Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, offers varied landscapes, from the Serra de Tramuntana to its pristine beaches, making it a haven for adventurers and sun-seekers. Menorca, often dubbed the quieter sibling, offers serene bays, UNESCO-listed sites, and a deeply preserved history evident in its prehistoric monuments and charming towns. On the other hand, Ibiza is a blend of vibrant nightlife and untouched natural beauty, attracting both partygoers and those searching for tranquil Mediterranean escapes.

Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: At a Glance

  Mallorca Menorca Ibiza

Palma Cathedral
Drach Caves
Tramuntana Mountains

Cala Mitjana
Cala Galdana
Naveta d'es Tudons

Dalt Vila (Ibiza's Old Town)
Es Vedrà
Sa Pedrera

Budget $$ $$$ $$$
Best For Historic villages Nature Nightlife
Beaches  262 100+ 80+
Popular Cities/Villages

Port de Sóller


Ibiza Town
Santa Eulalia
Cala Llonga

How Many Days 3+ 2+ 2+
Family Friendly Yes Yes Somewhat

Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: Overview

The coastal town of Port de Sóller, Mallorca

Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza form part of Spain's Balearic archipelago, nestled in the Mediterranean Sea. Each island brings its distinctive charm, vibe, and allure while sharing sun-kissed beaches and azure waters. From Mallorca's captivating landscapes to Menorca's tranquillity and Ibiza's famed nightlife, the islands provide a multifaceted Mediterranean experience. If you can manage to combine them all into one trip, that's ideal, but if you must choose one or another, they all share similar appeals:

  • Incredible beaches. Each island offers pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters, catering to sunbathers, families, and water sports enthusiasts alike.
  • Rich history. All three islands have a storied past that spans centuries. History buffs have much to explore, from prehistoric talaiotic structures in Menorca to the Gothic cathedrals in Mallorca and the UNESCO-listed sites in Ibiza.
  • Local cuisine. The islands offer traditional Balearic cuisine that draws from Spanish and Mediterranean influences. Dishes such as sobrasada, ensaimada, and flaó can be savored across the islands.
  • Nightlife. While Ibiza is world-famous for its nightlife and party scene, Mallorca and Menorca have their own vibrant night scenes, with beach clubs, bars, and local fiestas.
  • Natural beauty. Beyond the beaches, each island has a diverse natural landscape, from the mountains of Mallorca's Serra de Tramuntana to Menorca's protected nature reserves and Ibiza's serene countryside.
  • Water activities. Being islands, they all offer water-based activities like sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddleboarding.
  • Art and music. Each island has a thriving art and music scene, with local galleries, live music venues, and annual music and art festivals catering to various tastes.

In summary, while each island in the Balearics has its distinct personality and offerings, they all provide a mix of sun, sea, history, and culture, making the archipelago a cherished destination for varied travelers.

Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: What's the Difference?

Mallorca, the largest of the three islands, offers a blend of beach resorts, mountains, and historic towns. Menorca, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is the go-to for pristine beaches and untouched nature. Ibiza, meanwhile, is a dual-faced gem famous for its electrifying nightlife and serene villages. Luis Fernandez de Vega Chavarri of Hidden in Spain sums it up perfectly: "Looking for a fiesta? Ibiza. Looking for a family destination with activities to do? Mallorca. Looking for beaches with turquoise waters and a wilder place? Menorca."


Mallorca's idyllic Cala s'Almunia

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, framed by the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. This island provides the most diversity in terms of landscapes, from golden beaches and rocky peaks to olive groves and quaint villages. The island's capital, Palma, showcases a vibrant mix of Moorish, Gothic, and Modernist influences, most notably in the impressive La Seu Cathedral. Other popular sites to visit are the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the quaint hilltop town of Valldemossa. Mallorcan cuisine teases with dishes like sobrasada (a spicy sausage) and ensaimada (a sweet pastry).

Patricia Marqués from YourTripToSpain&Portugal explains, "Mallorca is for all types of travelers, as it's the biggest island, with beautiful beaches, medieval villages, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, great food, and amazing trails for cycling."

