About the Sights in Mallorca
There are a wealth of places to visit in Mallorca, from top class art museums to the remains of ancient Bronze age settlements. Many of the highlights are in Palma, but to see the best Mallorca has to offer, a car is recommended.
Thanks to the varied history of Mallorca, you will find reminders of the Romans, Moors and Spanish conquerors throughout Mallorca, from watch towers, to castles to palaces. Much of this history is documented in a number of museums. In addition, as prosperity came to Mallorca, grand manor houses and gardens were created and several are now open to the public.
But it is not just man-made artefacts that are worth seeking out. Mallorca is blessed with fabulous scenery, from the mountains in the west to marshlands in the north. A number of Natural Parks have been created, which provide not only protection to the land but informative guides and trails to follow. Some of this natural beauty are ear-marked as beauty spots rather than Natural Parks. Mallorca is also home to quite incredible cave systems which are now some of Mallorca's top attractions. In the foothills and over the plains of Mallorca you will find a rejuvenated wine growing industry, and a visit to a vineyard is highly recommended.
Mallorca is home to a vibrant arts scene as evidenced by the number of excellent art galleries and museums found throughout the island. Highlights include the Es Baluard contemporary art gallery in Palma, the Can Prunera modern art museum in Soller, and the CCA art centre in Andratx.
Of course, one of the popular things for visitors to do whilst on holiday is shop, so read on to find out about where the hotspots are, and what kind of souvenirs you may like to bring home.
Castles & ruins
As may be expected for an island that endured continuous invasion and conquering during the Middle Ages, the coastline is dotted with stone watchtowers. Many of Mallorca's castles are situated a couple of kilometres in from the sea so that the local inhabitants could take shelter if the watch towers spotted any approaching pirates. Some of the best examples of castle include Capdepera Castle and Bellver Castle in Palma.
Of course, Mallorca was home to humans long before the Middle Ages, and there are several Bronze Age sites that have been carefully preserved by archaeologists. The Romans were here too, and the best evidence of their stay is at Pollentia, in the town of Alcudia.
Caves & rocks
Underground cave systems are dotted throughout Mallorca thanks to the limestone bedrock. The best are on the east coast around Porto Cristo and Arta. They are tastefully lit and you follow a trail through the caverns with their stalagmites, stalactites and undergound lakes. Some offer an accompaniment of classical music to your wanderings.
Of course, the major 'rock' to be seen on Mallorca is the Tramuntana Mountain range. It forms the spine of the west coast and runs from Formentor at the top to Andratx at the bottom. A favoured beauty spot is Sa Calobra and the Torrent de Pareis - a deep gorge and a hidden beach in the wilderness of the far north west coast. A wilderness that is, apart from the great number of tourist buses that make the long and winding journey every day...
Churches & cathedrals
The highlight has to be Palma's cathedral. Known as Le Seu, it is an enormous sandstone structure dating back to the 13th century that took over 400 years to complete. Several other Gothic style churches are dotted throughout the old town of Palma, you will also find the remains of an ancient Arabian bathhouse from the 10th century.
Mallorca is home to many hilltop sanctuaries where monks set up home and were places of refuge and pilgrimage. Some, like Lluc Sanctuary, are large and complex sites, others far more simple in size and ambition. But all offer a place of tranquillity and solitude, and amazing views of the surrounding countryside. The Royal Carthusian Monastery in Valldemossa is also a popular tourist attraction, as this is where the composer Frederic Chopin spent an infamous winter.
Houses & gardens
There are several fine examples of country estates dating from the 16th-18th centuries that are now open to the public. Some are set up as museums, others have small animal petting farms, others hold classical music concerts during the warm summer months. They are all rather fabulous - in particular Els Calderers in St Joan and La Granja in Esporles make great days out for families.
For horticultural enthusiasts, head to the west to find the Jardins Alfabia in Bunyola and the Botanical Gardens in Soller.
Museums & galleries
There is a superb range of public art galleries on Mallorca. They mainly specialise in contemporary Spanish art, with some galleries devoted to specific Spanish artists. Of particular note is Es Baluard in Palma, a wonderful contemporary art gallery housed in the old Palma Fort. Other Palma galleries include the Casal Solleric, Fundacio La Caixa and the Museum of Spanish Contemporary Art (Colleccio March). Galleries devoted to Joan Miro and Salvador Dali can also be found in the Palma region. The town of Soller on the west coast has a wonderful modern art museum Can Prunera, and the town itself has a number of Miro exhibitions available to view free of charge at the train station.
The CCA Andratx Art Centre is privately run and offers 3-4 international exhibitions each year, an artist-in-residence programme and a numbver of courses and events. At the other end of Mallorca on the Alcudia peninsula is the Yannick & Ben Jakober Foundation. Also privately run, it has a sculpture garden and art gallery.
There is a good selection of museums covering such topics as the history of Mallorca, the tradition of Mallorcan Pottery, antique dolls, and a couple of archaeological museums. If you are a fan of the writer Robert Graves, you won't want to miss the old house in Deia which was been transformed into a museum after his death.
Nature reserves & parks
There are six protected Natural Parks in Mallorca, at each corner of the coastline. An additional Park is a maritime park consisting of the Cabrera Island Archipelago, off the south east coast. All the parks have something special to offer, from beautiful white sand beaches (Mondrago) to bird watching (S'Albufera) and rugged countryside (LLevant). If you can make a trip to one of these areas, do so - you won't be disappointed.
Shops & boutiques
The central hub for shopping is without doubt Palma. It has a super range of well known brands, both high street and luxury, in addition to the quirky independent boutiques offering a more local style. Other good towns for shopping include Port Andratx and Cala d'Or. Most towns and villages have weekly markets, selling the usual local produce and touristy trinkets. Some of the locally made produce includes artificial pearls, leather shoes and goods, pottery and ceramics, glassware and art works.
Vineyards & estates
There are three main areas where vineyards flourish on Mallorca. Around the town of Binissalem is where the majority of Mallorcan wine is produced and there are many wine growers here whose estates are open to the public. The second area in focused around the town of Felanitx on the east, and is named Pla & Llevant. Wine is also grown in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains, mainly in the north. If you enjoy wine, try to make a visit - the vineyards are beautiful and the wine makers very enthusiastic about their produce. Enjoy!
Location: Mallorca Island