Mallorca

Transportation and Accommodations

Getting There

Mallorca is a Spanish island in the Balearic sea sitting off the east coast of Spain. It is one of the four larger Balearic islands and draws in visitors looking for a variety of different vacations. Compared to other islands, Mallorca has quite a large airport in the capital city of Palma. Look for direct flights to Palma de Mallorca airport.

Getting Around

The island of Mallorca is sizable and there are many ways to explore all it has to offer. The best way to get around the island will be by renting a car to provide flexibility in your travels. There are many rental car companies to choose from on the island, and many have a big fleet of cars available from the Palma airport. The rental car companies have offices just outside of arrivals and the car park is walkable after you've checked in the information to pick up your vehicle.

 

It is possible to visit Mallorca without a car as well, but it will be based on a different itinerary. For those who want to simply enjoy the beach, plan to pick a location to stay where you will not need to leave often and therefore not dependent on a car. In this case, you can use taxis to get to and from your destination and if you need them for any other transportation.

 

Alternatively, you can look to stay in Palma and plan day trips from the capital city. Trips may include a boat tour from the main port, a day trip to another part of the island, or renting bikes to see more of the island on two wheels.

 

Driving warning - the island of Mallorca has very nice roads, and the main roads are easy to drive on, even for those who are not a fan of driving. However, there are also quite challenging roads to drive on across the island. The roads down to coves, like to Cala Deia, can be very windy and often not wide roads but are two-way roads. These routes can be nerve-wracking, especially driving in an unfamiliar vehicle. There are also backroads between some smaller towns, often found closer to the coast, which can be very narrow with rock walls on the sides, making it uncomfortable when two cars are on the road traveling in different directions. These roads in particular can be avoided as usually there is a slightly longer option available if you pick the route on the main roads that runs more inland.

 

Many parking locations across Mallorca will require payment. Although not unreasonably priced, you will need to get a ticket from the parking machine in each parking lot to place in the front window of the car to show the length of time parking is paid.


Accommodations

When thinking about where to stay in Mallorca, it really depends what type of trip you are looking for

Palma or Magaluf

For those looking to go out and party

Palma

For those looking to explore different parts of the island with one home base, offering lots of options for cafes in the morning and restaurants in the evening


Deia

For those looking for a charming, small town to stay in and in an area more well-known for hiking options

SE coast

For those looking to spend more time at the beach or close to a higher concentration of the nice coves in Mallorca

Palma

As the capital city, staying in Palma provides many benefits. For first time visitors, this is a great location to stay. It is close to the airport, making it easy for your arrival and departure. It also is the largest city, offering many areas to explore, restaurant options and a variety of accommodation options. Another advantage of staying in Palma is there are roads to many areas of the island directly from Palma. This means driving distances to different locations are not too long; if staying in more remote areas on the island, the journey between destinations will be longer as there are not as many roads to and from smaller towns.

 

BQ Augusta Hotel

Located a 10 minute drive from the Old Town of Palma, or a 30 minute walk, this hotel is a good option. The hotel has parking available for 10 euros / day, or you can park for free on the street (noting it is a more challenging area to park as it is a thin street on a hill). The location of the hotel was not my favorite, as I would have preferred to be closer to the Old Town of Palma, but it provided a good price for the location. From the hotel, it is possible walk down to the boardwalk (about a 5-10 minute walk) and then walk along the boardwalk into the main part of the city.


Things to do and see

Palma

The capital of Mallorca and a cultural hot spot. You can easily spend a day exploring the town itself, or plan in stops in Palma at the beginning or end of your days.

Mercat de Santa Catalina - a local market in the city open all days except Sunday from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm. The market has goods to purchase for cooking at home, but also has some options for takeaway snacks like making your own jamon sandwich

Mallorca Cathedral - the grand cathedral is hard to miss when visiting the capital. From the boardwalk, you'll have some nice views of the Cathedral from afar.

Boardwalk -  take a walk or run along the boardwalk to enjoy

Passeig del Born - high street in the center of Palma

 

Parking: there are a variety of parking options in the city. For somewhat easier but central parking, head to the Passeig Mallorca Parking. This is an underground garage with a number of spaces. If arriving early in the day, you should have no issues parking here.

