Yacht Charter in the Balearics
Spain’s Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Cabrera offer a wide range of cruising opportunities to suit all water lovers, so if you are looking for a charter holiday this summer, make sure these magical destinations are on your shortlist.
The islands benefit from an exceptional year round climate, with a very long charter season spanning from April/May to the end of September. May is delightful with an average temperature of 19°C and average wind speed of 9 mph. Ashore, the fruit trees are in blossom, the cafés have dusted off their winter cloaks and the arms of welcome are wide. It is the perfect time of year to explore, take in some culture, hike into the hills and find the perfect spot in a hidden cove. Reaching on into June, the temperature picks up until mid August when, at its height, the average is 31°C with a gentle breeze. July and August are when the islands are at their most buzzy with a cosmopolitan blend of residents and visitors.
Up until a few years ago there was a short supply of charter yachts here but a change in Spanish charter legislation in 2015 opened up opportunities for non Spanish flagged vessels to obtain a charter license. Consequently, there is now an impressive fleet of charter yachts from 45’ catamarans to a fine collection of mid-size sailing and motor yachts up to the 150’ range. Based mainly in either Mallorca or Ibiza these yachts can stick close to their home shores or let loose of their moorings and cruise the entire Balearics archipelago.
Mallorca’s dramatically beautiful north west coast, rimmed by high cliffs and topped with blue hued hills is a must see. Much of this area is very unspoiled. The hillsides are covered in pines and orange groves, while a little further inland are meadows of wildflowers, almond and olives trees. Old stone buildings are home to a few superb restaurants nestled in divine gardens overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean. One of our favourites is carved into the cliff face and owned and run by a family who serve the daily catch from their lobster pots and fishing boat. Soller itself should also not be missed. A charming town and harbour filled with a mixture of yachts from colourful fishing boats to evocative classics and rimmed with some great places to catch a sundowner or dine. 8 miles north east lies the little Port de Sa Calobra. For those who like a challenge you can climb up the Torrent de Pareis which starts as a hidden bay with a tiny beach and works up inside the rocks as a canyon of incredible, cathedral-like beauty.
Further around the island are many idyllic hidden bays of turquoise water with limestone walls. Take a look at page 16 for more ideas of where to head along the East Coast of Mallorca.
Menorca is the quieter island of the group. Perhaps it is most famous for the historic capital Mahon, with its dramatic 5 km deep natural harbour (one of the three deepest in the world), Georgian Architecture, 13th century churches and vibrant town square. At the other end of the island, Ciutadella Harbour is also very picturesque, while around the coast are pretty coves and bays with white sand beaches, crystal clear water and some charming little villages and towns. With less than 100,000 people living there, the island is calm with a strong history and sense of culture. Again, you’ll find some excellent restaurants – many of them very understated.
Moving west, if you’re looking for the quiet life and want to explore the coves and treasures of Ibiza and wide long beaches of Formentera without the crowds, try sailing in May, June and September. The coast is rimmed with delightful calas with their chiringuito beach bars and the aroma of paella drifting down from the golden rocks, long beaches and imposing rock formations. Aside from the busier ports of San Antonio, Santa Eulalia and Ibiza town itself, there are some excellent anchorages such as Beniras in the cusp of the bay with the monolith of Es Vedra protecting the entrance. If you can’t resist a little partying, try Leo’s in Ibiza town for a show like no other with Idris Elba DJ’ing the club spot afterwards. Or anchor in Cala Jondal to step ashore at the Blue Marlin and slip straight in with the laid back party scene.
Formentera is about a 10 mile sail from Ibiza. Low lying with long white sandy beaches and iridescent turquoise water it is backed by sand dunes and pine trees and famous for its barefoot, laid back lifestyle. Anchor in Playa de Illetes and head for lunch at the iconic Juan and Andreas restaurant on the beach, rent a bike or moped and circumnavigate the island, or sail across to the private island of Espalmador to wallow in the sulphuric mud baths and wander the beautiful unspoiled shores.