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Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Mallorca, Spain

Spain Insider Guides
by Chloe Govan Jun 4, 2024

Mallorca, off the coast of Spain, is an enormously popular island getaway. Though it’s feeling the impacts of overtourism, there are always ways to enjoy the island responsibly — and Mallorca’s many quiet corners offer a far more authentic taste of Mallorcan living than tourist resort towns like Magaluf, anyway.

Mallorca, also spelled Majorca, is in the Balearic Islands, the best-known of which is Ibiza. But the best way to visit the islands is to leave the party cliches of Ibiza behind and look for character, charm, and culture in smaller towns. And you’ll find plenty of all three in abundance on Mallorca. Travelers curious enough to scratch beneath the surface will not only enjoy sun, sea, and sand, but also be able to discover what distinguishes Mallorca from other islands in the Mediterranean.

mallorca, spain, hiking

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Mallorca is dominated by the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching majestically along the northwest coast. The eastern side of the island holds the Serres de Llevant hills, known for their intricate cave systems carved from limestone. Central Mallorca is a vast and fertile plain teeming with olive groves, almond trees, and citrus fruits. And the island’s 350 miles of coastline have dramatic cliffs and secluded coves to the north, while the south boasts long stretches of pristine white-sand beaches and calm water.

Most visitors to Mallorca stay in the popular tourist cities of Palma, Alcúdia, Magaluf, or Sóller. There are plenty of opulent accommodations throughout Mallorca, but those cities will offer the largest variety of price points and levels of luxury.

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The best time to visit Mallorca, Spain

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Generally, the best times to visit are spring and fall. The height of summer is not for the fainthearted, as the sweltering heat can be unforgiving. Exceptionally mild winters mean that while the temperatures might not be warm enough for serious swimming or sunbathing – and you’re highly unlikely to leap into a hotel pool in mid-December – but you can definitely enjoy a cultural break with some indoor attractions in winter.

Highs in December average at around 61 degrees Fahrenheit. But the chillier season also means lodging bargains (aside from during Christmas holidays), with prices dramatically slashed with those willing to forego summertime. Fortunately, there are festivals, events, and tourist draws available all year.

How to get there and around

From the USA, direct flights are few and far between. United Airlines operates a non-stop service from New York/Newark three times per week. Otherwise, most travelers will need to connect in cities such as Madrid, London, Zurich, Copenhagen or Frankfurt. Alternatively, you can fly to a major European city, then book a separate flight through a budget airline such as RyanAir, often for under $50.

Once you’ve touched down at the Mallorca, Spain, international airport, it’s seamless and easy to get into town. The airport is just a 12-minute drive from the bustling city of Palma de Mallorca (home of the famous Cathedral of Light), a 35-minute drive to coastal beauty Port de Sóller, or a 40-minute drive from idyllic Deià. There are usually taxis at the airport, though you can also rent a car when you land (or have your hotel arrange an airport pick-up).

The only international airport is Palma, so no matter where you stay on the island, your trip will need to start and end there.

What To Do In Mallorca

While relaxing on a beach, sailing, and hiking and cycling adventures are all top attractions in Mallorca, there are many other possibilities, too.

Explore Deià

City of Deia in Mallorca, Spain

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The village of Deià is indisputably one of the most scenic villages on the island, with hilltop coastal views so dreamy that they resemble a watercolor painting.

There’s a slow and languid pace to life everywhere in the village, and although it has its fair share of celebrity residents (the famous composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has a part-time home there), it’s more about rural charm than conspicuous glitz and glam. Like the nearby town of Valdemossa, the picturesque surroundings have inspired many an artist, while the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and David Bowie all spent time here in the past to work on their craft away from the peeking eyes of the paparazzi.

An essential stop should be the grounds of Belmond’s ultra-fancy La Residencia Hotel. The sprawling gardens are a botanical paradise, and you can stop in for a cocktail or mocktail before taking a stroll through the grounds. From there, you can wander through the picture-perfect streets, keeping your eyes peeled for exhibitions where you can purchase original pieces from local artists and wandering into one the many boutique shops. There’s also a small archaeological museum (open Tuesday and Thursday), as well as a museum in the former home of poet Robert Graves.

Further afield, hopping on a boat from Deià to the Sa Foradada viewpoint is a luxe experience, and Maksy Boats can help arrange charters for quick trips or all-day coastal tours. The viewpoint’s eponymous clifftop restaurant offers spectacular sea views and woodfire-cooked paella (advance reservations strongly recommended), while the viewpoint is perfect for relaxed outdoor sunsets. If you don’t take a boat, there’s a two-mile (each way) coastal hike to the same point — just remember you’ll have to hike back up later.

