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Sport with tourism in the Balearic Islands - The perfect autumn getaway

Thursday 16, September 2010

 

Sport with tourism in the Balearic Islands - The perfect autumn getaway

 

The Balearic Islands offer year round flights and a temperate climate meaning that for those who want to stay active during the winter an action packed holiday is just a few hours away.

 

Mallorca – A huge golf course

The climate in Mallorca is perfect for a great game of golf, with an average temperature of 21° Celsius and with over 25 golf courses, Mallorca has become known as one of the best places to play golf all year round. In the East of the island there are good value courses that appeal to families and beginners and due to the location near to the lively resorts of Magaluf and Portals Nous this area is popular with groups and those looking for a mixture of golf and leisure on their holiday. The more challenging courses are predominantly located in the West of the island where the pace of life is quieter and there are rural villages and excellent local food to explore and enjoy. Even in the capital Palma there is golf nearby, so visitors can combine a cultural city break with top class golf all in one holiday with the Son Vida, Son Muntaner, Son Quint complex a short drive from the North of the city and to the southeast Golf Park and Son Gual easily accessible. 

 

Formentera – A diving paradise

The clear and shallow waters of Formentera make an excellent choice for diving especially for beginners. With very good visibility stretching for up to 50 metres and calm, lagoon style sea with temperatures ranging from 15 - 30° Celsius, the island is popular for those looking to secure their PADI Open Water without spending a fortune. 

 

Few people know that the Ibiza and Formentera sea is actually included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. This is due to the Posidonia Prairies which are one of the most significant sites in the Balearics and unite divers from all around the world. The huge 750sqkm bed of rich seaweed was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 and is regarded as one of the most important bio-communities on the Mediterranean coast attracting an international crowd. With options for cave-diving and wreck diving and an abundance of protected species off the coast of Formentera to try and spot including angel sharks, nursehounds and straight nose pipe fish Formentera is an unexpected dive hotspot. 

 

Ibiza – For cycling off-the-beaten-track

In the last few years, Ibiza has played host to some high profile mountain biking events and has developed a series of well sign-posted routes for those that want the freedom to explore independently beyond the typical tourist trails. Routes are well signposted and indicate the level of ability needed from easy (green) to difficult (black) meeting the demands and preferences of professional cyclists, amateurs, families or groups of friends looking to enrich their island visit. On route, information boards and cycle maps show the general layout of the Island and are an ideal meeting point for starting or finishing a ride. 

 

There are now more than 20 well planned routes which pass by the hidden corners of the island taking in ancient wells, monuments, ruins, watch towers and windmills. The peace and quiet of the cycle paths and the island’s interior is true to most of the island even in the height of Summer, although Spring and Autumn are the best times to cycle, and give visitors a glimpse of island life which is a far cry from the side of Ibiza that in the last few years has attracted so much publicity. 

 

Example Route 

 

Easy

Route one is a leisurely ride suitable for all levels of fitness. This coastal route takes cyclists from Sant Antoni Bay, along the South West coast and past some of the spectacular coves and beaches to popular Port des Torrent before arriving at the lesser known beaches of Comte where there are plenty of ‘chiringuitos’ to relax in and enjoy a replenishing snack and drink.  This hour long cycle route takes in the spectacular Cala Bassa beach that is well known for its transparent waters and surrounding Junipers and pines that offer shade during the hot summer months. 

 

Time: Approx 1-2 hours 

Distance: 14.5km 

 

Menorca – Discover the true identity of the island via the many hiking paths

Hiking around the island of Menorca is becoming a popular year round pastime and the mountainous regions of the island provide challenging and scenic routes. Menorca offers many excellent hiking trails and many of these lead through the island's numerous nature reserves which offer an abundance of flora and fauna and show the island in a very different light. Away from the popular resorts including Cala en Porter and Cala Blanca the island is still traditional and quiet and perfect for exploring on foot. The geographical variety of this small island has also made it popular with walkers. From rugged, rocky coves and red sand¬stone beaches on the wild North coast, to the South coast with its long stretches of sandy beaches, reached by way of spectacular gorges. Inland there are quiet country lanes and farm tracks to meander along whilst Monte Toro, the highest point on the island, offers some great views. 

 

Another option is the ‘Cami de Cavalls’, a network of paths that run throughout the island each bordering the coastline. In total these paths cover 220km and are divided into 20 different routes for varied abilities. The various paths can be completed either by foot, on horseback and certain sections can also be completed by bicycle. For those interested in the history of the island, a guide entitled ‘Cami de Cavalls; 20 itineraries for discovering Menorca’ has been produced detailing the most important historical elements of each route.

 

Example Route 

 

Moderate

For those of medium fitness levels this route follows a large part of Menorca's Northern coastline and passes through several coves until it reaches the small village of Cala Morell. It passes through Cala Pous, Cala Morts and Sa Punta des Singles and covers rocky terrain over 50-metre-high, barefaced cliffs. The trail begins in Punta Nati, which can be reached by a road that starts in Northern Ciutadella, where cars can be left, and then simply follows the coastline the entire time. After crossing the small S'Encletxa de S'Ull de Sol valley, the trail proceeds to an old stone wall and from there continues for three hours to Cala Morell. The city of Ciutadella, Menorca's second city is well worth combining with this walk to visit the narrow harbour teeming with fishing boats, old quarter with winding streets lined by white houses alongside the port, the churches of Sant Francesc, Socorro and Sant Crist, the Saura palace and the Cloister del Seminario. 

 

Time: Approx 4 hours one way 

Distance: Eight km one way 

 

 

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