Mallorca is best known as one of the Mediterranean’s most popular summer holiday destinations. Whilst its lively holiday resorts, stunning beaches and glorious weather are its main attractions, this Balearic gem has so much more to offer. From thrilling adventure parks to cultural experiences and from wine tourism to cave tours, Mallorca is a treasure trove of activities for visitors of all ages. Here are the top 10 things to do in Mallorca which will help make your holiday truly unforgettable:
Visit Palma de Mallorca: the Island’s Capital City
With a population of over 400,000, Palma is the only real city of the Balearics Islands yet its slow pace of life is quite distinct from the Spanish cities of the mainland. The centrepiece of its beautiful historic quarter with grand Renaissance mansions and Baroque churches is its Gothic cathedral which took over 500 years to build and as an attraction compares favourably with the better known cathedrals of Spain.
Most of the main sights of Palma are contained within the city walls and it’s easy to explore on foot. If you can be there after nightfall it is a spectacular sight to see the floodlit Cathedral and the Almudaina Palace from the waterfront. As well as the historical interest of Old Palma there is also good shopping for the day visitor and a pleasant café culture to enjoy.
Discover The Best Beaches in Mallorca
West of Palma: Starting with the beaches to the West of Palma, visitors can find Cala Mayor, a small golden beach that overlooks the Marivent Palace. San Agustin, further west, has a similarly small but pleasant stretch of sand. Illetes is made up of two pretty coves surrounded by pine trees. Palma Nova and Magaluf have excellent beaches with great sand, making this one of the most developed tourist sections on the island. Santa Ponsa, Paguera, and Camp de Mar all offer beaches with fine sand and crystal-clear waters. Andratx is a quieter option for visitors seeking a more peaceful beach experience.
North-West Coast: Heading up the North-West Coast from Sant Elm, visitors can find Estellencs, a beautiful small village with some spectacular rocky coastline views. Banyalbufar has a small beach and rocky coves. Valdemossa has a small port a few kilometers from the historical town. The quaint village of Deia has a small beach nearby, as well as the Llucalri cove. The Port of Soller offers a fair size beach, whilst further along the coast, Sa Calobra is a fascinating cove near the Torrent de Pareis. Cala Tuent is the most attractive beach in this area.
North-East Coast: On the North-East Coast, the area is popular with tourists but doesn’t suffer the excesses of some of the mass tourism resorts on the West of Palma. A beautiful beach lies at Cala de Sant Vicenc before arriving at the popular destination of Puerto Pollenca. A great excursion from Pollensa is along the Peninsula de Formentor which has spectacular coastal scenery. The Platja de Formentor offers some of the best views on the island. Puerto de Alcudia has an excellent main beach with fine, clean sand as well as smaller bays locally. C’an Picafort has a great beach with pine groves growing up to the start of the fine sand.
East Coast: Finally, on the East Coast, Cala Ratjada is close to where visitors can find the Arta Caves. Son Moll and Cala Guia are impressive beaches, while Cala Bona and Cala Millor are popular resorts with magnificent sandy beaches in a lovely bay surrounded by pine trees. Cala d’Or consists of eight coves and is the most upmarket spot on this coast. Colonia de Sant Jordi is a popular resort with a nice beach looking towards the national park of Cabrera. Nearby, visitors can find the quaint little beach of Es Trenc, which was not so long ago one of those ‘hidden treasures’ but now attracts more than its fair share of visitors.
Ride the Orange Express Vintage Train From Palma to Sóller
The Ferrocarril de Soller is a historic, narrow-gauge railway which has been operating in Mallorca since 1912. The 28km journey departs from Palma de Mallorca’s historic railway station next to the Plaça de Espanya in the city centre. The route travels through the stunning countryside of rural Mallorca, passing through numerous tunnels of the Serra de Tramuntanas.
The one hour long journey is particularly stunning in the spring when the almond trees are in blossom. On arrival in the town of Soller passengers can take an electric tram to the Port of Soller which is a further 5km away. After exploring the town and port of Soller, passengers can board the historic train for the return trip to Palma de Mallorca.
Take An Excursion to the Village of Valldemossa
Nestled in the Tramuntana Mountains just 20km north-west of Palma de Mallorca lies the picturesque village of Valldemossa which is one of the island’s most popular day trip destinations. This charming village with its cobblestone streets is home to the Royal Carthusian Monastery, a former royal residence turned monastery dating back to the 14th century.
The monastery is famous for having been the home of the composer Frederic Chopin and his lover, George Sand, during the winter of 1838. The French writer detailed her stay on the island in a book entitled “A Winter in Mallorca” which is available in shops in Valldemossa. Today, visitors can explore the rooms where Chopin and Sand stayed and learn about their time in Valldemossa through informative exhibits.
Aside from the monastery, the village is known for its scenic beauty together with its historic architecture and relaxing atmosphere. It’s also a good spot to stop for lunch with a number of restaurants serving the best of traditional Mallorcan cuisine.
Enjoy the Best of Traditional Mallorcan Cuisine
All over the island you’ll find restaurants and tapas bars serving a selection of dishes which are particular to Mallorca. Some of the main ones to look out for include:
Pa amb oli: This is a classic Mallorcan dish which consists of rustic bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with olive oil. It is often topped with local ingredients such as cured ham (sobrasada), local cheeses (mahón or tetilla) or grilled vegetables.
Frito mallorquín: This is a traditional Mallorcan dish made of fried pork meat (usually liver and loin) and vegetables (such as potatoes and red bell peppers), seasoned with garlic and local spices. It is often served as a tapa or a main course.
Tumbet mallorquín: This is a popular vegetable dish in Mallorca made of layers of fried sliced potatoes, eggplant and red bell peppers, topped with tomato sauce and sometimes with a layer of cheese. It is typically served as a side dish or a main course.