Check out these itinerary ideas that help you explore the beauty of the Balearic Islands, including plenty of time in Mallorca:

Highlights of Mallorca: Beaches, Mountains & Culture - 5 Days
Barcelona and the Balearic Islands: Mallorca & Menorca - 12 Days
Discover Spain, North to South - 18 Days


Relax on the beach and swim in Menorca's Cala Macarelleta

Often termed the "calmer" sibling, Menorca is a haven for those seeking serenity. The island is renowned for its unspoiled natural beauty and a more tranquil environment than its neighbors. It's a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offering numerous protected areas, pristine beaches, and clear waters for snorkeling and sailing. It's rich in prehistoric monuments like taulas and talaiots, offering a unique insight into ancient Talaiotic Culture.

Mahón, the capital, has one of the world's deepest natural harbors. Menorcan gastronomy is epitomized by its signature cheese, queso de Mahón, and caldereta de langosta (lobster stew). The island is often considered more family-friendly, with abundant calm beaches and outdoor activities suitable for children.

As Karin Eckhard of Espíritu Travel shares, "Menorca is the best one for those who want a quiet island, a more refined island. The beaches are generally coves that are in their natural state." Alba Cruells of Spain Insights chimes in, "I prefer, without any doubt, Menorca, as it's less crowded and there's a lot to visit."

The itinerary ideas below explore the Balearic Islands, including at least a couple of days in beautiful Menorca:

Mediterranean Spain Luxury Getaway: Menorca & Barcelona - 7 Days
Bask in the Beauty of the Balearics: Menorca & Mallorca - 10 Days
Spain Highlights: Madrid, Seville, Granada & the Balearic Islands - 14 Days


The main city of Ibiza with Dalt Vila (Old Town) front and center

Synonymous with iconic nightlife and world-renowned clubs, Ibiza is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, celebrating its biodiverse marine life, archaeological wonders, and the historic town of Dalt Vila. Ibiza is world-famous for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous high-end clubs and beach bars attracting tourists and celebrities from around the globe. Traditional dishes like flaó (a cheesecake with mint) provide a culinary treat.

Beyond the party scene, the island might surprise you with its serene countryside, almond groves, and charming villages. It offers an eclectic culture with a hip, bohemian vibe and a thriving arts scene with numerous hippy markets. Some of the Balearic Islands' best beaches are in Ibiza, and you can sail to the neighboring island, Formentera, for a fun, beach-centric day trip.

However, according to kimkim local specialists, Ibiza is the place for young travelers and partyers. Patricia said, "I would suggest it for partygoers and those wanting to go out." Karin agreed, "Ibiza is for partying," and Alba adds, "Ibiza would be best for young travelers." Luis had a slightly different take, adding that Ibiza is "for those looking for fiestas but also for families."

Though Ibiza isn't as popular to visit as its sisters, these itinerary ideas include the buzzy island in your exploration of the Balearic Islands:

Best of Barcelona & Ibiza - 8 Days
Highlights of Spain & Portugal - 19 Days

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Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: Best Things to Do

From tranquil coves to vibrant towns and historical sites, each island offers distinct attractions.

What to Do in Mallorca

The picturesque mountain village of Valldemossa, Mallorca

Mallorca is a haven for travelers seeking both relaxation and adventure amid beautiful landscapes. Some of the best things to do in Mallorca combine the island's natural beauty with its history and culture. Here are a few must-do experiences on this enchanting island:

  • Explore the Serra de Tramuntana. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Serra de Tramuntana, a mountain range along Mallorca's northwest coast. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers excellent hiking, cycling, and memorable views of the island's landscapes. While in the area, enjoy an excursion to the picturesque towns of Sóller and Valldemossa.
  • Visit the Palma Cathedral (La Seu). Get to know the city of Palma with a local guide, stopping to explore the city's impressive Gothic cathedral. Known as La Seu, the cathedral is a symbol of Mallorca's rich history and religious heritage, offering panoramic views of the city and the sea.
  • Relax on the Beaches of Formentor. Head to the northern stretches of the island to enjoy the idyllic beaches of Formentor near the Port de Pollença, known for crystal-clear waters and white sands. The location is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the island's coastal beauty. You can even enjoy a sailing trip around Pollença to see the area from a different perspective.
  • Explore the Drach Caves. Visit the Cuevas del Drach (Caves of Drach), located on the east coast of the island. Discover the incredible stalactite formations and take a boat ride on Lake Martel, one of the largest underground lakes in the world. You can also combine a trip to the caves with wine tasting
  • Stroll through the Historic Town of Alcúdia. Another hidden spot up north, Alcúdia, is home to charming streets and a historic town surrounded by medieval walls. Explore the well-preserved buildings, local markets, and the remnants of its Roman past, including the ancient Roman city of Pollentia. This area is also perfect for a hot-air balloon ride over Mallorca

