A mountainous, gnarled island, Mallorca has the power to hypnotize from ancient, terraced landscapes with endless twisted lines of olive trees, tiny medieval villages and extraordinary food and wineWords by Nikki Beach Global
Mallorca is an island of great wealth in more ways than one. Cool off in the crystal clear waters of more than 200 beaches dotted around its coastline.
The largest of the Balearics, a pod of four islands 100km off the coast of mainland Spain, Mallorca has proven a consistent favorite among travellers the world over attracting more than 10 million visitors a year on average.
This legendary island is breathtakingly stunning and its reputation as a booze-soaked party spot is an immense injustice. Not only is it an island of great wealth – its 870,000-strong population enjoying the highest per capita level of disposable income in Spain – but Mallorca’s sunny personality is what makes it truly rich. Ravishing beaches, azure views, remote mountains and soulful hill towns, it’s a driving paradise boasting too many routes to mention.
Since the onset of mass tourism in the 1960s, Mallorca has without doubt, been one of the most popular holiday destinations for all nationalities, offering a wide range of attractions to suit all tastes. For many years this magical island has attracted artists, writers, poets and creatives from all over the world, many who still own homes on the island today.
Relax into it and there is something of a bohemian feel to Mallorca. Composers including Chopin and Andrew Lloyd Webber, authors Anaïs Nin and DH Lawrence and artist Joan Miró – who spent much of his life in his studio on the edge of Palma – all found inspiration in the island’s extraordinary beauty.
ABOVE: Relax into it and there is something of a Bohemian feel to the extraordinary beauty of Mallorca
What we’ve got
Palma’s vast cathedral (“La Seu” in Catalan) is without doubt the city’s major architectural landmark and should be a ‘must-do’ on your what-to-see list. Designed by Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló, its sheer scale is breathtaking. There is beauty at every turn with stunning interior features and grand designs.
The cathedral occupies the site of what was the central mosque of Medina Mayurka, capital of Muslim Mallorca for three centuries.
While Palma is the historic capital and has plenty to offer, it pays to hire a car and take to the open road.
For a Mediterranean island, Mallorca is unusually fertile and green. It has an amazing array of natural landscapes from the soaring Serra de Tramuntana mountains in the west, to beautiful agricultural plains in the heart.
Much of Mallorca is made up of limestone, which makes it a rock climber’s dream. Over the years the limestone has dissolved in water, giving rise to gorges and numerous cave systems in the foothills.
There are surprisingly few land animals – the smallest include field mice, rabbits and wood shrews, while the largest are civet cats and a rare wild goat – but perhaps the most famous residents are the lizards that populate the island of Dragonera.
When it comes to food there is probably not an area in the whole of the Mediterranean more celebrated for its cuisine than Mallorca. Palma is a gourmet foodie’s paradise and with the many sheltered coves and beaches, freshly-cooked seafood is not hard to find. It sounds obvious but don’t leave without trying the traditional paella, probably the most popular dish in most regions. The island has its fair share of Michelin-starred restaurants, all serving a variety of superb dishes from around the world.
If it’s a party you’re after, then you’ve come to the right island. While Ibiza is the place for nightclubs and world-renowned gatherings, Mallorca shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s the place to party, especially at the annual festival, Mallorca Rocks – now called BH Mallorca – which attracts music fans from far and wide. It’s a live event and those who come are musicians with meaning. Hang out at the coolest spots with some of the most musical people on the planet. It’s an experience you won’t forget. From live music ocean cruises, chilled pool parties and hip bars lining the cobbled streets, Mallorca is an upmarket destination with soul. Think Pleasure Island with a big, culturally-sensitive heart.
- Season May - September
- Airport Palma de Mallorca
- Boat Coordinates 39º 30′ 18.24″ N 2º 31′ 55.45 W
- Time Zone GMT +1
- Currency Euro
- Language Spanish, English
- Electrics 220-240 Volt
When to go
With approximately 250 days of sunshine a year, heading to Mallorca any time of year is a no-brainer and the weather is obviously a major attraction for tourists visiting the island. Even in winter, Mallorca’s temperature averages roughly 50ºF and the rest of the year is usually well into the high 70s.
Mallorca summers are infamous for the clientele they attract: the billionaires on their mega yachts, the movie stars at their mountain estates. It’s a wonderful time to lap up some luxury alongside the rich and famous. Michael Douglas has a house in Deià, and in nearby Sóller there is an outpost of the Ashram, Malibu’s answer to asceticism, where the high rollers pay top dollar to eat like vegan hippies.
ABOVE: Mallorca attracts the billionaires on their mega yachts and the movie stars at their mountain estates
Where to stay
ME MALLORCA, MAGALUF
A stylish hotel in Calvià Beach Resort, on the edge of Magaluf, ME Mallorca has glitzy interiors and a cool vibe. Located beachside, near Café del Mar and Nikki Beach Mallorca, it also enjoys great access to Palma and the Tramuntana mountains. Wander along the promenade and take in the super yachts at the smart new marinas of Puerto Portals and Port Adriano, both about 10 minutes away. The hotel is doused in crisp white and neutral shades, in complete contrast with the metallic glitz. The vibe is chic-meets-club and it’s wonderful.
There are two outdoor pools and a gym that is open 24 hours, as well as the SkinC beauty center, which will have you red carpet-ready in no time.
MELIÁ ANTILLAS CALVIÁ BEACH HOTEL, MAGALUF
The new four-star Meliá Calviá Beach sits pretty in a prime beachfront location at the western end of Magaluf on the south west coast of Mallorca. Think on-trend elegance in an established resort and you’ll understand why it’s so popular.
There’s an airy, arty vibe, fresh Mediterranean cuisine, fun fitness classes and decadent spa treatments – not forgetting the long sandy beach sprawling below. Located close to Nikki Beach Mallorca, this part of the resort is being redeveloped and holds more of an upmarket status today, with funky hotels, smart bars, beach clubs and boutiques.
There are outdoor and indoor pools, as well as a small pool for babies and toddlers, and the staff couldn’t do enough for you. For guests staying in rooms in more luxurious The Level category, there’s also access to a more private and very stylish outdoor pool and sundeck.
GRAN HOTEL SON NET, CALLE CASTILLO SONNET
For a feel for the countryside, consider the majestic Gran Hotel Son Net. Splash out and enjoy a few nights in the Royal Suite, which is an entire apartment with its own private garden.
Nestled in the quiet village of Puigpunyent, just northwest of Palma, the hotel is set in a 17th-century finca, or estate. High stone walls surround the property giving the feel of an old stately home, while its Hockneys and Chagalls, and its velvet accoutrements, make it feel luxurious. It is outrageously expensive but 100 percent worth it, offering beautiful, dimly-lit rooms with bathrooms as big as the rooms themselves. Go on, treat yourself!
Avenida Notario Alemany 1
07181 Palma de Mallorca
Balearic Isles, Spain