There’s more to Mallorca than just sun, sand and sea. Get off-the-beaten track and discover its wild heart.
The largest of Spains’ Balearics, Mallorca is a popular tourist hotspot, but for very good reason. With dazzling Mediterranean beaches, some of the most impressive cave systems in Europe and vineyards aplenty, it’s worth dipping your toe into its sapphire waters.
Though many think they know Mallorca, there’s a lot more to the island than first meets the eye. While the epic Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca, Palma’s gothic monolith, might be the most famous site, if you get off the well-beaten track, there are plenty of other things to see and do.
From charming coastal villages to mountain range hikes and vintage train rides, Mallorca has surprises at every turn. The Cuevas del Drach and Cuevas de Artà cave systems boast spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations, many of which can be found dotted around Mallorca’s smaller bays too.
Sports are also popular here - especially as Mallorca’s most famous export Rafer Nadel is now the most decorated Men’s Singles Tennis Champion of all time. You can hike, bike, sail and climb and with mild temperatures all year round, you needn’t stop when the high season ends.
To give you a taste of what Mallorca offers, we’ve rounded up some of our top picks for the coming year.
What are the travel restrictions for Mallorca?
Travellers from the EU and the UK need to show that they are fully vaccinated to enter the Balearic Islands. Passengers will need a COVID-19 vaccination certificate and will also have to fill in a travel health form before entering the country.
The rules for high-risk countries may vary, you can find more information here.
Get cultural in Palma de Mallorca
Mallorca’s capital city is home to more than half of the island’s population, making it a bustling and exciting place to visit. Its compact size means it’s easy to navigate and a great base from which to explore the rest of the island.
Arty types should take a stroll to Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art which houses works by Miró and Picasso. The museum, which opened in 2004, is one of Spain’s most stylish and well-curated galleries. A must-see if contemporary art is your thing.
Just a 15 minute walk away lies Palma’s old town - Casco Antiguo - which is crammed full of history. Expect elegant Spanish squares, medieval churches as well as traditional arts and crafts, including Mallorca’s famous woven baskets.
If you’re a foodie, make sure you visit midweek so you can experience ‘La Ruta Martiana’, also known as Tapas Tuesday. Designed to entice customers to the local tapas bars, many of the restaurants offer cheaper snacks.You can move from bar to bar, sampling delicious Spanish flavours as you go.
Tour Mallorca on horseback
While walking around Palma will keep you entertained in the evenings, during the day you’ll want to get out and see more of what the island has to offer.
If you like horses, getting in the saddle is a great way to experience the sights and sounds of rural Mallorca. Sign up for a two night trek in the rolling Tramuntana Mountains where you’ll trot through warm citrus-scented lemon groves and past the elegant villages of Campanet and Caimari. Your journey ends at the ancient monastery of Lluc where you’ll stay for two nights. You can sign up for a guided trek here.
Take the scenic route by rail
One of Mallorca’s most popular day trips is the Palma to Sóller vintage train route. Ride through winding valleys of orange and almond groves on a mahogany lined antique train.
A much cleaner and greener way to travel than by the Palma-Soller road, the train will take you through the Tramuntana mountains, while a connecting tram will deposit you at Port de Sóller. Alternatively you can hop off the brass-fitted train at Bunyola to sample Mallorca’s herby liqueurs at the Tunel factory.
Have a sip of vintage Mallorca
Though Spanish wine is globally-famous, you might not know that many of the Balearic islands produce their own wine too. And not just any wine, award-winning wine.
“Mallorca has always worked towards sustainable tourism, but especially in this post-pandemic era,” says Catalina Cladera Crespí, The President of Mallorca Tourism.
“It helps us to maintain our environment and by maintaining our environment we’re able to sustain our local products and traditions.”
Wineries and vineyards are popping up all over the island, where the natives grapes include manto negro, moll and callet. These grapes are then blended with imported varieties to produce all the wines of the rainbow. Mallorca Wine Tours offer some great experiences, including a helicopter wine tour and a private winery dinner.
Enjoy a walk on the wild side
If you need to walk off a sore head afterwards, there are some lovely natural landscapes to discover on foot. Mallorca’s wetlands are a big draw for birdwatchers with black vultures, moustached warblers and balearic shearwaters to be spotted among the native flora and fauna.
The Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is another area worth traversing. The range's highest peak is Puig Major which stands at 1445 metres.There are nine other peaks over 1,000 metres here too if you are a fan of heights.
Running down the northwestern coast of the island, the mountain range, which translates as the very mythical sounding “mountains of the north wind” was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. A craggy, rugged beauty, the arid slopes offer hikers a breathtaking experience.