All kimkim local specialists agreed that Mallorca, being the largest of the islands, has the most to do. Alba explained that there's "a lot to do in Mallorca and plenty of activities," and Luis agreed, adding that Mallorca "offers a wider range of activities to do when compared to Menorca and Ibiza."

What to Do in Menorca

Catch a famous Menorcan sunset at Pont d'en Gil

Menorca offers a less hilly, more tranquil retreat with its pristine beaches, historic sites, and rich natural environment. Consider if the following must-do activities fit what you're looking for in your island escape:

  • Visit the cities. Explore the ancient coastal town of Ciutadella, with its narrow, cobbled streets, old stone buildings, and picturesque squares. Don't miss the Ciutadella Cathedral and the lively harbor area lined with restaurants and cafés. On the island's eastern side is Mahón, home to the Church of Santa Maria, known for its impressive organ with over 3,000 pipes, one of the largest natural harbors in the world, and the Museo de Menorca.
  • Enjoy the island's coasts. Unwind on Menorca's pristine beaches, such as Cala Turqueta and Cala Macarelleta, both known for their natural beauty, soft white sand, and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Or enjoy a boat ride through Menorca's marine reserve, seeing a different side of the island's coastal stretches.  
  • Explore the Naveta des Tudons. Discover the Naveta des Tudons, a prehistoric burial site among Menorca's most important archaeological sites, providing insights into the island's ancient Talaiotic Culture. When finished, combine your day with a sunset Jeep safari to see these ancient sites glowing in the sun's evening rays. 
  • Go horseback riding along the Camí de Cavalls. The Camí de Cavalls, a coastal path that encircles the entire island, offers a special perspective of Menorca's diverse landscapes, from rugged cliffs and secluded coves to lush countryside. You can hike along the trail or enjoy it by horseback. Popular stretches include Cala Mitjana by horseback or riding horses to Cala Fustam
  • Explore coves and caves. Menorca's unique coastline is lined with sheer cliffs, idyllic coves, and mysterious caves. One of the best ways to explore it is by sailing along Menorca's southern coast, home to some of the island's most beautiful coves and caves.

Menorca is a hit with kimkim local specialists, who love its quieter, laid-back vibe. Luis explained, "Menorca is smaller but wilder and better preserved, and the beaches and creeks are better." Alba pointed out that "Menorca has a lot of prehistoric sites," and Patricia added that Menorca is "more untouched by tourism and great for families."

What to Do in Ibiza

The long, white-sand beaches of Formentera, an island next to Ibiza

Though Ibiza is famously known as a paradise for nightlife and beach lovers, you can still have various other experiences on this island. Ibiza combines idyllic tranquility and buzzy nightlife, so choose this island if the following appeals to you: 

