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The beautiful island of offers many hidden gems that only the locals or well informed foreigners know about. Here you will find the abcMallorca list of the ‘must see’ places. Don’t miss out! Palma The city of has changed considerably, thanks to city planning and extensive renovation measures in the old town.
The so-called “pearl of the Mediterranean” is today more beautiful than ever, and the Mediterranean flair which attracts thousands of visitors can be felt in every corner. The narrow alleys around the Plaza Mayor are lined with small boutiques and shops, while Palma´s high streets, Jaime III and , offer the elegant labels of the fashion world. Culture abounds, with numerous galleries having opened during the past few years, and museums Es Baluard and Palau March offer diverse exhibitions and classical music concerts throughout the year.
The quarters of El Terreno, and , as well as the bustling on Palma´s seafront, are thriving with an abundance of new restaurants and bars, making them popular areas with the party crowd. The music bars offer live entertainment from rock and Cuban sounds to flamenco and young Spanish bands, and stay lively until the early morning hours. The city vibrates with energy. Palma offers distraction and diversity all year, making it particularly attractive to its residents.
Besides the cultural benefits, there are many factors which contribute to the overall quality of life in Palma. The are all located in and around the capital, the airport is within 10 to 15 minutes reach, and public transport is well organized. International doctors, tax consultants and lawyers are established in the city centre and those who are looking for a job beyond tourism have the best possibilities here.
For many property buyers, Palma offers an array of townhouses and apartments for those who don’t want to spend their holidays maintaining a garden or doing household repairs – or the worry of what might happen to a rural property when they’re away and not in residence. Puerto Portals In 2016, Mallorca’s luxury marina celebrated its 30th anniversary.
One of the island’s glamour spots, it’s the place to see and be seen and, during the summer, you’re more than likely to catch a glimpse of a few famous faces.
Paris Hilton, Jim Carrey, Jenson Button and Bill Gates are among the famous people who have been seen in Puerto Portals. The marina has more than 650 berths and is where members of the jet set like to moor their gleaming boats. And it’s easy to see why. There’s a wealth of designer boutiques, impressive offices housing prime real estate and yacht agents, and numerous places to enjoy a drink or something to eat, while watching the world go by.
Puerto Portals really comes to life at night and is a popular watering hole – and not just for boat owners. is the most popular late-night spot at the prestigious harbour. Pollensa Town The town of Pollensa (Pollença) is an ancient town of attractive narrow streets and an impressive main square, lined with cafés, restaurants and bars – just a few kilometres from the northern resort of . Its Roman bridge, signposted ‘Pont Roma’, is still in use.
Climb the 365 steps (counting as you go) of the town’s Puig de Calvari – and be rewarded with fantastic views from the top. In August, as part of the town’s annual fiestas, the town hosts a very noisy re-enactment of the battle waged between the locals and the invading Moors in 1550. The town is also home to the summer’s Pollensa Festival, offering a programme of music and other cultural events, set in the attractive Santo Domingo cloisters.
And don’t miss the Sunday morning market in the town. Port Pollensa Puerto Pollensa is both port and resort – and particularly popular with the British. It has good facilities, long sandy beaches with palm trees, and is an ideal family holiday spot. Although it’s not a year-round resort, there is still some life in the town during the winter for those who live there. The resort still retains some of the character that has brought visitors here time and time again over many years. Formentor No visit t the north of Mallorca is complete without seeing the island’s northern tip – the Cap de Formentor – where the mountain range meets the Mediterranean, at the end of a 20-kilometre peninsula.
The scenery along this dramatic road is truly spectacular, with viewing points at the Mirador de Mal Pas and the Talaia d’Albercutx watchtower. Although the lighthouse itself is not open to visitors, its surroundings offer awesome views of this wild and rugged spot.
The pine-lined white sandy beach is one of the most spectacular on the island with views of the bay of Pollensa, and the crystal clear water makes it a major attraction on the northern coast. Sóller & Port de Sóller The town of in the west of Mallorca became wealthy because of the valley’s abundant citrus groves. In the 19th century, when the area was isolated from the rest of Mallorca by mountains, the oranges were shipped to France from the nearby west coast (or Puerto de Sóller). Many locals went to work in France and returned – their fortunes duly made – to build some of the handsome Modernista properties that grace this town today.
The opening of the Sóller road tunnel (toll fee payable) means that the town now has good access to the rest of Mallorca; an alternative is the snaking mountain pass (not for those who suffer from vertigo). Take the popular excursion to Sóller, on the , leaving from its quaint station in Palma’s Plaza de España. The 28 km journey is on a narrow-gauge line opened in 1911, for the transportation of fruit to Palma.
