Living in the Balearic Islands
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!
The Balearics are located off the coast of Catalonia, and formed of four major islands (including Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) and several smaller islands. The Greeks and the Romans settled here originally, and 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 well be why they are such attractive destinations today.
Many of the 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 unusual 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 – and throughout the island are many farmhouses and fincas that have been restored, or are in the process of being 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 and 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 here, you will find a historic centre that offers year round living, 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, but there are some great places to settle in the south too. Andratx and Port d’Andratx, for example, are located in the southwest, against a backdrop of the beautiful Tramuntana Mountains. The port still retains its origins as a fishing port, but is 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 while at the same time welcoming more than 6 million visitors a year. English and German are widely spoken in tourist areas.
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 with connections to numerous countries all year round. More passengers visit Palma Airport than the airport of any other city in Spain.
As the rest of the Balearics, 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. Expats are attracted to the numerous festes and fiestas that take place throughout the summer, including 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˚ in the summer, and temperatures rarely below 8˚ in the winter.
Where to go?
There are numerous attractions for expats to visit in Menorca, but many of those who do go there do so 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.
Menorca international Airport is located just under 5km from Mahón, the island’s capital city. From the UK, the island is served by British Airways, EasyJet, Flybe, Monarch and Ryanair with numerous flights from across the countries. Passengers from mainland Spain and beyond can reach the island by ferry.
Ibiza is MUCH more than its reputation, and is incredibly popular with expats thanks to its diversity and relaxed way of life. This has ensured the existence of a large expat community here, with many people speaking English and a large UK National Curriculum-teaching school, Morna International Collage, based near Santa Gertudis de Fruitera.
More history than you might think
There are numerous attractive features for those who choose to live here; the scenery is exquisite and as an island there are several beautiful beaches around. 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 a wall, which has been classified as an ancient memorial since 1942. The wall was built between 1554 and 1585, as a hexagonal structure with three doors to get in – including the Las Tablas Gate and the Portal Nou.
The weather of Ibiza is one of the most attractive features, and 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 degrees – 20 degree plus days are not rare.
Ibiza airport is just under two hours flying time from the UK, and is served by direct flights 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 across the Islands
|Province||Avg. price||1 bed||2 beds||3 beds||4 beds||5 beds|
|Balearic Islands||€ 556,333||€ 150,500||€ 263,166||€ 482,750||€ 846,666||€ 1,049,666|
|NATIONAL||€ 249,000||€ 112,100||€ 160,000||€ 249,950||€ 420,000||€ 650,000|
The Spain Buying Guide takes you through each stage of the property buying process, with practical recommendations from our experts who have been through the process themselves. The guide will help you to: