Mallorca's capital, Palma, is a must-visit with its stunning Gothic cathedral, Le Seu, dominating the skyline and an old Arab quarter showcasing some of the city’s beautiful architecture. There’s also a sophisticated Mediterranean café culture, designer, antique and high street shops – head to Avinguda Jaume III and the Passeig del Born for department stores and upmarket shops – as well as some of Mallorca’s finest restaurants.
To the west of Palma lies one of Mallorca’s vastly undiscovered resorts, Cala Mayor, which has a Blue Flag beach with clear and warm waters that are ideal for families. As summer residence of Spain’s royal family they’re often spotted walking along the streets shopping and dining out. Along with glorious beaches and bright blue waters there’s also soaring mountains and hillside country to explore. Head to Pollentia for the Roman ruins of what was once the capital, ride the vintage train from Palma to Sóller to see one of the most charming traditional towns in Spain and visit Cap de Formentor for Instagram-worthy viewpoints and precipitous coastal terrain where the Sierra de Tramuntana meet the Mediterranean Sea. If you fancy going underground, the Caves of Drach are home to one of the largest underground lakes in the world and an atmospheric boat tour takes you through the turquoise Baths of Diana and Lake Martel under a magnificent roof of stalactites and stalagmites. For something more laid back, visit the hillside coastal village of Deià, one of the prettiest on the island.
Where is Mallorca?
Off the eastern coast of Spain and located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands.
If you want to hire a car to for convenience and freedom, road conditions on the island are fantastic, but you can expect hairpin bends and narrow lanes along some of the coastal paths leading up to the cliffs and mountains. Car hire is the best way to reach a variety of different beaches and the mountains. Bus and bicycle are also excellent ways of exploring, with plenty of bikes for hire and bus services running a timetable (schedules dependent on route and day of the week) to most resort towns, although journeys can be long. The vintage train from Palma to Sóller is a must for a day trip.
Food and drink
Rack of Mallorcan lamb, lobster ravioli, monkfish and sea bream, suckling pig… all are favourite specialities on the island of Mallorca. Evening meals are taken late and it’s a charming way to dine among local families enjoying hearty food. Local wines are excellent and house wines are a good standard too. There’s also lots of delicious tapas – think juicy skewered prawns, home-made bread and fried mullet. Expect stylish restaurants in old olive presses and former stables, seafood dining overlooking the Med and restaurants hidden inside cliffs. Enjoy paella on the beach, Michelin-starred tasting menus in romantic settings and family-friendly tavernas with great menus for kids. A real treat in the Es Pla region are restaurants housed in wine and olive cellars with a huge focus on seasonal, rustic produce and atmospheric dining.
The most exciting shops are in capital city Palma where you’ll find Spain’s favourite fashion brands on Passeig del Born including Zara, Massimo Duti and Oysho. The adjoining maze of streets is home to gorgeous independent boutiques, and on Avenida Jaime III you’ll find luxury brands and El Corte Inglés department store. Find bespoke men’s shoes at Monge, prized Mallorcan pearls in chic jewellery stores and high-end stores on the ‘designer street’ of Paseo del Borne. Local markets are a big deal all across the island, the most famous being the daily morning market in Pollensa where you can pick up local produce alongside hand-made jewellery and leather goods.
Visa not required for UK passport holders.
A tourist tax applies to all hotels in Mallorca and is only payable locally.
Mallorca is home to a number of Michelin-Star awarded restaurants including the following:
• Simply Fosh at Hotel Convent de la Missió, Palma
• Zaranda at Castell Son Claret, Es Capdellá
• Es Fum at St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, Costa d'en Blanes
• Restaurante Andreu Genestra, Capdepera
• Es Molí d’en Bou, Sa Coma
• Es Racó d’es Teix, Deià
• Jardín, Alcudia
• Can Dani, Formentera