. The terrace vineyards of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca are some of the most picturesque in Spain.
What to Taste While on the Islands
Protected by the Tramuntana mountain range, DO Binissalem was the first-ever wine appellation region of the Balearic Islands that got recognition in 1990. Various types of wines are produced in this region, including top-class red, white, rose, and sparkling wines using local as well as international grape varieties. Some of the vines of the area are high-quality Callet, Tempranillo, Monastrell, and Merlot for reds. To get the whites, winemakers use perfectly grained Moll o Prensal Blanc (main varieties), Macabeo, Parellada, etc.
According to the regulations, all the red wines produced in the Binissalem-Mallorca DO zone must contain 50% if Manto Negro, which native grape variety that Mallorcans are very proud of. In addition, Callet, which is also a native grape variety for Mallorca, is used to produce Luscious red wines together.
DO Pla i Llavent
Pla i Llavent, was established in 1999, located in Mallorca itself far east than Binissalem. Here, the vineyards relish the Mediterranean climate because of the presence of the sea and breeze. The microclimate of the region is suitable for the production of rich-quality wines made from local grape varieties. Some of the vines grown in this region are Moscatel, Prensal Blanc (Moll), Macabeo, Parellada and Chardonnay for white wines and Callet, Fogoneu, Manto Negro, Merlot, and many other for top-class reds.
Tourists from all over the world arrive at this place to enjoy the taste of wines made from lesser-known grape – Albeit, served well with local products in almost all restaurants.
Where to Taste Local Wines
While having your dream island holidays on Balearic Islands, it’s must to visit countryside, admire hillside vinyeard landscapes and enjoy local wines. Check out the full list of wineries in Balearic Islands that are open for visitors and offering wine experiences.
Son Juliana winery was established in 2013 by team of expert winemakers. Exeptional architecture of the estate is inspired by its lush countryside which is based on three main aspects – production, location, and weather.
Take a trip to Santa Eugenia and Binali town where winery is located and enjoy sunset with the glass of local wine!
The capital city of Balearic Islands, Mahón, is the first place to enjoy the scenic beauty and food of the region before heading off to your resorts. It consists of Georgian-styled mansions, which are proof of Britishers’ presence in the city.
For tourists, Mahón is the best place to explore the blend of history and modern times. The alleys, shady streets, medieval monasteries, churches, etc., speak of the long colorful history of Mahón. Don’t miss a chance to visit the marketplace, stunning cake exhibitions, and meet some friendly inhabitants.
Besides that, there are several untouched beaches, fertile cultivation lands, charming vineyards, and various hidden treasures that are waiting for you. The city as well provides top-class accommodation, such as well-maintained farmsteads, five-star hotels, converted mansions, apartments, and much more. To make your stay extra-special, check out the local restaurants of Mahón, where you can surprise your taste buds with amazing, regional dishes, along with a buzzing nightlife.
Alaior – Beaches, Leisure, & Recreation
Eighteen-minutes drive away from Mahón’s airport, there exists a charming and mesmerizing town of Balearic Islands, name as Alaior. Visit and explore the rich history of the town, dated back to the times of King James II, who established it in 1304. While touring the region, you can visit the ancient church and just on its boundary, there is the Munt de l’Angel Park, surrounded by beautiful countryside. The scenic landscapes of Alaior are littered with appealing sidewalks for cyclists and runners. Discover the windmills – Den John Mill and Den Pujol Mill and the wells surrounding the town.
Cala en Porter and Son Bou are the most famous beaches to tour while in Alaior because both the beaches share a family-oriented environment. You can get to these two stunning beaches via bus service. The next things to pay attention to while in Alaior are the artisan cobblers and jewelry stores, where you can buy the items directly. Besides, there are multiple restaurants and eating points, where guests can enjoy local cuisines, paired with homemade sausages, wines, pastries, etc.
Cala De Portinatx – Enjoy the Boat Party
Cala De Portinatx situates in the northern region of Balearic Islands, in the town of Sant Joan de Labritja. Heart-hacking cliffs and rolling mountains surround the municipality, giving tourists a perfect view of lush countryside. The interior of this place reveals an exceptional relief shaped by the hills of significant heights. Get there and discover the ancient ruins of Punic and Muslim civilizations. You will get a chance to dig deep into the rich history of these races. Also, acknowledge the history of 1235 when the Sant Miquel church was established. It is interesting!
While at Cala De Portinatx, don’t forget to explore the agricultural and livestock activities of the region. Along with that, there are three main beaches to spend some leisure time on. The largest beach is on the bay. Another beach, the little and more private one, is S’Arenal Petit – a must-visit. Mounds and pine groves cover the third one, Porto Beach. You will also find some traditional cuisines of the Balearic Islands on all these beaches, worth tasting, paired with wines.
