Travel Guide: Mallorca
We ended up in Mallorca because the flight from Barcelona was $19. So, why not? And, what a delight! This little island has something for everyone. The adorable well-preserved city of Palma, the tiny winding roads through country towns, the sweeping ocean views from the cliffs. We hiked (in sandals - whoops!), we beached, we explored mountains and farms, we indulged in an hours-long, sangria-filled lunch. We’ll hopefully be back!
Rent a car. All the coolest stuff requires driving. Make sure you rent a car that is on airport. We accidentally booked one that required taking a shuttle and it was a pain.
However... it’s tough driving! The country roads are very narrow, there are many very sharp turns, and there are only stick shift cars. If you’re not a comfortable driver, try to stick to highways!
Stroll around Palma - For a city I hadn’t heard much about in advance, Palma was an adorable old city! Cute food stores, swanky designer shops, tiny streets and alleyways. There were gelato stores everywhere and plenty of places to eat. Definitely worth exploring for a few hours! There are lots of parking lots underground in the city if you have a rental car (which you should).
Palma Cathedral - A grand cathedral in the center of Palma. You can’t miss it - it’s right downtown next to a palace (and looks like one itself). Walk around the canal so you can see it from all angles - it’s really stunning. We got there after it closed so didn’t go in but the outside was worth it!
Serra de Tramuntana - The middle of Mallorca is a national park full of mountains, and there is a road that goes straight through it. Although it’s not easy, it’s an amazing drive! Views everywhere and you are right in the mountains. Serious cyclists train in Mallorca and we saw more bikes than cars on the roads! There are lots of hikes in the park as well - we would have stopped if we had more time.
Cap de Formentor - The northern point of the island has incredible, sweeping views of the sea after a steep drive with hairpin turns up the mountain. There is a viewpoint called Mirador es Colomer to put in your Google maps. Totally worth the drive! We looked up and a saw a watchtower that we drove up to (and then climbed). It was less crowded, more of a sense of adventure, and from the top the absolute best views. If you’re comfortable with the drive and the climb, do this instead.
Playa de Formentor - A lovely, sandy beach. Rent a beach chair at the Formentor hotel for about $20 a day.
Old Town Alcudia - If you happen to be nearby (it’s not far from Formentor), stop at the Alcudia old town. It’s a walled city with tiny streets and well-kept old buildings. There are no cars allowed in the old city so it feels like you’ve been transported in time! Not much to do or see, but it’s a nice quick stop if you want to break up a drive.
Port de Soller - My absolute favorite place in Mallorca! A picture perfect harbor with clear blue water, full of yachts and sailboats and surrounded by hills dotted with beautiful and colorful buildings. The whole port is circled by a boardwalk that has a trolley running through it, and a little beach with lifeguards. There are lovely restaurants and boutique shops all along the boardwalk, with dozens of great places to stop and have a drink or lunch outside. We stopped at a hotel called Esplendida because we liked the look of the menu and it was delicious! This is the place I would come back to.
Caimairi - or another country town. It’s totally worth it to go out of your way to stop in a country town. This one was our favorite one because it looked like time stopped. They have teeny tiny streets, old buildings, and locals walking around that look straight out of a storybook: old women carrying fresh bread from the bakery, groups of men playing dice and smoking cigars, sheep roaming free.
Port of Alcudia - This was kind of Jersey Shore and Fisherman’s Wharf combined: arcades, pizza restaurants, fast food. So touristy. The beach was nice, but there are houses right on the beach which takes away from it. I’d skip.
To Do Next Time:
Rent a boat at Port Soller
Go for a hike in Serra de Tramuntana
Go to the caves (Cuevas del Drach)