Paradise in Europe
The beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca. A second home to Lisa and a travel favourite to both of us, Mallorca has many different faces. Beautiful sandy beaches, crystal clear water, idyllic mountain villages and colorful markets are only a few of the things the island has to offer. Mallorca often serves as one of the go-to travel destinations for beach-hungry Europeans, and it’s no wonder why. Here you’ll find some tips on:
There are many things to do on Mallorca but relaxing at the beach is certainly what most tourists come to the island for, and therefore most people flock to the island during the summer. There are not only beautiful long sand beaches, but also hundreds of little coves, pebbled beaches, and sunny rocks from which you can easily access the Mediterranean Sea. Some of Lisa’s favourite places are far away from the crowded beaches – just a wonderfully sunny flat rock from which she can easily take a dip in the refreshing water, explore the sea world with her snorkel, or relax in the sun with a good book. We recommend renting a car, scooter, or bicycle and just exploring the coast! You’ll find plenty of places to access the sea, beautiful countryside, and sleepy Spanish villages.
When we visit Mallorca, we are lucky enough to stay with Lisa’s former au-pair family, an incredibly welcoming Spanish family who lives on a beautiful piece of land in the south-east of the island. To Lisa, Mallorca is much more than a beautiful island as she has lived there on and off for several years. Although she has visited places all over the island, she is most familiar with the south-east.
Renting a car
Especially in the high season (mid-June to mid-September) car rentals can be quite pricy. Book ahead online if you can. Or explore the island in the off season when there is lush green vegetation growing everywhere- you’ll find yourself alone on even the most popular beaches, and prices for accommodation and rental cars will be a lot cheaper.
Remember to take some of the general precautions necessary when renting a vehicle.
Lisa loves markets, and Mallorca has plenty of weekly markets to offer. You’ll find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to colourful summer clothes, leather goods, artisan jewelry, handmade pottery, and so much more. Almost every village has one or two days per week when the entire center turns into a lively market. Most of the markets take place in the mornings (9am – roughly 1pm). If you are visiting in high season, it is definitely advisable to visit early in the morning rather than later. It can get VERY busy at the popular markets (like Pollença, Sineu, and Santanyí), and once the sun starts rising high (around 10.30 am) you definitely want to find yourself on the way to the beach.
Lisa’s favourite market is Santanyí (every Wednesday and Saturday) where you should definitely check out the beautiful hand-woven baskets at the Plaça de la Constitució (to the left of the church in the center) which make excellent beach baskets.
When to go
Each season has it’s magic. While you will find perfect beach weather in July and August, the entire island gets overrun with tourists. While you can enjoy fresh oranges, lush green fields, and lonely beaches in the winter, the island does get quite a bit of precipitation. We recommend May/June and September/October as the best times to visit. While the weather might not be as stable as during high season, it is a lot less crowded and the sun won’t be too intense. By mid-May the water is usually warm enough for a short dip, and the first weekend of November was the latest Lisa has ever gone swimming in a season. Some people, though, swim year-round!
Visiting in the Off-Season
If you decide to visit Mallorca in the off-season, make sure to bring good rain gear. Don’t let the weather discourage you though, there are still many things to do!
- Check out the capital and biggest city, Palma de Mallorca, with its many bars, restaurants, museums, and its big cathedral.
- Go on a road trip through the Tramuntana mountains, where you will find old villages, picturesque fincas, and beautiful vistas. Make sure you stop for a stroll through Valldemossa, Deià, and Soller!
- Go on one of the many hikes in the mountains! Lisa has hiked from Valldemossa to Deià, which is a highly-recommended day hike. Bring plenty of water and snacks to strengthen you for the steep climb at first and the seemingly endless descent into Deià at the end of the day.
- Go for a stroll and enjoy the sunshine at one of the many deserted beaches.
- Go for an extended bike ride! Many cyclists take advantage of the mild climate of Mallorca’s winter to explore the windy mountain roads by bike.
- Go out to eat! Our personal favourite: Restaurant Cala Ferrera in Cala D’or. Ask to eat “el menú del día” where you can select a first course, a main course, and a desert from a daily menu for a fixed price. In addition to bread and olives as a starter, certainly the best part about your meal will be the all-you-can-drink tinto de verano (rosé wine and sprite)!
There iare plenty of accommodations to choose from in Mallorca. You’ll find everything from expensive 5 star hotels, to all-inclusive hotels for party lovers, to rural guesthouses and hostels. Especially in the off-season it is not uncommon to find a great deal even on a high-quality hotel. Nevertheless, if you are on a budget, we recommend booking a room in a hostel or couchsurfing. A word of caution concerning camping: while there are a number of people (rock-climbers, hippies) who camp out at certain remote beaches, beware that it is illegal and that you will get fined if the police catch you. Always put your tent up after dark and take it down in the morning. For additional advice, check out some of our tips for guerrilla camping. And it goes without saying how important it is to keep the beaches clean. If you pack it in, pack it out.
You had enough time chilling at the beach and are ready for an adventure? Mallorca is full of caves, some of which are well known, and others remain undiscovered. Most of them don’t have names, let alone signposting, and are hidden in the remote countryside. While some are accessible by land, others are only accessible by boat. Just go explore!
As a cave-fanatic, Elliott was ecstatic when we went inside some secret caves that Lisa knows about from some fellow locals. We visited one that had small lakes inside which we had to cross by swimming. It’s quite the experience when your only source of light to see the magical stalagmites and stalactites is a little candle, which you try to keep dry above your head while swimming through ice-cold water. Some of the delicate caves have lost their charm due to mass tourism, so if you explore a cave make sure to leave nothing but your footprints.