Wild Nature of the Islands
Balearic Islands offer great outdoor and natural places. Explore natural parks, nature reserves, beaches and the hills of Baleatic Islands.
Cova des Coloms – A massive and Impressive Cave
Plan a visit to Cova des Coloms, a huge, impressive natural cave, situated in the secret hideout of Cliff of Binigaus. It is a must-visit natural reserve where you will feel like the tiniest dwarf standing in front of the opening of the cave. The cave is about 25 to 30 meters in height and about 100 meters deep. It is somewhat similar to a cathedral impressed into the cliff-face. You can get to this awe-inspiring place by walking or take a bike ride from the cemetery in Es Migjorn or walk down on your feet through the charming valley. For beach lovers, there beaches to visit and have a memorable time among the rare flora and fauna species. Cherish the sunsetting while breeze touching your face, giving you a breathtaking feeling.
Parque Natural de Ses Salines – Beach Lighthouse with Exotic Wildlife
One of the must-go places in the Balearic Islands to spend some precious time is the Natural Park of SesSalines. The land area is extended over about 3000 hectares, whereas the marine area covers 13000. hectaresDiscover the salt production activity carried out in the region, traced back to hundreds of years, which reveal the cultural and historical importance. While touring, you can also witness plenty of flora and fauna species, uncountable bird breeds migrating and nesting from other regions, etc. Besides, don’t forget to visit Sal Rossa Watchtower – a medieval jewel of SesSalines, constructed to protect Ibiza from pirate loots. Next can be the bird-watching site where you can photograph flamingoes, herons, osprey, falcons, etc. Also, spend some time on a blue-watered beach – Cap des Falcó and witness fabulous sumsets.
Cala de Sant Esteve – Magnificent Beaches and Resorts
Nothing compares to spending a memorable evening in one of the charming beaches of Cala de Sant Esteve and enjoying the breathtaking sun set view that you have never seen. Some of the beaches you might like to visit include Santa Tomas, Son Bou, North Menorca Marine Reserve, Cala Galnada, to name a few. The resorts of Cala de Sant Esteve are nestled in the beautiful, scenic countryside. Relish the 360-degree view of beaches, valleys, and tree groves from the top of your resort. Do not miss out on discovering the rich history of Fort Marlborough, established in the 18th century by Britishers. While touring, visitors will get a chance to uncover traditional architectural designs, bordered the whole town.
From traditional to Innovative Kitchen Recipes
Gatronomy of Balearic Islands
Upon your visit to Balearic Island, you are bound to notice two things for sure. First, natives take pride in presenting their traditional cuisines to guests. Second, cooking plays a vital role in their life. While in the Balearic Islands, it is impossible to find a “bad” eating point. Every restaurant has something unique to offer tourists. Homemade dishes and local food products are always served on the table to challenge your taste buds.
Caldereta de Langosta – Delicious Lobster Stew
The speciality of Balearic Island is seafood, and Caldereta de Langosta is among the most famous seafood in this region. This dish is prepared in many different styles depending on a chef to chef. The one type, renowned and loved by everyone, including tourists, is blue spiny lobster – the tastiest and abundant in the islands. It is also known as a lobster stew.
The dish is prepared from a few ingredients, and yet it will leave your taste buds mesmerized. It includes a mixture of tomatoes, green pepper, onions, garlic, parsley, and of course, pieces of lobster, served with bread crumbs on the top. Take note, this traditional cuisine can be relished during spring and summer months as fishing is discouraged during other times of the year.
Coca de Trampó – Mallorca Flatbread with Vegetables
One more traditional cuisine from Balearic Islands’ kitchen is Coca de Trampó, available in all bakeries throughout the region. In some restaurants, it’s named Coca de Verduras on the menu because of the vegetables present in the dish. The appearance of the dish is somewhat similar to Italian pizza, seasoned with olive oil and salt. After that, the thin base is made crispy and topped with a mixture of freshly diced tomatoes, onions, and peppers. This Mediterranean dish can be relished with lunch, dinner, or can be a part of brunch with tapas.
Maó Cheese – Treasure for Cheese-Lovers
Maó Cheese, also pronounced as Mahon Cheese, is Spain’s traditional cheese and named after Menorca’s capital – Mahon. You will be thrilled by the fruity aroma with unique, bold flavours. Prepared from cow’s milk, the cheese has a fruity aroma with a rich, salty flavour. The appearance of the cheese is pale rind with a spicy touch. The region makes enough cheese, and it is available in all bakeries. Mahon Cheese is ranked second after Manchego and has been produced in Spain for over 700 years – a true tradition running down in Spanish families. It is square in shape, sealed with orange wax. While tasting cheese in a local restaurant, your guide will tell you history and facts about this dish and how it got DO status in 1985.
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