Mallorca (or Majorca), the largest of Spain’s Balearic islands, is a perfect destination, and its fantastic geographic location in the south of Europe provides it with nice climate far into the cooler months – we just visited in October and its warm winds and bright sun made us feel right back in the summer!
The island has a lot to offer for travelers: the capital, Palma de Mallorca, is a picturesque town with narrow streets, a beautiful medieval cathedral and a long and pleasant boardwalk. Following that path, you can easily reach Illetas, a more quiet area that’s perfect for sun lovers who wish to escape from the crowds. Puerto Portals, the harbor area, is a more vibrant side of the island, filled with posh spots and restaurants, many of which have been visited by huge international celebrities.
While Mallorca is most famous for its (often crowded) beaches, it also offers more secluded areas that’ll make you feel like you’ve just discovered a secret place, as well as sweet little beaches and even mountain paths with intoxicating views. It’s a perfect place to rent a car and explore.
This is a destination I keep coming back to, and it’s always a real pleasure to visit!
Traveling – How to Get There?
Mallorca is one of the most iconic summer destinations throughout Europe, and because of that, it’s pretty easy to get there from all over the continent and even from northern Africa. A lot of big airlines like Lufthansa, Alitalia and Iberia serve the airport, and there are daily flights from around Europe with low-cost airlines like RyanAir and EasyJet. The airport is only 9 km away from downtown Palma.
Seeing as it’s mainly a beach destination, there are far more flights available in the summer than during any other time of the year. Due to Mallorca’s popularity, it’s highly recommended to book your flight as many months in advance as you possibly can, particularly in the high season. A lot of low-cost European airlines offer big sales months before the summer, so it’s a good idea to browse their websites during the winter and spring: you might find really great prices!
You can also get into Mallorca by boat, either from one of the other Balearic islands (most notably on the bigger and most popular ones, namely Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera). If you’re visiting Spain as a whole, you can actually reach the island by boat from the peninsula, as there are many boats leaving from Barcelona.
Living – Where to Stay?
Although part of a hotel chain, Barceló decidedly has the design and feel of a boutique hotel. Its décor has a lot of whites and earth tones, all making a very modern and luxurious setting. I’ve had the best experiences by staying in either one of the superior rooms with a front view or in one of the junior suites, where you can see the sea from the beautiful balconies.
The side of the hotel overlooking the Mediterranean is perfect enough to feel like a beach club! The pool with a great view of the sea as well as the more private cliffs a step down is the perfect place to spend the day to the sound of the waves. The food at Barceló is not perfect and while the service is all right, it lacks the personal touch so unique to boutique hotels. Still, I always come back here when I’m in Mallorca! Read more about this hotel in my Hotel review: Add link to this post
Sant Francesc Hotel Singular
The perfect boutique hotel! Everything about the Sant Francesc Hotel Singular is dreamy. Remodeled from a 19th century mansion in the heart of old Palma (and only steps away from the basilica), the hotel now perfectly embodies the most modern luxury with the beautiful décor of another age. The room we stayed at (junior suite) had high and breathtaking painted ceilings, a balcony overseeing the square outside and lively Palma, very cosy beds, and a very modern bathroom including two basins and a rain shower.
The food is amazing, the service is absolutely outstanding: we had someone in our travel party with a lot of very specific dietary restrictions, and they were gracious enough to accommodate for her without any problem. Last but not least, we loved the cosy roof terrace with a small pool, sunbeds and a lounge area. A truly unforgettable stay! Want to know more? Have a look at my Palma Hotel Review.
Eating & Drinking
The majority of the best restaurants in Mallorca are located in Palma, as it’s where most of the touristic action takes place in the high season; however, you can still find some culinary gems throughout the island. My favorites, by area:
Patrón Lunares – Santa Catalina
A fantastic selection of wine and great food are some of the things what you can expect from Patrón Lunares! It’s a good choice for those traveling in a group, as the staff is very flexible and willing to arrange things to make everyone comfortable.
Beyond their yummy menu (which is heavily based on fish, though also with some fantastic beef choices), the venue is nice and cosy, with a rustic feel to it, surely due to the fact that it’s maintained from a century-old place. Small and hip!
This is a simple restaurant to visit when you’re looking to have a meal by the beach. With a very relaxed vibe, the best thing about Balneario Illetas is its cosy location right at the Illetas beach!
There’s a pretty decent selection of paellas for those who are looking to taste as many variations of Spain’s national dish.
Bahía Mediterráneo – along Avinguda de Gabriel Roca
This is the hot new upscale restaurant in Palma, open since earlier this year. With a strong focus on high-end cuisine, both national and international, the food is amazing – but it’s the ambiance that really sets this place apart. The beautiful Bahía Mediterráneo terrace might very well have the best view of the Palma harbor, a fine place to enjoy a meal and see the yachts. Their weekend brunch is also a very good treat!
