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Balearic Islands - Getting there & away, getting around

Balearic Islands - Getting there & away

If your sole reason for visiting Spain is a trip to the Balearics, there's absolutely no financial reason to fly to the mainland first. You can often get affordable flights as part of a resort package. If you're already enjoying Spanish hospitality, however, the cheapest flights are usually out of Barcelona or Valencia. Of course, cheap is a relative term: one-way flights run around US$54 from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, while return tickets aren't really a bargain at US$80 or more. Once you're on the islands, you can often arrange a cheaper charter flight back to the mainland.

Another option is making the trip by boat. A speedy Buquebús ferry rockets between Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca twice daily. It only takes about three hours, but tickets start at US$44 - hardly a deal. Several other companies run slower ferries between Barcelona or Valencia and Ibiza or Mallorca. These take around eight hours and cost some US$32 in the high season. But then, you aren't really headed to the Balearics to save money, are you?

Getting around Balearic Islands

Given a a flying time of less than 30 minutes, inter-island flights are expensive. A trip from Palma de Mallorca to Ibiza or Maó (Menorca) costs upward of US$40. Ferries running between the four main islands generally cost US$16-21 (3000-4000pta) each way.

Once you arrive in Palma de Mallorca, there are two train lines and an extensive bus system that can get you just about anywhere on the island. There are also 30 car rental companies in the city, and you can hire bikes here and in many of the smaller villages. Menorca isn't quite as developed; to get from the airport to Maó you'll need to take a taxi. There are three bus companies that offer access to most of the island, as well as plenty of places to rent cars, motorcycles and bikes.

Ibiza has several bus lines serving every corner of Ibiza City and the island, and there's even an all-night 'disco bus,' which makes a continuous circuit between the major nightclubs (and morning clubs, and day clubs). Various companies rent cars, motorcycles and bicycles as well. The short ferry ride to Formentera is popular. Once you arrive, rent a bike and enjoy the day.

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