About Where to Holiday in Mallorca
The island of Mallorca is blessed with wonderfully diverse landscapes, from white sandy beaches with tropical overtones, through to green and fertile plains and mountainous villages, to the elegant and historic city of Palma.
Your choice of holiday accommodation is equally varied and there are quality options for a wide range of budgets. It’s all about location really – you can expect to pay top dollar for a luxury hotel in the well-known villages of Deià and Sóller, as well as for Mallorca’s grand golf and spa resort hotels; many properties which have a sea view will also charge premium prices.
Even so, hotels are well priced when compared to other Mediterranean destinations. And, if you are prepared to explore a little of the interior of the island, you can find some wonderful rural hotels and fincas for a fraction of the price.
Staying in Palma
Palma de Mallorca is the capital city of Mallorca and is a wonderful choice for those looking for something more than just a beach holiday. It’s actually the perfect city break simply because it has something to offer everyone. With beautiful architecture, a quirky medieval city centre, golden sandy beaches, an enormous harbour, fabulous art galleries, good shopping, excellent restaurants, and very cool nightlife, it more than rivals other European cities such as Barcelona. Add to this plenty of regular low cost flights and you’d be mad not to consider Palma for a weekend break or a longer stay.
Your accommodation options include several stylish boutique hotels in the historic centre, larger luxury hotels throughout the city that cater well for conferences, and rental apartments throughout the city. The suburbs of Cala Major (the Spanish Royal family have a palace here), and Portixol (a charming fishing village with a more bohemian feel) offer alternative accommodation options to staying in Palma itself.
A common mistake is confusing staying in Palma with staying in Playa de Palma. The latter is a purpose built resort 10 kilometres to the east of the capital. It surrounds a wonderful long beach, perfect for families, although without the luxury accommodation or the cultural gems that the city of Palma offers. There are regular bus services between the two, should you prefer to stay in Playa de Palma.
The north-east of Mallorca is often overlooked, being the furthest away from the airport, but has plenty to offer to the holidaymaker. Home to the Llevant Natural Park, with its wild hills and abundant birdlife, the north-east boast beautiful countryside as well as pretty beaches and coves.
The hilltop villages of Artá and Capdepera are super-charming; both have impressive fortresses or castles and tiny winding alleyways that hide boutiques and art galleries. Accommodation choices in the area range from hotels and apartments in the traditional resorts of Colonia de Sant Pere, Cala Ratjada and Canyamel, to some really fantastic fincas and small luxury hotels. It's pretty quiet in this part of the island, which makes it perfect for a get-away-from-it-all holiday.
Further up the coast, in the far northern part of Mallorca, you’ll find the perennially popular Pollença, Formentor and Alcudia. Once again, you are surrounded by stunning scenery as the mountains slip into the sea – the headland of Formentor is recognised as one of Mallorca’s main beauty spots. Villa holidays are super-popular in this part of the world and there is a wide choice available, particularly around Pollença. Pollença itself is a wonderful little town, with several boutique hotels and artisan shops hidden in the maze of cobbled lanes.
The charming medieval walled town of Alcudia should not be overlooked with its great market and a couple of new boutique hotels. Beyond Alcudia, you head down to the coast where Port de Pollença and Port d'Alcudia sit separated by a lovely horseshoe bay. Being on the coast, these were the first areas to be mass developed for tourism so expect to find a few apartment blocks on the otherwise glorious landscape. For a more affordable escape, the delights of the beaches, the range of family attractions and theme parks and a wide choice of dining possibilities make Port de Pollença and Port d’Alcudia great for family holidays. This is the place to head for watersports too, try waterskiing in the calm waters around Alcudia, and wind or kite surfing towards the east of Alcudia Bay by Colonia de Sant Pere. Plenty of apartment rentals are available in this area.
Cala Millor marks the beginning of a host of purpose-built resorts that fill the east coast. The beaches here are gorgeous, particularly in the northern part of the east coast where long stretches of golden white sand meet crystal clear seas. As you head to the southern part, towards Cala d’Or, the beaches become smaller but perhaps prettier as they tend to be found in coves where the sea sparkles and reflects the green of the surrounding pine trees.
Portocolom and Porto Cristo are two old fishing villages that have been developed into holiday resorts. Impressive cave systems are found near the latter - you can take a tour of the mysterious rock formations and listen to classical music concerts in the larger of the caverns.
The east coast resorts are very popular with families and there are plenty of hotels, and self-catering apartments and villas to choose from. If you move away from the coast and into the foothills of the Llevant mountain range, you can find a number of fincas and villa rentals. Mallorca’s second biggest wine growing region can be found around Felanitx – many of the vineyards are open to the public for tastings and tours.
