Secret Beaches of the Balearics
From late spring to early autumn, the Balearics is one of Europe’s most popular beach holiday destinations. One visit is never enough – as soon as you get to know one of the islands in detail, the neighbouring islands beckon you to explore their hidden treasures on your next trip.
The popularity of the Balearics means it’s an easy destination to reach from nearly everywhere in Europe and there’s a wide range of accommodation on offer, from affordable homestays to ultra- luxurious hotels. The only drawback about travelling to these hot-spots is that you risk not finding a spot for your towel on the crammed beaches.
I’ve nothing against the main tourist areas – they can be super fun and the perfect destination for big groups and family trips, but if you’re an adventurous type, it’s not that difficult to find a hidden gem with marvellous silky white sand and bright turquoise water surrounded by incredibly green pine trees.
This is my guide to the stunning off-the-beaten-track beaches that I discovered in the Balearics last year (I travelled there 4 times so I’ve included advice for each of the main islands). Of course, there are many more beaches to uncover than the ones on this list, but if you only make it to the following spots you’re on track to truly discover the Balearics….
On the south of the island, Macarella and Macarelleta are world class beaches that you’ve got to see, just make sure you get there early enough to find a parking space…
A great alternative to the busy beaches of southern Menorca is Cala Escorchada. Drive to Santo Tomás and park on the west side of the town, head to the beach and then walk west. You´ll be tempted to stay in Binicodrell or Binigaus, but take the Cami de Cavalls (trails that surround the island) and head uphill. After an additional 30 minute walk (by this time you will already have been walking for 10 minutes or so) you’ll see your prize. Tip: Avoid making the walk during peak sun hours.
The north of Menorca offers a completely different landscape that is also stunning. Playa de Cavalleria is my favourite beach, with its relaxed, laid-back vibe. To get there, drive to Fornells and at the last roundabout before getting to the town you’ll see directions to this amazing spot. After 15 more minutes on small roads you’ll arrive. Parking in this case is very close to the beach. Once you’re on the trail for the beach, head left for a long and sandy beach or go right (like I did) for a tinier Cala.
Mallorca: South East
Mallorca is a lot bigger than most people imagine. As such, it offers many opportunities for exploring. Sa Calobra, Es Trenc and Cala Varques are just a few places that are well worth the trip.
Head to Caló des Moro for a stunning view of a turquoise beach surrounded by rocky cliffs. This is a difficult one to find. Drive to Cala Llombards and once there, head south through its streets to Cala S’Almonia – just when you think you’ve got lost, keep faith. There’s parking located close to a few lucky houses. Once here, walk downhill through the path and turn left at the bottom. Tip: To get to the beach you’ll need some flexibility and a bit of strength.
Mallorca: North East
Pi de la Posada in Formentor is probably the easiest to access and the most tourist friendly beach on my list (it’s even got a beach bar). To get there, drive North East to Port the Pollença and continue towards the mountain. On the way, make a quick stop and enjoy the views in Mirador de Formentor, the pine-tree covered cliffs that fall into the Mediterranean. Follow the road to Barcelo Formentor Hotel – drop in if you feel like treating yourself. Right before the hotel you’ll find parking that’s two minutes away from the beach.
Seasoned visitors to Ibiza will tell you that there’s more to the island than nightlife and clubbing, but if you don’t believe them, hop to Cala El Portixol, Cala de’n Serra or Cala Atlantis the next time you visit.
Cala Xarraca is famous for its transparent water and is a diving hot spot. Head to Cala Portinatx, once you pass Sant Joan de Labritja. Slow down as you are getting close to the diversion, take the road to Cala Xarraca and enjoy a day in the sun. Parking shouldn’t be a problem.
Enjoy an amazing trekking path on your way to Cala Es Cubells, a beautiful tiny rocky beach that will remind you a little of Croatia. Drive to Es Cubells and park on the south side of the town. Ask for directions to the church and after a 5-10 minute walk after passing the church you will find the path heading to the beach. Tip: This one is a little difficult to find, but don’t give up, it’s worth the effort.
Formentera is the best-conserved island in the Balearics. Every corner of the island is stunning, even its main beach town, Es Pujols. It’s just half an hour away from Ibiza by ferry, but once you get here, you’ll think you’ve landed in paradise.
Ses Illetes is a must see. Not far from the main ‘urban’ areas in the north and easy to access, the shoreline has a mesmerizing bright blue colour. Prepare to see an army of yachts and boats in the bay – this is a favourite spot with Europe’s millionaires who head here from Ibiza during the day for some rest and relaxation. Tip: Avoid peak season and bring your own food and water – prices in the beach bars are aimed at the yacht owners.
Es Calo des Mort is a small, charming U-shaped beach. Travel south towards Pilar de la Mola and right after Es Caló, you’ll find yourself at the hotel Riu la Mola (if you find you’re going uphill then you’ve missed the turn). Head to the hotel parking and follow the trail (don’t turn onto the beach), continue towards the small wooden sign that points towards the beach and find a space where the other cars are parked – secret places mean difficult access. Walk towards the sea and you’ll spot the beach below the cliff.
I must confess, I couldn’t bring myself to share details about my absolute favourite Balearic beach in this list as I want to keep it a secret, so you’ll just have to discover it for yourself…
Rafael is a Media and Marketing Manager at Ryanair’s Dublin office