This is your Essential Holiday Guide to Mallorca, the ‘Jewel of the Mediterranean’. The praises of this beautiful island have been sung by many writers and travellers but where to stay to best enjoy this little piece of paradise ?
Essential Holiday Guide to Mallorca
Geographically the island divides into five main areas, each offering different landscapes, amenities and experiences.
Let us orientate you first with a quick jaunt around the island.
Starting on the west coast and running the length of the island from south to north is the magnificent Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range which holds World Heritage Status. There are only a few beaches and coves along this stretch, the notable exception being the Port of Sóller with its delightful horseshoe shaped bay.
The eastern side of the island is flatter with the exception of the Sierra de Llevant mountains. The east coast has many beaches and coves and some popular holiday destinations such as Cala d’Or and Cala Ratjada.
The north east is rugged and less visited but plays host to the picturesque town of Artá and quieter coastal resorts such as Canyamel and Capdepera.
The north of the island features two huge bays, Pollensa and Alcudia, the latter boasting the oh-so-popular Muro beach.
South and west of Palma there are numerous small beaches such as Illetes and just east of Palma a long stretch of beach known as Playa de Palma with several neighbouring beaches such as Portixol and Cuitat Jardi.
The centre of the island enjoys rolling farmland and viticulture with picture-postcard Spanish towns such as Sineu and Santa Maria.
Nowhere is too far on the island as it only stretches around 100km x 100 km north to south and west to east.
Located in the south of the island Palma is Mallorca’s lively capital, stylish, pocket-sized and bursting with life. It’s backdrop of the imposing La Seu Cathedral and the sweeping Bay of Palma, is hard to beat.
Most of the action takes place in the historic centre with its medieval buildings and narrow lanes as well as wide open boulevards and colonnaded shopping streets. If you choose one of MallorcanTonic´s featured hotels here such as Can Alomar, Nakar Hotel or Can Bordoy Grand and House and Garden each offering a roof terrace, you can eat, shop and drop with no need for a car, bus or taxi. With just a 15 minute taxi ride to the airport, Palma makes the perfect short break destination.
West of Palma
Gorgeous coves with bijou beaches and azure waters are the draw, such as Cala Comtesa and Cala Vinyes. The lively beach resort of Palma Nova is home to five star Zafiro Palace Palma Nova, offering space and comfort to families, singles and couples. By booking direct with Zafiro Hotels and using the code ZAFIROTONIC you will receive a discounted room rate and a bottle of cava to welcome your arrival.
Further along the coast is the glitzy Port Adriano designed by Philippe Starck . Overlooking the marina is the popular 5 star Pure Salt Adriano offering terraces and swim-up rooms to drink in these Mediterranean views.
Along the peninsula is Port de Andratx and its pretty harbour, backed by the Tramuntana mountains. Just a 10 minute drive away you will find Castell Son Claret, with its sweeping drive, magnificent gardens and the Tramuntana mountain’s as its backdrop.
East of Palma
The golden sands of Playa de Palma stretch for 10 km with a traffic free cycle path its entire length. The first neighbourhood on your way out of Palma is the pretty Portixol harbour dominated by numerous restaurants and trendy bars. On this same stretch some 5 km on is the popular Pure Salt Garonda with outdoor heated pool and panoramic roof terrace plus its fabulous spa. Its location, facilities and service are hard to beat.
South East Mallorca
Mallorca’s salt flats in Ses Salines is where to find salt, produced just a short walk or short cycle ride from one of the the island’s most talked about beaches, Es Trenc.
North East Mallorca
Making this your base discover traditional Mallorcan tons and villages such as Sant Llorenç des Cardassar with its impressive architecture and Artá with its popular market day.
This is the rural heart of Mallorca with a rolling landscape of citrus orchards and fig, olive and almonds groves. Stay at Carrossa Spa Villas just 15 mins from Artá, perched on a hillside with magnificent sea and countryside views.
Capdepera fortress town is home to Hotel Creu de Tau Art and Spa (adults only ) with a unique architectural heritage. Just moments on foot from town it has stunning views of the fortress from the poolside.
The glistening double bay of Alcudia and Pollensa boasts sweeping beaches as far as the eye can see with the pretty medieval town of Alcudia on the central promontory. The Zafiro Group of hotels have several properties to choose from each offering a discount by using the code ZAFIROTONIC. Zafiro Palace Hotel Alcudia makes everyone in the family feel special. Swim up pool rooms, panoramic roof top spa rooms, 5 restaurants to choose from, a spa and unfaltering five star service is the recipe for the perfect holiday.
Port of Pollensa and its town Pollensa have become very sophisticated in recent years. Many of the beachfront hotels such as the Hoposa Pollentia four star adults only have a cool beach vibe with sea view rooms. The old town of Pollensa is buzzing on a Sunday when it is market day. For the latest cool spot take a look at El Vicenç de la Mar, with state of the art spa, cinema, bike garage, fine dining and stunning views of Cala Sant Vicenç. Use the code TONIC for a discount.
North West Mallorca
Dominated by the Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range and offering breathtaking scenery, this area is home to some of the most historic and picturesque towns on the island.
The coastal road gives some of the most dramatic jaw-dropping sea views as it twists and turns around the mountains and passes through the picturesque villages of Estellencs, Banyalbufar and Deiá.
The area is easily accessible from Palma (25 minutes drive) via the mountain road through Valldemossa or Soller – both historic popular towns.
Half way down the west coast the stunning Sóller valley cuts a sweeping bowl into the mountains with its four picture-perfect towns and villages. Fornalutx with its narrow cobbled stairways bursting with bougainvillea and voted one of the prettiest villages in Spain. Lower in the valley sits Biniaraix with its arty vibe and leafy square where you can rest with a cool drink after a walk in the mountains.
The largest of the towns is Sóller which is accessed not only by road but also by a 100 year old electric train which wends its way up from Palma four times a day on this rich historic journey. Hotel Soller Plaza makes the perfect spot to rest your head. Open year round for beach lovers and mountain walkers alike.
From Sóller you can walk, cycle or take the 100 year old tram to the Port of Sóller a crescent- shaped bay complete with white sandy beach and yacht-filled harbour.
The journey back to Palma is quick and easy either straight through the Sóller tunnel or by continuing on the mountain road and taking in the villages of Deiá and Valldemossa. Deiá has become a bit of a celebrity hideaway with many staying at the five star Belmond La Residencia synonymous with style and service and breathtaking views of the mountains and the Mediterranean beyond.
Now you are fully equipped with the geography of the island. Rest assured, wherever you decide to lay your head you will not be disappointed.
Mallorca is a mature and sophisticated destination and once visited you will return again and again.