For a small island Mallorca has so much to offer its visitors. I have to admit I had always turned my nose up at the largest of the Balearic islands. Put off by the tales of jam-packed beaches, bustling tourist resorts and magnets for party animals, I steered well clear…. until this summer. Let me take you on a compass point ride around the beautiful island and share with you some of the Mallorca’s hidden gems of which we came across on our most recent trip.
Hidden gems Mallorca
On our week break to the Mediterranean island with Scott Dunn Travel, we enjoyed the Caribbean-esque scenes of the azure waters and enticing beaches associated with Mallorca.
Not one to spend all my time laying horizontal catching the rays, my explorer instincts soon kicked in. Within the seven days we managed to cover a lot of ground. Squeezing in all corners of the island we stumbled across some unforgettable landscapes rich in high mountains, small fishing villages and underground caves.
We were a short drive away from this incredibly picturesque Mallorcan rural town. Think cobbled narrow streets, stone houses, and an impressive historic square lined with cafés, restaurants and bars. Café culture is large here. We slipped into the tradition with complete ease joining the locals supping beverages or (licking ice-creams in the case of the kids) whilst watching the world go by in Placa Mayor. The square is also home to the 18th century Nostra Senyora Del Angels church with its spectacular rose window.
If you fancy a mini pilgrimage, climb the 365 cypress tree-lined steps (representing each day of the year) from the town centre leading you to El Calvari.
Take a bottle of water particularly in the summer months, it can be quite tiring. When you reach the simple and peaceful hilltop chapel the rewards don’t stop there. The views at the top are magnificent up to the Bay of Pollença over the patchwork terracotta rooftop.
For those with a penchant for shopping don’t miss the tiny lanes brimming with artisan boutique shops. No surprises my wallet was empty after our first visit.
For the sun worshippers the long swathes of sandy beaches are not too far away either in Puerto Pollença. The marina, cafe-lined promenade and enthralling views of the rugged Formentor Peninsula.
Another glorious spot is Cala Formentor. The beach has a stunning pine forest backdrop and views to the mountains. With turquoise blue crystal clear waters and a white sandy beach you’ll never want to leave.
My only regret was not making it to the end of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range and the razor-edge cliffs of Cap de Formentor.
Cuevas del Drach
Without doubt the world-famous Cuevas del Drach (Caves of Drach) is one of the island’s grandest and most popular tourist attractions.
Inevitably this does mean you’ll be doing the slow penguin shuffle through 1.2kms winding path which leads through a series of dramatic cave formation chambers. The tours take about an hour. After staring at the jaw-dropping shapes, colours and sheer size of the stalactites and stalagmites you finish with a rather cheesy but enjoyable classical music recital at the impressive underground lake.
The historic capital is a vibrant and stylish city. It has it all – culture, luxury hotels, trendy restaurants, bars and a beautiful marina.
Palma’s old town is centred around the majestic gothic cathedral, abundant with ancient passages, historic monuments and incredible architecture.
The quiet, enchanting village perched on a hilltop in the Tramuntana is one of the prettiest and most exclusive on the island. It’s long been a magnet for the creative minded, Robert Graves the English poet being the most famous.
The steep cobbled streets, stone houses adorned with bougainvillea, impressive views across the crystal clear Mediterranean and the stunning mountain vistas help you ease right into the laid back air of the coastal village.
Deià is also home to the Belmond La Residencia, a stunning boutique hotel set amongst acres of scented olive and citrus groves. We sipped on cocktails and enjoyed the exceptional views over the picturesque village of Deià and later feasted on the most delicious tapas in one of their restaurants Café Miró. Next time we’re staying (hint, hint Mrs S) – I totally fell in love with the place.
A thirty minute walk or short drive away is Cala Deià, where you’ll find a small shingle beach set within a captivating coastal inlet.
The small rocky cove is home to two restaurants and one for sure will require advance booking. Tom Hiddleston and The Night Manager fans join the queue as it’s where you will find the popular waterside restaurant Ca’s Patro March, used as a location for some of the scenes from the hit TV thriller.
The quaint village of Valledemossa is the highest town in Mallorca. It’s picture perfect against the Serra de Tramuntana range with its bountiful olive groves and almond orchards. The 13th century monastery is one of the main attractions famous for once being home to the great composer Chopin. Outdoor thrillseekers won’t be disappointed either as the surrounding terrain is perfect for rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
If you’re pressed for time like we were, Soller makes a beautiful day trip from Palma. There is a charming wooden vintage tram that takes you through the scenic countryside passing citrus groves. You’re so close you could do some fruit picking of your own!
Once you disembark and arrive in the main square Placa Constitucid, join in the favourite tourist pastime of café lounging. There are some great, tapas bar, pastry and ice-cream shops, then sit back and soak up the atmosphere.
When you’re next in the mood for some sun, sea and sand forget the Caribbean. Mallorca is an island that really does have it all and so many hidden gems!
Have you been to Mallorca? If so, I’d love to know your favourite area. Let me know in the comments box below.
Here are some easily bookable activities to help plan your trip:
Where would we be without our Lonely Planet Guide!
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