Ibiza vs Mallorca – Which Should you Visit?
Ibiza and Mallorca are two of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. Both are part of Spain’s Balearic islands in the Mediterranean, both are home to hundreds of beautiful beaches, and both have strong contenders for some of the best party towns and cities in Europe.
If you’re planning a holiday to this part of the world then choosing whether to visit Ibiza or Mallorca can be a tough decision. Both destinations have unique cultures and tourist attractions, both have miles of stunning natural landscapes, and both are well known for the range of nightlife on offer.
To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a guide to the culture, weather, beaches, nightlife and cost of both Mallorca and Ibiza, to help make choosing between the two a little easier.
Culture and Sightseeing
Despite being a Spanish island, Mallorca has a distinctly Catalan culture with its own distinct dialect and customs. It’s been an incredibly popular tourist destination for the past 70 years because of the mix of beautiful natural scenery and lively towns and cities both inland and along the coast.
The capital city of Palma is the best place to enjoy culture and sightseeing on the island, with the famous La Seu gothic cathedral found overlooking the harbour. The city’s old town is full of beautiful historic architecture and unique little shops and cafes, and its large size means that there is a good range of museums, galleries and music and theatre venues to enjoy.
Elsewhere in Mallorca, the Caves of Drach on the east coast are a stunning spot that is home to one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world, Alcúdia is a peaceful town filled with history and classic architecture, and in the mountainous parts of the island you have places like the Real Cartuja de Valldemossa monastery or the towns of Artà and Deia. There are castles and churches galore, as well as swathes of beautiful scenery and plenty of gorgeous coastal settlements.
Ibiza has only been the infamous party destination we know today for the past twenty years or so; before that, it was a quiet port town surrounded by a rugged landscape. A history of avant-garde communities and artistic visitors has given it an immensely rich culture, and there is still a strong art scene on parts of the island with a focus on the contemporary and cutting-edge.
When it comes to sightseeing there is quite a lot on offer across Ibiza, with the historic buildings of Ibiza Town, the Can Marça caves and popular ‘hippy markets’ being top of most traveller’s bucket lists. When you move away from the busy tourist and resort towns you’ll also find plenty of beautiful and peaceful coastline to explore, along with quaint fishing villages and a couple of nearby islands such as Formentera and Es Vedra.
Both Mallorca and Ibiza have quite distinct cultures and offer travellers plenty of different experiences between the lively cities, cultural coastal towns and picturesque villages. There are more sightseeing spots in Mallorca, but Ibiza has a more unique range of attractions that are better suited to travellers who enjoy something a bit different on their holidays.
Ibiza is not quite a year-round holiday destination, but the climate is pretty mild from January through to December and the summer season on the island lasts from May right until the end of October.
In this period you can expect sunshine and hot weather almost every day, with daily high temperatures over 30°C. There is very little rain in Ibiza between June and September, so any time within this summer season is ideal for a beach holiday with warm and dry conditions pretty much guaranteed.
The ‘winter’ season in Ibiza runs from November to April, but you won’t find any freezing weather or weeks of grey and overcast conditions. Instead, the average temperature every day is around 15°C, but when the sun comes out this is known to rise into the mid to high twenties, particularly in March and April.
It does rain in Ibiza in the winter season, but according to locals, this only ever happens for three days at a time, after which the weather will clear up again and be wonderfully crisp and sunny.
Mallorca has a similar climate, with hot and humid summers followed by damp but mild winter seasons. Between June and September, the weather is hot and muggy with occasional thunderstorms as temperatures during the day sometimes reach above 35°C.
The Mediterranean climate in Mallorca is enjoyed until around October, when the winter season begins and temperatures start to drop. It does sometimes fall below freezing on the island at the very start and end of the year, and snowfall in the mountains is sometimes recorded.
Whilst there is not a lot of sunshine at the beginning of the winter season, once spring arrives on the island temperatures do start to increase and even if it isn’t particularly warm, there will be quite a lot of sunshine.
Overall, Ibiza has better weather for a longer period of time over the year and can be enjoyed in the months around peak season, but if you’re after really hot and humid Mediterranean weather for a holiday then Mallorca is the better choice.
Ibiza is an island that is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, so you’ve got a brilliant selection to choose from if you’re coming here for a holiday beside the sea. There are plenty of classic white and golden sand stretches of coastline as well as small, secluded bays and secret coves with exclusive access to certain resort guests.
Because the island is so popular for beach holidays, there are a few private beach clubs across Ibiza that do require an entry fee but promise a quiet atmosphere and some of the best coastal scenery the destination has to offer. Most locations are lined with bars and cafes, so you can be sure of all the facilities you’ll need wherever you spend your time.
Mallorca is another iconic destination for beach holidays; it was actually one of the first Balearic islands to make coastal resort breaks so popular. The variety of beaches here is vast, with options ranging from miles of smooth, golden sand lined with palm trees to bays edged by cliffs and secret coves.
