Mallorca Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know
With lovely weather, stunning scenery and delicious cuisine, what more could you want in an island getaway?
The largest of the four Balearic Islands, Mallorca offers many things to see and do. Aside from reclining on your sun lounger, there are many opportunities to get active in nature, visit lively cities, delve into history and set off on fun day trips. Our travel experts at Plum Guide have done extensive research (possibly involving copious amounts of Mallorcan wine) to put together this Mallorca travel guide. You’ll find all the essential information about travelling to this gorgeous Mediterranean island.
General info about Mallorca
Palma de Majorca city centre with view of the Cathedral
Mallorca has a long and fascinating past that has seen a succession of invaders, including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Moors and Spanish, occupy the island. This rich history and heritage are found in present-day Mallorca’s architecture, music, art, food and people. Just a quick walk around Palma, and you’ll spot the intriguing blend of Arabic and Gothic architecture, such as the city’s majestic cathedral and Arab Baths.
Best time to visit Mallorca
Beautiful beach at Playa de Formentor, Mallorca
Summer is the most popular time for family vacations and beach breaks in Mallorca, with high temperatures and low rainfall. However, keep in mind that this is when it gets the most crowded—avoid the peak summer months if you’re looking for a more peaceful experience. If you’re considering exploring inland, it’s also worth visiting during the cooler spring or autumn months, when temperatures are better for getting around on foot or by bike.
How to get to Mallorca
Flying is the easiest and quickest way to get to Mallorca. Palma de Mallorca airport is the gateway to the island and is well connected to the European continent. The island is also reachable by ferry from mainland Spain, with main departure points being Barcelona (7.5 hours sailing time), Valencia (8 hours sailing time), Dénia (8 hours sailing time), as well as the neighbouring islands of Ibiza (4 hours sailing time) and Menorca (1.5 hours sailing time).
Top activities and attractions
A white bicycle by a beach in Majorca, Spain
What would a Mallorca travel guide be without a mention of its beaches? Mallorca is synonymous with striking blue waters, rocky coves and extensive stretches of fine sands. With over 260 beaches, it’s not difficult to find the perfect beach—play on the family-friendly Platja de Alcudia, snorkel at the Caribbean-like Cala Llombards, and relax on the quiet Platja d’es Carbo, surrounded by nothing but sand dunes and pine trees.
Mallorca is perfectly positioned for exploring the other Balearic Islands. Hop on a ferry or rent your own yacht and live it up in Ibiza, snorkel in Formentera and enjoy the diversity of landscapes in Menorca. You can even sail to the wilder, smaller islands and islets such as Dragonera, Cabrera and S’Espalmador to experience their untouched natural beauty.
Even if history isn’t your forte, it’s difficult not to be captivated by Mallorca’s historical sites. As well as famous sites such as the 14th-century Bellver Castle and the 13th-century Basílica de San Francisco, Mallorca is known for talaiot or talayots, prehistoric megaliths of the Bronze Age. It’s worth checking out the archaeological museum dedicated to one of the complete Talayotic settlements in the Balearic Islands.
People at the beach in Majorca
There’s no better place for an outdoor adventure than Mallorca. In the water and along the coast, spend your days sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, cliff jumping and sea caving. Land-based adventures are equally as exciting, where you can go canyoning through epic gorges, ride on horseback, and cycle and hike through the mountains and countryside.
Away from the beach resorts, Mallorca has some incredible natural wonders to discover. The Mondragó Natural Park is one of Mallorca’s greatest treasures, a varied landscape of forests, ravines, wetlands, dunes and heavenly beaches. Another natural wonder to put on your itinerary is the Drach Caves, one of the largest cave systems in Europe. Venture underground into a world full of stalactites and stalagmites, lighting and illuminations creating a magical glow. Then, take a boat ride along the underground river, which leads to a vast, lake-filled cavern where you can listen to a classical concert and enjoy the enthralling acoustics.
