The Balearic Islands are well known across the globe, thanks to the infamy of Ibiza and its ‘party resort’ San Antonio, but the islands are also popular with expats thanks to their Mediterranean climate, landscape – and much quieter and diverse culture than you might expect!

You’ll find the Balearic Islands off the coast of Catalonia. They are formed of four major islands (including Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) and several smaller islands. The Greeks and the Romans settled here originally. There is much evidence to suggest that the word “Balear” originates from the Phoenician god Baal as the Phoenicians settled in Mallorca in the 8th century BC. Since then, the islands were conquered many times: by the Vandals, then the Byzantines and the Moors. Their history and culture have been subject to many different influences – which may be why they are such attractive destinations today.

Don’t miss your free copy of the Spain Finance Guide to find out how to raise finance and pay for a home in the Balearics.

Many expats who live in the Balearic Islands now are those who spent holidays there and simply had to return, thanks to the excellent climate, wonderful beaches and the hospitality of the inhabitants.


The climate of Mallorca is very Mediterranean, with mild and stormy winters and hot, bright, dry summers. The island is home to two mountain ranges, Serra de Tramuntana and Serres de Llevant, and the coastline to the north is rugged – with numerous hidden sandy coves while the south offers tourist resorts and crystal blue seas. In the centre, the land is flat with a fertile plain called El Pla. Throughout the island are many farmhouses and fincas restored by locals and foreigners alike. Here you will find peaceful olive, almond and carob groves away from the hubbub of the coastal areas.

Palma, the capital city of Mallorca, was recently voted the best place to live by the Sunday Times.

Palma is the capital city of Mallorca. It is a very vibrant, cultural and international place, with a wonderful old town dominated by a splendid cathedral. It was recently voted “the best place to live” by the Sunday Times.

Life in the north vs. a southern style

In the north, Sóller and the Port de Sóller are popular with foreign property buyers now that a tunnel through the mountains connects the area quickly to the rest of the island. In the old town, you’ll find attractive townhouses and lovely fincas in the surrounding hills. Property at the port is made up mainly of apartments with sea views.

British buyers do tend to favour the north of the island. However, there are some great places to settle in the south too. Andratx and Port d’Andratx, for example, are located in the southwest. They sit against a backdrop of the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains. The port still retains its origins as a fishing port. Now, however, it’s sought after by British and other nationalities as it offers old and new types of accommodation. The elevated town of Andratx has a good mix of property, and is slightly less expensive than at the Port.

Learn the language

The languages spoken in Mallorca are a Catalan dialect (Mallorquin) and Spanish. The islanders are extremely keen to preserve their culture and traditions. Many do, however, speak fluent English and German in tourist areas.

Numerous expats choose to live against the backdrop of the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains in the Balearic Islands.

Numerous expats choose to live against the backdrop of the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains in the Balearic Islands.

Getting there

Palma is the major seaport of the island and there are several ferries connecting Mallorca to mainland Spain. Palma International Airport, often called Aeroport de Son Sant Joan, lies just 8km east of the city. It provides connections to numerous countries all year round. More passengers visit Palma Airport than the airport of any other city in Spain.

Average prices

Property on Mallorca doesn’t necessarily come cheap, due to high demand – but this does mean it can be a strong investment.

Area Two-bedroom apartment Three-bedroom house
Palma de Mallorca €215,000 €430,000
Llucmajor €160,000 €321,000
Andratx €313,000 €662,000
Manacor €123,000 €247,000
Calvià €298,380 €596,000
Sóller €205,000 €410,000

Figures based on median sale prices from Idealista in September 2019. Two-bedroom apartment calculated as 60m2 and three-bedroom house as 120m2.


Menorca is heavily influenced by the different cultures who have settled there. The result is a mix of colonial and local architecture. Expats are attracted to the numerous festes and fiestas that take place throughout the summer. these include the Festes de Sant Joan which takes place in Ciutadella (the ancient capital of Menorca), 23-25 June.

The climate here is a warm Mediterranean weather, with average highs close to 30˚C/86°F in the summer, and temperatures rarely below 8˚C/46°F in the winter.

Where to go?

There are numerous attractions for expats to visit in Menorca. That said, many come more for the quiet lifestyle and quality of life available. Ciutadella is popular for its history, including numerous old civil and religious buildings, built in the 17th century.

Menorca has been heavily influenced by the different cultures who have settled there since prehistoric times, giving the island a mixture of colonial and local architecture.

Getting there

Menorca International Airport is located just under 5km from Mahón, the island’s capital city. British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe and Ryanair served the island from the UK. Passengers from mainland Spain and beyond can reach the island by ferry.

Average prices

Menorca is largely a little cheaper than Mallorca, with less price variation between areas.

Area Two-bedroom apartment Three-bedroom house
Ciutadella €139,000 €279,000
Mahon €140,000 €280,000
Es Mercadal €154,000 €308,000
Sant Lluis €173.760 €347,000
Es Castell €147,000 €294,000
Cala en Blanes €140,000 €280,000
Alaior €135,000 €270,000


Ibiza is much more than its reputation. It’s incredibly popular with expats thanks to its diversity and relaxed way of life. This ensures the existence of a large expat community here, with many people speaking English. There’s a large UK National Curriculum-teaching school, Morna International Collage, based near Santa Gertrudis de Fruitera.

More history than you might think

Ibiza Town (Eivissa) is particularly popular, and situated south of the island. The historic centre of this city is classified by UNESCO and is one of the most picturesque cities in the Mediterranean. It is surrounded by walls, classified as an ancient memorial since 1942. The wall dates from between 1554 and 1585. It’s a hexagonal structure with three doors to get in – including the Las Tablas Gate and the Portal Nou.

More than just the party centre of the Balearic Islands – the historic centre of Ibiza’s capital has been classified by UNESCO.

More than just the party centre of the Balearic Islands – the historic centre of Ibiza’s capital is classified by UNESCO.

The weather of Ibiza is one of the most attractive features. There are an average of 300+ days sunshine a year, with 12 hours of sunshine a day during the summer. Winter days are cooler, but the weather rarely drops below 10°C/50°F. 20°C/68°F plus days are not rare.

Getting there

Ibiza airport is just under two hours flying time from the UK. Direct flights serve it from various airports around the country (as well as the rest of Spain and Europe) throughout the summer season and beyond. The airport is around 7km southwest of Ibiza Town, and from there you can easily reach the rest of the island.

Average property prices

Ibiza is the priciest of the Balearic Islands, but, again, for anyone looking for an investment, this could be a strong choice. And the lifestyle is certainly worth it!

Area Two-bedroom apartment Three-bedroom house
Santa Eulalia €333,000 €667,000
Sant Josep €334,000 €668,000
Sant Antoni €290,000 €581,000
Sant Joan €389,000 €778,000
Eivissa €347,000 €694,000
Buying in the Balearic Islands

The Spain Buying Guide is a free, independent resource to help anyone who is looking to buy property in or move to Spain through each critical stage of their property buying journey.

Set up to help our readers avoid the many complexities and pitfalls of buying property in Spain, the guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves.

  Understand Brexit
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