Spelt as Majorca in the Spanish language, this beautiful island is one that has been inhabited for between 6,000 and 8,000 years, and offers visitors some fascinating history to explore. However, it is the climate and the beaches that tend to attract visitors to the island, and this combination has made the island a popular destination, particularly among German and British travelers who flock to the island. Along with the sights and the beaches, another of the popular reasons to visit that also courts controversy from time to time is the nightlife, with several resorts being home to a large number of lively bars and nightclubs. Here is a guide to the best places to stay in Mallorca and the things to do in Mallorca.
Where is Mallorca?
Mallorca is the largest of Spain’s Balearic islands and has picked up something of a reputation for being a part destination thanks to the vast array of nightclubs and bars that make up much of the built-up areas. However, step outside the party places, and you will find a stunning island that is full of beauty, mountain ranges, and glorious sandy beaches next to crystal clear waters. There is more to Majorca than its reputation deserves, and aside from the sights and food in this amazing location, Mallorca hotels are considered some of the best in all of Spain.
Why Visit Mallorca?
If you are looking for great beach holidays, then Mallorca is one of the most popular islands in Europe, and especially during the summer months between June and September, there are many people who will be joining you in these destinations. While some towns and destinations such as Magaluf and Palma Nova tend to attract a more adult crowd, there are family friendly destinations that have great beaches and activities to enjoy as well. However, bear in mind that there are over 8 million visitors to the island every year, and most of these will be heading to the beach destinations with you. In terms of non-beach activities, there are also some great hikes in Mallorca as well.
For those who like to be a little more active during their holidays, there are plenty of options if you decide to head a little more inland or to the mountain ranges, you will find some wonderful hiking and cycling options as you explore the country. Cycling is one of the most popular ways to explore the island, and while road cycling is popular, there are also cycle trails, such as the one between Manacor and Arta which are better suited for a family holiday in Mallorca. There are also several bodegas where they will offer wine tastings and tours looking at where the local wines are made. The island is also a destination for sailing enthusiasts, with the beautiful coastline and convenient marinas making this a good place for exploring the waves.
As you would expect in a destination that has built its economy around tourism, the nightlife in many of the main resorts is one of the main attractions as people come to let down their hair. Magaluf is just a short distance from the capital, but is known for its nightclubs that will allow people to party late into the night. However, there are also several other areas where you will find bars and clubs that offer a similar proposition. Playa de Palma near the capital is another popular destination, while Port d’Alcudia also offers a lively scene when the sun goes down.
Palma De Mallorca
The capital of the Balearic Islands, and the largest city on the island, Palma has around 400,000 permanent residents, and is the economic hub of the island as well as being one of the most visited areas of the city. Naturally, as you would expect in such a large city, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, and the city has a lively nightlife. It is also home to some of the most interesting historic sites on the island, and even if you are heading to one of the beach resorts, it is worth taking some time to enjoy exploring this pleasant city.
The grand Gothic Cathedral is one of the most impressive monuments that you will find in Palma, and it is located in a prominent position overlooking an attractive park. It took nearly 400 years to complete, having been started in the thirteenth century, and finally being finished in 1601. The high vaulted ceilings are very attractive, and there are many impressive stained glass windows and a beautiful altar to see as well. Among the other historical sites worth visiting is the Castell de Bellver, which is circular and is quite different to other Spanish fortifications, while the Arab Baths are also an interesting place to visit.
Santa Catalina, which is a ten-minute walk from the cathedral in Palma city center, is chill and relaxed during the day, but at night it really gets its feet under it and shows why it is one of the hippest parts of Palma De Mallorca. Santa Catalina has a large number of bars and restaurants, which has given it a well deserved reputation as the most energetic outdoor district in Palma. You’ll find everything here from modern wine bars and classic martini bars to roof terrace bars and more rock & roll music bars.
When it comes to beaches, there are several to enjoy, with the Cala Major being just a short distance from the city with clear water for swimming, with other nice beaches at Ciudad Jardin and Can Pere Antoni. There is also a large water park called ‘Aqualand’ which has a wide range of slides and pools and is great for families, while ‘Marineland’ is a marine zoo with many species of fish, sharks, lizards and other animals that live around the water. If you are looking to check out the nightlife of the city, the Paseo Maritimo on the seafront has a great range of bars and nightclubs. But the question in the capital is where to stay in Palma de Mallorca?
Mallorca Hotels: Palma Mallorca
Budget hotel – Fleming Hostel Albergue Juvenil – Located near the city center, this modern hostel has free WiFi, a large shared kitchen and a pleasant social room including a pool table. There are private and shared rooms available, with the shared rooms having sockets for each bed and a locker. Dorm beds from around $26 and private rooms from around $70.