A whole host of accommodation options await you in the south of Mallorca. Many foreigners own a second home in this area, but there aren't that many holiday villa rentals or apartment rentals available. It is far more common to take a hotel on the coast – many of the luxury brands can be found here, in close proximity to several of Mallorca’s golf clubs and some exclusive beach clubs. For a more authentic Mallorcan experience, stay in a countryside finca – these are converted farm or manor houses made into lush B&B’s which tend to be good value for money when compared to establishments.
In the south-east corner of Mallorca, the land flattens out and windmills start popping up into the landscape. This is where you’ll find the salt flats, home to the gourmet flavoured salts ‘Flor de Sal’, and Mallorca’s best known undeveloped beach, Es Trenc (which stretches for miles!). The prettiest (in our view) natural park of Majorca - Mondragó - is also close, with its aquamarine seas and luscious white sand beaches. Beautiful walks through pine-filled coastline can add an extra dimension to your day at the beach. From here, you can take boat trips from Colonia de Sant Jordi to the only maritime natural park in Majorca, the Cabrera Islands.
There are a number of well-priced fincas and luxury rural hotels in the area. Keep going around the southern coast towards the Bay of Palma to find undeveloped agricultural land and a scattering of luxury hotels. You’ll find cliffs and rocky coves here with sea views and sunsets to die for. As you come to the Bay of Palma itself, with the fantastic Playa de Palma beach, we arrive to the popular resorts -particularly with the German community - of S’Arenal & Can Pastilla.
The area to the south-west of Palma is a firm favourite among holidaymakers and, as such, has been developed extensively. Here you’ll find the holiday resorts of Santa Ponsa, Palma Nova and Magaluf, which are very popular with the British. These towns provide the traditional package holiday accommodation of cheap 'n' cheerful hotels and budget apartments. Santa Ponsa is the more upmarket of these resorts, Palma Nova is popular with families, and Magaluf is where to head if you're a night owl. All have fabulous beaches and a wealth of family attractions to keep you occupied.
Closer to Palma is the exclusive marina of Puerto Portals, which has great restaurants and sophisticated nightlife. Port Adriano is the new luxury marina in town, just south of Santa Ponsa, built for the super yachts of the rich and famous, so expect more luxury accommodation to be found here. A more traditional yet still upmarket harbour is that of Port d'Andratx, which has retained its charm whilst luxury hotels and villas fill the surrounding hillsides.
A quieter and even lovelier fishing village is that of Sant Elm in the far south-west, with its Caribbean-esque sparkling blue seas and tropical landscape. As you move away from the coast, you quickly meet rolling countryside as the hills develop into the Tramuntana mountain range. There are several tiny mountain villages hidden in these hills - S'Arraco, Galilea, Puigpunyent for example - which offer a real retreat for rest and relaxation.
To the north-west of the island lie the popular mountain towns of Valldemossa, Deià, Sóller & Fornalutx. These villages are immaculate, with pretty lanes filled with overflowing bougainvillaea and other colourful and fragrant plants. Each village has its own attractions - Valldemossa has its monastery and the connection to the composer Chopin, Deià has breath-taking views of the sea and gourmet restaurants, Sóller has the wonderful modern art gallery of Can Prunera and a vintage train, Fornalutx is postcard-perfect and has hiking trails on its doorstep. Surrounded as they are by the Tramuntana mountain range, the scenery is spectacular. These villages have been popular with the well-heeled visitor for decades and they boast a number of famous residents. If you are into your outdoor activities, this is definitely the place to base yourself.
Port de Sóller is another popular choice, situated as it is in a glorious horseshoe bay. This is the place to come for boat trips, ideal for admiring the rugged western coastline. It also boasts two sandy beaches.
Some of Mallorca’s most exclusive hotel accommodation can be found here, although there's something to suit all budgets, with a number of small boutique hotels and fincas springing up in the villages and hills. If you prefer self-catering, there are some villas, fincas, townhouses and apartments available as holiday rentals.
The interior of Mallorca is surprisingly green, with wonderfully fertile land dotted with tiny villages that have resisted the passage of time. Many of the villages host quirky festivals and fairs each year, mainly celebrating their local agricultural produce and the local patron saint. Around Binissalem there are the vineyards which make most of Mallorca’s wine, Santa Maria del Camí, Sineu and Inca have wonderful markets, and beautifully restored manor houses throughout the area give glimpses into how the nobility lived a couple of centuries ago.
Little lanes criss-cross the landscape, ideal for cyclists looking to explore at a leisurely pace. Hilltop sanctuaries, monasteries and prehistoric ruins point to Mallorca’s past. Glass making factories and the cultured pearl industry line the road leading to Manacor (Mallorca’s second city and home to tennis ace Rafael Nadal). The choice of fincas and small luxury hotels is impressive and offer better value than those closer to the coast. If villa rentals are more your thing, then you’ll be surprised at the quality and price of what’s on offer here.