 

Valldemossa

Small town in the mountains of Mallorca. This charming town has many side streets you can wander through and get lost in. There are cute cafes, shops, and restaurants throughout the town and you feel the cultural influence when in the town.

 

Parking: when approaching the town, follow the blue signs for parking in town where there are two main parking lot options. Fortunately, since it is a small town, it is likely visitors will be coming and going as you arrive so if no spots are available one should open up shortly after.

 

Deia

Quaint picturesque town on a hill on the north side of Mallorca. Walk around the town itself, getting lost in the little streets, and walk along the winding path to get a nice view of the town. As this is a very small town, you will not need much time to explore, but it is a great place to stop for lunch, a coffee, or an afternoon drink.

 

Parking: there is limited parking in and around the town of Deia. There is one small parking lot in the center, which you will see when driving through the town along with some road parking on both sides of the town. Drive slowly through the town as not to miss an opportunity to park. If no spots are available, it may be best to wait in the parking lot until someone departs; similar to Valldemossa, as it is a small town, it is likely spots may turn over quickly.

 

Soller

The town of Soller is near the northwest coast of Mallorca and located slightly inland. The Port de Soller is another section of the town which sits along the water. You can drive and park at the port or park in the town and then take a train from the town of Soller to the Port of Soller. The old style tram runs between the town and the Port and provides a unique way of traveling between both areas of Soller.

 

Port de Soller

Nicer than many other ports, the Port de Soller is picturesque with houses along the coastline and up into the Tramuntana mountains. There are a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops along the port to explore and also a sandy beach for those looking to relax by the water.

 

Santanyi

Small town near the southeast coast of Mallorca, and an easy stop if visiting different coves in the area. Although small, this town has charm at the center around the cathedral. There are a variety of restaurants and shops which are nice. Stop here for a coffee and grab a jamon sandwich to go from Jamones y Embutidos marco Sanchez to bring with you to your next destination

 Sa Foradada Viewpoint

Viewpoint over the ocean, which can be added onto your journey when heading to Deia. The turn can be easy to miss, so pay attention when getting close as the coastal road is challenging to turn around on if missed.

 

Formentor

Located on the northeast tip of the island. Here there is a beach which you can visit, along with an incredible viewpoint at Es Colomer. For those driving, first head to the port de Formentor. From here, drive to the Es Colomer viewpoint. Note, this drive is not too challenging. The road up to the viewpoint is a proper two-way road with enough space along the entire journey for two cars. Local buses will also take this road up and down. The only challenging aspect is a few very sharp hairpin turns, but these can be taken slow.

 

The Es Colomer viewpoint is well worth a stop. Grab the first parking spot you see once you arrive at the viewpoint as there are only a few marked spots, with all other cars parking along the side of the road. The views from here are stunning.

 

From this viewpoint, you can head down to the Formentor beach. If looking for more views, you may choose to head all the way out to the tip where the lighthouse sits. Note, in the summer season, this road is closed to cars and the only way to reach the point will be on a shuttle bus.

Coves on the northern coast

Cala Deia

Found on the northern coast of Mallorca, this a favorite cove to many. Be warned, driving down to this cove is along a thin and windy road. There is a parking lot at the bottom of the drive, where you will be able to park and turn around before heading back up the same road. In the summer months, this parking lot may be very busy so best to get here early in the day to ensure a parking spot.

 

The cove itself is beautiful, with a clear blue and green water. The area to sit is all rocks so be prepared with a towel or blanket to set on the rocks to sit on. Ca's Pastro March and Ca'n Lluc are two restaurants sitting right along the cove providing an option for lunch with a view. If possible, it is best to make a reservation at either restaurant in advance to confirm a spot for lunch.

 

Along with relaxing at the cove, there are also hiking trails offering views of the trails. Even if you are not looking for a longer walk, it is worth walking up the path for 5-10 minutes and enjoying the birds-eye view of Cala de Deia.

