Godfrey Hall is an award-winning UK based travel journalist and member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. He has been in search of elves in Iceland, traveled to the depths of central Australia and been off the beaten track in Bulgaria.
Majorca, or Mallorca in Spanish, is an island of contrasts, from the beaches, high-rise hotels, bars and clubs to the sophistication of its capital Palma and the beauty of its inland villages and northern coastline.
A few miles’ drive or a short train ride from Palma and you soon find yourself in delightful countryside with picturesque olive groves and almond orchards. A bit farther on you reach the beautiful mountains. Drive through these using either the tunnel or the scenic route and you will find yourself in one of the northern seaside resorts, which are so different from those in the south.
Majorcans are warm and friendly people who are proud of their heritage and their island. Talk to them about what makes Majorca so special, or ask them about local dishes and places to visit.
Places to See
You should start your visit to Majorca in the capital Palma with its beautiful setting, wide boulevards and the narrow streets of the old town. Said to be one of the most desirable places to live in Spain, it is elegant and charming.
The castle that overlooks the city is well worth a visit and dates back to the 14th century. It stands on a hill so you may need to take the bus (numbers 3, 6, or 50) to the woods below and then walk up. Stroll through the winding streets of the old town, which are cool in the middle of summer. The cathedral is quite spectacular and known all over the world for its beauty. There are plenty of cafes and bars in the pleasant, shady squares that are dotted around the center of the city.
Other places you should visit on the island include Puerto Pollensa in the northeast, Cap de Formentor and the striking inland towns of Pollensa, Soller and the Port de Soller accessible by an ancient tramway. The twisty northern coast road is particularly attractive with stunning views across the mountains and the Mediterranean.
There are a wide range of places to stay including many hotels in the center of the action in Magaluf. If you want somewhere with plenty going on then make for Arenal or Palma Nova, both within easy reach of the capital.
For a more peaceful setting where you can really indulge yourself, try Hotel Reads, just a short train ride from Palma close to the village of Santa Maria. This eclectic, family-owned estate dates back 500 years and is full of character.
Another upmarket establishment is the Hotel Barcelo Formentor, opened in the 1920s. The hotel is set on a peninsula along a twisting road and has one of the best beaches on the island. Though it’s not cheap, it has a beautiful tropical garden and excellent staff. There are also many self-catering apartments and villas all over the island.
Food and drink
Majorca has a lot of traditional food and drink. Many locals enjoy pa amb oli, which is made with Majorcan bread that is toasted and covered in island tomato paste. It can be eaten on its own or with ham and cheese. It is very filling!
Ensaimadas are another delicacy. These soft, fluffy, spiral pastries are covered in icing sugar and range in size from small to huge. Eaten with sausage, cheese or fruit they are a real treat.
The fish caught off of Majorca are fantastic. Tapas bars are common, and there are some excellent bars in Palma where you can get plates of mushrooms, sardines and olives.
Majorcan wines can be heavy but have lots of taste. Beer is becoming more popular all the time, and there are plenty of sherries to try.
The city of Palma has a top-notch nightlife scene with most establishments open late. Dinner can be as late as 11 p.m. with clubs open until the early hours of the morning. Made in Brazil is a real hot spot in the city. There are plenty of discos, and you should not miss a trip to Bar Abaco, which features strange décor and exotic cocktails. The resorts along the coast have plenty of bars and clubs to accommodate most tastes. For a more casual scene, make for one of the many excellent restaurants or beach-side bars in Puerto Pollensa or Port de Soller.
There are a large number of flights in and out of Majorca to most destinations in Europe and beyond. The transport system on the island is very good, and there are plenty of buses. An excellent train operates from an underground station in Palma and on to the ancient town of Soller, which connects with a tram that takes you down to the coast. This can be very busy in the holiday season, so you should try the early morning train to avoid the crowds.
There are plenty of car rental companies, but look out for ones that require you to return the car empty of fuel, since this can be an expensive option. Avis is one of the better car rental services because you can pick up and return the car with a full tank.
Fly.com Expert Tips
How To Get There: Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) is approximately five miles from downtown Palma, and is serviced by over 40 domestic and international airline carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa and Swiss. Many of the airlines only offer seasonal service. There are two buses that connect the airport to Palma: bus number 1 stops at several tourist attractions and the seafront promenade; and bus number 21 stops at several hotels along Palma beach. The bus costs €3 each way. Information regarding area transportation is available here.
Best Time To Visit: Majorca’s location in the Mediterranean means that it gets over 300 days of sunshine a year. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures in the high-70s to mid-80s, but is often ofset by the constant sea breeze. Winters are mild, rarely dipping below mid-50s. The best time to visit is typically in the spring, when the flower are blooming, hotel prices are still reasonable, and before the weather gets too hot.
Sample Fares: Calendars display lowest roundtrip fares over the next 90 days to Palma de Mallorca from:
* All fares are roundtrip including all taxes and are accurate at time of publication. For updated pricing, conduct a new search on Fly.com.