It’s a very picturesque journey once you’ve left the suburbs of Palma behind. On arrival in Sóller, you’ll find numerous bars and cafés in the main square, in the shadow of the imposing church of Sant Bartomeu. Art lovers should visit – a beautifully restored Art Nouveau building housing an excellent collection of art, with work by artists including Kandinksy, Picasso, Warhol, and local artists Miquel Barceló and Francesca Martí.
On the main road on the outskirts of the town – a short walk away – is the Balearic Museum of Natural Sciences Museu Balear de Ciències Naturals and the Jardí Botànic, a sectioned garden where you’ll find many species of Balearic plants. A frequent tram service rattles along through citrus groves between the town and Port de Sóller. The port underwent considerable refurbishment in recent years – in advance of the opening of the 5-star in 2012.
Port de Sóller offers many restaurants, spanning all tastes and budgets, and has the sandy Platja d’en Repic beach. Safe for children, it proved to be dangerous for the Moors who famously fought a battle here with the Christians in 1561. The event is commemorated with a noisy re-enactment during the second week of May’s Festa de Nostra Senyora de la Victòria. Banyalbufar The small town on the mountain range is one of the most dramatic and least known areas of Mallorca.
Very popular with Mallorcans all year round, many visitors also like to explore this area, the majority of which is still 100% natural and construction free. To get there you will need to take a sharp right followed by a road which descends dramatically towards the sea, so much so that you will need to keep your foot firmly on the brakes. Halfway down the hill you can park your car in the small public car park and then continue your descent on foot till you reach Cala Banyalbufar.
Once you have come level with the Mediterranean, you will see a small narrow bay off to your right. This fine stone bay is protected by a cliff, and fresh water flows down over some of its rocks, providing an improvised, and extremely refreshing, natural shower. These who make it down here are on the lookout for peace and quiet. There are no boats around and the stunning beauty of the landscape makes a swim here a real pleasure. Deià The small coastal village of Deià, on the northwest coast of Mallorca, is one of the prettiest villages on the island.
Perched in a ravine at the foot of the Teix mountain, with views out to the Mediterranean below, Deià has long been a magnet for famous artists, writers and other creative people – most notably the writer Robert Graves. Today’s famous Deià property owners include Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and PR guru Lynne Franks.
The road through Deià is the main coast road and can be very busy: parking in the village can be difficult during the summer, when the small public car park is often full. To the right of this road, on the Sóller side of the village, the is a haven of peace (with its own gated car park), formerly owned by Sir Richard Branson. There are a few interesting small boutiques, galleries and shops in the village, and plenty of places to eat and drink – including the Michelin-starred . It’s worth taking time to stroll around, admiring the sympathetically restored old stone houses nestling in narrow alleys.
Walk up to the church graveyard and you’ll find the simple headstone marking Robert Graves’ final resting place. A 20-minute stroll from the village takes you down to Cala Deià – a small rocky cove with a shingle beach, and beach restaurants known for their fish.
You can also drive down, taking the signposted route from the main road north out of the village. Valldemossa The town of Valldemossa is only around 15-20 minutes’ drive from Palma into the Tramuntana mountains, but feels a world away from the capital.
Perched on a hilltop, surrounded by terraced terrain, it was named after the area’s original Moorish landowner, Muza. The highest town in Mallorca is probably best-known as the place where the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin and his lover, the writer George Sand, spent the winter of 1838/9, staying in rented rooms in the monastery. And, as a result, it’s probably Mallorca’s most visited town. You can visit Valldemossa’s Real Cartuja (Royal Carthusian monastery), including the church, cloisters, old pharmacy, and the cells said to be where Chopin and Sand stayed (containing the composer’s piano and other artefacts).
Part of the monastery is King Sancho’s palace – later gifted to Carthusian monks, who converted it and other buildings into the monastery. It probably has more visitors than any other building in Mallorca, apart from Palma’s cathedral, La Seu.
A ticket for the Real Cartuja includes a short Chopin piano recital. For more chances to hear a variety of international musicians playing music from the composer, visit in August, when Valldemossa hosts the annual Chopin Festival.
The town has plenty of shops and boutiques, as well as places to eat and drink. Pretty much every tourist’s shopping needs can be met somewhere in the town.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the romantic , perched on a hilltop, has great views and a good restaurant open to non-residents of the hotel. For the Mallorcans, Valldemossa has a more important claim to fame: it was the birthplace of the island’s only saint: Santa Catalina Tomás.
Leave the busier part of the town, and head for the church of Sant Bartomeu; in the peaceful C/Rectoría behind it, you can visit her tiny birthplace and shrine. Valldemossa is also home to Costa Nord – a contemporary cultural centre, established by Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, whose home S’Estaca is off the Valldemossa to Sóller coast road, near Deià. Santanyí The local people know each other well and like to stop for a chat with their neighbours.
