A Complete Travel Guide to Mallorca, Spain

A complete guide to Mallorca, Spain

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What to know before you go to Mallorca

Mallorca (also called Majorca…yes, they are the same place!), pronounced “mai-or-kuh”, is a fabulous, diverse island off of the East coast of Spain. It is the largest of the Balearic Islands, next to Ibiza, Menorca, and Formentera. While Ibiza is known for parties and Menorca for a secluded retreat, Mallorca encompasses both vibes. In the northern region you’ll find mountains and hiking, on the east side you’ll find beautiful beaches and family resorts, on the east side you’ll find lavish yacht clubs and the city of Palma, and on the southern part of the island you’ll find beautiful Calas, beaches, and of course, the famous caves! 

In terms of getting to Mallorca, there are a few direct flights over the summer that arrive directly in Palma, however, the days are limited. If you want to make the most of your trip, you can fly to a surrounding city, like Barcelona, Madrid, or Milan direct and spend a few days in that city, and then fly to Mallorca. The flight to Mallorca from one of the major European cities can be bought through Ryan Air and is very inexpensive!

From here, I highly suggest you rent a car. The island has so much to offer and there is little public transportation. There is a scenic train ride that runs from Palma to Sóller, however, there are no other trains on the island and taxis can get quite expensive.

Palma de Mallorca
Cala Pi Mallorca
How long should I stay in Mallorca?

I recommend at LEAST 4 days in Mallorca, but you could easily spend 2 weeks here as there is so much to do and see. I spent 5 days and left feeling like I didn’t see and do all that I wanted. It takes a while to get from one part of the island to the next, so you if you can only plan to explore a couple of villages/beaches per day to avoid too much travel time.

Where to stay in Mallorca

The biggest question is where to stay in Mallorca…choosing the right location and hotel seems daunting but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re looking for a diverse experience, one option is to stay in 2-3 different parts of the island to fully experience all that it has to offer. I personally stayed 3 nights in Palma by the beach and 3 nights in the small town of Consell to experience a traditional Spanish finca. A finca is a rural Spanish ranch, farm, or vineyard, many of which are converted into hotels. Below is a guide to picking out the perfect town for your ideal Mallorca retreat!

You’re looking to stay close to the bars, restaurants, and shopsPalma
Palma is the capital of Mallorca, and definitely makes for a great place to stay! While being close to the beaches, it is also the hub of the island and houses some of the best restaurants, shopping, and sight seeing. Another bonus is that it is close to the airport, so if you are unable to rent a car or are here for just a weekend, Palma is a great place to consider staying to experience as much as you can in a short time frame. There is also a historic train that leaves from Palma to go to Sóller! Palma is home to the famous Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca, as well as rows of yachts, local artists, night clubs, and incredible food. If you crave excitement, this is the place for you! Hotel Cappuccino is a super chic and modern hotel right in the hub of the city, equipped with an outdoor pool and incredible restaurant and bar!

You’re looking for a mountain retreatDeià
Deià is located in the northern aspect of Mallorca embedded in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, a UNESCO world heritage site. This town is pure magic, with beautiful traditional Spanish homes lined perfectly along the mountains. This town sits between Valldemossa and Sóller and is a 48 minute drive from Palma. If you’re craving some time at the beach, this mountainous terrain does not have any white sandy beaches, however, there is Cala Deià, a perfect place to soak up the sun and go for a swim in the turquoise waters of Mallorca. Deià is such a romantic town, making it a perfect place for couples to stay, or if you are looking for a relaxing sojourn. La Residencia Hotel in Deià is a picture perfect luxury resort with incredible views, making for the most romantic Mallorcan getaway!

You’re looking to be close to the beachPlaya de Palma Beach
Playa de Palma beach is situated right next to Palma, and less than 10 minutes from the airport. Depending on where exactly you stay on the beach, it make take up to 20 minutes to reach Palma. There are many hotels that line the street and are waterfront, which is an incredible way to wake up each morning! It makes for convenient beach day, and at night the streets are lively. I had an amazing experience at THB El Cid Hotel , which has beautiful waterfront views and 2 outdoor pools!

You’re looking to have a traditional Spanish experienceConsell  A small village outside of Palma, the area of Consell is full of vineyards and traditional fincas. I stayed in Sa Cabana Hotel and Spa, which was one of my all time favorite hotel stays! The driveway is lined by palm trees and the property is dotted with olive trees, which contributes to the hotel’s homemade olive oil! There is a pool on site with a spa underneath which is a unique touch. The spacious rooms embody a traditional Spanish style, but with modern touches, all with their own private yard! Because of its central location, it makes it easy to visit other quaint towns such as Alaró or Bunyola, and also only 20 minutes from Palma, allowing you to still experience the beach!

You’re looking for an all-inclusive resort stay Alcúdia  Alcúdia, on the east coast of Mallorca, is lined with beautiful all-inclusive resorts and is a family friendly place to stay. It’s known to have the most beautiful, crystal clear blue water on the island perfect for both sun bathing and water sports. If you’re still hoping to get a taste of authentic Spanish culture, Alcúdia old town is just a 5 minute drive from the beach and is a perfect place to stroll the narrow streets and the Medieval Wall. Iberostar Selection Playa de Muro, located on the Alcúdia Bay, is an incredible resort with an all-inclusive option (or half board!), offering 2 outdoor pools, luxurious amenities, and a picture perfect beachfront.

