24 February, 2020 Mary V

Hiking trails in the Balearic Islands

Many superyachts make the Balearic Islands their destination in the summer when they can enjoy luxurious nights ashore or take advantage of being at anchor in a stunningly beautiful bay.  However, more and more are staying over the winter for repair and refit, and that opens a new world of seeing the islands from a completely different viewpoint – that of the awesome countryside.

Think of fresh air, incredible views, the scent of native bushes, curiosity, delight, adventure and discovery – all this and more when you hike in the Balearics, whether in Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.

With over 950 hiking trails, 50 of which are long-distance and 19 of which are urban, you are spoilt for choice.  Long walks, short walks, family walks, solo walks, circular, or in and out.  You can choose your level too – unfit, getting better, really healthy!   Be aware of the level of your intended walk, and of your level of fitness – they should match!   Some hikes are really challenging and need a high level of fitness and map reading, so be aware.

Of course, the temperate climate of the Balearics is conducive to hiking – even in the heat of July and August one can usually find a trail along the coasts, with forest cover almost right down to the sea. Wherever or whenever you walk, always take water with you, always. And always take the empty bottle back with you!

There are hiking trails to suit everybody – from beaches, forests, mountains, caves, to castles in the air.   During these hikes you can discover all the secret places of the islands, off the beaten tracks – walking along listening to the bird song, the bleat of sheep and the sound of goats’ bells, the rustle of the leaves in the gentle wind.  Explore the national parks, such s’Albufera in Alcudia (north of Mallorca), the Albufeira des Grau in Menorca and the Ses Salines Natural Wildlife Reserve between Ibiza and Formentera. The most famous, and favoured, hikes are in the UNESCO world heritage Sierra de Tramuntana mountains. GR 221, also known as the Ruta de Pedra is well sign posted and laid out, with many trails leading to and from it, so it can also be done in stages. Every August there is a 40 km overnight pilgrimage “Des Guell a LLuc a Peu” (Palma to LLuc monastery), also in the Sierra de Tramuntana. Thousands of people make the hike, which takes approximately 11 hours to complete – for many it may even be their only hike of the year! Great camaraderie, with fruit, water and buses laid on.

Possibly the oldest walk is the Cami de Cavalls, on Menorca. Believed to have been established in 1330, this coastal trail allows you to discover the beautiful coastal region at your own pace. Part of the European network of long-distance footpaths under the denomination GR223, there are twenty way-marked walks in which to explore beaches, rocks, pinewoods and cliffs.

Ibiza isn’t all glitzy nightlife and fine dining, here too you can explore the island through many walking routes such as Santa Eulalia to Cala Llonga, Es Cavallet beach to Ses Salinas, or viewing the fabulous Puente de Piedra in Sant Antoni de Portmany.

Formentera’s walking trails take you off the beaten track, such as those of Cami de Sa Pujada and Calo des Mort, an undeveloped beach with fine sands and panoramic views.

However, a hike in the Balearics doesn’t necessarily meaning walking from A to B, there are all sorts of diversions – exploring bodegas, bird watching – the magnificent sight of Mallorca’s black vultures wheeling and turning high up in the sky – or the pink flamingos in Ibiza, lunching in fantastic places such as the Castell d’Alaro, Mallorca, are just some examples.

Or take your own pack lunch – just stop somewhere, take in the view and listen to the silence.

Interview with captain Glen Mcdonnell

The Balearic Islands

We talk to captain Glen Mcdonnell about his favourite places in the islands and insights on being a captain in Mallorca

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