Mallorca (or Majorca, in Catalan, the language spoken in this region of Spain) is the biggest sister of the Balearic islands. Her little sister Ibiza is famous for the night long parties, the even smaller sister Menorca is home to amazing turquoise beaches – and my absolute favourite of the Baleares – but, I have to admit that Mallorca gives you the chance to combine culture, beaches and great food alltogether in one trip. I have had the chance to visit Mallorca twice, and if you avoid the big crowds, this is an absolutely amazing destination.
The first time, I got here thanks to Ryanair offering return tickets from Belgium for 40 Euro. Let’s say that was an offer that me and 2 of my girl friends could not resist, keeping in mind Belgium’s rainy weather and our need for sun!
The main reason that I see Mallorca as a paradise are its beaches. The dark blue sea with the scintillating turquoise spots in it, is just breathtaking. Nothing more, nothing less. In the 4 days that we spent here, my focus was to discover a few of the hidden paradisiac beaches around here.
It is well known that the city beach of Palma – the capital of the island, and also the place where we settled down during our trip – is not the best option if you like clean water and not feeling like a sardine in a tin. The first day we were quite tired, so we decided to take a look at a beach that is reachable from Palma by bus in about 30 minutes. This beach is called Las Illetes, and it consists of 3 smaller beaches, quite touristic and quite crowded for my standards, but still a good option if you don’t want to spend too much time driving and make use of the touristical commodities as well.
The next day, our host Michael gave us a map and directions to a beach with almost only locals, about only 30 minutes of driving, with the magical name “Playa del Mago”. This was definetely an upgrade from Las Illetes, especially in terms of tranquility and relax. The beach was smaller, less crowded and the water was just astonishing. We spent an entire day here, made a little picknik and went swimming and snorkelling.
Definetely another good tip around the city of Palma!
And then, the last day was the figural “beach” cherry on top… We took our rental car on a roadtrip, to about the most beautiful beach of the entire island, that is as well hidden as it is beautiful 🙂
It’s easy to find this one on postcards in the shops, but almost impossible to find in real life if you don’t know where to look for it. It’s not so easy to reach, you need to climb down some steep rocks as well – but as in most cases, all the effort you put into driving there, finding it, climbing the rocks and getting thee is MORE than worth the breathtaking view you get once you’re down.
Actually, this spot hides two stunning beaches in one, since they’re connected and located on the same cape, each one of them on another side. Cala s’Almunia and Calo des Moro – the following pictures make all other explanations unnecessary…
Beside the beaches, you should definetely do some culinary exploring as well, now that you’re in Spain!
We’ve been to 2 authentic local places, that are not crowded with tourists and do their ultimate best to offer authentic food, great quality – and keep their local clients coming back.
The first of them is “Pintxo, Pintxo, Gorgorito” in the central Santa Catalina neighbourhood of Palma, a cosy “pintxo” place. Pintxos are typical tapas originated in the North of Spain (Basque country and Navarra), which consist of a piece of bread and some small “tapa” on top of it – served hot or cold. Some of the more typical ones are tortilla (Spanish omelette), “pimientos del padron” (small bell peppers filled with fish), crab salad, salmon, jamon (Spanish cured ham), …
Santa Catalina is the perfect neighbourhood to find good restaurants for locals, in any case.
If you fancy having a typical Spanish paella, try Trens (trains, in Catalan), where we savoured one of the best paellas I ever had in my life (and that would be quite a few, since I have lived about four years in Barcelona by now). We took the seafood one, but you can also choose a vegetarian one, mixed, with meat… Everybody will find an options to fit their taste buds here! The rice was so tasty, the paella was full of all kinds of different seafood like calamars, mussels, crab, gambas, … Everything a good paella needs, and then that extra bit more! Accompanied with some house marinated olives and a good wine, this was culinary paradise for us.
For the party animals amongst you, Ibiza is not the only island of the Baleares where you can party all night – nightlife and parties in Mallorca are huge. Magaluf is a little “village” near to Palma that is bursting withbars and places to get your dancing shoes on.If you’re looking for more luxury, Mallorca has it’s own Pacha, Nikki Beach and a place called Tito’s, which is the most famous local club.
I cannot give you too much personal tips about that, since going out was not in my personal spectrum on this trip, but there’s surely some nightlife going on in Mallorca! 😉
And last, but not least, there are also a couple of great architectural works that you must check out while exploring the city center of Palma. I’m definetely not the most religious person around, but I like churches for their atmosphere, and often also for their artistic part. First of all, Palma is the home of one of the biggest cathedrals I’ve ever knew built on an island, ‘El Seu’. It’s built in the Catalan Gothic style, resembling the style of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona, but it’s cubic constructions gives it something grotesque.
Also the churches in the Carrer Sant Miguel (which is also the main shopping street, so a perfect excuse to combine shopping and sightseeing) are quite impressive, and worth a quick look inside.
Looking for accomodation, I decided to take a look at Airbnb rather than hotels, and was more that delighted to find a wonderful appartement that could suit up to 6 people, totally refurbished, and with a retro touch. In return we got a good location, and also the possibility to save money by cooking ourselves for a couple of nights. You can check the apartment out here, and be sure that Michael – an original Mallorquin himself, and the host of this place – will help you with anything you need during your stay. He helped us to get around, booked us a table at the best paella restaurant ever and even helped us to rent a car without having a credit card!
In general, if you’re planning to rent something outside of Palma, I’d recommend to look for something in a small, non-touristical village and get yourself a rental car. In my humble opinion, the touristical parts of Mallorca, like s’Arenal or Magaluf, are one in a dozen and could be found anywhere else in the touristical parts of Spain. Palma has it’s charm, especially if you don’t have a rental car everyday, but the small local villages are the diamonds of this island.
So, what you’re still waiting for?
Book your tickets and go explore this wonderful island!