 

Coves on the Southeast coast

listed in order from west to east


S'Almunia

A cove found along the southwest coast of Mallorca, this is a beautiful cove to stop by or enjoy a morning relaxing on the rocks. There are lots of spots here to lay your towel on the rocks. Beware there are a set of steep stairs down which you are required to take to reach the cove. From S'Almunia, you can walk 5 minutes to reach Calo del Moro.

 

Calo del Moro

Known for being one of the prettiest coves in Mallorca. Plan to walk out to the cove for a stunning view of the light blue water washing up on the coast. There is not much space here to sit at the cove, making it a better cove to walk and see, enjoy the view, but then pick a different cove to spend time relaxing and swimming at. The birds-eye view of the cove makes it easy to understand why this is known as one of the best coves in Mallorca.

 

Parking: minimal parking is available near the cove, with the only spots being in a small dirt area. Street parking is not permitted close to the cove, and thus your other option is to park about a 15 minute walk from the cove around Cala Llombards town.

 

Cala Llombards

Also found along the southeast coast, Cala Llombards is between Calo del Moro and Es Pontas. This cove has a proper sand beach where you can rent a chair or put a towel down. There is one little shack which serves coffee, drinks and some snacks. The parking lot here is larger than at some other coves, but it is likely people will be parked for much of the day here rather than just a short stop.

 

Mirador de Es Pontas

Near Cala Santanyi, Mirador de Es Pontas is a viewpoint for Es Pontas which is a large arch off the coastline. If cove hopping, this is worth a spot with plenty of parking in the area. Consider stopping in the town of Santanyi before visiting the viewpoint and grab a jamon sandwich to then enjoy at the Es Pontas viewpoint.

 

Cala Santanyi

Cove near Es Pontas with a small beach

 

Cala Figuera

This cove is a port and is home to a charming fishing village.

 

S'Amarador Beach

Found within the Mondrago National Park, S'Amarador is a sandy beach. There are chairs available as well as plenty of space to lay your towel or blanket on the sand and relax. This is a nice beach to spend time at with a small shack serving drinks on the beach and a small restaurant on the beach nearby across from the hotel.

 

Parc Natural de Mondrago

A national park found on the southeast side of Mallorca. Accessing the park is easy from the larger roads, and there is a convenient parking lot available in the park where you can pay to park for the day. From the parking lot, there are a variety of walks you can take in the park and along the coast, or you can head to the beach to swim and enjoy some time in the sun.

 

Within the park, S'Amarador Beach and Cala Mondrago are two famous stops not to miss.

 

The national park provides some nice walks. Signs at the parking lot show there are four different short walking trails near S'Amarador Beach and Cala Mondrago which you can take. I recommend planning to walk along the routes which are near the coastline, as there are stunning views of the beach and the sea. You can skip some of the routes which meander inland as these paths are not as clear and do not provide the nice views found along the coast.

 

Beware that if driving from cove to cove, the navigation system may route you through smaller backroads to reach the national park. These roads are quite narrow with rock walls along both sides and are designed for two cars. With this in mind, if you prefer to drive on a larger road, consider choosing the slightly longer option which takes you onto the larger highway rather than the winding roads closer to the coast. For us, this was much better as the roads often had blind corners which was nerve-wracking knowing there could be cars coming from the opposite direction. 

 

Cala d'or

Another cove along the southeast coast

 

Hiking

There are numerous hiking routes across Mallorca, whether in the Tramuntana mountains, along the coast, or in the national park, there are options for all capabilities. The best time to visit Mallorca for hiking would be in the spring and autumn months, as summer months can be very hot for hiking conditions.

 

Cycling

Mallorca draws in cyclists from all over, and you will understand why when you visit. The diversity of terrain across the island provides different options for cyclists. As there are many small, quaint towns within the mountains, cycling through these can be a great way to enjoy the villages. After climbing a mountain, you'll have the option to take a break in a quaint Spanish town before continuing on your cycle.

 

Boat Tours

As Mallorca sits in the Baltic sea, there are many options to take a half day or full day boat trip to enjoy Mallroca from the water.