Sobrasada: This is a famous Mallorcan sausage made from ground pork, seasoned with paprika and other spices and cured to develop its distinctive flavor. Sobrasada is often spread on bread (pa amb oli), grilled or used as a topping in various dishes.
Cordero a la Mallorquina: This is a traditional Mallorcan dish of slow-cooked lamb, typically seasoned with garlic, rosemary and other local herbs and often served with potatoes or vegetables. It is a hearty dish which showcases the island’s quality lamb.
Ensaïmada: This is a beloved Mallorcan pastry which is made of sweet, spiral-shaped dough, dusted with powdered sugar. Ensaïmada is often enjoyed as a breakfast treat or a dessert and it comes in various flavors, including the classic plain version or filled with cream, chocolate or other sweet fillings.
Arròs Brut: This is a traditional Mallorcan rice dish which is similar to paella, but with a unique twist. It typically includes rice, meat (such as pork or rabbit), vegetables and local spices and it is often cooked with rich broth to give it a hearty and flavorful profile.
Visit a Traditional Mallorcan Winery
Mallorca’s wine industry has been experiencing a resurgence in recent years, with winemakers focusing on producing high-quality wines which showcase the unique characteristics of the island. From traditional reds and whites to unique rosés and dessert wines, Mallorcan wines offer a diverse and exciting range of options for wine enthusiasts to explore and enjoy during their visit to the island. There are two officially recognised Denominación de Origen (DO) wine regions in Mallorca:
Binissalem (DOP): This wine region is located in the centre of the island around the towns of Binissalem, Santa Maria del Cami and Consell. Established in 1990, it is the oldest and most prestigious wine growing region which is home to 11 wineries. Wineries in this region which are open to the public include Bodega Finca Biniagual and Bodega Son Campaner.
Pla i Llevant (DO): This wine region is located in the central and eastern part of the island around the towns of Felanitx and Manacor. The region was upgraded to DO status in 2001 and is home to 13 wineries. Wineries in this region which are open to the public include Bodegas Vi Rei and Oliver Moragues.
Vinos de la Tierra de Mallorca: It’s worth noting which there are other wines produced in Mallorca which do not fall under a specific DO designation. These wines are still of high quality and reflect the unique terroir and grape varieties of the island.
Take a Road Trip Through the Serra de Tramuntana
Standing at 1445 metres above sea level, Puig Mayor is the highest point in Mallorca. Relatively few visitors leave their beach resorts so don’t appreciate what a mountainous island they are on. A day spent driving down the north-west coast from Pollenca to Andratx is simply stunning with notable stops at Sa Calobra where you should follow a coastal path through tunnels in the cliffs to the amazing limestone gorge at Torrente de Pareis.
You should also visit the village of Deia which has long been known as an artist’s hang out where the likes of the poet Robert Graves and the artist Joan Miró resided. The monastery at Lluc is another important stop and you’ll love all the villlages you pass through en route notably Banyalbufar and the quaint beach resort of Sant Elm with the island of Dragonera just off it. In 2011 this mountainous region which is called the Serra de Tramuntana was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Take a Day Trip to Porto Cristo and the Caves of Drach
Mallorca has some spectacular caves at various locations around the island. Probably the most spectacular are the Caves of Drach (Coves del Drach) at Porto Cristo. Today they represent one of the island’s top attractions in which four spectacular chambers with thousands of stalactites are made even more impressive by the top quality lighting arrangements. A mini concert takes place on one of the underground lakes and visitors can take a boat ride steered by a gondolier at the end of the visit. Two other impressive cave are the Caves of Hams and the Caves of Arta.
There are a variety of theme parks and waterparks all over the island. Some of the most popular ones include the following:
Katmandu Park (Magaluf): This is the island’s top rated theme park which offers a range of attractions including a 4D cinema, a splash park, a soft play area and a laser maze.
Marineland (Costa d’en Blanes): This is a marine park with dolphin and sea lion shows, a tropical aquarium, a penguin exhibit and a water park area with slides and a lazy river.
Western Water Park (Magaluf): This is a Wild West themed waterpark with attractions like the Tornado and the Boomerang which offers a great day out for all the family.
Aqualand (El Arenal): This is the biggest waterpark on the island with a range of slides and pools for all ages. Main attractions include a wave pool, a lazy river and a variety of adrenaline-inducing slides.
Palma Aquarium (Palma de Mallorca): Although not strictly a theme park, this marine exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to see a range of marine life including a shark tank, a jellyfish tank and a tropical coral reef.
Dinosaurland (Porto Cristo): This is a dinosaur-themed park with life-size models, exhibitions and a mini-golf course. You can combine a visit with a trip to the nearby Caves of Hams.
Jungle Parc (Santa Ponsa): This is an exciting adventure park located in a pine forest which has treetop courses, zip lines and rope bridges amongst its attractions.
Golf Fantasía (Palma Nova): This is a mini-golf course with 3 themed courses: a pirate ship, a castle and a western town.
La Reserva Mallorca (Puigpunyent): This is a nature park with various outdoor activities including zip lines, climbing walls and a swimming pool.
Hidropark (Alcúdia): A water park with slides, pools and various water-based attractions.
Play a Round of Golf
Mallorca is a golfer’s paradise with its stunning scenery, mild climate and world-class golf courses. With over 20 golf courses on the island, Mallorca has become a premier golfing destination in the Mediterranean which attracts golf tourists all year round. From challenging championship courses to picturesque coastal layouts, Mallorca offers a wide range of golfing experiences to suit players of all levels. Take a look at our best golf courses in Mallorca page to find a course near you.