COCKTAILS, TAPAS AND SHOPPING IN PALMA
Most Balearic charters will start and finish in Palma, the capital of Mallorca. This is where most of the international flights come in, and where the best facilities for superyachts can be found. Once you’ve settled on board, take a stroll around the town.
Palma is a relatively undiscovered gem, mostly bypassed by mass-tourism as the package-holiday buses head straight for the beaches and resorts. Palma deserves at least a day of your time – the old town around the cathedral is wonderful, the Passeig de Born is home to some chic boutiques, and the area around the Placa Llotja is a delightful blend of bars, cafes, and historical buildings.
Cocktails at Abaco and tapas at La Boveda will make the perfect end to your day in Palma, followed by an evening stroll back to the yacht along the Paseo Maritimo.
SAMPLING IBIZA’S GLAMOUROUS SIDE
Leaving Palma, doing your best to ignore the concrete horrors of Palma Nova and Magaluf, head south-west for Ibiza. The crossing is likely to take the best part of four or five hours (depending on your yacht), so pull up a sun-lounger, grab yourself a good book, and relax as the deep blue Mediterranean slips beneath your keel. On arrival at Ibiza Town it’s time to stretch your legs and have a look round.
Although there is a perception that Ibiza is a destination for drug-fuelled teenagers, the island also attracts more than its fair share of the glitterati. As a result, there are some very good bars and restaurants in the town, particularly the Dalt Vila area up on the hill.
Find yourself a table with a view, and spend some time people-watching. If you’re feeling energetic, some of the best bars and nightclubs in the Balearics can be found on the island. Pacha and Lios both put on big cabaret shows which are popular with yacht guests.
BRUNCH AT THE BEACH, SUNSET AT THE CAFÉ DEL MAR
If you got back to the yacht in the early hours, give instructions for the skipper to get underway while you have a bit of a lie-in. With any luck the crew will have the yacht anchored up in the lee of Espalmador (the small island between Ibiza and Formentera, a popular anchorage with turquoise waters and an excellent beach) in time for a late breakfast. The area is also one of the top dive sites in the Balearic Islands. Spend a few hours loafing in the sun, swimming, and having a spot of lunch.
By mid-afternoon, when the joys of Espalmador have worn off, set a course around the south side of the island and head towards Sant Antoni.
This may seem strange given that the town has an awful reputation for teenage drunkenness and misbehaviour, but there is something here that no cruise of the Balearics would be complete without…sunset at the Cafe del Mar.
Young or old, rich or poor, hundreds of people assemble every day on the beach just to the west of town to watch the sunset. Chill-out tunes drift across the beach from the Cafe del Mar, the sun glows a fiery orange as it kisses the horizon, and the ice clinks gently in your cocktail.
A lovely end to a lovely day, just make sure you get back to your yacht before the hordes begin their drunken rampage around Sant Antoni’s West End.
THE UNDISCOVERED SIDE OF IBIZA
Head north-east from Sant Antoni along Ibiza’s north coast, stopping from time to time to swim in some of the beautiful coves along this stretch. This is the Ibiza few visitors ever get to see, and it is as beautiful as anything you will find in the Mediterranean.
Take lunch at anchor in one of these unspoiled coves, and then turn north-east for Mallorca. Depending on space, head either for Porto Adriano, with its excellent modern facilities, or Port d’Andratx, which is smaller and more traditional.
Andratx is the preferred option, with some on the best waterfront restaurants and bars.
EXPLORING MALLORCA’S NORTH COAST
Leaving Andratx, turn north and then north-east along Majorca’s stunning north coast. Here the mountains plunge almost vertically into the sea, and there are few beaches or harbours. Port de Soller, half way along the north coast, makes a convenient and picturesque stopping-off point.
If you felt so inclined, you could grab a taxi and take a quick trip up to Deia, a beautiful hilltop village that was once home to Robert Graves. Continuing north-east along the coast takes you past Sa Colabra and Cala San Vincent, and eventually around Cap de Formentor.
The coastline here is incredibly dramatic and picturesque, and Cala Figuera makes a lovely spot for an afternoon swim.
Drop the anchor for the night in Pollenca Bay and go ashore in the tender. Puerto Pollenca is fairly unlovely, but for a taste of old-world Mallorca, grab a cab and head a few miles inland to the old town of Pollenca.
There are several fine restaurants here, and walking around the narrow mediaeval streets in the evening gives you a glimpse of the Mallorca few people see.
COVE-HOPPING IN MENORCA
Head west from Puerto Pollenca and within a couple hours you are within sight of Menorca. Drop the anchor in one of the many small coves along the south coast of the island and enjoy a leisurely lunch and a dip in the crystal clear waters.
Coast-hop eastwards throughout the afternoon, stopping where the fancy takes you, before heading for the capital of the island, Mahon. This is a wonderful city on the east coast of the island and makes the perfect base from which to explore.
Perched above one of the best natural harbours in the world, Mahon is surprisingly chic for somewhere so far off the beaten track and it has the feel of somewhere that is a closely-guarded secret, known only to the privileged few.
FALL IN LOVE WITH MAHON
Spend the day exploring Menorca’s north coast at a leisurely pace, making use of the tender to land on deserted beaches. There is a little tourism along the north coast, and it’s hard to believe that this is a Balearic island.
Make your way back to Mahon at the end of the day, pausing en route to admire the amazing fortifications that guard the entrance to the harbour, and spend some more time exploring the town in the evening.
Make reservations at Restaurante S’espigo for an excellent dinner. There’s even a casino at the Club Maritimo, should you fancy a flutter.
EXPLORING THE CABRERA ARCHIPELAGO
From Mahon, head south-west to the Cabrera archipelago off Mallorca’s south coast. These islands are protected, so special permission is needed to moor here, but your charter company should be able to arrange that.
There is no development on these islands, so a peaceful star-lit evening at anchor is guaranteed. Arrange for the chef to produce his most extravagant dinner yet, and sit out dining by moonlight in this magical setting.
ANOTHER DAY IN PALMA
Spend the morning exploring Cabrera in the tender, then after lunch head slowly back to Palma. There is much to explore in Mallorca’s interior, so consider spending a day or two in one of Palma’s boutique hotels and using a hire car to explore the vineyards and olive groves of this picturesque island.