Spain’s Balearic islands have many facets to them. Indeed, the main islands of Ibiza and Mallorca seem to have it all. Stunning beaches, good food, amazing sunsets, and lots of activities whilst you are there. But where will you spend your next holiday?
With so much to entice you between the two, it can be a stressful experience narrowing it down. Allow us to take the decisions out of your hands! Sit back with a cuppa while we explore Ibiza and Mallorca: which island is better to visit?
We will compare the cost of living, where to stay, what to eat, where to go and the islands best beaches! And lots more to whet your appetite. The choice will be as crystal clear as those mediterranean waters by the end!
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Accommodation
To make the most of your stay in Ibiza, you need to know what you want. Head to the west or centre of the island and expect to find yoga retreats and luxury spas. Head to Ibiza town and expect to see some of this, but with a little extra party for your money. Further up the south east coast, however, is Santa Eularia des Riu. This has some wonderful luxury options such as the Aguas de Ibiza Grande Lux Hotel. You can also find decent villas in these areas, if you prefer to self-cater and want to escape the party animals.
If you want to frolic with the party animals, get yourself to Playa D’en Bossa. It’s just a short ride from Ibiza town, known locally as Vila d’Eivissa. Coincidentally, if this is your first time in Ibiza, staying in town is a great shout. Whilst nightlife is decent, you get to experience more culture in the day. It can also be slightly cheaper overall.
Depending on when you book, prices can vary vastly. Shoulder seasons (October to April) can be around 40 euro per night for a budget hotel, rising to 350 euro for more luxury accommodation. Prices rise to 150-600 euro per night during the summer months. San Antonio is a great place to look for cheaper accommodation throughout the year. Retreats and spa options differ wildly, depending on level of luxury and season.
Like Ibiza, Mallorca has a range of hotels to choose from, so picking which island is best is a minefield.
There are, of course, many options in the capital of Palma de Mallorca. The Helios Mallorca Apartments in this region are great value for money, while the Es Princep can offer you a bit more luxury at am affordable price. If you are wanting to escape the crowds of Palma, the town of Can Picafort on the north coast can also offer some great beach resorts at reasonable prices, from the budget SOM Llaut Boutique to the higher end Hotel Sa Roqueta.
An average night in a hotel is around 80 euro, with more luxury accommodation reaching anywhere between 150 and 300 per night. There are also budget hotel options and self-catering accommodation for those looking to save a little more.
Accommodation Winner: Draw
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Prices
When deciding between Ibiza and Mallorca, prices often dictate which island is best. Ibiza is a particularly desirable destination for holiday-makers, health fanatics and ravers. As these are all big business, you can expect prices to rise in line with demand. In many locations across the island you could expect to pay 12-15 euro per person in a low-cost restaurant, to around 25-30 euro pp in a mid-range restaurant. And of course, the higher-end you go, the more it will cost.
As we have already seen, accommodation costs can vary from reasonable to astronomical. But in terms of daily spend, it isn’t too hard on the wallet. A loaf of bread is likely to cost around 0.40 euro, a domestic beer will be around 2 euro, with imported alcoholic drinks prices dependent on where you are on the island. Of course, if you are wanting to head to the best nightclubs on the south coast near Ibiza town, you will be looking at spending 60 euro or more for entrance alone. Drinks at the bars are generally in line with London prices. The more expensive areas of London at that.
In Mallorca prices here are similar to those of Ibiza, if not a little cheaper when eating out. A meal in a low-cost restaurant is likely to cost around 10 euro per person, rise to around 20-25 euro in a mid to high end restaurant. A domestic beer is likely to cost 2.50 euro. Cost of living overall, however, is on average 20% cheaper than living in Ibiza, which is a good rule of thumb when picking a holiday destination between the two.
There is lots of nightlife on the island, and as such there are an array of late-night bars restaurants and clubs to lose yourself in. Whilst places like Magaluf can serve very cheap drinks, other more high end places have a higher price tag. Prices for entry to somewhere like BCM in Magaluf is likely to cost around 15 to 25 euro, depending on the season.
Affordability Winner: Mallorca
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Food
Traditional food in Ibiza tend to feature more influence from the mediterranean location of the Balearic islands. Though traditional Spanish fare from the mainland is still in demand.
