Complete guide to island hopping in the Balearic Islands

All aboard!

Island hopping in the Balearic Islands is the ultimate summer vacation dream! The Balearic group is great for exploration, relaxation, as well as partying. Find useful info about the Balearic Islands, including ferry routes and island-hopping suggestions, and book ferry tickets at the best prices on Ferryhopper.

Ferry at the old town of Ibiza

Ferry approaching the port town of Ibiza

Balearic Islands: travel tips

The Balearic Islands are in the Mediterranean Sea and are part of Spain. Many travelers visit the 4 major islands of the Balearic group every year. The Balearics are popular for their exquisite gastronomy, exotic beaches, hippie vibes, and distinctive lifestyle. There are different experiences and attractions for every taste, either you want to party or lie back and enjoy the peace.

Which are the Balearic Islands?

The 4 main Balearic Islands are Ibiza, Mallorca, Formentera, and Menorca. There are many more smaller islands and islets in the Balearic archipelago, such as Dragonera, Cabrera and S'Espalmador.

The capital of the Balearic group is Palma de Mallorca. The island of Formentera is the smallest of the major islands, while Mallorca is the largest.

Which Balearic island should I visit?

The Balearic Islands are great for summer holidays, as they perfectly combine intense nightlife and relaxation. The beaches and towns of Ibiza are a popular party destination, while Formentera is a fantastic option for family-friendly vacation. 

Here’s more info to help you choose which Balearic island is for you:

Ibiza: In Ibiza, you can let yourself go into the party atmosphere. There are numerous bars and clubs to choose from, and the island’s majestic beaches are ideal for all-day fiestas!

Mallorca: Mallorca is the most popular of the Balearic Islands and it combines impressive architecture and excellent beaches. There are many sightseeing options and a vibrant food culture.

Formentera: The island of Formentera is known for its unspoilt nature and easygoing mood. You can swim at secluded beaches and try delicious local dishes.

Menorca: Menorca is great for outdoor activities and nature exploration. From untouched beaches to important historical sites, the island will truly amaze you.

Es Caló beach in Formentera

Crystal-clear waters at Es Caló beach in Formentera

How many days to stay in the Balearic Islands?

We recommend that you stay for an average of 10 days in the Balearic Islands if you want to go island hopping around the whole island group. There are frequent ferry routes between the islands to easily plan your island-hopping trip and get to see as much as possible. 

Continue reading for information on how to get to the Balearic Islands, how to plan your island-hopping vacation and what to do during your holidays.

Houses in Alcúdia in Mallorca

Colorful alley in the town of Alcúdia in Mallorca

Island hopping and ferry travel in the Balearic Islands

Normally, you can go island hopping in the Balearic Islands all year round. There are several ferry companies operating between the islands. Here are the ferry companies normally serving ferry routes in the Balearic Islands:

  • Baleària
  • Mediterránea Pitiusa
  • Naviera Aquabus
  • Trasmapi
  • Trasmediterránea
  • Corsica Ferries

How do I get to the Balearic Islands?

There are more than 7 major ports in the Balearic Islands. You can catch a ferry from Barcelona, Dénia and Valencia in mainland Spain to the 4 major islands of the Balearic archipelago throughout the year. You can also fly to the islands of Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza from many European cities.

Ferry routes are more frequent during the summer months, and there are also sailings between the islands, as well as to the smaller islets of the archipelago, including Dragonera, Es Vedra and Cabrera.

See how to get to the Balearic Islands in 2021:

Sailing boats at the old port of Barcelona

Calm day at the old harbor of Barcelona

How do I get around the Balearic Islands?

The Balearic Islands are located close to each other, and it’s easy to catch a ferry and explore the archipelago. Majorca is the main transport hub of the Balearics, as it is the largest island and it is located in the center of the group.

Find more details about popular ferry routes in the Balearics below:

  • Ferry from Ibiza to Formentera: You can travel between Ibiza and Formentera with 4 ferry companies. There are more than 35 daily crossings, and the journey duration is 25 minutes on average.
  • Ferry from Mallorca to Menorca: There is at least 1 daily sailing from Mallorca to Menorca, served by Trasmediterránea, Corsica Ferries and Baleària. The fastest ferry route lasts 1.5 hours on average.
  • Ferry from Mallorca to Ibiza: You can catch the ferry from Mallorca to Ibiza daily. The 20 weekly crossings offered by Baleària, Grandi Navi Veloci and Trasmediterránea last an average of 3 hours.

The port of San Antonio in Ibiza

Aerial view of the quaint port of San Antonio on the island of Ibiza

Top island-hopping itineraries for the Balearic Islands

There’s a lot to see and do in the Balearic Islands. That’s why island hopping is the best way to really get to know the local culture and fully enjoy the nature, beaches, and lifestyle of the region. 

Here are 2 suggestions for island hopping in the Balearic Islands. Find out more about ferry schedules, available routes, vacation tips, and major attractions.

Ibiza - Formentera island hopping

Catching the ferry from Ibiza to Formentera is one of the best island-hopping trips in the Balearic Islands. Particularly if you’re short on time, the close distance between the two islands means you can hop on a ferry to Formentera and return to Ibiza later that day! Before you head to Formentera, you can enjoy the vivid lifestyle of Ibiza, as well as explore the more traditional towns and villages for delicious food.

Traditional fishermen huts in Ibiza

Traditional fishermen huts at Punta de Sa Torre de Ses Portes in Ibiza

The route from Ibiza to Formentera is serviced throughout the year. During peak season, there are more than 35 daily crossings by the following ferry companies: Baleària, Mediterránea Pitiusa, Naviera Aquabus, and Trasmapi. It takes 25 minutes to reach the port of La Savina in Formentera and one-way tickets start at €15.

