Mallorca Travel Guide

Mallorca Travel Guide

Jessica Benavides Canepa

Mallorca embodies the best of the Balearics at every sun-kissed turn – a lyrical cornucopia of ravishing scenery ranging from crystalline coastlines to bucolic mountains to revitalising rural retreats. Beyond her magnetic seaside appeal, visitors are discovering inland treasures presented by locals passionate to share a cultural history deeply rooted in an appreciation for the island’s organic natural resources.

In between postcard-worthy beachfront adventures, places to visit in Mallorca include centuries-old hillside villages flecked with pines and almond groves, hidden coves of lesser-trekked beaches or cycling trips up the winding roads of the mighty Tramuntana Mountains. Whatever holiday you had envisioned, this beauty’s abundant charms will always deliver.

The best hotels in Mallorca

Located in the thick of buzzy capital Palma, Nakar Hotel is the latest incarnation of a storied building dating back to 1965. All 57-rooms are decorated with a minimalist touch and accented with earthy strokes on au naturel materials including wood, stone and iron. Voguish furnishings and black-toned accents add leading-edge flair. For a relaxed vibe and awe-inspiring views, dine at Miquel Calent’s CUIT Bar & Restaurant, a chic spot for guests to indulge in local cuisine while taking in popular sights including the Cathedral and the Bellver Castle.

Mother Nature takes centre stage at Pleta de Mar; a sublime 30-suite villa-style stay nestled in the seaside resort, Canyamel. All suites are spacious with elegant neutral furnishings and indulgent amenities, though the Grand Suite earns its moniker by offering an opulent 90m2 space complete with private outdoor pool and mini forest. The restaurant Asador de Mar specialises in open-air grilled meat and seafood while overlooking a sparkling infinity pool with Balinese sunbeds designed for optimum relaxation.

For a true respite from hectic city life and easy exploration of some of Mallorca’s best vineyards, make a reservation at Sa Cabana Hotel Rural & Spa, a 16th-century farmhouse-turned-boutique beauty situated in Alcudia’s hilly countryside. All rooms feature some original fixtures and a shock of bold, multi-hued furnishings such as checker-patterned headboards and velvet chairs. The postcard-perfect Tramuntana surrounded grounds pay homage to the hotel’s original setting via centuries old trees, shrubs, vineyard and an ancient water tank re-conceptualized into a unique, circular swimming pool with sleek wood-plank deck.

Pleta de Mar | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Pleta de Mar | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Where to eat in Mallorca

Housed in a well-preserved 19th-century manor house, Sadrassana serves traditional Balearic mains in atypical surroundings; an eclectic space dedicated to contemporary artworks. Inviting with simple yet hearty fare, Patron Lunares pays an aesthetic tribute to its charismatic owner, a turn-of-the century fisherman and the relief workers that once inhabited the building. On the hotel front, two restaurants of note include the tantalising creative cuisine of Marc Fosh – the first British chef to achieve a Michelin star in Mallorca for his namesake restaurant housed inside the hotel Covent de la Missió and Cap Rocat’s enchanting The Sea Club, serving traditional open-fire oven fare. Special mention goes out to Fosh alum Andreu Genestra, a young chef offering cuisine inspired by the vast gardens of Hotel Predi Son Jaumell. In tiny Lloseta, Santi Taura serves tasty three-course degustation menus exclusively in his signature eatery. For a more contempo vibe, head to Nuru for inventive international flavours paired with regional wines and walls adorned with urban art. Joan Marc combines the best of all worlds; organic cuisine with mod flavourings served in a simple setting cleverly accentuated with bottle green plastic chairs, chic pottery and tree trunks.

Famed for its artisanal heritage, the craft coffee scene makes perfect sense in Mallorca. Bright and airy with a nostalgic nod to grandma’s country kitchen, the Rosevelvet Bakery serves aromatic coffee and cakes with a smile. Known for their homemade bagels filled with gourmet goodies, it would be a mistake to pass up a cup of quality java at vegan coffee shop Bagel. Retro in look and flavourings, La Molienda focuses on Spain’s finest coffee beans prepared to perfection in a classic La Marzocco and served with ecological brekkie favourites. Ànima Café is a throwback to simpler times when coffee shops offered comfy spaces for losing oneself with a good book and a superior cup of joe. With its cheery kaleidoscope colouring, cushy sofas and open invite for your furry friends, it’s of little wonder that Café Saüc is a treasured treat in coastal Capdepera.