Arroz de Matanzas is perhaps the most traditional island dish. Made up of rice (arroz) any type of meat that is available, and boiled in a delicious broth, you might find that the flavours tend to differ in each restaurant. Most families will have their own traditional recipe, with meats ranging from chicken and pork to squid, fish and sobrassada: a native sausage made from ground meat, paprika and other spices.
As an island, of course Ibiza knows how to do fish well. Paella de Marisco (seafood paella) and Parrillada de Pescado (seafood mixed grill) is standard fare, fresh as anything and cooked to perfection! Desserts are apt to be things like Greixonera, made up of leftover bread and pastry, eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar and lemon peel. And this can all be washed down with local boozy Sangria, Frigola (a thyme based herby and sweet digestif) or Horchata, if you are staying away from alcohol. This is a traditional beverage made of ground almonds or tiger nuts and mixed with water, sugar and spices.
Whilst you will find similar fare on the island of Mallorca, fresh fish dishes and local sobrassada. A great all-round pleaser in Mallorca is the Coca de trampó. Similar to Chicago’s deep dish pizza, with a base more like pastry than bread. It lacks cheese, but is full of fresh roasted veggies. A delicious local market snack! If you are a meat-lover, stuffed pies known as panades will itch that scratch. The buttery pastry alone is something to salivate over, let alone the lamb and peas inside! Tumbet is a great addition to most dishes. A sort of Spanish take on ratatouille, the mix of slow-cooked veggies in fresh tomato sauce is often served with fried eggs on top. Spice up the local barbecue no end!
Its difficult to choose which island is best between Ibiza and Mallorca when it comes to food. Rest assured both islands will be full of fresh produce and mouth-watering flavours!
Food Winner: Draw
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Beaches
There are many beaches across these two islands, and this could well be the clincher when deciding between Ibiza or Mallorca! So let’s have a look.
The best thing about this island is most beaches have that soft butter-yellow sand that feels good against your toes. Ibiza town and the south coast has many wonderful options, but the main attraction is Playa d’en Bossa beach. The long stretch of coastline offers calm shallow waters, and a strip full of prime beach clubs. Beware though, this little strip is apt to look like an endless club 18-30. Maybe not so great for families and those wanting to relax and escape the crowds. To get away from it all head to the wild beauty of Es Cavallet beach, which also has a nudist section.
The best beaches in the west close to San Antonio are more family oriented. San Antonio bay has a stretch of little beaches close to local facilities. Or head to Cala Salada beach for stunning turquoise waters. Surrounded by pine forest and rocky edges, this is certainly an instagram worth trip! Santa Eulalia on the east coast is a great escape for smaller, more secluded beaches. Cala Pada beach has particularly beautiful clear waters and a subdued atmosphere.
And finally, Poritinatx in the north is a great option for those wanting a resort feel, as most beaches will host sun-beds and umbrellas for guests. Portinatx beach has those crystal clear waters you have been searching for. And if you really want to get away from everything, the island of Formentera is only a 40 minute boat ride away. It features pristine beaches, crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling or scuba diving. Take the ferry, or hire a catamaran and spend the day exploring its beautiful coastline.
On the north east of Mallorca sits Cala Agulla. This beach boasts golden sands and lots of facilities: bars, restaurants, and even a lifeguard on duty! waters are shallow and crystal clear and shielded from wind by pine trees and mountainous ranges. Perfect for families with young children. On the south coast, 20 minutes outside the village of Campos sits Es Trenc. Boasting unspoilt beauty whilst hosting lots of facilities including disabled access, public toilets and local restaurants. There are even a few nudist sections along the beach, so check before you put your towel down!
For a bit more bustle, Cala Millor is a great beach spot. Known as the biggest resort on Mallorca’s east coast, it is a must for those who want to experience it all. Golden beaches, bars, shops and entertainment and a boat load of water sports to enjoy (excuse the pun).
And for some pure untouched charm, Es Calo des Moro Beach on the southern coast will delight and amaze. Tended by a private foundation, there are no public facilities. It takes a little bravery to get there, via a semi-steep hillside of boulders. But once you are there, the calm beauty and crystal waters will feel worth it.