Mid-range hotel – Innside by Melia Palma Bosque – Just a few minutes walk away from the main sites of the city, this hotel has a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and a Turkish bath, while also having a lovely rooftop terrace. Rooms are comfortable and offer WiFi and stylish bathrooms, while some also have balconies. When asked where to stay in majorca for families, I start with this hotel. Rates begin from around $145 per night.
Luxury hotel – Palacio Ca Sa Galesa – This grand palace has only twelve rooms, but each has a Jacuzzi in the room, and the rooms are opulently decorated. There is an on-site spa with a swimming pool, steam bath and a range of treatments available. There is also a superb restaurant in the palacio. Rooms begin from $270 per night. It is among the best places to stay in Majorca without a doubt and if you have the financial ability, it is the best place for couples in Majorca.
Serra de Tramuntana
This region of Mallorca is named after the mountain range that runs along the north coast of the island, the Tramuntana mountains, and as well as the mountains themselves, there are also several towns and resorts that are found in this area. The Tramuntana mountains themselves are a spectacular part of the island, and it is also an important natural area which has been recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the mountains as well, the twin lakes of Cúber and Gorg Blau are a beautiful place to explore, with some of the nicest walking trails in all of Majorca.
When it comes to the standout destinations in this region, Andratx has a beautiful bay that is very popular among those who enjoy sailing and classic Mallorca holidays, while further up the coast the town of Soller is also has a nice marina. The Basilica in Lluc is another beautiful place to visit, and is located up in the mountains at over 700 meters above sea level, and the beautifully decorated interior of the church is well worth seeing. The lighthouse at Cap Fermentor is another of the Majorca sights that is worth a visit, with views over the surrounding ocean.
While the Serra de Tramuntana region has the beautiful mountain range, it is also home to some of the biggest tourist resorts on the island, with Magaluf being the one that has the biggest reputation. Home to the BCM nightclub which is open until the sun rises around 6am, this resort is often associated with wild nightlife, but recent efforts have tried to bring the resort a little more upmarket. Santa Ponsa is a little further down the coast from Magaluf, but is a little quieter while still having a lovely beach and plenty of bars and restaurants.
Mallorca Hotels: Serra de Tramuntana
Budget hotel – Hotel Golf Beach – Located in Santa Ponsa, this hotel has a swimming pool and sun loungers, and is a short walk from the beach, and as the name suggests just a short distance from a golf course. Rooms are simply furnished, with some having a balcony, and there is free Wifi. Rates from around $55 per night.
Mid-range hotel – Hotel La Vila – This Soller hotel has air conditioning and Wifi in the rooms that have been attractively decorated in a traditional style that is sympathetic with the 19th century building. The hotel is in the center of the town and is in an ideal location to explore and a best place to stay in Majorca for couples. Rooms begin at around $140.
Luxury hotels – Hotel Es Moli – Set in the village of Deia, this former manor house has been converted into a luxurious hotel, with a huge swimming pool and a lovely terrace. The rooms are tastefully decorated, and there is also free transport to a nearby cove with a secluded beach. Prices begin at around $220 per night.
Agro-Boutique Hotel & Restaurant Cas Xorc. This property has rustic but stylish rooms and some of the best food in the region, plus an infinity pool & mountain views. Occupying a stone-walled former mill built in 1790, this rustic-chic boutique hotel on a remote hillside is a couple miles from the town of Alconàsser. Prices begin at $295 per night
Lying in the north area of Mallorca, the town of Pollenca and the nearby Port de Pollenca shows off the more traditional side of Mallorca, lying at the feet of the northern end of the Serra de Tramuntana. It is a lovely town with plenty of traditional architecture, with much of the old town center dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The town is a few kilometers inland, but a short trip down to the port will take you to the seaside.
Hiking and walking is one of the most popular activities in this part of the island, and the Puig de Pollenca is a hill that is just a short distance from town, and along with visiting the small hermitage at the top it also offers great views back over the town. If you fancy a little refreshment, there is also a small restaurant and accommodation at the top as well. Walking up the Calvari Steps is another way to get to a viewpoint over the town, with 365 steps in total to conquer.
The nearby Port de Pollenca offers some of the most pleasant sandy beaches in Majorca with water well suitable for swimming, and also offers a few more of the usual tourist resort features that you can expect and may be best part of Majorca to stay. The seafront area is known as the Pinewalk due to the trees that line this area, and you will find plenty of restaurants and bars where you can get a snack or a drink. The night life here is more sedate than some of the other resorts, with just the one club that opens into the early hours, which gives this more of a grown up destination atmosphere, which for me makes it one of the best parts of Mallorca.