Visitors enjoy watching the daily routine, sipping a café con leche or a glass of wine on one of the many terraces on the square. The surrounding scenery, the light, and the atmosphere of the town seem to be made for creative people, and Santanyí has attracted many international artists over the years.
Today art seems to play a central role and you can find many types of galleries and workshops in the narrow alleys of this quiet country town. Just off the market square, don’t miss ‘Sa Botiga’, a homely café which is well known for its German-style buffet breakfast. On the market days of Wednesday and Saturday, the narrow street outside is closed to traffic and the café also puts tables and chairs out onto the street so you can soak up the buzz and atmosphere.
One of the most fascinating galleries is located directly on the main road: The Galeria Sailer. They offer a stunning selection of pre-Columbian textiles and antique Kalims, modern paintings, sculptures, and glass objects in a renovated townhouse dating back to the 17th century. Be it for the scenery, curiosity or interest in art, Santanyí is well worth a visit and the best time to go is when the market is in town. Enjoy a breakfast in one of the cafés and watch the continual coming and going of one of the nicest markets on the island.
Take a look around the galleries or stroll around the market stands with their vast selection of curiosities. Portocolom The east coast village of Porto Colom – in the district of – is one of the most attractive on this coast of Mallorca, and was named after Christopher Columbus. It’s a traditional fishing village, which gives it much of its charm.
The village nestles around a large and irregular-shaped bay, where the boathouses, lighthouse and boats at anchor add to the picturesque nature of the place. There’s a long quay where pleasure craft mix with local fishing boats, and you can take boat trips from here too. Even in the height of summer, there’s a tranquil air to Portocolom and parking isn’t usually a problem.
Restaurants and cafés line the quayside – between them, offering everything from traditional Mallorcan to fine cuisine, at a range of prices. If you walk along the quayside, you’ll see plenty of evidence of the fishing trade – so you can expect to eat good seafood in the port. You should take time to wander over to Portocolom’s original heart on the opposite side of the harbour: the church is surrounded by attractive old pastel-painted cottages, some of which are now rather stylishly renovated.
Portocolom doesn’t have many shops but there are one or two interesting ones – mainly along the long quayside. One street back from the quayside is a parallel street selling the daily necessities for locals. For more serious shopping, there’s Felanitx (around 13 km from the port) or the more attractive town of Santanyí (some 18 km south). Felanitx has a lively market on Sunday mornings.
Golfers can enjoy panoramic views of Porto Colom and this stretch of coastline from the impressive nearby on the road to S’Horta. The clubhouse is home to Máxime, a very good café/restaurant that’s also open to non-golfers.
Orient The small hamlet of Orient is located on one side of the Puig de Alaró. The sheer beauty of the mountain scenery is reason enough to come here. Orient is also the starting point for a number of interesting hiking tours and a popular area for mountain bikers. The village itself has only 40 houses, around 20 regular inhabitants and three restaurants. Try Bar Restaurant Orient for the best suckling pig on the island or the French owned for excellent international cuisine in a very romantic setting.
Fornalutx If you stay by the coast you’ll never see it, but Fornalutx is regarded by many as the most beautiful village on Mallorca, and one of the most stunning in Spain. You’ll find it deep in the Sierra de Tramuntana, with winding streets, narrow stone steps, and flowers and greenery everywhere. Its houses are decorated with colourful painted tiles, some dating back to the 16th century.
San Telmo Where the mountains meet the sea, less than ten minutes west of Puerto Andratx, you’ll find San Telmo, or Sant Elm, a simple fishing village where the fishermen’s houses line the sea’s edge.
It’s protected a few hundred metres offshore by the island of La Dragonera, declared a nature reserve in 1985. You may never want to leave. Cala Figuera The picturesque harbour is only a few kilometres away from Santanyíand the romantic and Meditarranean feeling is hard to match. Here you will get an authentic idea of what the island was like before the times of mass tourism. Or do you prefer secluded walks? If so, you have the choice between the nature resort of Mondragó (follow signs on the road from Santanyí to Cala Figuera) or drive through Es Llombards to the saltfields of Ses Salines.
Here you can either walk along the beaches to Colonia Sant Jordí (approx. 1.5 hours) or take the opposite direction and follow the rugged coast to Cala Llombards (2.5 to 3 hours, good shoes necessary). abcMallorca is the leading luxury lifestyle magazine, website and networking community for the Spanish Balearic island of Mallorca, published in English, Spanish and German. Interesting articles, guides, expert review & fabulous photo-shoots and videos provide a wealth of valuable insider information designed to help make living, doing business or spending time on this beautiful island a memorable experience.
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