Mallorca is not a big island. You can comfortably drive North to South in an hour (approximately from airport to Puerto Pollensa). But for such a small island it is exceptionally diverse in geography, culture, wealth, views. In fact I often refer to it as a mini country.
Often when describing a holiday, travel agents refer to a location as having “something for everyone”. What this usually means is that near your resort there is a bit of a town, some nightlife, a museum or art gallery and a beach offering watersports. But, Mallorca, really does have something for everyone.
If you want a capital city, you would go a long way to find somewhere as diverse and cosmopolitan as Palma de Mallorca. It has historic, gothic areas, Moorish baths, the King’s residence and a Cathedral sitting comfortably next to fabulous high-end shopping in Paseo Borne or traditional markets such as el Olivar. You can take the Soller train from Palma and rattle your way through the orange groves in a 1930′s electric train or you can dine in some of the loveliest modern restaurants truly catering to every taste.
In the South you have the holiday resorts of Magaluf and Palma Nova. If that is your thing, you will get no judgement from me, but I have only been to Magaluf once (by accident). It is exactly as it’s reputation suggests and absolutely not for me and not representative of the island.
I would however recommend a visit to Puerto Portalls. If you have a special occasion or just want to channel your inner P-Diddy, you have to go. For people watching alone, this is a great spot. Very high-end boutiques, amazing yachts and Micheline starred restaurants mean the whole atmosphere is very Miami beach. Poor yourself a glass of something bubbly and watch the world go by.
In the West of the island you have the Sierra Tramuntana mountain range which is fabulous for hiking. You can visit Isla Dragonera by taking a ferry from Sant Elm or further South West you will find the beautiful and bustling port of Puerto D’Andratx. This is a haven for sailing or just wandering around the marina before taking a few canas (small beers) and sampling some tapas.
The North of the Island has some stunning views. Cap Formentor is at the top if the Tramuntana mountain range and offers a great drive with some fantastic photo opportunities. There are beautiful beaches here such as Puerto Pollensa with its natural harbour and the long stretch of beach that Alcudia is famous for. Although these spots are known as holiday destinations and may be a little bit “touristy” for some people wanting to see the real Mallorca, I still would recommend a visit. The Port of Alcudia is lovely with some great restaurants and the Pine Walk in Puerto Pollensa is perfect for an evening paseo (little stroll) after dinner. Both also have great Old Towns that are definitely worth a visit, particularly on Market Day.
The East Coast often gets the reputation of being full of purpose built resorts. Beach lovers seem to favour the North and the South West, but really give the East Coast a go. Puerto Colom is the loveliest fishing harbour with a great array of modern restaurants often specialising in seafood and fish. The north east gives us the charismatic town of Arta which has fabulous views of Cala Rajada an often overlooked beach. The south east gives us the best beach in my opinion, Es Trenc. Plus there is a brilliant beach resort called Colonia San Jordi which has lovely bars and restaurants and a clean safe beach. From here you can take a trip to the island of Sa Cordoba with a turtle sanctuary on it. A real must see is the town’s state of the art aquarium, which is completely free.
Finally, the Centre of Mallorca is mainly visited only to see Tiendas Fabricas (factory shop outlets) and the market at Inca, but there is so much more on offer than that. Sineu is really worth a visit, particularly for the market which is the oldest one on the island and still has livestock. But these days it is more of a petting zoo with donkeys and puppies standing side by side. It is of course perfect for picking up the freshest ingredients if you are staying in self catering accommodation and want to prepare some genuine Mallorquian treats at home.
For more detailed information about different areas, look out for future posts and if you are holidaying in Mallorca for the first time, why not get in touch for some specific top tips.