Sa Cabana Hotel Rural & Spa | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Sa Cabana Hotel Rural & Spa | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Things to do in Mallorca

From ancient dwellings to jagged mountains sprinkled with pines to pristine azure waters, this oasis was meant for exploration. When in doubt, start with the beaches. A short distance from the sleepy village of Portals Vells, Playa del Mago – the first nudist beach on the island – is tucked away in a striking cove with unspoilt surrounds. Located inside a national park, Es Trenc is arguably the most famous natural beach in Mallorca, an insta-ready sensation untouched by commercialisation featuring a long stretch of white sandy shores and surreal turquoise waters. Playa de Muro is one of the newest kids on the block; a resort beach in the heart of Alcudia Bay, boasting translucent waters, fine sand and exceptional mountain views.

Wondering what to do in Mallorca once you’re done beach hopping? Luckily, the island has a wealth of options for the culturally inclined. For a glimpse at significant Balearic art and other national works from the start of the 20th-century to the present, spend the day at Es Baluard, the island’s ultra-mod contemporary art museum. The Fundacio Pilar i Joan Miró, the Palma-based museum and atelier that houses many important works of the surrealist master artist, Miró, celebrates 25 years on the island with special yearlong activities, exhibits, events and art-centric city tours. The newly opened Marivent Palace Gardens indulges Miró fans further; twelve of his sculptures have been donated to the tree-lined botanical wonderland that was once only accessible to Spain’s Royal Family.

Shopping in Mallorca

With mild climes that last the whole year through, dapper gents seek body-conscious fashions that offer equal parts style and comfort. Shop Addict for smart casual wear with the self-confessed clotheshorse in mind. Top brands on offer include Filippa K, Miansai and Norse Projects. For impossibly on-trend Euro labels (think: Maison Kitsune) paired with cutting-edge accessories and scents, make a stop at La Principal, a nifty men’s boutique shop rumoured to be the best in Palma. If time is limited, the palatial concept store Rialto Living is your one-stop golden ticket. Shop here for an impressive collection of relaxed attire, home furnishings, fine gifts, full-service café and even an art gallery showcasing promising local and international artists. For artisan shoes made exclusively on the island from top quality leather and suede, look no further than Monge, a shoe shop for men convinced that legendary style is all about the details.

If retro-fab interiors are your cup of tea, then Frida Watson is the vintage furniture store of your dreams. With a seasonal selection of everything from furnishings to décor and lighting, you’ll have your pad looking period perfect in no time. Take the whimsical, sea-inspired island vibe back home via Estilo Sant Feliu, an artisan housewares store selling ceramics, textiles, tableware, home décor and a local wine cultivated to be sold exclusively on the premises.

Nakar Hotel | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Nakar Hotel | Photo: Bastiaan Ellen

Mallorca nightlife

Though staid in comparison to rambunctious little sis Ibiza, this lady offers a vibrant nightlife scene and saucy beat all her own. In fact, when deciding where to go in Mallorca know this; the party often gets started before the sun even thinks of nodding off for the night at the holiday beach clubs. Palma’s Nassau Beach Club invites guests to take in the islands greatest pleasures–food, music and sunset views–all from the comfort of their oceanfront terrace. Puro Beach Palma offers a total relaxation package including spa treatments, cocktails and poolside lounging until nightfall. For those craving an all day affair, cruise on over to Balneario Illetas for a light breakfast in a chic garden setting followed by afternoon cocktails, sunbathing and if you travel by boat, enjoy Mediterranean bites aboard. La Cabana Poolbar & Lounge is a fashionable chill-out option inside the Portals Hills boutique hotel, with an impressive “wine wall” of Spain’s finest vintages, plus endless bottles of high-end champagne – for when the mood strikes.

After dark, revellers hit the bar scene for creative cocktails and gourmet nibbles in character-infused convivial hangouts. The two-tiered Bimil is a popular spot for Korean tapas and drinks in modish, Asian-inspired surrounds with unexpected decorative flourishes (think: crystal chandeliers). For the best gin-based cocktails (or 350 other spirit combos) pull up a chair at Ginbo, open daily until dawn. For a nostalgic tile-lined twist on the urban deli, swing by La Rosa Vermuteria for artisan vermouth straight from the tap and served with traditional Catalan fixings. Brassclub is a hotspot with a setting more reminiscent of ritzy Manhattan bar circa1940 than an island resort bar. Dress to the nines and drop by for a swig prepared by local legend Rafa Martin. And for arguably the most sensational sightings of Mallorca’s famous lavender-hued sunset, order your favourite drink and take it all in at Hostal Cuba’s Sky Bar.

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