Getting around the Balearic Islands is fairly easy: all four islands have a good, reliable public transport system, especially buses (even on thinly populated Formentera). That said, you'll need a car, a moped or a bicycle to explore the more remote stretches of coastline.
Bicycle and moped/scooter hire
Majorca has a reliable and comprehensive transport system serving almost all towns and villages. Destinations are marked on the front of the bus and each town has its own bus station or terminal. There is also the hop-on hop-off tourist bus.
Majorca has three narrow-gauge lines. All of them depart and end at Palma's Estació Intermodal in Plaça d’Espanya. The first one goes to Inca, the second one to Sa Pobla, while the third one will take you to Manacor.
Palma has a metro system with two lines: Line 1 runs from the Estació Intermodal to the university and Line 2 to Marratxí.
Baleària car ferries run a few times a day between Port d’Alcúdia and Ciutadella in Menorca, and take around 2 hours. Transmediterránea has a weekly sailing from Palma to Mahón. Baleària also runs daily sailings from Palma to Ibiza, which takes 2 hours.
Taxi rates are metered and displayed in several languages on the window. In Palma: Radio Taxi (tel: 971 755 440); Taxi Palma Radio (tel: 971 401 414/971 702 424.) In Sóller: (tel: 971 638 484); In Pollença: (tel: 971 866 213); in Cala Ratjada: (tel: 971 819 090).
Menorca is fairly flat and easy to get around. However, there is no road to take you all the way around the coast – you often have to return to the central axis. The highway between Mahón and Ciutadella, the Me-1, is very good, but can get crowded in summer. There is no train service.
Bicycle and moped/scooter hire
Bikes can be hired in most of the resorts. In Mahón, contact Bike Menorca. Mopeds and scooters are also available in most resorts, but you need a licence.
Regular bus services run from Mahón and Ciutadella to most towns and resorts. Destinations are marked on the front of the buses. It is not so easy to travel between smaller towns by bus – you usually have to return to one of the two main terminals, which can make relatively short distances take quite a long time. To travel up to the north of the island you can also check Autos Fornells. The airport bus is run by Torres.
Rates are fixed and are displayed in several languages on the windows. In Mahón: Radio Taxi, taxi stand in Plaça d’España (tel: 971 362 891), in Plaça de s’Esplanada (tel: 971 361 283). In Ciutadella: Taxis 24h, taxi stand in Avinguda Constitució (tel: 971 381 197); in Plaça d’es Born (tel: 971 384 435) and in Sant Lluis (tel: 971 150 641).
Ibiza has a pretty good transport network, with regular public buses and boats linking all the main resorts and towns, and there’s a decent bus service on Formentera considering its tiny population. If you’re planning on really exploring the islands, however, you’re going to have to rent a car, motorbike or a bicycle, as many of the best stretches of coastline are well off the beaten track. With few hills, Formentera is perfect bicycle territory.
Bicycle and moped/scooter hire
In Formentera, pick up a Green Routes leaflet from the tourist office or download here for details of some good, well-signposted cycle excursions along the island’s quieter lanes.
Ibiza is much hillier, and its roads more congested, though there are some spectacular dirt-track routes across the island, perfect for mountain biking. Motorbikes and scooters are also popular. To explore hilly Ibiza you should rent a machine above 100cc. In Ibiza: Kandani, Ibiza Sport, La Cicloteca Ibiza Town (tel: 971 967 009); in Formentera: Bicicletas/Moto Rent Mitjorn, Formentera Natural.
Driving along Ibiza’s and Formentera’s main roads is pretty straightforward, though to really see the islands you’ll have to tackle some challenging dirt tracks from time to time.
From Ibiza Town, there are buses to all the main towns, most villages and many resorts, and to Salines beach, all year round. Sant Antoni and Santa Eulària are the other two transport hubs, with frequent services to local beach resorts and good intra-island connections.
In Formentera, buses shuttle between Es Pujols, Sant Ferran, Sant Francesc and La Savina, and there’s also a route across the island, taking you from La Savina to La Mola.
From the end of May to the beginning of October, the all-night discobus service provides shuttles between Ibiza Town and Sant Antoni; Sant Antoni and Platja d’en Bossa; Ibiza Town and Platja d’en Bossa; and Ibiza Town and Es Canar.
Kids will love the ‘tourist trains’, mock steam locomotives with carriages that run several different routes around the island leaving from Santa Eulària, Es Canar, Port Sant Miquel and Portinatx. For more information, tel: 607 654 321.
Boat services go from Ibiza Town to Marina Botafoc, Talamanca, Figueretes and Platja d’en Bossa; from Sant Antoni to Sant Antoni Bay, Port d’es Torrent, and Calas Gració, Salada, Bassa and Comte; and from Santa Eulària to Ibiza Town and the beaches of the northeast, including Es Canar. See Aquabus ferry boats and Santa Eulalia ferry boats for more info.
Taxi rates on both islands are quite pricey, though all have meters and tariffs are fixed. There’s a minimum charge of €4.95, with additional charges after 9pm. Only use legal taxis, recognisable by their blue number plates. In Ibiza Town, tel: 971 398 483; in Sant Francesc Formentera, tel: 971 322 016.
On all four islands, you must be over 18 to rent a motorbike over 75cc. A helmet is compulsory when riding a motorcycle, whatever the engine size. Ask for a helmet and for a pump and puncture kit, in case you get stuck with a flat tyre many kilometres from your hotel, and always carry ID.
Car hire requirements
You’ll need a car if you plan to travel a good deal around the islands. Third-party insurance is included, but comprehensive insurance – todo riesgo – is usually extra. Hirers must be at least 21 years old and have held a licence for at least six months. Hire companies will accept your national driver’s licence. Major international companies and Spanish national companies have offices at the airport and in Palma as well as in the major resorts.
For the police, fire brigade or an ambulance call 112.
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