I was quite sceptical about booking a holiday to Mallorca at this time of the year (we’re talking August baby- am I insane or what?) In fact, the only reason I agreed to visit Mallorca was that my little niece had a dream coming here and I’m too good of an aunty to say no, and to be fair beaches are pretty amazing from what I can remember!
I’ve visited Mallorca (or is it Majorca?) some nine ears ago and remember the place for beautiful nature, delicious food and great value for money.
All these years later and I had only heard of Mallorca as a resort destination, and while maybe someday a resort holiday will appeal to me, right now it really doesn’t. Just thinking about all inclusive- pool-hotel-dinner day cycle gives me shivers. I mean, if I was going to Spain, I wanted to feel at least a bit like I was in Spain.
Despite visiting Mallorca in the busiest time of the year, I was still hoping to find some real Spanish charm.
Here is a little run down of our girly week in Mallorca.
A few days in Palma
First stop on the island was Mallorca’s capital city Palma. We only spent a couple of nights here, but I secretly wished that we had stayed here longer, as we’ve missed out on so much!
I just love Spanish cities. Apart from the very centre, there weren’t many tourists, as people generally aren’t visiting Mallorca for the cities, it’s more of a beach destination. And walking through the neighbourhood’s gives an authentic Spanish experience.
TIP. If you find yourself in Palma on Tuesday, get involved in Ruta Martiana (Tapas Route in the old town), where locals gather to enjoy delicious tapas, beer and wine. The collection of bars offers you a small tapa or pintxo plus local wine or beer for €2.50. It’s very popular with the Palma locals and is a great way to discover some wonderful authentic bars if you follow the route.
Least populated part of the island would be the north. Which also means, not as many tourists. We’ve spent two nights around Alcudia and had enough time to drive around the area. While the main bit of Alcudia is very touristy and full of Irish Pubs, driving just a few kilometres out of the city centre will lead you to more residential ‘old town’, and that’s where we stayed, wined and dinned. It also has a very pretty beach with calm waters. Even tho, it’s quite touristy, golden sands stretches for a few miles, so there’s place for everyone.
I would absolutely recommend driving all the way north to Cap de Formentor. Cap de Formentor is a spectacular place, located on the northernmost point of the island and has quite a few lookout points with spectacular views of the coast and incredible sunsets. Its highest point, Fumart, is 384m above sea level and is reached by driving from Port De Pollenca by narrow wiggly roads.
Visiting mountain villages
So we drove from Palma to Soller along the west coast (yes, we did a lot of driving). And really, the roads in Mallorca are just so stunning! Vineyards, mountains and abandoned farms along the way makes you forget you’re one in a million tourists here.
Soller probably has the prettiest town square I saw on Mallorca, complete with an old wooden tram that runs through the town and down to the port, it also has a hearty Spanish town feeling.
It is quite difficult to find parking space here, do keep that in mind when renting a bigger car.
After a few hours of walking around, we headed to Port de Soller, which was equally charming and busy. It’s a great place to stop for lunch and enjoy the views of marina. And please do stuff your face with gelatos, or otherwise I’ll feel guilty having those five scoops of everything!
On the way back we used the coastal route via Deia. Village is so lovely. Deia might actually be too lovely. From many locals I’ve heard it was the place for rich and famous- ‘it’s a different Mallorca, an escape from resorts, you know’. Then I thought, there might be two different sides of Mallorca- until I got to Deia, when I decided that there might actually be three sides of it after all.
There’s tourist resorts and then there are sleepy Spanish villages. But then there are places like Deia, away from the tourist ‘must see’ but still bursting with foreigners. Many similar villages to Deia driving through the west coast of the island- beautiful, exclusive, picturesque and fancy.
Exploring the beaches and beyond
It’s great to explore new places and all that, but really what I mostly wanted to do on Mallorca island was head to the beach!
Mallorca, quite rightly, has earned the reputation of being one of Europe’s favourite destinations when it comes to the essential beach holiday. Most visitors come with the sole intention of throwing down their luggage and heading straight for the nearest strip of golden sand. However, I’ve always wondered what percentage of these vacationers then proceed to spend their next week lying in exactly same spot, not willing to explore what’s behind their hotel. Yet, as my curiosity has discovered, drive outside the tourist circle and you will be rewarded with many hidden gems this island has to offer.
And while during my week in Mallorca I went to a lot of beaches, a few stuck out as clear favourites. So here are my personal picks for the best beaches in Mallorca:
Es Calo des Moro Beach in SE Mallorca
This must be the most beautiful beach in Mallorca – or at least the clearest blue water to be found on the island!
A fifteen-minute drive from Santanyi followed by a ten-minute walk down to the beach, it is worth a daytrip. The beach itself is really small and the space to lay towels is very limited so it is recommended to get there early in the day, especially in high season.
Cala Varques Beach in SE Mallorca
One of the more difficult beaches to find but 100% worth the map reading and walking. (Bear in mind that after parking your car, you will need to walk some 3/4km rocky paths to find it.) Cala Varques claims bright blue bays, a natural stone archway and possibly the best cliff-jumping spot on the island. AND, there’s a bar shack on the beach selling mojitos and fresh orange juice!
Cala Figuera in Northern Mallorca
Northern beaches aren’t as popular as the south of the island. They’re also much wilder and harder to access. I fell in love with Cala Figuera solely of how secluded and remote it was. Not even one person been seen around on the trek down. Note that this isn’t the best option for swimming, as current is strong and beach isn’t supervised. It is more of a natural beauty to your eyes.
Cala Mhares (not official name) in Southern Mallorca
This is a less known beach and mostly occupied with local residents. While renting an air bnb in Badia Blava, our host told about local gems. One of them was beach with no name, but locals call in Mhares, just because it’s next to cliff beach club Mhares (which by the way has amazing views). It’s not too hard to find if you know where to look. Arriving by a cliff has breath-taking views of the coast but the parking is quite tricky.
Es Maquer and S’Almunia in SE Mallorca
These two little beaches are on the way to Calo des Moro. It isn’t as perfect as its neighbour but it’s a lot more spacious, and if Calo des Moro is too crowded you could always set up your towel here instead. That’s what we did.
These are just a handful of the great beaches Mallorca has to offer and I’m sure everyone would have their peace of cake exploring.
Where to stay in Mallorca
I stayed in four different places in Mallorca, none of which were resorts but all of which were near some of my favourite beaches and in different parts of the island.
As mentioned above, airbnb played big part in finding accommodation. You can benefit with £25 off your first booking here.
Sa Pletassa- Finca in Mallorca
If you’re like me, love escaping all the hustle, the answer to your prayers would be a Finca Sa Pletassa. Far off the beaten track, away from crowds and noise, this kind of accommodation provides guests an oasis of serenity. It is situated deep in a countryside but yet so close to beaches and local villages.
Our room had a beautiful garden and pool view and a spacious terrace that served as a platform witnessing the most incredible sunsets.
Knowing how much I love breakfast, I could dedicate whole paragraph on my mornings in Sa Pletassa. I love how natural and fresh everything was; and later found out that they grow many ingredients in their own garden. Finca also cultivates its own vineyard! Sold for me.
I had a chance to personally meet one of the Swiss owners and hear the story how the idea to open an oasis of tranquillity became a reality in 2012.