Tahini Sushi Bar & Restaurant – Puerto Portals
If there’s a Tahini in town, I’ll probably be visiting it! As it’s happened with every other restaurant from this chain, the food here is top-notch, as is the design of the whole place. It’s broad and simple, with a lot of earth tones and plants, giving the whole place a lot of air for a super pleasant feel. Unlike the Marbella restaurant, this one has no balcony, but it still works beautifully.
An honorable mention goes to The Boat House, at the heart of Palma’s Paseo Marítimo, a perfect place for breakfast, brunch or a delicious lunch – with a decidedly naval theme!
When in a beach city, don’t forget to hit the clubs! Mallorca has the Mediterranean beach club vibe down, and I have two favorites:
A must during all my Mallorca visits! One of the hottest spots throughout the island, Purobeach Palma is a major part of the Majorcan social scene in the summer, and the pool area is the perfect place to get to know new people and make friends. There’s great food, really good service, and a unique atmosphere on its different areas, whether you’re looking for the social experience or a more quiet relaxing affair. Plus, the design is astonishing and the whole place is a joy to visit!
This is the latest addition to the Purobeach family, and a good one, at that! Located in a more secluded part of the island, this beach club feels more like a hidden jewel, as you have to enter through a staircase on a mountainside, which will definitely add to the feel of discovering a whole new place – particularly considering the breathtaking view.
The facilities are comfortable and lovely, and the service is as good as one would expect from Purobeach. One possible downside: no pool here but when you have the deep blue sea at your feets, who needs a pool?
Exploring: Beyond the Beach Clubs
While it’s mostly famous for its beautiful Mediterranean beaches, Mallorca has a lot to offer! Palma in particular is a vibrant (albeit small) city, with outings for all tastes.
Palma has plenty of fascinating historic places: the Old Town has the Mallorca Cathedral and its museum, featuring a lot of art and religious objects dating back to the 13th century; there are also a few remains of the Arabian settlement of Spain, including the baths and the Castell de Bellver, a fort built on the ruins of a Muslim site. There are also a lot of photo opportunities around La Lonja!
For those looking for a more modern experience, Palma also offers a pretty interesting nightlife, particularly on Paseo Marítimo, alongside the harbor, where you can enjoy the bars, clubs, cafés, wineries – you name it. You can also just walk around this promenade and enjoy the sounds of the sea and the people. Generally speaking, Palma is a great town to walk, and you always feel like you’re discovering something when going through its old and narrow little streets.
Looking to shop? Passeig des Born is the place to go! There are a lot of luxury brands out here, but you can also find more accessible stores, such as Zara and the like. There are also many small boutiques if you’re looking for that unique piece to remember Mallorca by.
When it comes to restaurants and bars, Palma is where most of the liveliest areas are located. Santa Catalina in particular is perfect to find that one place: mine’s Patrón Lunares! On that same neighborhood you can find the Carrer de la Fabrica, a small street full of bars and restaurants, including Bar Cuba, a pretty sweet spot to end the evening with some great drinks and a few of your best dance moves in their downstairs club.
Another great area to hit in the evening is Ruta Martiana, in the Old Town, where you can find various streets perfect to honor a lifelong Spanish tradition: tapas! Tuesdays are a great day to do this, as all the restaurants offer one tapa and a small glass of wine or beer for just €2.50. This national pastime provides a great opportunity to get to know some fun new people and really get a glimpse of Spanish nightlife. We particularly loved Moltabarra Mejor (so popular and packed with people!) and Tago Mago, a small and cosy spot for a more sophisticated evening.
If you feel like you’ve done Palma already, you might enjoy getting your drink on at Portals Nous, a luxurious harbor located a 20-to-30-minute drive away from the city. The area is a great place to see the sights, admire the magnificent yachts and enjoy a glass of wine in the terrace of one of the many bars or restaurants!
There’s actually a lot to see in Mallorca besides Palma, and they’re pretty easy to access if you rent a car during your stay in the island. There are a few enchanted little villages scattered around Mallorca, like Valdemossa or Deia, that are definitely worth a visit for those who like to imbue themselves in the culture of whatever place they’re visiting. You can also find more secluded and nearly virgin beaches by driving around the coast: my favorite is Caló des Moro, a small and hidden little cove between the cliffs.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a little bit of adventure, Mallorca actually has four great caves, Coves del Drac! Located near Porto Cristo, these natural wonders were formed millions of years ago, and have become a big attraction on the island – so much so, that there’s a concert of classical music at the end of each visit! And last but not least, if you are a golf lover – Mallorca is the place for you!