Those travelling the Mediterranean by sail boat or yacht will often anchor at one of the Balearic islands. Many stay in the region of the Balearics and discover magnificent coast lines, inviting beaches or hidden coves from the water side. The Balearics are one of the first addresses of the Mediterranean for yacht owners and the venue for famous regattas. The harbours of the four islands are fully booked, new moorings under way.
The oldest way to reach an island is by sea, therefore, sea ways are tradition on the Balearics. Kings, warriors and salesmen arrived by boat and influenced the history of the islands. As the location is geografically interesting and the islands are fertile, their ports became an important traffic keypoint in the Mediterranean. King Jaime I started to reconstruct Palma’s harbour and the still existing Muelle Viejo (the old mole) is already mentioned in the history books of 1273. The Balearics remain to be a destination for kings. Spains king Juan Carlos has his yacht moored in the marina of Porto Pi and the royal children learned to sail in Calanova many years ago. Today they participate in quite a few regattas in the Balearics. The most important regattas carry the royal’s name: the Copa del Rey (the king’s cup) and the SAR Princesa Sofía, one of the world’s ten most important regattas. When the royal family spends the summer holidays in Mallorca, social life reaches the peak on Balearic waters.
For hundreds of years Palma used to be the only harbour of the Balearics. The first visitors arrived on the trading boats and discovered the island and enjoyed the spell for a couple of weeks. Today, the trading boats hardly have any passangers on board. Unimpressive and large they unload their goods in the harbours of Palma and Alcudia and private motor boats, sailing boats, yachts and superyachts have taken over their social importance. Today the Balearics count more than 40 marinas and who is arriving in Palma by boat does not see the Cathedral as the first landmark but a charming, woodlike scenario of white sailing masts. Most people arrive by plane, however, and the private nautic scene profits from the flying means of mass transport. Many boat owners enjoy the comfortable journey by plane and once on the island they have their yacht waiting for them in one of the easy to reach harbours. Just as high is the demand for charter boats and the 500 yachts of the charterers are hired by almost 60.000 hobby seawolfs annually. To reply to this trend a few thousand additional moorings are planned to be developed over the next years.
Course towards the Balearics
The Mediterranean offers many interesting ports but the Balearics is favoured. Waiting lists for the fully booked marinas are accepted in order to be able to anchor on the Balearics. The climate is sunny and mild and the geographic situation offers fantastic variety within a relatively small area. Even yacht fans who don’t have a lot of time for their favourite passtime have the choice of cruising from one island to the other or to explore the manifold coast from bay to bay. If you have more time, you’ll find the Balearics the ideal starting point for longer journeys to the Spanish mainland, to France or to the Eastern Mediterranean passing Italy and to Greece.
Sea and ports are politically safe and stable; each captain, however, needs to face the malices of the famous waves of the Mediterranean or the sometimes stormy moods of the weather gods himself. Nevertheless, in the event of an emergency, you can count on a well organised infrastructure on the Balearics. Really spectacular is the steep North coast of Mallorca, where the Tramuntana mountain range is rising directly out of the deep blue sea. There are small sheltered bays and the sunsets you can witness on board of a boat are just magnificent. Beaches are easier to access in Mallorca’s North and wide sandy beaches and dunes can be found in Sa Canove, Cala Mesquida or Cala Agulla. Don’t miss the popular beach of Es Trenc with the Carribean-like turquoise water. Further to the Southwest, between Palma and Andratx you will find picturesque bays and even in high season you’ll discover one or the other lonely bay, if you have the clear advantage of coming from the sea side.
Menorca is quieter and turistically less developed. The second largest island of the Balearics remains a natural paradise, which is worthwhile discovering. The North of the island is steep and stoney and if you discover one of the few small bays where a mountain stream flows into the sea will be impressed by the scenic beauty. Son Bou and Cala Mitjaneta are famous for the wide sandy beaches and more mountainstreams flowing together in the nature protected resort of Es Grau. The harbour of Ciutadella is relatively large, but more than charming with the busy harbour life and the nice little bars.
Ibiza is less known for culture and nature as for vibrant night- and beachlife. Ibiza is a nice spot for a daytrip from Mallorca or to anchor a couple of days close to the capital or San Antonio on the opposite side of the island. Don’t miss a visit to the small, unspoilt islands between Ibiza and Formentera with amazing flora and fauna. More sandy beaches can be found in the nature reserve Ses Salines and a real tip is a trip to the small island Vedrà in the Southeast, oposite the Cala d’Hort.
Only a few sea miles from Ibiza is the smallest Balearic island Formentera with white beaches and crystal clear water. Insiders anchor at Espalmador, a small stunningly beautiful island, which is seperated from Formentera by El Paso, a shallow water passage.
Cabrera – Spain’s only national sea park
Cabrera is about fifty sea miles away from Mallorca. The Archipel is a small paradise, with dolphins and turtles. Its history has not been quite as romantic during the last centuries, when the island was abused by pirates and the military. During the 19th century thousands of French war prisoners were starved to death here. But these are the stories from the past and today the visitors can enjoy an incomparable nature experience. It is not permitted to anchor here and if you want to berth at one of the buoys in the small harbour you need a permission, which you can apply for in the office of the nature park in Palma (phone 971 725 010).
Nautic tourism on the Balearics in numbers: (Source: CAEB-IBATUR)
Moorings in the sports marinas on the Balearics: almost 12.000, 70 % of them on Mallorca
Number of nautic tourists per year: more than: 250.000
Average duration of a visit: 2 weeks
What is the typical nautic tourist? Aged between 31 and 60, above-average income and of Spanish, English or German nationality.
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