Beaches Winner: Mallorca
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Attractions
Activities on the island very much mirror island life. Ibiza Spirit Festival is hosted in both April and October. It is a celebration of wellness and spirituality, alongside creative dance, meditation and even tantra. It attracts a lot of spiritual seekers and Yogis.
White Island paddle, take you on trips around the island on a paddle board, and also organise pilates and yoga on SUPs boards. But it’s not all health and fitness! There are vast amounts of tours taking in everything from bike and walking tours of local sights and cuisine, and a tonne of snorkelling, scuba diving kayaking and boat trips. Some boats more boozy than others! If you like to explore alone, take a trip Dalt Vila, a fortified town that showcases differing architecture across the ages.
And if you like architecture, check out this guide below!
Ibiza has got its charms, but when it comes to which island is best, Mallorca pretty much has it all. The large island is host to many walks of life, including A list celebrities and other rich folk. So, anything you can muster in your mind, we’re pretty sure you can do here.
The fantastic Jungle Parc on the west coast of the island is an amazing place to walk, zipline, bike or skateboard across bridges, tightropes and zipwires built into the treetops. Yes, you read that right! This is a high octane thrill-seekers dream, but also great for a family day out as they have child-friendly areas too, and circuits that range from easy to very difficult!
There are many tours taking in the island for a full day, but if you are into solo adventures, you could always rent a classic car and explore yourself! You could even take a ferry over to the neighbouring island of Menorca for a day!
And of course, there are a tonne of water sports activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and scuba diving. Often facilitated on full day boat excursions. Lunch cruises are available, alongside sunset cruises served up with dinner! It seems that, whatever you want to do, your wish is Mallorca’s command.
Entertainment Winner: Mallorca
Ibiza vs Mallorca: Nightlife
As we all know, Ibiza has a first rate nightlife. Some of the best DJs in the world come here over the summer months to play arguably the best night-clubs in the world. From Amnesia and Pacha to the beach clubs of Ushuaia and Bora Bora, many clubs sit in Ibiza town or Play d’en Bossa.
But you wont be short of a party in San Antonio! Here you will find Eden and the Ocean Beach club. So called one of the best pool parties in ibiza. You will never be short of a club to go to, or a beach bar to sit and watch the sun come up after a night of dancing. San Antonio boasts Cafe Del Mar, a morning hotspot for tired revellers.
The nature of your inner party animal is likely to be a decider in the throw-down between Ibiza and Mallorca. What has Mallorca to say for itself?
Playa de Palma is a popular tourist destination, and certainly one to check-out for nightlife. What is by day a fantastic beach resort becomes a hotbed of bars and clubs as the sun sets. It has everything, from high end gourmet to local eateries. From the small quirky bars of La Llonja to the larger international bars in Santa Catalina, there will be something for everyone. And the party doesn’t stop, all year round! The ports and marinas generally host the most luxurious clientele, so here you will find high end bars and restaurants. Plus, you can take time to luxury yacht spot. Always fun!
In the high season, during summer months, you will find plenty of fiestas featuring nights of live music and dancing in the streets! You can truly lose yourself in the Playa.
And of course, there is the party-mad Magaluf. Between the main party areas Punta Ballina and BCM square, there is a bar to suit everyone. More dance-oriented BCM Planet Dance and Oceans Beach Club hosts a bevvy of well known DJs, and bars like Zeppelin and Piano Bar host live music every night.
Nightlife Winner: Ibiza
Ibiza or Mallorca: : Where is better?
Well, that concludes our whistle stop tour. But which island of Ibiza and Mallorca is best?
It is clear that the winner is Mallorca.
Whilst Ibiza has the luxury yoga retreats, spa resorts and more clubs and DJs than you could shake your cocktail glass at, Mallorca really does have it all. From high end parties on the Marinas of Palma, to the dance clubs and live music of Magaluf. Luxury villas and spa resorts in the south to the affordable getaways in the north. High octane fun-fuelled adventures, relaxing boat tours, sunset cruises and those beautiful sandy beaches! You can truly have the holiday you want on this island, and at a decent price!
For those of you who love your EDM, your heart will belong to Ibiza. But if you are looking for a ‘something for everyone’ trip, this one is for you!
If you enjoyed this rundown, share it with friends, and the rest of the family. We are sure they will see, between Ibiza and Mallorca, which island is best. Then, all you need to do is book!
Check out some other island comparisons with us!