Mallorca Hotels: Pollenca
Budget hotel – Finca Can Guillo – An attractive farm stay option away from the town center, this rustic ‘finca’ has a large garden and a swimming pool. The rooms are simple but comfortable, and there is free WiFi and breakfast available. Rooms begin from around $70.
Mid-range hotel – Hotel Juma – This hotel has a great location just yards away from the main square of the town, and offers easy access to the main facilities of the town. Rooms have flat screen TVs, air conditioning, while there is also a roof terrace with a jacuzzi. Rates start at around $110 per night.
Luxury hotel – Son Brull Hotel And Spa – A former Jesuit monastery that has been converted into a grand hotel and spa, the rooms here are beautifully decorated and very comfortable with all the modern amenities and spectacular views. The swimming pool is excellent and surrounded by comfortable loungers, while there are a range of treatments available in the luxury spa. Rooms begin at around $265 per night.
Pla De Mallorca And Raiguer
The Pla de Mallorca and Raiguer regions of Mallorca are in the heart of the island and stretching up to the north coast, and it is really a different world from the neon lights and packed beaches of the major resorts. It may be the best part of Mallorca. There are many rustic farm stays and boutique hotels in these areas of the island, and one of the main attractions is the opportunity to enjoy the attractive scenery of this part of Mallorca. There are also plenty of cycling and hiking routes that you can try, with the natural surroundings of the island offering some lovely places to explore. If you are looking for quiet holiday in Majorca, this is a spot well worth considering.
The main town in this part of Mallorca is Alcudia, which is near the northern coast and has a pleasant beach that is a little quieter and more relaxed than the busy beaches of the major resorts, which is one thing I’m looking for on my Majorca holidays with friends.. One of the interesting hikes to be enjoyed from the town is to the Ermita de la Victoria, a former hermitage with a small attractive church that is a nice walk, although there is some climbing in order to enjoy the pleasant views. The town is also near the S’Albufera Natural Park, which has a wealth of bird life and also has a good trail for cycling and walking.
Majorca Hotels: Pla De Mallorca And Raiguer
Budget hotel – Embat Hostel – This hostel is located in the town of Montuiri in the center of the island, and offers simple dorm beds in shared rooms, and also double rooms. When asked the best area to stay in Majorca, I like to recommend this if you are on a budget. There is a continental breakfast and free WiFi, while the hostel is also home to a bar and has bicycle rentals as well. Dorm beds from around $22.
Mid-range hotel – Casa Galileo – Set in the village of Costitx, this is a nicely refurbished hotel, where you will find comfortable and tastefully decorated rooms, with luxury bathrooms. There is a nice roof terrace for relaxing, and you can also arrange car and bicycle hire here. Rates start at around $70 per night.
Luxury hotel – Hotel Can Mostatxins – This luxury hotel in Alcudia has a great location within 50 yards of the main square, and it is set in one of the town’s historic buildings. Rooms are beautifully decorated while sympathetic to the history of the building, while there is also a nice spa pool and air conditioning. Rates begin at $185.
The Migjorn region of Mallorca covers the south eastern portion of the island, and is generally a rural area, with a series of small towns and nice little resorts around the coast, and I find it one of the best places to stay in Mallorca. This is another area where you won’t find the packed beaches, but smaller and quieter beaches and isolated little coves, which may require a little more effort to get to, but show a very different side to Mallorca’s beaches. Moving inland, there is more of the rural and natural scenery to enjoy, and more opportunities to enjoy cycling and hiking.
The town of Santanyi is one of the more popular destinations in this part of the country, with the beach at Cala Santanyi offering clear water and good snorkeling, although it is a few miles from the town center. The town itself is a great example of Mallorcan architecture with a lovely old town that is particularly busy on Saturday, which is market day. Another pleasant resort is Colonia Sant Jordi, with some attractive beaches and the opportunity to take a boat trip to the Cabrera National Park.
Mallorca Hotels: Migjorn
Budget hotel – Som Espanya – Situated in the town of Llucmajor, this 2 star hotel is located in the center of town, and has been converted from one of the town’s historic buildings. Rooms have air conditioning, flat screen TVs and there is also a swimming pool as well. Rates begin from around $62 per night.
Mid-range hotel – Petit Hotel Sant Miquel – Near the town of Santanyi, this boutique hotel has a modern feel with a pleasant pool and a nice roof terrace with sun loungers for relaxing. The rooms have air conditioning, large TVs and Wifi, and there is also car parking available as well. Rooms from $90 per night.