Some of the beaches in Mallorca belong to the holiday resorts and are private, whilst others are favoured by locals and require inside knowledge to locate. Wherever you are on the island there will be plenty of options however, with stunning views of the ocean and lots of beachside bars and restaurants.
There’s no clear winner between Ibiza and Mallorca when it comes to beaches; both are strong contenders with a massive selection of different spots along their coastlines.
As one of the most popular islands for a holiday in the Mediterranean, Mallorca certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to nightlife. The most popular city to enjoy a night out on the town is Palma, with the Paseo Marítimo area being known for its brilliant pubs, clubs and bars. And of course, the resort town Magaluf is a prime spot for wild partying, with the whole area geared up for travellers who have come to the island to let off steam and enjoy plenty of late nights drinking and dancing.
Whilst Mallorca certainly has a lot to offer, Ibiza is known as perhaps the best island in the world for nightlife.
First, you‘ve got an incredible range of nightclubs that attract some of the top DJs in the industry and offer unforgettable events throughout the year that definitely include some of the best nightlife in Ibiza. Then you’ve got the famous beach and boat parties that offer memorable partying experiences with unique elements depending on the organisers. And finally, you have a range of bars, restaurants and live music venues across the island that all offer the ideal environment for a brilliant night out.
The competition is close, but in this case, it’s definitely Ibiza that comes out on top.
Food and Drink
To the outside observer, Ibiza’s food and drink scene may appear to be overshadowed by the massive amount of alcoholic beverages consumed by a lot of the travellers who come to the island. However, if you look past all the partying you’ll actually find that Ibiza is a fantastic destination for food, offering a brilliant chance to enjoy traditional Balearic cuisine.
There are a lot of high-end restaurants in the areas of Ibiza that are populated with luxurious holiday resorts, and if you’ve got the budget for it then you’ll certainly get the chance to enjoy some exceptional cooking. However, we also recommend scoping out the cafes and restaurants frequented by the locals if you want to properly experience traditional dishes like seafood paella, greixonera and flaó.
Mallorca isn’t particularly known as a top foodie destination, but the local cuisine has numerous standout dishes that are worth a try when you visit. Local ingredients include a lot of fresh Mediterranean fruits and vegetables, and seafood is also frequently featured in popular recipes. Baked goods and bread are also an important part of Mallorcan cuisine, as many of the island’s religious festivals have their own cake or type of bread associated with the celebration.
Neither Ibiza or Mallorca are particularly known for their standout food and drink, but both have a wide range of local and luxurious places to eat that will suit all tastes and budgets.
Mallorca is not the cheapest Mediterranean island to visit on holiday, but it is possible to enjoy a budget holiday there if you plan carefully and sniff out the best deals. Its popularity as a holiday destination may have pushed up the prices in some of the more touristy areas, but this also means that there is a wide range of different holiday accommodation on offer and often cheap flights available if you book at the right time.
It is also possible to travel to Ibiza on a budget, but the island’s popularity means that prices for a lot of places and events have grown steeper and steeper over the past few years. If you’re planning a trip filled with club nights and sightseeing tours then be prepared to have to fork out a bit, or you can go all out on your trip and stay at one of the island’s premium resorts or luxury Ibiza holiday villas.
Overall Mallorca is probably the cheaper option of the two, although you do get what you pay for if you visit Ibiza to enjoy the clubs, hotels and beach resorts.
Both Ibiza and Mallorca are known for being excellent islands for a holiday focused on enjoying local nightlife, but Ibiza’s reputation as the best clubbing destination in the world means that it is the best choice if you’re looking for a trip full of unforgettable nights out.
However, if what you’re after is a private and luxurious holiday experience then Ibiza is also the best place to enjoy just that, as for every party town and boozy beach on the island there’s a high-end resort somewhere else that offers seclusion, relaxation and the chance to enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery.
If you like to see historic sites and old fashioned architecture when you travel then Mallorca is the better choice between the two, as there are plenty of classic coastal and mainland towns with charming old houses, churches and ancient castles.
Mallorca is also the better option between the two if you’re travelling with a family because of the wider range of attractions on offer, although there are several family resorts now in Ibiza that offer an experience that is worlds away from wild nights of partying on the beach.
Choosing whether to visit Ibiza and Mallorca will usually come down to how much money you have to spend on your holiday and the kind of travel experience you’re looking for. If it’s live music, clubbing and parties you’re after then nowhere compares to Ibiza, whilst Mallorca is the best option to enjoy Mediterranean and Catalan culture along with historic and cultural sightseeing trips.
How big is Ibiza?
Ibiza is the third largest of the Balearic islands at 571.6 km², which is six times smaller than Mallorca.
Is Mallorca the same as Majorca?
Mallorca and Majorca are the same place. Majorca is the Spanish spelling of the island’s name, whilst Mallorca is the Catalan spelling.
Is Ibiza more expensive than Majorca?
It is possible to enjoy budget-friendly holidays in both Mallorca and Ibiza, but overall Ibitha is generally considered the most expensive holiday destination between the two islands because there are more high-end, pricey hotels and resorts and nightlife and events tend to be more expensive to attend.