It’s summer and you’re heading to Spain but are unsure which Balearic island to visit: Ibiza or Mallorca. Both islands have turquoise waters, secret coves and stunning beaches. Both have incredible food: Iberico ham, Spanish cheeses, Padron peppers, suckling pig, heaps of paella and glorious wine. Both have gorgeous nature and a warm Mediterranean climate. To help you make a decision, here are our thoughts on how the islands are different, the best things about each island and whether Ibiza or Mallorca is the right island for you. 🏝
THE CONTENDERS: IBIZA OR MALLORCA?
🎉 Ibiza is a 220+ square mile island off the eastern coast of Spain known for some of the best nightlife in the world. Ibiza’s Old Town, Dalt Vila, is a UNESCO world heritage site with cobblestone streets and cozy buildings. The coastline is surrounded by sand and pebble beaches while the countryside is filled with dry, scrubby vegetation, farmers and hippies.
🐚 Mallorca lies 120 miles northeast of Ibiza and covers a huge territory, 1,405 square miles. Mallorca has a lush, hilly interior and winding roads, perfect for biking and trekking. Palma, the main city, is bustling with activity and full of great spots to eat, drink and explore.
So, which island should you visit: Ibiza or Mallorca? ⛵
Hi, I’m Lids. I’m a U.S. ex-pat who lives in London and who has made many trips to Ibiza (including Formentera) and Mallorca. I’ve stayed in different parts of each island, explored by rental car, speedboat and dinghy, feasted on as much good food as possible and gone out for fun nights. I’ve also visited to Menorca, the last Balearic island of the group, and travelled widely across the rest of Spain. I’ll help you figure out whether to visit Ibiza or Mallorca below.
THE PROS AND CONS
If you’re limited on time or logistics and need to choose between visiting Ibiza or Mallorca, consider these points:
If you want to party in the greatest clubs, then head to Ibiza where you can hit up DC-10, Pacha and Ushuaia clubs (our faves) for the best electronic dance music. Check the schedule before you go as different clubs host different theme parties each night (or even day) of the week. For example, Amnesia hosts a foam party every Saturday where club goers are doused with frothy foam sprayed from full-on foam cannons. The iconic DJ David Guetta plays at Pacha every Thursday and Es Paradis hosts the weekly neon paint party where everyone gets splattered with glow-in-the-dark neon paint. You can find more information (like the party calendar, party descriptions) here.
If you want to relax in hip beach clubs during the day, head to Ibiza, home to the Experimental Beach Club and El Chiringuito (also Nikki Beach, Sunset Ashram and the Jockey Club). Wake up after your night out and head for a beach club where you can order a bottle of rosé, lobster for lunch and lounge on the daybeds, working on your tan. Most beach clubs open around 11am and you’ll need to book a daybed or lunch table ahead of time during the summer season. We love El Chiringuito’s on demand oysters (the restaurant part of the club has a designated oyster man who walks table to table with a bucket and oyster knife) and Experimental Beach’s fabulous frozen cocktails (also, sunsets!).
If you’re into wellness, yoga, detox or hippie living, then Ibiza is your place. The island hosts many wellness-oriented programs throughout the year (check with your local yoga studio for leads because it depends on what teacher / yoga style you’re into). Otherwise, Google ‘Ibiza yoga’ to find dates that work or look up Yoga Ibiza as a starting point (they host low key yoga retreats and you can stay as many nights as you like). In the countryside, we love the La Granja farm/hotel for rest and relaxation. There are also tons of yoga and fitness studios, but our favorite is on the water: stand-up paddleboarding yoga @ SUP YogaPilates. Cruise around on a paddleboard while in upward dog. Then, feast on healthy, organic salads, smoothies and juices at one of the island’s Passion Cafes.
*Bonus* If you want to see two islands at once, consider Ibiza as its possible to make a half or full day trip to the nearby island of Formentera. Formentera has white sand beaches and sand-in-your-toes bars and cafes, ideal for lazy lunches (tip: our fave meal is at Juan y Andrea). There are also (from what we hear, ‘therapeutic’) sulfurous mud baths on the island, so dive in if you’re feeling adventurous and then wash the mud off on the nearby beach.
If you’re sporty and love hiking and biking, then Mallorca is your best bet. For cyclists, the island has lots of biking routes and terrains – everything from hilly mountains to flat roads with ocean views. Hotels go above and beyond for cyclists, offering bike storage, washing, repairs and even packed meals for riders. For hikers, Mallorca is paradise. There are tons of walking paths near the beach and across the Serra de Tramuntana mountains. Order one of the Mallorca self guided trekking/hiking books on Amazon and strap on those hiking boots/cycling cleats. The best time to visit weatherwise is spring/fall (or summer if you can stand the heat).
Travelling with a tot in tow? Mallorca is super family friendly. The island has big airport with many direct flights originating in all major European cities. Hotels welcome tots with open arms, offering baby cots, kiddie menus, babysitting, kid friendly pools, kid-centered activities and kids clubs. Our fave spot for the family is the St. Regis, located by the ocean and a total kid-haven. Guests with little ones can join the Explorers Club where the kiddies receive a gift bag filled with a compass, passport and list of activities to kick start the hotel stay.
If you want an island that has a cool main city, then visit Mallorca so you can explore Palma. Take in the awesome architecture and wander the cobblestone streets in Old Town. Don’t miss the grand Mallorca Cathedral, part of which was renovated by the well-known modern architect Antoni Gaudi. Visitors can also check out the awesome Miro Foundation cultural center which showcases the works of Surrealist Spanish painter and sculptor Joan Miró. And if you appreciate craft drinks, don’t miss Ginbo, an award winning artisanal gin bar in town. Or pick up lunch, dinner or drinks at the ultra stylish Portixol hotel.
Both islands are legendary for fun in the sun and you can check out our guides for where to stay, what to eat and what to do here. But if you need to choose between Ibiza or Mallorca, here is our take: If you’re into parties, dancing, unbelievable nightlife and a great holistic wellness scene, Ibiza is your best bet. However, if you’re a sports enthusiast, traveling with family and or want to take it easy and enjoy the countryside, then Mallorca is your spot. Now, ¡vámonos! ✈🏝