Luxury hotel – Son Julia Country House And Spa – Situated in a fifteenth century country house near the town of Llucmajor, this beautiful hotel offers a sensational place to relax, with a swimming pool and tennis court on-site. The rooms are beautifully decorated with a private balcony, air conditioning and all of the modern features you’d expect. Rates begin at $170 per night.
Covering the eastern portion of the island, the Llevant region has some of the larger resorts away from the South West of the island, although it is still much quieter than those larger resorts. This is an areas with some of the best beaches in Mallorca. One of the most popular resorts in this part of the island is Cala Millor, which has a beautiful beach that stretches for over a mile, and this beach has several 4 and 5 star hotels just a short distance from the beach. The resort is particularly popular with British and German visitors, and there is also a lively nightlife and plenty of bars and restaurants there too.
Another of the smaller tourist resorts to be found in this part of Mallorca is Cala Ratjada, which is a few miles up the coast from Cala Millor, and also offers some nice beaches. The town also has an attractive historic center, while there is a nice walk from the town up to the castle of Capdepera, which is a fortification dating from the fourteenth century and is one of the largest castles on the island, with a distinctive circular tower. Towards the south end of Llevant are the Cuevas del Drach, an underground network of caves and a large underground lake on the coast, which you can explore by boat.
Majorca Hotels: Llevant
Budget hotel – Smartline La Santa Maria – A short distance from the beach in Casa Millor, this hotel offers rooms with balconies and a flat screen TV, while there is also a bar that serves food in the hotel. There is a swimming pool and a children’s pool present, along with bicycle rental from the hotel. Rooms from around $50 per night, which is perfect when you are looking for a cheap holiday to Majorca.
Mid-range hotel – Caleia Talayat Spa Hotel – This attractive hotel in Casa Millor has a lovely spa with a variety of different pools to try, and offering a range of treatments. The rooms are spacious and attractively decorated, with beautiful bathrooms and balconies with great views. Rates begin at around $70.
Luxury hotel – Sentido Playa Del Moro – This large luxury hotel is directly next to the beach in Casa Millor, and has a large swimming pool and leisure area, dotted with palm trees and plenty of sun loungers. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with balconies looking out over the ocean, with air conditioning and flat screen TVs. There is also entertainment in the hotel bar every evening. Rooms begin from $145 a night and if you are looking for hotels on the beach in Mallorca, this is a highly recommended place to stay.
Travel To And Around Mallorca
The Palma de Mallorca Airport is the gateway for most of the visitors who are travelling to Mallorca, and the airport is served by routes to many European cities, most often from Barcelona. If you are planning on visiting the island from further afield, you will usually need to find a connecting flight through one of the European cities, although as many routes are operated by budget airlines, the costs can be quite reasonable. If you are already in the Balearic Islands, there are also ferry services that you will be able to use to cross to Mallorca, while there are also longer ferry routes available from Barcelona and Valencia.
After flying to Mallorca, you’ll be looking at picking up a Palma airport transfer into the city – the airport is around five miles east of Palma. Once you arrive, there are a few regular bus services that leave and return to Palma, as well as the usual array of taxi services. Once you are on the island, there are two train lines that both terminate in Palma, connecting to Soller on the north coast and Manacor and Sa Pobla inland.
Bus services between the major resorts will usually operate several times a day, but if you are planning on exploring more of the island, you may find some destinations inland or to the east coast will have less regular services. Many people will find that renting a car gives them more freedom to explore more of the island and get to some of the quieter beaches, while cyclists will find plenty of places that rent bicycles, while many professional cycling teams also spend some of their spring training here. You can easily find a car hire through the normal online services or pick up a rental car at the airport on arrival.
Food And Drink In Mallorca
Many of the restaurants in the tourist areas of the island will have international cuisine, so you will usually find something that is familiar if you aren’t too adventurous. However, there are some delicious local dishes worth trying, with a seafood paella being very popular, while sobrassada is a type of spicy pork sausage seasoned with paprika. Another of the Spanish food dishes that is also found in the rest of the islands and Catalonia is Pa amb Oli, which is a slice of bread with tomatoes that is then drizzled with olive oil, for a simple snack.
If you are heading to one of the major resorts, then you will find that many of the main international drinks will be available, along with local alternatives in many places. There are also plenty of local wines worth trying in Mallorca, and the local vineyards produce delicious red and white wines. If you are looking for an aperitif, then the main two local spirits are ‘Licor de Hierbas’ which is made with aniseed, while ‘Palo de Mallorca’ is made with caramel but has a combination of sweetness and bitterness in the taste.