The Balearic Islands are a Spanish archipelago, situated just off the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula in the western Mediterranean Sea. The region consists of a large number of islets and small islands, many of which are uninhabited. Famous examples include Cabrera, S’Espalmador and Dragonera. The four major islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the Balearic Isles.
The islands have a total land mass of 4,992 square kilometers and have a population of approximately 1,100,000. The co-official languages of the islands are Spanish and Catalan. The overwhelming majority of inhabitants speak one or both of these languages; 93% of residents are fluent Spanish speakers and 75% are fluent in Catalan. As well as this, English and German are widely spoken throughout the islands, particularly in customer service industries.
Each of the Balearic Islands has a typical Mediterranean climate and experiences warm weather and bright sunshine almost consistently throughout the year. The summer months are especially hot, and Ibiza is the warmest island with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 30°C (86˚F) and lows of 23°C (72˚F).
The islands are mild and slightly stormy during the winter season. Mallorca experiences heavy precipitation and large amounts of tropical rain in the winter and low temperatures of between 7 and 14˚C (45–57°F). The island of Formentera is the wettest part of the Balearic Islands; this isle receives an average amount of 69mm of rainfall during the rainy month of December. The warmest month in Formentera is August, where temperatures generally reach around 27°C (81˚F) and bright sunshine lasts for 11 hours a day. The coldest month is January, during which temperatures drop to 12°C (54˚F).
The four main Balearic Islands are served by regular flights to a vast selection of European cities. The airports of Ibiza and Palma de Mallorca are the most frequently serviced, with regular flights departing daily from mainland Spain, the UK, Germany and other countries. Most international airlines in Europe will provide access to either Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza or Formentera.
As well as this, there are also daily flights between the Balearic Isles themselves; it is fast and easy to access neighboring islands. Another way to get to any of the Balearic Islands from overseas is to travel by boat.
All of the islands have busy, active international ports and regular ferries depart from mainland Spain. The two busiest harbors are Mao in Menorca and Palma de Mallorca port, both of which receive daily services from Barcelona, Alicante and Valencia.