Mallorca, less than an hour flight off the coast of Spain, is not as much a quaint island (at three times the size of Maui) as a collection of cities, cafes and cultures offering scenic drives, inexpensive shopping, dozens hidden beaches.
Things to do
Palma – The capital city provides a huge choice of things to do. Great shopping, excellent restaurants, a web of narrow streets and cafes. Be sure to tour the immense Catedral de Palma Mallorca.
Alcúdia - On the northeastern coast of Mallorca, Alcúdia is not only a popular beach but a haven for sailing. The Port of Alcúdia, with its many restaurants and shops, comes alive after dark.
Pollença - At the most northwestern tip of Mallorca, on a peninsula almost due North of Pollença, offers a beautiful scenic drive as well as some great beaches. The views on both sides are spectacular and the water an unearthly color of blue. The final stop on the drive is the Formentor lighthouse.
Beaches – Mallorca may be best known for its beaches and it doesn’t disappoint. There are dozens to choose from in a range from giant, family-friendly beaches to secluded plots of sand.
- Cala Formentor, just outside of Pollença, is a long, narrow stretch of white sand with shady spots under the trees that encroach upon the beach. On the weekends during the summer, there are tons of kids, a restaurant and small shops to stock up on water and snacks.
- Cala Gran is a lovely, but small, beach in a resort area of the island. One of five beaches in the area, the entire place is well-equipped for a day trip or multi-night stay. Looking out from the beach, you can see houses built on the cliffs overlooking the inlets with ladders built into the sides of rocks to climb into the water for a dip.
- Es Calo d’Es Moro in Santanyi is one of the best-known and most naturally beautiful beaches in Mallorca. Crystal clear water and white sand nestled between tree-covered cliffs.
- Cala Varques, Manacor – Remote, rustic and adventurous as it is difficult to find and involves a hike to the beach.
- Cala Pi, Llucmajor (near Palma) – Beautiful white sand cove and crystal clear water.
A late lunch at Bistro Mar (Puerto de Alcúdia, Passeig Marítim, 1, Alcúdia (Port D´Alcúdia), Islas Baleares 07410) in the marina, ended up an early dinner as well. Bistro Mar -- a great recommendation from a local -- is found in the marina with a view of sail boats. Huge seafood paella (sold for two, but easily enough for three) was a filling meal along with a plate of Padrón peppers – quickly deep fried green peppers tossed with sea salt. So good, we tried to get a second order, but the waiter wouldn’t oblige as he thought we would have too much food.
Cocktails at the stylish, Aqua Restaurant and Sushi Lounge (Club Nautico Alcidiamar, Puerto de Alcudia) for sunset couldn’t have been more relaxing as we watched the sunset and the party crowd arrive for a light meal and drinks.
Dinner at la llonja in the Port de Pollença (Moll Vell, tel. 971 868 430). On a pier bordering the marina you’ll find this modern restaurant known for fresh fish and local dishes. Not only did everything (Padrón peppers, caprese salad, local fish, regional-style garlic lamb chops) taste good, but the prix-fix menu was an incredible deal including starter, main, dessert and half a bottle of wine for 38 Euros.
Cappuccino, a Mallorcan chain of cafés, is perfect for a cappuccino italiano. Cappuccino serves Illy coffee and the location by the cathedral is both beautiful and convenient.
What to buy
The Camper Factory Outlet (PG INDUSTRIAL S/N, 07300,INCA, T: 971888233) in Inca is certainly not easy to find, but the shoes here (often current styles) for men, women and children are all discounted, plus an extra amount 25%, 40% and 50% is taken off your purchase depending on the number of pairs you buy.
Flor de Sal, local sea salt, is available in natural or flavored varieties including black olive, lemon and Mediterranean. I found some at Les Illes d’Or in a square bordered by the streets of Saint Domingo, Calle Pisa, Brossa and Calle Imprenta/Quint. (Find out more about the founder of Flor de Sal, Katja Wöhr, at ABC Mallorca.)
Unfiltered Spanish olive oil, my favorite olive oil, is available in specialty food stores in Mallorca. Stock up, it is nearly impossible to find outside of Spain, but well worth the search.
The sandals by Nagore, made in Menorca, have not left my feet since I bought them. Soft and comfortable, these are worn by men, women and children in the Balearic Islands and cost around 30 Euros.