Moving to Spain For Members

Moving to Spain's Balearics: Which island is right for you?

Esme Fox
Esme Fox - [email protected]
Moving to Spain's Balearics: Which island is right for you?
Which Balearic Island is right for you? Photo: 4634656 / Pixabay

Are you thinking of moving to Spain’s Balearic Islands, but not sure which one to choose to settle in? Take a look at our informative guide to help you decide.


The Balearic Islands lie off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, almost level with the city of Valencia. They are made up of four main islands – Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera and are not only big tourism destinations, but some of the most popular places for foreigners to move to in Spain too. 


Mallorca has postcard-perfect coastal villages, as well as gorgeous mountainous interiors. Frank Nürnberger / Pixabay


Mallorca is the Balearic’s largest island and its most-visited too, but it’s actually a tale of two sides – one of pulsating resorts and lively beaches and the other of mountain villages, ancient history and natural parks. Your life in Mallorca will greatly depend on which side you choose.

The island’s capital Palma de Mallorca is a vibrant city with lots of history and places for entertainment, eating out and shopping, but if you prefer a quieter pace of life, it’s littered with gorgeous villages tucked in between the UNESCO Tramuntana Mountain range, places such as Valldemossa, Deià and Sóller. 

It’s also a great destination for sport-lovers, particularly cyclists, with many great scenic routes and an extensive road network.

In terms of looking for work, there are several international companies based in Palma, but if you want to live elsewhere on the island you’d mostly be looking at jobs in hospitality and tourism or becoming self-employed.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Balearics and Mallorca in particular are among the most expensive places to buy property in the whole of Spain. In 2023, the Port d’Andratx was listed as one of the most expensive places to buy in the entire country, a place where the average price per m2 has increased by 44.1 percent in the last seven years, according to estate agent Coldwell Banker.

READ ALSO: How much does it really cost to live in Spain’s Mallorca?



Ibiza's two sides are very different. Photo: JOSE MANUEL ALABARCE PAEZ / Pixabay


Ibiza or Eivissa as the locals call it is the second-most populated Balearic island, infamous for its wild and hedonistic nightlife. Like Mallorca though, it has two distinct personalities and if you’re not into the clubbing scene, you’ll also find plenty of wildlife and laid-back hippy-style beach bars.

The southern side of the island is where you’ll find many of the bigger resorts and nightlife areas, while the northern side is quieter and more relaxed with a rugged landscape and a strong nod to the bohemian lifestyle. Ibiza has desperately been trying to tear itself away from the boozy package holiday style of tourism in recent years to one that's more luxurious and refined.

Like Mallorca, employment here would mostly be in the hospitality and tourism sectors and there would also be a lot of seasonal work. Running your own business or working remotely would be one of your best options if you want to live here.

Property prices are also very high here compared to much of Spain, and while it may not be the most expensive, the latest stats from property portal Idealista show the average cost in December 2023 was €5,962 /m2.




Menorca is the most affordable of Spain's Balearic Islands. Photo: Lutz Hirschmann / Pixabay


Menorca is Mallorca’s laid-back and calmer little sister, lying just off its northeast coast. It’s more low-key than both Mallorca and Ibiza and is known more for its beauty, nature and beaches than it is for its clubs and international resorts. It attracts those who love wildlife and the outdoors with lots of small fishing villages, natural parks, hiking routes and of course dramatic coastline. It is also trying to market itself as an eco-destination and is limiting the number of cars allowed to drive there

It’s home to two main cities - Mahón and Ciutadella, which sit at opposite ends of the island. They are packed with history and culture, but are still relatively small when compared with Spain’s biggest cities and obviously don’t have as much in terms of museums, theatres and big businesses. Ciutadella is an elegant city with a regal air in terms of its architecture, while the capital Mahón is a fusion of the marks left upon it by previous rulers from the Moors to the British.

READ ALSO - When Menorca was British: Eight things you should know

Both cost of living and property are less expensive in Menorca when compared to the rest of the Balearic islands, which makes it much more affordable to set yourself up here. According to the estate agency Yes, Mallorca, in Mallorca, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom flat in the city centre is around €1,000 per month and a three-bedroom flat around €2,000, while in Menorca, a one-bedroom flat costs around €800 a month and a three-bedroom flat around €1,500.

Buying a property is also a lot less expensive with Idealista listing the average in December 2023 as €2,858 /m2.

Finding work in Menorca may be more difficult than in Mallorca and Ibiza, however, with fewer international companies and an active, but more relaxed tourism market.



Formentera has some of Spain's best beaches. Photo: jimmy di lorenzo / Pixabay


Formentera is the smallest and least populated Balearic Island. There are only around 12,000 people who live there permanently year-round, while the population increases dramatically in summer.

Beaches are what Formentera is all about, from long crescents of powder-white sand to rocky coves. It’s famed for its Bohemian and hippy vibe, which stemmed from the Flower Power movement during the 60s and 70s.

It would suit those who have an eco-ethos and love the outdoor lifestyle, filled with nature and lots of opportunities for adventure and water sports.

On the other side of the coin, you have to have a lot of money to live in Formentera. According to Yes Mallorca, Formentera is the most expensive Balearic Island to live on. It’s marketed as an exclusive destination with prices mostly aimed at tourists rather than those who live there. If you want to buy a property there, Idealista lists prices at a whopping €8,532 /m2. 

Because of its size, it also has the least amount of employment opportunities out of the other islands, so you’d really need to be your own boss if you want to live here, work remotely or set up your own tourism business.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Formentera doesn’t have its own airport, so if you move here, you’d have to factor in the fact that you would have to take a 30-minute ferry to Ibiza first before you take your flight.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also