The perfect break in Mallorca
Tired of the cold weather? Or maybe you just need a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? A weekend trip to Mallorca is the perfect remedy. The largest of the Balearic Islands is a treasure trove of natural splendor and cultural gems, blessed with a glorious Mediterranean climate and more than 550 km of ravishing coastline. Spectacular hikes and jewel-like villages dot its scenic interior, while Palma, the island’s swanky capital, is brimming with art, history and classy seaside charm. Here’s how to make the most of your weekend trip to Mallorca:
Check into an attractive beachfront hotel
Grand Hotel Portals Nous
With no less than 15 hotels and resorts across the island, Mallorca’s Iberostar Hotels and Resorts are an inspired choice, offering a variety of experiences to suit every taste and interest. Ranging from seafront family-friendly options to luxury adult-only oases, these properties feature stylish contemporary design, well-thought amenities, and access to Mallorca’s best beaches. The exclusive Grand Hotel Portals Nous dazzles guests with boutique style rooms by Dutch interior designer Marcel Wanders.
Hotel Jardín del Sol
Tucked into a pine forest in Font de Sa Cala, Iberostar Pinos Park keeps kids entertained with treasure hunts, zip-line tours, a fun pool, and all kinds of exciting activities especially designed for them. Otherwise, Iberostar Cristina on Playa de Palma provides unique services for cyclists; while the all-suite Hotel Jardín del Sol, with its beautiful, tranquil setting overlooking the bay of Santa Ponsa, makes for a stylish couples’ getaway.
Sadly, most travelers come to Mallorca looking for booze, beaches, and nightlife, and they miss the island’s real star, Palma. Often compared to Barcelona, the delightful capital of the Baleares is wrapped in Mediterranean sophistication, with broad tree-lined boulevards, an elegant seafront promenade, and a labyrinth of atmospheric narrow streets teeming with life beneath a splendid Gothic cathedral (La Seu) built out of local golden sandstone. The city is filled with trendy restaurants, attention-grabbing Modernista buildings, and inviting pavement cafés, and has a booming art scene. Don’t miss Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which houses artworks by Picasso and Miguel Barcelo, or the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation, for a brilliant insight into the artist’s life and work.
Hit the shops
Exquisite leather goods, stylish pearls, and some of the world’s best olive oil, shopping in Mallorca is a real treat. Those looking for some retail therapy will be spoilt for choice in the small towns and villages scattered across the island. Consell hosts Mallorca’s largest flea market every Sunday, while Inca, also known as the “city of leather”, is home to some of the most prestigious shoe manufacturers in Spain, including Camper, Barrats, Ballco, and Lottusse.
Passeig del Born
Manacor, the second largest city on the island and the birthplace of Rafa Nadal, is also worth a detour for its famous Majorica pearls, award-winning wine, and lovely craft market held here every Saturday morning. Back in the city, Palma’s ancient cobbled streets are chock full of interesting boutiques, antique stores, and delightful little shops selling products handcrafted on the island. For upmarket designer labels, head to Passeig del Born, the capital’s most famous shopping street, or the nearby Avinguda Jaume III. While in the area, step inside Rialto Living, a wonderfully curated lifestyle concept store selling art, fashion, and furniture in a former Baroque style palacio.
…and the beaches
Playa de Muro
Mallorca is a beach lover’s paradise, with everything from wide stretches of soft white sand to blissfully remote rocky coves lapped by shimmering blue seas. For excellent facilities and watersports, head to the Blue Flag Playa de Muro in the north of the island, or the beautiful Port de Pollença on the north-east coast. And don’t worry if you are visiting Mallorca off season, most of the island’s beaches are worth a stopover for their natural beauty alone. Plus, they’ll be all yours to explore.
Surrounded by pine trees, sand dunes, and the largest colony of seagulls in the Balearics, Cala Mesquida near Capdepera is a delight for nature lovers. And so is Cala Deià, an idyllic shingle cove sheltered by rocky cliffs, on the west coast of Mallorca. If time allows, and your weekend trip falls in summer, chill out with a cocktail at one of the classy beach clubs framing the Bay of Palma.
Escape to a postcard-perfect hilltop village
Hidden in the island’s scenic Serra de Tramuntana mountains are some of the most wonderful villages you’ve ever seen, so do take the time to explore one or two in order to capture Mallorca’s true essence. Mainly famous for its connections with Chopin, elegant Valldemossa is only 18 kilometers north of Palma, yet a world apart in terms of scenery, atmosphere, and pace of life. Stroll down cobbled alleyways past quaint stone houses decked out in flowers, linger over an alfresco lunch in the main plaza, and, if it’s Sunday, browse the local open-air market for fresh local produce.
Other fantastic options include the striking mountain village of Fornalutx, the stylish hilltop town of Deià and Sóller, an irresistible mix of Mediterranean charm, Modernista architecture, and breathtaking landscapes. For the latter, take the adorable vintage wooden train from Palma’s Plaza de España. The 28 km journey will take you through spectacular Serra de Tramuntana scenery, being a tourist attraction in its own right.
Splurge on a fabulous meal
Chef Santi Taura
Wonderful, high-quality food is one of Mallorca’s greatest strengths. From Michelin-starred cuisine to rustic chiringuitos serving grilled locally-caught fish by the sea, there is a wealth of gastronomic experiences awaiting you. For innovative Mallorquin cuisine at its finest, get a reservation at Santi Taura’s sough-after restaurant, tucked away in the small, lovely town of Lloseta. The chef’s passion for the island’s landscapes and produce is proudly reflected in the unique tasting menu, which changes weekly.
Chefs Marc and Toni Martorell
Alternatively, the chefs Marc and Toni Martorell offers a great culinary experience at Michelin-starred Marc FOSH restaurant in the heart of Palma Old Town. It serves reinvented Mediterranean classics (think strawberry gazpacho and salt cod in black olive crust) in a former 17th-century convent. If sushi is what you’re craving, you’ll find the island’s best at Sumailla in Port d’Andratx, which specializes in creative Japanese and Peruvian cuisines and offers beautiful sea views.