Balearic or Canary Islands? Choosing Between Spain’s Glam Island DestinationsApril 20, 2019
The Balearic and Canary Islands are two Spanish archipelagos that consistently rank among the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Both island groups offer many of the same attractions, including scenic landscapes, warm weather, and pristine beaches — not to mention an enticing Hard Rock Hotel each. Considering their similarities, it can be difficult to choose between them, so we’ve put together a rundown of each one to help you plan your next island escape.
Located just off Spain’s eastern coast, the Balearic Islands are very popular among European travelers. The four largest islands are Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera, with many smaller islands and islets scattered among them. The climate is Mediterranean, which means warm weather during the summer months and moderate to cool weather during the rest of the year.
One of the Balearic Islands’ biggest selling points is its proximity to continental Europe, making it easy to reach for many. This means it’s a great choice if you’re planning to combine the Balearics with another European destination (the flight from Barcelona, for example, is just under an hour). This also means that the Spanish influence is stronger, especially evident in the architecture — Palma boasts one of Europe’s most impressive Gothic cathedrals.
The archipelago is famous for its beaches, ranging from small, secluded coves to popular destinations with all the amenities. However, the nightlife here is infamous, with the islands — particularly Ibiza — attracting the world’s most popular DJs. There are still quiet areas to explore, especially on Menorca and Formentera, but the Balearics will be hard to resist for party-seekers.
The Canary Islands is a volcanic archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Morocco. The major destinations are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. The subtropical climate here means that the islands enjoy consistent temperatures year round, averaging in the 70s between June and November, and never dropping below the 60s.
The volcanic nature of the Canary Islands makes for interesting landscapes — most notably Mount Teide, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a perfect destination for outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking. The weather is also warm year round, so it’s a viable winter destination. You’ll still find nightlife options in the main resort towns, like Tenerife’s Playa de las Américas, but the archipelago boasts a more relaxed vibe, making it a good family destination.
The Canary Islands’ location has led to its unique blend of cultural influences, taking elements from Spain, Africa, and even Latin America (historically, the Canaries were the first stop for Spanish ships returning home from the New World). This colorful combination is evident in the region’s music and cuisine, which are more unique than what you’ll find in the Balearics.
Ultimately, you can’t really go wrong with either the Balearic or Canary Islands. The Canaries are convenient to reach and unparalleled for nightlife, while the Balearics offer unique landscapes and culture to explore. However, both destinations promise a bit of everything if you know where to go. If you take into account the location, time of year, and activities you’re looking for, you’ll have no trouble planning your perfect getaway in one of Spain’s glam island destinations.