Balearic Islands Archipelago, Spain – February 25th, 2009
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago of about 50 islands in the western Mediterranean Sea, about 80 kilometers off the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, visible on the left. The coast of Africa can also be seen on the bottom right.
The four largest islands are Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, of which the capital city is Palma.
Majorca (center) is Spain’s largest island. It has two mountainous regions, each about 70 km in length. Visible in the close-up, these occupy the north-western (Serra de Tramuntana or Tramuntana range) and eastern thirds of the island.
The northeast coast comprises two sweeping bays: the Badia de Pollença and the larger Badia d’Alcúdia. The northern coast is generally rugged and has many cliffs. The central zone extending from Palma is generally flat fertile plain known as Es Pla.
The climate is Mediterranean, with markedly higher precipitation in the Serra de Tramuntana. Summers are hot in the plains and winters mild to cool, getting colder in the Tramuntana range; in this part of the island brief episodes of snow during the winter are not unusual.
Minorca (northeast of Majorca) gets its name from being smaller than the nearby island of Majorca. Its highest point, called El Toro or Monte Toro, is 358 m/1174 ft above sea level.
Ibiza (southwest of Majorca) is the third largest of the islands. With Formentera (south of Ibiza), it is one of the two Pine Islands.