Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Recommendations from Captain Laurance Ottley
Laurance Ottley, Captain of luxury sailing yacht REE, knows the Balearics intimately. Here he provides a sample charter itinerary with ports of call in Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza.
Frustrating as it may be, you will not be able to see and do everything these islands have to offer in one visit. However, everything you do see will be nothing short of remarkable.
Captain Laurance says, “As far as the itinerary goes, it is as always better to keep things flexible. That way, we can respond to the actual weather we get, and the mood of the group once the cruise is underway. So, points of interest can act as a general guide for the direction we decide to take around the islands, but that’s about it. No firm decisions need to be taken until the charter begins.” Because the best adventures just happen.
First of all when planning a tentative itinerary, consider the activities of most interest to your group. Do you enjoy scenic, quiet anchorages or lively, city scenes? Do you want to spend lots of time exploring history and culture? Or, would you rather be beachcombing and enjoying watersports? How much time spent sailing versus sightseeing? Are there children or seniors that might have a difficult time undertaking long passages?
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: The Long and Short of It
Balearics sailing itinerary can include lots of great sailing, or short runs with more time to explore ashore. Just to provide an idea of distances and approximate sailing times:
- South Mallorca to Mahon, Menorca: 11 hrs.
- North Menorca to NE Mallorca: 4.5 hrs.
- North Mallorca to Formentera: 12 hrs.
- Ibiza to Palma: 10.5 hrs.
Don’t let long passages discourage you. Sailing can be done partially or fully overnight. If you plan lengthy passages, please keep in mind that this will be an extra burden on the crew. They will need some recuperation time.
Depending on the length of your charter, and the weather and sea conditions, some compromises may have to be made. For example, embarking from Palma, Mallorca, you may have to miss out on Menorca entirely and head west to Ibiza/Formentera. Alternatively, you can limit cruising to Mallorca and Menorca. In fact, you could easily spend a magnificent week or two just cruising around Mallorca.
If a Mistral is blowing from the north, for any number of days, this will have an effect on where you can go. Such a wind will confine the yacht mostly to the south side anchorages of the islands.
Captain Laurance’s Favorite Balearic Ports and Pastimes
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Palma, Mallorca
In Palma, a walk around the magnificent Gothic cathedral and Old Town is well worth it. Start early at the Parc de la Mar and stroll along the ramparts at Ses Voltes. The first rays of the sun turn the upper pinnacles of La Seu Cathedral bright gold. Watch the rays gradually slide down, igniting the sandstone walls.
Follow Avinguda Antoni Maura past the cathedral steps to the Plaça de la Reina palace. Here the Passeig d’es Born begins. If you’re here in the evening, this is where the traditional paseo (promenade) takes place. Turn left on Carrer de la Boteria for a peek into the Plaça de la Llotja, an exquisite example of a Gothic-style civic building. Head to the Plaça Drassana to view contemporary art at the Museu d’Es Baluard.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Isla Cabrera, Mallorca:
Isla Cabrera is a small island off the south coast of Mallorca. You’ll need to get a permit a couple of days in advance in order to visit. It is well worth planning ahead. It’s natural beauty and protected sea and shore make it a uniquely beautiful and relaxing place to experience.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Formentor Peninsula, Pollensa, Mallorca
Pollença, in the north of the island, is an ancient town of narrow, picturesque streets. The lively main square is famous for the Sunday market. Relax at any of many cafés, restaurants and bars around the square.
Pollensa is just a few kilometers from the Port. There is a very pretty anchorage off the famed Formentor Hotel. The hotel oozes Old Hollywood glam and has a superb beachfront location. This place of retreat for novelists, poets and musicians has become intertwined with local culture.
Cala Tuent and Cala de la Colabra are two not-to-be-missed calas (coves) on the north coast. Visiting is subject to favorable wind direction. Grab your snorkel gear to explore the colorful marine life in the vicinity.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Mahón, or Maó, Menorca
Mahón has a vast natural harbor that is one of the largest in the world. It is a great anchorage for kayak exploration and dingy sailing. The marina is sensibly priced and gives easy access for on shore exploration. There are lots of bars and restaurants along the portside, relaxing by day, lively at night. You can spend hours down in the port, watching the ships, admiring the view, enjoying the hospitality of the restaurants, or just taking in the atmosphere. Mahón has a fascinating history, evident in the elegant architecture and many points of interest.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Cala Algayerens, north coast Menorca
Here you’ll find a perfect double Cala. These two nice beaches are not easily accessed via the road. They tend to be less crowded in summer. Beware, one beach is clothing optional. This being southern Europe, the naked option is the one selected by the majority! The water is exceptionally clean and clear here. This is also one of the few beaches that you can have an evening beach BBQ.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Ibiza Old Town
Ibiza has many world-famous attributes. Internationally famous DJs encourage partying the night away. The Old Town is a medieval UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are trendy shops and exclusive restaurants.
Ibiza also has the distinction of providing the most expensive marina berths in the whole of the Mediterranean, when they are available. A popular option is to anchor outside the harbor. It’s just a short taxi ride to Old Town. Once you arrive, there’s no shortage of things to do in Ibiza.
Balearics Sailing Itinerary: Formentera
The north end of the island is low lying with lots of sandy beaches. Here, the balmy, turquoise water is often compared to the Caribbean Sea. Anchorages on the north side are fairly well protected by their proximity to Ibiza, even when a mistral is blowing. Environmental protection laws shield much of Formentera, making it a calm retreat popular for beautiful beaches and quiet country roads.
Captain Laurance gives just a hint of what you can experience on a luxury yacht charter in the Balearic Islands. Drive through the lush mountains of Mallorca. Put on your dancing shoes and trip the light in Ibiza. Take a cooking class in Mahón. The possibilities are endless. Of course, a Balearics sailing itinerary is not limited to sailing yachts. There are beautiful catamarans and luxury motor yachts available for charter in these islands.
This summer, join Captain Laurance aboard REE for a captivating New England yacht charter. She is equipped with all the very latest technology, from state-of-the-art sail handling to worldwide communications. She is powerful and luxurious, easily sailing at 10-12 knots. This superb sailing yacht offers the ultimate experience for the most discerning sailors. REE accommodates 10 guests in five cabins with six crew.
Contact Select Yachts to plan your yachting vacation. We’ll find the yacht and crew that’s right for you!