The Balearic Islands has been a favourite choice for sun seekers and hedonists for decades, which is why it’s also been an alluring luxury yacht charter destination since the industry took off in the Western Mediterranean.
The nightlife is electric over the summer months, and the beautiful clear blue sea welcomes visitors for water sports. Amazing beaches, stunning mountain interiors and a rich culture characterise the hottest destinations across the islands, where there’s something for all ages and interests.
A spectacular destination in its own right, Barcelona is often used as a place to commence and end yacht charters because of its international airport and the nearby Port Vell marina. Explore the city to uncover its exceptional artistic identity: The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Picasso Museum and Museu Frederic Marès span the centuries, and the Museu de la Xocolata is a delicious look at famous works of art.
Gaudi and other architects of art noveau (known in Catalonia as Modernisme) have created stunning surroundings to relax and reflect, with highlights including Güell Palace, Parc Güell and La Sagrada Familia.
Shop for everything from the big international brands to bespoke jewellers and boutiques, then dine in Michelin-starred restaurants for exquisite local flavours.
For those who want to do it all, Ibiza is the place to be; Not only is there a vibrant nightlife in Ibiza Town, but great shopping, galleries, museums, and monuments including castles and an ancient necropolis. San Antonio has a more exclusive vibe yet the party atmosphere is by no means diminished when there are so many places to dine and dance beside the golden sands.
In addition to all the bars, cafes and other indulgences to tempt you, Ibiza is a haven for wellness and has several yoga retreats and spas to rejuvenate body and mind. It’s possible to choose a crew with accreditation as yoga instructors and professional masseuses, so you can receive treatments on your own timetable, wherever you travel.
The Scuba diving community is well aware of the wonders around the Balearic Islands, with more than 40 walls, 30 reefs and 20 caves to cater to novices through to the most experienced divers. Many can be found around Ibiza, particularly along the northern and south-eastern sides. When in the west, visit the wall ‘Las Gorgonias’ for the stunning red sea fans to be found at a maximum depth of 28m/92ft.
Marvellous white-sand beaches and clear blue waters will tempt you off your yacht to swim and sunbathe along these shores, and since there is little in the way of landmarks or shopping to distract you, now is the time to discover the full complement of water toys on board. Snorkel and Scuba dive with the intriguing underwater inhabitants of Formentera and feel a surge of adrenaline as you bounce along on the towable toys.
Hike or bike along the coastal trails to work up your appetite, then dine by candlelight on one of these majestic beaches before a film alfresco, a soak in the Jacuzzi and a restful night.
Palma is your one-stop destination for fine dining, shopping and culture: The waterfront is rich with art galleries, museums and historic sites that offer a feast for the eyes, and some of the highlights include Llotja de Palma for exhibitions, Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. To the west, there is the magnificent 14th Century Castell de Bellver set upon a wooded hill overlooking the harbour.
Port d’Andratx is popular amongst yachting enthusiasts for its excellent port facilities, laid-back atmosphere and numerous galleries and dining options. The island and nature reserve Parque natural de Sa Dragonera is a place to snorkel and Scuba dive, and hikers can walk the ruins-dotted La Trapa trail along Mallorca’s coast.
Serra de Tramuntana on the northern side is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the coves, seaside settlements and scenic trails through the mountains lead to many beautiful gardens, manors and museums from times gone by.
Mallorca’s south provides yet another adventure, where there is one discovery after another: Cruise from small seaside towns to long stretches of golden sand beaches and hidden coves where you can spend the night in solitude and serenity. Cabrera National Park is ideal for disconnecting from technology and spending the day walking the tracks, taking in the views and relaxing on the warm sands.
Lastly, the walled medieval town Alcúdia to the north is a wonderful spot for art, culture, and plenty of beaches and hiking trails to satisfy your love for nature. From here, head on to Menorca – the most laid-back and undeveloped of the Balearic Islands.
The serene island of Menorca offers one sandy bay after another along the southern coast, including the popular cliffside bar, Cova d’en Xoroi. Begin your tour of the island in Ciutadella de Menorca, where culture seekers have plenty of museums and churches to visit in the city centre, before resting in one of the ambient cafes or restaurants. Bars and clubs will entertain you until the early hours, or you can head off to one of the natural anchorages for a peaceful sunset and night under the stars.
Mahón is on the other side of the island to Ciutadella de Menorca and is close to the scenic Parc Natural de s’Albufera des Grau. Mahón is a picturesque combination of open squares and narrow streets where your wanderings will be rewarded with old castles, museums, churches, boutiques and aromatic cafes. The nature reserve is a warren of marshland for hikers to picnic and go bird watching, and snorkelling, kayaking and paddleboarding is all possible along the coast.