  • Experience the nightlife in Ibiza Town. Dive into the world-renowned nightlife in Ibiza Town. Home to famous clubs like Pacha, Ushuaïa, and Amnesia, enjoy dancing the night away with top-tier music from DJs around the globe.
  • Relax on the beaches. Spend a day at the beautiful beaches of Ibiza, such as Cala Comte, where crystal-clear waters and golden sands create an idyllic environment for relaxation and water activities. You can even enjoy a boat tour with snorkeling, taking you to these special areas and other hidden spots. 
  • Explore the historic Dalt Vila. Discover the Dalt Vila, the high town of Ibiza, with a local guide. Enjoy this beautiful city with cobbled streets, historic buildings, and panoramic views. This area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, tells tales of Ibiza's rich history beyond its famous nightlife. You can also combine your strolling with a taste of Ibiza walk
  • Take a boat trip to Formentera. Hop on a ferry or charter a private boat to visit the island of Formentera, known for its pristine beaches and clear waters. Rent a bicycle or scooter to explore the island's natural beauty and enjoy a serene escape from the bustling life of Ibiza.
  • Visit the hippy markets. Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Ibiza's hippy markets, such as the Punta Arabí Hippy Market in Es Canar and Las Dalias Hippy Market in San Carlos. These markets are perfect places to shop for unique, artisanal goods and get a feel for the island's bohemian spirit.

Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: Where to Stay

Each island offers plenty of accommodations, from luxury resorts to boutique hotels and rustic agritourism estates. Of course, with Mallorca being the largest of the three islands, you'll have far more variety there. However, you can still enjoy an authentic stay in Menorca and Ibiza. 

Where to Stay in Mallorca

Stay right on Mallorca's coast (photo courtesy of Cap Rocat)

Consider staying in Palma or popular beach resorts like Magaluf for a bustling atmosphere. For a quieter experience, the mountain villages or coastal towns like Alcúdia are ideal. Patricia clarified, however, that "in Mallorca, there aren't many nice hotels by the beach; the island is more about countryside hotels." Here are some options for where to stay in Mallorca.


The capital city offers a vibrant mix of history, culture, and urban beach life. It's an ideal spot for those wanting to explore historic sites by day and enjoy a dynamic nightlife after sundown. With a range of accommodation options, from luxury to budget, Palma is perfect for urban explorers. For a comfortable and central stay, check out AH Art Hotel Palma, or if you're looking for luxury, you can't go wrong with Hotel Glòria de Sant Jaume.


Nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains, this town offers a mix of Mallorcan charm and scenic beauty. A vintage train ride connects the inland hub with its coastal port, so it's the place for those who want a little bit of both worlds and are seeking a relaxed ambience and natural beauty. If you want to stay inland, check out Hotel Sóller Plaza. For a stay on the waterfront, the historic and charming Hotel Espléndido is always a winner. 


A historic town with Roman roots, it features a beautiful medieval center. The nearby Port d'Alcudia offers a lovely beach and a range of water sports activities, ideal for family vacations. Stay right in the center of this historic town with the adults-only Hotel Can Mostatxins, or enjoy a luxury stay near the beach at Alcudia Port Suites.


A peaceful old town inland, Pollença is renowned for its traditional Sunday market and the 365 Calvari Steps leading to a chapel with panoramic views. It's an ideal spot for hiking and boating, plus you'll find a few hotels that feel authentic and out of the hustle and bustle. Hoposa Hotel Pollentia is as beachfront as you can get, and Hotel Villa Singala is an excellent budget-friendly option. 


This picturesque village is located in the Tramuntana mountain range. Famous for its cobbled streets, historic monastery, and the former residence of the composer Frédéric Chopin, Valldemossa offers a peaceful retreat with perfect views. It's a must-visit for those seeking a touch of Mallorca's traditional charm and artistic heritage. Hotel Valldemossa is a kimkim favorite and will likely make you fall in love with the town. 

Rural Mallorca

For rural hotels, consider the romantic Finca Ca'n Beneït, set in a historic 13th-century manor, or go for Son Mas Hotel Rural with its outdoor spa near the hidden gem of Manacor.

Pick your favorite among kimkim's recommendations for the best hotels in Mallorca

Where to Stay in Menorca

Sleep well in relaxed, natural rooms on Menorca (photo courtesy of Faustino Gran)

Choose between the main towns of Mahón and Ciutadella for a mix of culture and coast. For a secluded retreat, opt for villas or agritourism estates in the island's interior. Though he still recommends visiting the island, Luis pointed out that "Ibiza, and especially Menorca, are very expensive in terms of accommodation." If you're willing to splurge, check out the following areas and hotels worth a stay in Menorca.


