Beach lovers, cyclists, hikers or golfers, everybody seems to love Mallorca. Many visit regularly, some even move to the island. Whatever you are into, it is worthwhile to discover other sides of the island as well. Because I am frequently asked for recommendations, let me introduce you to the 10 best things to do on Mallorca, plus an insider tip.
Sa Calobra is one of Mallorca’s dream destinations. You can reach the small bay in three different ways. The most adventurous is a hike through the Torrent de Pareis, the Grand Canyon of Mallorca, so to speak. Or you take the bicycle and go for a descent that surely makes the heart of every racing cyclist beat faster. But you can also get to Sa Calobra most comfortably by boat from Port de Sóller. My tip: Combine the hike or cycling trip with the boat ride, it’s an incentive and a well-deserved reward.
The first impression of Mallorca when coming by plane is usually Cap de Formentor. Mallorca’s northernmost outpost with the signature lighthouse, its untamed landscape and steep rugged cliffs make a marvelous place for hikers and cyclists alike. All the more since the main road to the tip of the peninsula is closed to private traffic during the season. However, a shuttle will take you there. On the way, one of the most scenic beaches of the island beckons. And the views from Mirador Es Colomer are spectacular.
The Museo Sa Bassa Blanca on the Alcúdia peninsula is one of those magic places on Mallorca. An extraordinary escape from busy towns and crowded beaches, yet it’s still little known. Its fantastic sculpture garden is exciting for young and old alike. And stimulates the imagination. Huge granite animals line the shady paths of the declared wildlife sanctuary. Follow Barbie and Ken along the palm-lined avenue. And discover the giant octopus that looks like he has just escaped from the movie Mars Attacks.
Local markets are always great places to get to know a country and its people. On Mallorca, every day is market day. In the large market halls in Palma but also on traditional farmers and eco markets in changing locations all over the island. I particularly like the mercados in Artà, Santanyi, Sóller and Santa María del Cami. Next to seasonal agricultural produce you find typical island products like olives, wine or honey, and all kinds of artisanal products. Get lost in the bustling atmosphere until you’re ready for a break in one of the nearby cafés.
El Tren is the name of the historic railroad on Mallorca that connects Palma with Sóller. The ride in the old wooden carriages is a unique experience which attracts children of all ages. On the way the train passes 13 tunnels and a viaduct with five arches offering a spectacular view of the Sóller valley. Here’s what only few people know: You can ask the conductor for a special stop in Alfabia. Then the train stops just for you and in a few more steps you reach a wonderful oasis.
The Gardens of Alfabia and the mansion of the same name date back to Moorish times. For me it is a small paradise. An avenue of tall plane trees leads up to the premises. Take your time to explore the countless rooms, including a bedroom that was once specially prepared for the queen, an oil mill and stables. The lush garden blooms differently in every season and is crisscrossed by watercourses. A highlight is the pergola with water feature, fun to walk on a hot day. And then there’s the café by the pond in the palm garden. Find a seat and enjoy the peacefulness.
A hike up to the Castell d’Alaró is another great thing to do with the whole family. A cobbled path leads all the way to the remains of that legendary fortress. Set right on the ridge of the flat mountain top, with steep rock walls to all sides, it was long considered to be impregnable. My favorite place is the small chapel with the guesthouse just a few steps further up. Its large south facing terrace got a panoramic view across the whole island. And a tiny bar that serves perfect coffee and homemade cakes.
The panorama from Sant Salvador is truly unique because it is the only elevation in the south of Mallorca. Cyclists love to ride the long and winding carretera while hikers still follow the traditional pilgrim way. If you aren’t into sports you can also reach the mountaintop by car. 510 meters above sea level, the Cristo Rei Monument and the Santuari de Sant Salvador proudly overlook almost the entire island. There’s also a small hotel and a café with a lovely terrace. The perfect place to enjoy the special atmosphere of the holy mountain.
From the roof terraces of La Seu, Mallorca’s cathedral, Palma looks like a colorful patchwork rug lined with a wide stripe of blue. For centuries the terraces have been unaccessible, dark, insecure and littered. Just a few years ago they were cleaned up and opened to the public. From May till October you can register online for a guided one-hour-tour. Allowing a fabulous overview of the cathedral’s eventful history and architecture as well as Palma’s vibrant presence.
A completely different perspective of the island you get from the water. In practically all ports you’ll find a possibility to rent a boat or to book a boat trip. Be it to one of the offshore islands, Sa Dragonera or Cabrera. Or to one of the numerous secluded bays which cannot be reached by land. For those who are not so seaworthy, it is best to choose a catamaran or a large excursion boat.
Of course, this is only a small selection of great things to do on Mallorca. You will find many more ideas here on Estilo Palma, mostly in the categories Outdoors, Art and Style. There is something for everyone, it’s yours to discover. And I would be happy if you discover something new for me.
Illustration by @weareinouestudio, pictures by @martiblaufoto