Food and Drinks


Restaurants

QuitaPenas Valldemossa

Valldemossa

Perfect spot for lunch on a back street. They have a quaint outdoor garden area with tables and a nice option inside as well. As this is just off the main street, it is a perfect spot for a snack. Try a local Mallorcan dish like Sobrassada here which is a similar to a chorizo but softer and usually served spread on bread.

 

Ca'n Lluc

Cala Deia

Beachside restaurant in the Cala de Deia cove right along the water with stunning views. Beware the drive down here is a bit treacherous, but doable! There is parking at the bottom of the road. Make reservations in advance if you are keen to visit this restaurant.

 

Santo Sol

Port de Soller

Found along the main road in the Port de Soller, this spot is perfect for an afternoon drink. They have some small boards for sharing, and is located along the main road providing a nice view.

 

Mercat de Santa Catalina

Palma

Local market in Palma open everyday of the week from 7 am to 4 pm except Sundays. The market has lots of fresh fruit, charcuterie, fish, meats and local baked goods. Walk through here and stop for a snack in the morning or pick up a baguette and some jamon to make a delicious sandwich.

 

Elefante

Palma

Café and coffee shop in Santa Catalina, Palma right across the street from the market. They offer healthy brunch options and coffees.

 

Jamones y Embutidos marco Sanchez

Santanyi

Jamon shop in Santanyi. Stop in here to try some delicious jamon and pick up a sandwich to take with you and enjoy out at the coves.

 

Mise en Place

Palma

Brunch and bakery in Placa Mayor of Palma. Not quite an authentic spot, but an option with some healthier or more substantial breakfast items.

 

La Cueva

Palma

Hidden along a pedestrian only street in Palma, great place for dinner with a huge assortment of tapas options for dinner. The portions are large and the waiters will guide you in making sure you do not order too much. Be sure to try some sangria as well!

 

Sa Volta

Palma

Affiliated with La Cueva and right nearby, this spot also has an expansive menu. There are some differences between the menus, but both are great places to enjoy a Spanish meal. The service is great, very kind and helpful.

 

Santa Catalina Restaurant

Palma

Along a pedestrian only street in Palma, the restaurant serves a wide variety of Spanish dishes from tapas to paella. Grab a table outside here to enjoy some people watching along the street, with a glass of sangria and some traditional Mallorcan food.


Pastisseria Ca Na Cati

Palma

Bakery in the center of Palma known for serving some of the best ensaimadas, along with other pastries.


Traditional Mallorcan dishes

  • Tumbet - baked vegetable dish including layers of sliced vegetables aubergines, peppers, and potatoes
  • Ensaimada - spiraled shaped sweet pastry
  • Sobrassada - raw cured sausage, similar to a chorizo but softer and usually served spread on bread.

Other Notes

Duration

Mallorca is a place where you can easily visit in a weekend or long weekend to get a feel for the island, or alternatively plan a full week long trip and still have plenty to do. For a first visit, 3 days is a nice amount of time as it allows you time to get acquainted with the island, and explore some key areas that interest you. This could mean full days spent at some of the beautiful coves and beaches, hiking in the mountains, or taking a road trip across the island, stopping in many of the quaint villages.

 

Weather

Being an island, many are drawn to visit Mallorca in the summer months to enjoy sunny weather and high temperatures. The summer sees hot days, perfect for visiting the beach, while spring and autumn will be cooler.

 

When to visit

The time of year you choose to visit should be influenced by how you plan to spend your time in Mallorca. If you are eager to enjoy the beaches and swimming, plan for the summer months between June and August. For those looking to visit Mallorca and have a more active vacation, plan to visit in the shoulder months specifically traveling in spring and autumn. In these times, daylight hours are still nice and the temperatures are more comfortable for adventurous activities.

 

Overall thoughts

Mallorca far surpassed my expectations. It is a very common British and German holiday destination, and thus I thought this would mean it was commercialized and likely overrated. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the island is, and also impressed with the vast selection of holidays possible for visitors. By this I mean it is not only a location for people to visit who would like to spend time relaxing at the beach, but instead the island also offers tons of hiking and cycling opportunities, fun experiences like boat tours or cave explorations, and excellent cuisine.


Navigation

Transportation and Accommodations

Things to do and see

Food and Drinks