The capital has a beautiful natural harbor and offers a mix of Georgian architecture, local markets, and museums. It's a great base to explore the island's eastern side and has plenty of accommodation choices. One of kimkim's favorite hotels in the entire Balearic Islands is in Mahón, the charming boutique Cristine Bedfor Hotel. A more affordable option, but just as authentic, is Boutique Hotel Ses Bruixes. Check out other hotels in Mahón, as visited and recommended by kimkim staff. 


The former capital is rich in medieval history with its narrow streets and Gothic architecture. Located on the western side of Menorca, it has a lively port area with restaurants and bars and a few standout hotel options. For a luxury stay, choose Faustino Gran, a combination of three historic palaces. Though there are a few other hotels in Ciutadella worth considering, another favorite is Hotel Boutique Can Sastre, once a famous pastry shop.

Cala Galdana

This resort town is often referred to as the "Queen of Menorca's Calas" due to its picturesque beach. Ideal for families and couples looking for a relaxed beach holiday, kimkim's top recommendation for this town is Melia Cala Galdana. For other coastal recommendations, consider kimkim's list of beachfront hotels in Menorca

Rural Menorca

Menorca's rural hotels are perfect for travelers wanting to explore the island's natural landscapes and pristine beaches. Hotel Rusticae Alcaufar Vell is on an expansive estate with access to the Camí de Cavalls hiking path and two coves. For a quiet and relaxed adult-only stay, head to Hotel Rural Morvedra Nou. Though it feels exceptionally rural, with a few hiking trails nearby, you can easily drive to Ciutadella or Cala Galdana

Check out kimkim's list of the best hotels in Menorca

Where to Stay in Ibiza

Enjoy a rural hotel and swim in the Ibizan sunshine (photo courtesy of Atzaró Agroturismo Hotel)

Stay in Ibiza Town or Sant Antoni de Portmany for nightlife proximity. The northern parts of the island or countryside fincas (traditional farmhouses) are perfect for tranquillity. Patricia agreed with Luis about the price point of Ibiza, saying, "Ibiza is very expensive for accommodation." However, Karin chimed in with her opinion: "To be fair, though, none of the islands are necessarily affordable in the summer months." If you choose to stay in Ibiza, here are a few options for each of the most common areas to overnight on the island.

Ibiza Town

The capital is a blend of historic charm and modern vibes. With its UNESCO-protected old town, chic boutiques, and lively nightlife, it caters to all types of travelers and has some genuinely charming accommodations. Stay right in the oldest part of the city and castle with La Torre del Canónigo Hotel, or enjoy a bit of luxury at Hotel Mirador de Dalt Vila

Sant Antoni

Known for its iconic sunsets and beach clubs, Sant Antoni is a hotspot for party lovers and a central location for boat trips around the island. There aren't too many choices for accommodations here, but Hotel Portmany is a favorite for a central stay. If you don't mind being outside the central core, choose OKU Ibiza for a truly unique, stylish, and relaxed stay, or go with a more budget-friendly pick with Hotel Boutique & Spa Las Mimosas Ibiza

Santa Eulalia

A more relaxed and family-friendly alternative, this beachfront town offers a serene ambience, a lovely marina, and an array of dining options. Catalonia Royal Ses Estaques is good for an adults-only escape, or you can choose Hotel Riomar for a sustainable stay with many unique perks. There are plenty of other beachfront hotels in Ibiza in other areas, too. 

Rural Ibiza

You might be surprised that Ibiza has some of the best rural accommodation options in the Balearic Islands. You can leave the party scene and relax among olive groves, pine forests, and farm-to-table philosophies. There are too many to list, so check out kimkim articles about the best rural hotels in Ibiza and the best eco-friendly hotels on the island. 

For more options, peruse kimkim's list of the best boutique hotels in Ibiza

The Balearic Islands: How to Get There

Getting to the Balearic Islands is surprisingly convenient and hassle-free. The most common way is by air, with multiple airlines operating frequent flights from major Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona and other European cities such as London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Flight times from Madrid to any of the Balearic Islands are typically around an hour, while flights from other European cities usually take around two hours.

Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic ferry ride from mainland Spain, primarily from cities such as Barcelona, Valencia, and Dénia, which can take four to eight hours, depending on the destination and type of ferry service chosen.

How to Get to Mallorca

Aerial view of the sea coastline and Cala Xinxell in Mallorca

By air: Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) is one of the busiest airports in Spain, welcoming flights from various European cities and several long-haul destinations. It's about 5 miles (8 km) east of Palma, the island's capital. Mallorca is well-served by regular flights from Madrid (about one hour), Barcelona (also around one hour), and other major European cities like London (about 2 hours and 15 minutes), Paris (about 1 hour and 45 minutes), and Amsterdam (approximately 2.5 hours).

By ferry: There are several ferry routes connecting Mallorca to the Spanish mainland, including services from Barcelona, Valencia, and Dénia. The travel time varies depending on the route and service but can be between 4-8 hours. Ferries to Mallorca predominantly depart from Barcelona, and the journey takes around 7-8 hours.

How to Get to Menorca

Landscape views featuring Cala Pilar Beach, Menorca

By air: Menorca Airport (MAH) is located around 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of the island's capital, Mahón. It handles flights mainly from other European cities. To reach Menorca, travelers can fly from Madrid or Barcelona (in about one hour) and London, Paris, and Amsterdam (all in about two hours). 

By ferry: Ferries connect Menorca with Mallorca, Barcelona, and Valencia. Travel times can vary. The ferry from Mallorca to Menorca usually takes around 2-3 hours, while the ferry from Barcelona can take between 3.5-9 hours, depending on the service. 

How to Get to Ibiza

Popular view of Ibiza's picturesque Cala d'Hort

By air: Ibiza Airport (IBZ) serves the island and is located about 4 miles (6.4 km) southwest of Ibiza Town. It handles both domestic and international flights, particularly during the summer tourist season. Flights from Madrid and Barcelona take about one hour, and flights last roughly 2-2.5 hours from London, Paris, and Amsterdam.

By ferry: Ibiza is well-connected to the Spanish mainland, primarily from Dénia, Valencia, and Barcelona, as well as the other Balearic Islands. The ferry from Dénia usually takes around two hours, while the ferries from Valencia and Barcelona can take between 3-9 hours, depending on the service.

How to Travel Within the Balearic Islands

Cruise between the Balearic Islands on a ferry

If you'd like to visit more than one of the Balearic Islands, you can also easily move between them by plane or ferry. Ferries also accept cars, so you can bring yours aboard; just know that you need to arrive at the ferry terminal 90 minutes before departure. 

Mallorca to Menorca & Ibiza

From Mallorca, you can take a ferry or a quick flight to both Menorca and Ibiza. The ferry from Mallorca to Menorca takes approximately 2-3 hours, and to Ibiza, it takes around 2-4 hours. Flights from Mallorca to either island are typically under an hour, making it a convenient option if you're on a tight schedule.

Menorca to Mallorca & Ibiza

To travel from Menorca, regular ferries and flights are available to both Mallorca and Ibiza. The ferry from Menorca to Mallorca takes about 2-3 hours, and to Ibiza, it takes around four hours. Direct flights from Menorca to the other islands take less than an hour.

Ibiza to Mallorca & Menorca

From Ibiza, ferries and flights to both Mallorca and Menorca are regularly scheduled. The ferry journey to Mallorca takes approximately 2-4 hours, and to Menorca, it takes about four hours. Similar to the other islands, flight durations from Ibiza to both Mallorca and Menorca are usually less than an hour.

Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: The Verdict

Sol d'en Serra beach, Ibiza 

Whether you're an avid nature lover, history buff, or party enthusiast, the Balearic Islands cater to every traveler's whim. Mallorca offers a diverse mix of culture and nature, making it suitable for families and adventurers. Menorca, with its serene ambience, beckons to those in search of relaxation and historical exploration. Meanwhile, Ibiza promises a vibrant blend of hedonism and tranquillity, ensuring a unique island experience. To truly capture the essence of the Balearics, a combined itinerary spanning all three islands would be ideal.


Map of Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: Which Is Best for You?
Map of Mallorca, Menorca, or Ibiza: Which Is Best for You?