It may be a popular destination, but Mallorca still has its fair share of hidden gems dotted around the island. The tiny hamlet of Llucalcari is off the tourist trail, but make the journey here, and you’ll find the secluded bay of Es Canyaret with its natural mud that you can spread on your body. For history lovers, drive to the outskirts of the town of Arta to see the remains of a Bronze Age Talayotic village called Ses Païsses. Arta is also known for preserving its craft traditions, and you can find items made from palm, as well as ceramics and jewellery.
Best areas to visit and stay in
The coastal village of Deià in Mallorca
Perched on a hilltop along the Serra de Tramuntana ridge, Deià is one of Mallorca’s most enchanting villages. Its charming honey-coloured stone cottages and panoramic views of the coast have long been a magnet for artists and writers, most notably Robert Graves. Today, it’s a hideaway for the rich and famous—do a bit of star-spotting as you walk through the narrow streets lined with chic boutiques and galleries. The beach, Cala Deià, is one of the most sought-after on the island—enjoy a seafood meal in the restaurants housed in former fishermen’s huts.
The beach Platja de Muro in Mallorca
Alcúdia is a weave of medieval streets and picturesque plazas, with cafes, bars and restaurants bringing a lively atmosphere to this ancient town in the north of Mallorca. In the summer, Alcúdia comes alive with fiestas and festivals, most notably the Festes de Sant Jaume celebrating the town’s favourite saint. Port d’Alcúdia is the town’s modern half and a popular family destination where you can enjoy downtime on the long stretch of golden sand.
Don’t miss a visit to the vibrant capital of the Balearic Islands, where each area of the city has something to offer visitors. Palma is a prime location for sightseeing, with a wealth of galleries, museums, historical buildings, theatres, shops, cafes and restaurants. Should you need a break from exploring, head down to one of the city’s several beaches for a relaxing stroll along the promenade, or bag yourself a prime sunbathing spot on the sand.
Colonia Sant Jordi
Once a small fishing village, Colonia Sant Jordi is now a lively resort on Mallorca’s south coast thanks to its proximity to beautiful beaches such as Es Trenc, Es Dolç and Es Carbó. Despite its development, the old fishing harbour remains, adding charm to the place—visit at sunset to see the fishing boats come in with their catch. The town attracts an energetic crowd for outdoor adventures like horse riding, fishing and hiking.
Pollença, old village on the island Palma Mallorca, Spain
Nestled in a pretty bay with the Tramuntana mountains in the backdrop, Pollença has everything you need for a classic Mallorca holiday. Of course, you’ll want to spend most of your time on the long stretch of white sand, getting up only to dip in the clear blue waters or have a go at kayaking and snorkelling off the coast. Then, back on dry land, lace your hiking boots up or hop on your bike and explore the trails winding through the Tramuntana mountains.
Eating out in Mallorca
Finally, the most important section of our Mallorca travel guide. Mallorcan cuisine is traditionally quite simple, based mainly on locally-sourced pork, fish and vegetables with healthy helpings of garlic and olive oil. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the dishes—eating is a hearty affair on the island. We highly recommend packing a pair of comfy pants with you.
The sweet pastry Mallorcan Ensaimada
Discover local delicacies like arròs brut (a savoury rice casserole with vegetables and meat like chicken or rabbit), tombet (baked aubergine, bell peppers and potatoes which have been fried in olive oil), and sobrasada de Mallorca (raw, cured sausage made with ground pork, paprika and salt). If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in for a treat as ensaïmada de Mallorca could be the best pastry you’ve ever eaten. The secret lies in the lard, which replaces butter—find variations of the recipe, including fillings like sweet pumpkin, cream or chocolate.
Where to find food
To find local produce like cheese, olive oil and cured meats, head to Mallorca’s many markets (Sineu for the most authentic experience, Mercat de L’Olivar for the ultimate foodie experience). Almost every town has a weekly market, each held on a different day of the week, so you don’t have to worry about missing any.
Mallorca has quite a prominent bakery culture, and you’ll find pastry shops in most towns and villages. The ubiquitous tapas bars are your go-to for more snacks and small bites. Each bar usually has a speciality, so a tapas bar crawl is the way to go—make sure to leave room for each place. Finally, if you’re spending all day at the beach, chiringuitos are your friend. Essentially a beach bar, these small snack bars typically serve light meals and refreshments.