Elsewhere, Cala Deià is an idyllic beach worth the visit, thanks to its clear turquoise waters and serene rock pools in an exceptionally picturesque cove, even by Mallorcan standards. Later, if evening is approaching, Nama is a great place for a sunset cocktail with two large terraces overlooking a sprawling canyon, including one for adults only.

Explore Parc Nacional de Cabrera

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Cabrera National Park is a collection of islands south of Mallorca. You can get there from Ses Salines via Mar Cabrera Boat Excursions. You can book just transportation for about 40 Euro, or opt for one of several more extensive tours. The ride each way takes only about 30 minutes.

Within the park, you can visit the famous Blue Cave (Sa Cova Blava), explore one of seven hiking trails, or go scuba diving or snorkeling. Back in Ses Salines, birdwatching is popular thanks to the nearby salt flats, and the town’s Es Trenc Beach is always popular, with beach gear rentals and a few nearby affordable beach bars.

Visit a museum for Mallorca’s greatest sports legend

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Fans of pro tennis, or just sports legends in general, can head to the Rafael Nadal Museum. In addition to in-depth exhibitions about his life and career, superfans can catch a glimpse of trophies and other notable memorabilia, and there’s even interactive space with VR simulators on tennis and other sports. Visitors to Mallorca who want to hit the real-world tennis courts can attend single-day clinics at Nadal’s tennis center in Manacor.

If you’re not up for breaking a sweat on vacation (or aren’t in Manacor), head to nearby Sa Punta Restaurant in Cala Bona. It’s owned by the Nadal family, and Rafael’s piano-playing grandfather has been known to join in with live music sessions in the past.

Take an adventurous trip to a hidden beach

sa calobra beach, mallorca, spain

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The two beaches of Sa Calobra, on the northwestern side of Mallorca, enjoy a stunning setting among steep and rocky cliffs, plus an impressive gorge. But the road to get there isn’t for the fainthearted. With no fewer than 26 suspenseful hairpin bends, it’s one of the most dramatic driving roads in Europe, with jaw-dropping views nearly the entire time.

Its never-ending, myriad twists and turns is seductive for the brave, but anyone not courageous enough to drive, cycle, or hike the route themselves can also find other ways to get there. Visitors to Mallorca, Spain, can catch a passenger boat from the coastal village of Port de Sóller and arrive at the same scenic viewpoint. The trip takes about an hour each way and costs 30 Euros; you can make reservations in advance via the boat operator’s website.

The two popular beaches are called Cala Sa Calobra and Torrent de Pareis; the latter requires a very short hike to reach. Both have opportunities for snorkeling, but you’ll need to bring all your own gear (as well as towels and chairs) as there are no services in the vicinity. Barefoot revelers should be vigilant for occasional jellyfish appearances, generally in the height of summer. But the crystal clear water and gorgeous landscapes make it worth the small risk.

Have an agro-tourism experience in the country

mallorca, spain orange grove

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Whether because of the TV show “The Simple Life,” the growing knowledge of farm-to-table cuisine, or the efforts around the world to buy local and reduce one’s carbon footprint, farm tourism is growing. Much of the non-coastal part of the island is farmland, and major exports include oranges and lemons, almonds, and olives. Many farms run farm stay hotels, allowing guests to have rural experiences ranging from hands-on farming to luxurious tasting dinners. Options range from the pricey Richard Branson-owned Son Bunyola to the more budget-friendly Agroturisme Son Pons.

But don’t feel that you’re limited to staying in a specific residence to enjoy what agrotourism has to offer. Eco Vinyasa near Sóller runs guided tours of its orange farm with a focus on the history and production of the crop on the island, and nearby Can Det offers free and paid visits focused on olive oil production; the paid visits come with a guided olive oil tasting.

One location worth a visit is Artestruz, a working ostrich farm deep in the Campos countryside that offers guests the novel opportunity to feed and pet ostriches. No reservations are needed, and there’s also an on-site shop selling ostrich-related goods.

Where To Eat in Mallorca

Mallorca is full of inspiration for foodies, with the island’s capital, Palma, representing the best of the best. The olive oil is arguably better there than anywhere in the country, while seafood dishes (including succulent Sóller prawns with black rice), are irresistibly tasty. Whether shopping at Palma’s famous produce market (Mercat Olivar), trying out coca mallorquina (a pizza-style flatbread topped with fresh veggies) at a bakery or stall, or indulging your tastebuds at the island’s many restaurants and cafes, there are endless tasting opportunities. Meanwhile, the local Malvasia white wine is unmissable.

El Olivo, Deià


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Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to spending the night at the Belmond in Deià, its restaurants are unmissable. The gardens are full of chirping birds and have pathways lined with bright-red roses, and in the distance are skyline views of the town – and that’s before even getting to the food. El Olivio is the signature (and most expensive) restaurant, with a pricey six- or 12-course tasting menu up for grabs. Also available is the Tramuntana Grill (known for locally caught prawns and olive oil made on site) and Restaurant Miro, with live music every evening between 7:30 and 10:30 PM. All three are very highly rated.