You can catch the ferry from Ibiza around 07:00. Once you arrive in La Savina, you can enjoy a coffee by the port and walk around the small town. You can get around the island by taxi, bus, bicycle, or your own vehicle. We recommend that you use public transport or ride your bike to access the island’s trails.

Make your way to the capital of Formentera, Sant Francesc, where you can visit the Formentera Ethnography Museum, to learn about the island’s history and tradition. From the capital, you can start your nature exploration. Visit the amazing beaches on the southern part of the island; Migjorn and Es Arenals are two of the best on the island. Explore the impressive lighthouses scattered around the island and enter century-old caves

Before you hop on the last ferry back to Ibiza around 23:00, don’t forget to swim in the magical waters of Playa Ses Illetes, close to the port. Watch the sunset, enjoy a cocktail and off to the port you go!

Tip: You can visit the islet of S’Espalmador from the port of La Savina. It’s a secluded uninhabited paradise with perfect beaches and impressive natural beauty.

Cala Saona beach in Formentera

Crystal-clear waters and small boats at Cala Saona beach in Formentera

Menorca - Mallorca - Ibiza island hopping

Visiting Menorca, Mallorca and Ibiza is a great multi-day island-hopping vacation in the Balearic Islands. You can see much of the local culture and top sites in 7 days, having the trip of a lifetime! Before you start your journey, pay a visit to the impressive cathedral of Menorca in Ciutadella and swim in the secluded Cala Escorxada beach.

The cathedral of Ciutadella in Menorca

The impressive medieval cathedral of Menorca in the town of Ciutadella

The route from Menorca to Mallorca is available more than 3 times per day. Choose the departure time that better suits your itinerary, and you’ll arrive in Alcúdia in about 1.5 hours with the fastest ferry. The ferry companies connecting the two islands are FRS, Baleària, Corsica Ferries, and Trasmediterránea, and tickets are around €30.

On the island of Mallorca, you can visit the beautiful towns of La Palma and Alcúdia to walk around the old alleys, enjoy cocktails at the chiringuitos (beach bars) by the sea, go hiking or mountain-biking at the Tramuntana mountain range, and swim in the inviting waters of Cala Pi and Es Trenc.

After a few days in Mallorca, you can hop on the ferry from Palma de Mallorca to Ibiza. The route is in operation daily with more than 20 weekly crossings. Baleària, Grandi Navi Veloci and Trasmediterránea operate between the two islands, and tickets start at approximately €42. You will reach Ibiza in about 3 hours on average.

The island of Ibiza is the destination of partying and bohemian lifestyle. Explore the dance beaches of the island, visit local artisanal markets, and relax to chill-out music at the original Café del Mar. What is more, the old town of Ibiza is surely worth a visit. Walk around the old alleys and try local delicacies at one of the quaint cafes and taperías.

The old town of Ibiza

Boats at the port of Ibiza Town

Top 10 things to do in the Balearic Islands

The island group is rich in experiences, activities and sites. When going island hopping in the Balearic Islands, you can try water sports, spend your whole day on the beach, party all night, or visit historical monuments and local markets.

Here are the top 10 activities in the Balearic Islands according to ferryhoppers:

  1. Go cycling in Formentera to explore secluded beaches in an eco-friendly and fun way.
  2. Party all night at one of the bars and beach clubs of Playa de Las Salinas in Ibiza.
  3. Walk around the cathedral of Santa Maria de la Palma in Mallorca at night and enjoy the impressive fountain lights.
  4. Visit age-old watchtowers on the island of Dragonera, accessible from the port of Sant Elm in Mallorca.
  5. Try the delicious flaó cheesecake at a cute cafe in Sant Francesc of Formentera.
  6. Visit the cave network Cuevas de Artà in Mallorca and get to see impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
  7. Go cliff-diving at Cala Tarida in Ibiza.
  8. Hike and swim among tall pine trees at the Cala Mitjana beach in Menorca.
  9. Stroll around the old town of Ibiza, to witness the signs of medieval history on the island.
  10. Visit the clothing-optional beach of Cala Varques on the island of Mallorca.

The peninsula of Formentera

Formentera is just a short ferry trip away from the island of Ibiza

Can I travel to the Balearic Islands now?

Yes, you can travel by ferry to the Balearic Islands at the moment. Find the latest 2021 updates for ferry travel in Spain.

Important: Travel measures in Spain are subject to change depending on the spread of COVID-19 per region. Contact our Customer Support Team if you need more information about ferry travel in Spain.

Where to book island hopping tickets for the Balearic Islands?

On Ferryhopper you can easily book island hopping tickets for the Balearic Islands. Find all the information you need about available ferry routes on Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries, compare ferry companies and itineraries, and plan your trip in the Balearic Sea.

The islet of Dragonera off the coast of Mallorca

The green islet of Dragonera opposite Mallorca

Useful island-hopping tips for the Balearic Islands

  • The eastern coast of Spain is home to many beautiful cities and towns you can explore before your ferry trip to the Balearic Islands. Spend some days in Alicante, Barcelona or Benidorm before you catch the ferry.
  • Some of the islands have more than one port, where you can catch a ferry. You may want to book accommodation close to the port, to minimize traveling time.
  • Traveling by ferry from mainland Spain to the Balearic Islands means you can also bring your own vehicle. Island hopping with your car, motorcycle or caravan is a great idea!
  • Apart from taking the ferry, you can also reach some of the smaller islets of the Balearic archipelago by swimming from shore! You can try it yourself provided that you're an avid and experienced swimmer!
  • The best time to visit the Balearic Islands is from May to September. The warmest month in the island group is July, with temperatures rising to 35°C.
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