Floating around the Balearics, Spain

48 images Created 8 May 2010

The floating islands of the Balearics boast a rugged coastline interspersed with dozens of sandy beaches, a lot of which are consumed by intensive tourist developments. A few out-of-the-way beaches remain, but nowadays one has to go that little bit further to find them.
Initially for the hip and fashionable, Ibiza (a mixed World-Heritage site because of Ibiza city's architecture and the island's rich sealife) soon latched on to the money-spinner of bulk tourism and started shipping in summer sun-seekers by the thousand. Ibiza is the birthplace of the rave, Ibiza is home to some of Spain's most (in) famous clubs. The outrageous summer scene is complemented by a diverse collection of bars.
Away from the bars and the parties however is the island of Formentera. An idylic little island with the woods, coastal walking trails and quiet (if not deserted) beaches that allow you to elude Ministry of Sound-style madness. Here, on tiny Formentera, the official 'chill-out' island, people tend to lose themselves for the entire summer, needing little more to keep them happy than white beaches and sunset parties. Surprisingly, the islands have managed to maintain much of their intrinsic beauty. Beyond the high-rise resort hotels, bars and more popular beaches are Gothic cathedrals, Stone Age ruins, fishing villages, spectacular walks, secluded coves, endless olive and almond groves and citrus orchards. And a growing range of elegant, rural retreats and A-list eateries are attracting a range of visitors beyond the party package crowd.
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