You can’t decide between mountains or beachSóller  If you’re a mountain and beach lover alike, Sóller is be the place for you! Tucked away in the northern mountains of Mallorca, Sóller is one of the most charming and popular towns on the island. What makes it unique is the historic tram that runs right through the main square of the town, Parroquia de Sant Bartomeu de Sóller which is the gothic style cathedral worth adding to your itinerary, and of course the famous oranges grown in the town that provide orange juice for much of the island! If you’re itching to get in the water, head down to Port de Sóller, where you can sunbathe and swim and of course walk around the docks to see the beautiful boats! If you’re in Port de Sóller, don’t miss out on NENI Mallorca, a fantastic hip Israeli restaurant with amazing food and views overlooking the port. Hotel Es Port is a luxurious, classic finca style hotel with an indoor and outdoor pool, a tennis court, and rooms with beautiful terrace views!

Best things to do in Mallorca, Spain
Palma de Mallorca

Palma is of course a must see in Mallorca, however, I definitely underestimated its majesty! I fell in love with Palma and its unique architecture the second I stepped foot in the town. The most famous part is of course the Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca, which is a large gothic cathedral with impeccable detail designed by Gaudi. I am not one to be mesmerized by a cathedral, but this one is incredible in person to see. After you climb the stairs and take in the architecture and design of the cathedral, continue your way into the center of the town to explore the shops! This part of the island is booming with both luxury and boutique shops as well as souvenir spots. While I did buy some affordable goods here, I later found similar things much cheaper in other villages like Valldemossa, so if you’re on a budget I recommend shopping in the smaller villages. While in Palma, I had dinner at Hotel Cappuccino, where I ordered the truffle gnocchi. This restaurant has outdoor dining in a square within the town with a romantic ambiance and divine food which I highly recommend for a memorable dining experience! I advise dedicating at least one day to wandering the alleyways and shops of Palma. There are so many unique boutiques, bakeries, and of course gelato spots that cannot be missed! 

Palma de Mallorca
Cala Pi, Mallorca
Cala Pi

While there are many calas (inlets), I spent a day at Cala Pi and highly recommend it! It is situated on the southern aspect of the island and close to a few local (less touristy) restaurants. When you first arrive, there is an option to walk to either descend down the stairs to the beach, or to bear to your left and walk along the cliff to and view the beautiful bay from above which is a popular instagram photo spot.

My biggest advice when visiting is to bring water shoes! You can walk straight into the water from the inlet, or you can walk along the concrete and rocky areas to access the clearer water farther out. If you take this route, it can get slippery and rocky, and having water shoes made this so much more comfortable. Another thing to know before you go is that there is no formal food or drink options on site of the beach. If you plan to spend the whole day and don’t want to make the trek back up the stairs for lunch, be sure to pack some food and water!

Cave tours in Mallorca
Cave tours in Mallorca

You can’t travel to Mallorca without embarking on a journey through one of the thousands of famous caves that pave way through the island! Mallorca, known to offer action packed activities like caving and canyoning, has several tour companies in which you get to swim through the Cova de Coloms, which houses immaculate stalactites that have taken decades to form as well as crystal clear underground lakes. I travelled with Experience Mallorca, booked through Viator, for only $65. This was a safely orchestrated guided tour which included an hour long hike to the caves, a change into wet suits, an option to cliff jump or swim to reach the cave, and then an informative guided tour throughout the cafe which was about an hour long, and then another hour to hike back to the origin point. This was one of the coolest, most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had! While you do need to have some swimming capabilities, life vests are provided and required, and the swimming is manageable for those that are not experienced swimmers. This excursion was by far one of the highlights of my trip to Mallorca and I can’t recommend it enough!

If you’re not feeling quite as adventurous, do not worry, there are caves accessible by foot! The Cuevas del Drach, a 1.5 mile long underground cave, is walkable. There is also an underground lake here as well which can be admired through paddle boat rides offered.

Deia, Mallorca
Deia, Mallorca

Deià is my favorite of the villages in Mallorca! It is tucked away in the northern part of the island situated in a beautiful mountain range. Each building is made of stone and complements the next one, with numerous flowers and lemon trees lining the streets. The mountain air is so refreshing and the views are unlike any other. Within the town, there are many different places to dine, grab a coffee or cocktail, and several boutique shops to stroll through for unique gifts. I spent hours wandering the beautiful streets and taking in the incredible sights.

One of the most memorable parts of my trip was having drinks at the balcony of La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel. I sat to have a frappuccino and mojito on their property overlooking the village, and it made for such a peaceful and special evening! The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful and the views of the village and the mountains are perfectly picturesque. This is also an iconic place to have dinner, thank you to Instagram, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time since it gets very busy!

Deia, Mallorca
Best activities to do in Mallorca, Spain
  • Hike the Torrent de Pareis
  • Kayak along Alcúdia Bay
  • Take a ferry from Mallorca to Ibiza
  • Spend an afternoon at Palma Aquarium
  • Party at the upscale beach clubs in Portals Nous and Magaluf
  • Walk along the piers
  • Drive along the roads of Serra de Tramuntana
  • Try local orange juice and take a tour at Ecovinyassa farm in Sóller
  • Try local paella!
  • Take in the history of Castell de Belver
  • Watch the sunset at Cap de Formentor
  • Have tapas and sangria in Valldemossa
  • Head to the farmers market on Wednesdays in Sineu for local goods
  • Walk around the picturesque Jardines de Alfabia
  • Spend the day at any of the beautiful beaches of the island!
Palma de Mallorca