Across the Mediterranean from Barcelona are the Balearic Islands, where 1 million Spaniards and millions of expats live. Away from the mainland, there are two routes to get there: airplane or ferry. The ferry is the preferred choice because it can take more passengers for a cheaper price and permits people to bring on their cars to drive around each of the islands. Even though it’s a lot slower than an airplane, for those who are not in a rush, it offers the opportunity to relax and comfortably enjoy the sail for a few hours.
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About the Balearic Islands
Off the coast of the mainland, the Balearic Islands are an archipelago that includes the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. The three major islands are all popular tourist destinations, especially Ibiza which is an international party destination in Europe with its numerous nightclubs where world-famous DJs perform.
Menorca is a UNESCO biosphere reserve for its preservation of flowers, birds, amphibians, and other wildlife within its forests. And Mallorca, the biggest island of the three, has surviving prehistoric settlements from the era of the Romans and Moors and is home to the Royal Family’s summer residence in the Marivent Palace. The islands also have a history of their past and present residents including Spaniards, expats, tennis legend Rafael Nadal, American film actor and director Orson Welles, artist Joan Miro, and English author Jeffrey Archer.
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Travel by Ferry
There are a number of Mediterranean ferry routes that link the Balearic Islands to the mainland, mainly from Barcelona, Valencia, and Denia. Most people take the ferry to the Balearics because they can bring their car with them. There are three operators that offer daily transport from Barcelona to the Balearics – Acciona Trasmediterranea, Balearia, and Iscomar. Times and length of travel vary according to the type of ferry taken. Some are standard while others are fast ferries, shortening the trip from 5 to 8.5 hours. Customers can purchase their tickets online or by phone and prices vary per person, car (if you bring one), and port of call.
For these long trips, there are onboard services including a restaurant, bar, gift shop, terrace, private suites for families (which also costs extra), a playroom for kids, and other spots for travelers to hang around. It is not like an airplane where you’re cramped in one seat the whole time. The trip is more like a short version of a cruise with big windows to see the Mediterranean and even audio-video guides about the surroundings.
For many, taking the ferry to the Balearics (or the Canary Islands on the other side) is a comforting experience, even though it’s a long trip. It’s not as boring a ride as one might think, but a simple trip where a car and multiple people can come at once to enjoy the beautiful setting of the Balearic Islands, all of which are well worth a visit.
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