Belmond La Residencia: Carrer son Canals, 07179 Deià, Illes Balears, Spain

Sa Terrassa, Cala Pi


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A car is essential to visit Sa Terrassa, the gorgeous restaurant inside the luxurious Son Bunyola resort. It’s far from the tourist crowds and offers a look at the less-visited side of Mallorca in a blissfully remote corner of the Tramuntana mountains. All restaurants have a farm-to-fork ethos and use plenty of home-grown own produce, from olives to almonds to oranges.

The deliciously tender, melt-in-the-mouth squid and octopus dish on the starter menu is almost substantial enough to be a main course, and is highly recommended.

Meanwhile, the nearest village, Banyalbufar, is known as one of the last remaining authentic coastal villages on the entire island, with a local feel and a total absence of tourist traps. Cala Pi is one of the prettiest natural coves on Mallorca, too.

Restaurante Sa Terrassa: Passeig de Cala Pi, 2, 07639 Cala Pi, Illes Balears, Spain

Cap Roig Brasserie, Port de Sóller

Cap Roig Brasserie is all about feasting your eyes on the Mediterranean Sea while filling your stomach with food sourced directly from it. The expansive clifftop terrace offers sweeping views of the waves and swaying trees below. This is a seafood-lover’s paradise, providing everything from mussels paired with champagne to grilled octopus or clams – and, of course, an extra-fresh daily catch. One famous dish on the menu is tuna tartar, caviar, crispy rice, and seaweed.

For many dishes, you’ll choose between having your fish cooked in a charcoal oven, or heated over a clay tile with an infusion of taste bud-tickling salt and herbs.

Cap Roig Brasserie: Hotel & Spa, Jumeirah, Carrer de Bèlgica, S/N, 07108 Port de Sóller, Balearic Islands, Spain

Maca de Castro, Alcúdia


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Although Port d’Alcudia boasts the longest stretch of beach in all of Mallorca, that’s far from the only reason to venture to this part of the island. The iconic Maca de Castro is led by the eponymous Macarena de Castro, the first female chef on the island to receive a Michelin star. That was in 2012, but she’s retained it every year since. It’s open only in the summer, as the chef travels to Uruguay every winter. It’s on a quiet street, on the first floor of a villa-style building, and feels a million miles from the tourist trail. Frequented by plenty of locals, it’s instantly obvious why this place, which treats every plate as an art form, has captured islanders’ hearts.

Maca de Castro: Carrer de Juno, s/n, 07400 Alcúdia, Illes Balears, Spain

Where to stay in Mallorca, Spain

Travelers are spoiled for choice in Mallorca, with accommodation options ranging from converted medieval fortresses to ancient fincas (farms) where most, if not all, of the food is sourced locally. Deià, Palma, and Port Sóller are among the top areas for show-stopping views, but with so much natural beauty, finding an undesirable area to stay is virtually impossible. The idyllic island location can mean high prices, but there’s something for every budget. And you’re still likely to get more for your buck than at an equally luxurious hotel in a pricier destination like Hawaii or the Amalfi Coast.

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

A unique Airbnb

Mallorca Airbnbs

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Mallorca is struggling with overtourism, which makes Airbnb a more complicated issue (as it is everywhere). However, renting an Airbnb in a smaller town brings more spending and tourist action to lesser-visited destinations and helps spread out the crowds, which is a very good thing. Some of the rentals in Mallorca, Spain, are downright gorgeous, from sprawling fincas with private pools and hottubs to artsy apartments inside historic stone buildings.

Matador rounded up 11 of the prettiest Airbnbs across the island.

Boutique Hotel Posada Terra Santa

For a charming stay in the heart of downtown Palma, it’s hard to beat Hotel Posada Terra Santa. It’s walkable to everything in Palma but tucked down a street that doesn’t get much noise, with an on-site bar and restaurant and rooftop pool. It’s in a historic building from the 16th century and blends traditional features with modern luxury. It’s a good pick for couples looking to up the romance. Rooms start around $240 per night in winter but can be twice as much in the summer.

Posada Terra Santa: Carrer de la Posada de Terra Santa, 5, Centre, 07001 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain

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Can Simoneta Hotel

Can Simoneta is an adults-only clifftop resort directly on stunning Canyamel Beach, on the island’s east coast, near the town of Artà. It has huge private gardens, lots of outdoor space, and large rooms with lots of light. Rates start around $450 per night.

Can Simoneta: Finca Torre Canyamel, Carretera Arta-Canyamel, km 8, 07580 Canyamel, Illes Balears, Spain

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