Majorca holidays are packed full of variety. The island’s a cocktail of eye-catching beaches, ancient history and UNESCO-dubbed mountain scenery.
Majorca’s capital’s dolloped on the south-western side of the island, where it’s ruled the roost since the 13th century. These days, crowds flock in droves to make the most of its swanky shopping scene, which brings together top-notch boutiques and purse-friendly souvenir shops. Sights-wise, it’s a winner, too. There’s a giant, 800-year-old Gothic cathedral, and an Arabian-style colonial quarter, complete with Instagram-worthy, pastel-coloured houses.
On the other side of the island, you’ll find Alcudia, a resort in Majorca that’s headlined by a bunch of beautiful beaches. This place has a different vibe to Palma, opting for a more relaxed nightlife scene that’s based around seafront bars and restaurants. This hasn’t gotten in the way of history, though. When you’re done sunning yourself on Mediterranean-style white sand, there are loads of Roman ruins to explore around town.
Serra de Tramuntana Mountains
This sometimes-snow-capped mountain range calls the shots in Majorca’s north-west, serving up a landscape that looks like it belongs in the Swiss Alps rather than the Balearic Islands. The entire 90-square-kilometre area’s recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a protected nature reserve. Roads weave their way around the mountain slopes. So every time you turn a corner you get a different view of Majorca’s wild, inland scenery.
Things to See and Do in Majorca
Majorca is the biggest of the Balearics and a magnet for sun-starved Brits. So when it comes to beaches, this island certainly doesn’t shy away. It ticks off everything from huge sandy sweeps at places like Puerto Pollensa, to teeny tiny coves, like the ones you’ll find in Cala d’Or.
The big beach
Alcudia Beach’s powder-soft white sands and child-friendly waters have earned it the title of Majorca’s most popular. It’s a Blue Flag spot and stretches along the island’s east coast for a massive 10 kilometres. Along the sand you’ve got a pick and mix of bars and restaurants to choose from, and if you’re into watersports you can sign up for things like sailing, windsurfing and scuba diving.
The secret beach
If you prefer your beaches a little more laidback, try Cala Tuent. This semi-circular spot is tucked away on Majorca’s northwest coast, surrounded by craggy, pine-clad cliffs. The road leading down is pretty steep and narrow, but the journey is worth it – this is one of the least crowded beaches on the island. Don’t come expecting white sands, though – it’s shingle all the way here. And it’s a good idea to take a packed lunch, as there are no facilities to speak of, which only adds to the hideaway appeal.
How much you pay at a Majorcan market depends on your haggling skills. Need some practice? Head for Inca Market on a Thursday. A half-hour drive from Ca’n Picafort, the island’s biggest and best market is a treasure trove of African masks, jewellery and hippy sundresses. You can also pick up cut-price threads at the Sunday market in Pollensa’s old town, a 15-minute drive from Puerto Pollensa.
Manacor, a 30-minute drive from Cala Bona, is the heart of Majorca’s pearl industry – you can pick up gorgeous necklaces at the Majorica Pearl Factory, where local women have been perfecting the art for years. If you’re in the capital, meanwhile, you’ll recognise high street names like H&M and Massimo Dutti from back home. Head to Porto Pi if you're short on time – the shops here are all under one roof.
Fans of SATC should head to Avinguda Tagomago in Cala d’Or, which has a load of chic shoe shops tucked in among the fashion boutiques and art galleries. In Alcudia, fashionistas totter over to the port, where Spanish designer, Adolfo Domingues, has opened a store. As for die-hard label-lovers, they flock to Avenida Jaume III – AKA Palma’s top-end shopping street.
Pollensa’s cobbled streets – 15 minutes’ drive from Puerto Pollensa – are pretty much a club-free zone. Wander over to the restaurants on Plaza Mayor for an al fresco plate of paella. After, try climbing the 365 Calavari steps for widescreen views of the city. In Ca’n Picafort, the laidback bars lining the beach were made for watching the waves over a glass of wine
Magaluf is party central 24 hours a day. Head to the main strip, which is full to the brim with karaoke bars and British-style pubs. Plus, the clubs here draw the crowds like nowhere else on the island – BCM is the biggie, squeezing in 5,000 ravers. Things are marginally less hectic in nearby Palma Nova, where you’ll find big-name clubs like Pacha churning out the tunes.
Pa’amb oli is Spanish for ‘bread with olive oil’, and it’s Majorca’s answer to bruschetta. It’s your typical slab of garlicky rustic bread, topped off with rammellet tomatoes, which have a sharper, more intense flavour than the Italian version.
Technically this is a soup, but it’s more like a hearty stew. A shallow clay pot is lined with thin slices of bread, and a rich mix of veg, lamb stock, garlic and paprika is poured over the top. It means that by the time you get to the bread, it’s absorbed all the flavours.
Arroz brut – ‘dirty rice’ – is the island’s take on paella. It gets its name from the tasty morsels of meat stirred into saffron-scented rice. Peer closely at restaurant menus and you might find the traditional version, which is made with hare. More often than not, though, it comes with chicken and pork.
Veggies should keep an eye out for this tasty dish. Fried slices of unpeeled potato and aubergine are layered up with peppers in a clay pot. A rich tomato, garlic and oregano sauce is then spooned over the top, and the whole lot is baked until it’s bubbling. Mop up the juices with some crusty bread.
Majorcans once used this sweet shot to ward off malaria, but nowadays they knock it back at the start of a meal to warm up their tastebuds. It’s made by mixing caramel with bitter cinchona tree bark, which gives it a really deep, rich flavour.
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Plump for an All Inclusive holiday to Alcudia, and you’re in for a real pick and mix getaway. The main town’s split in two. Half of it’s set inland between a double act of crescent-shaped bays, and the other half has its feet dangling in the shallow waters of the Bay of Alcudia. Between them, they make easy work of sightseeing days, watersports, and enough bars and restaurants for a medley of different meals.
Before hopping on the holiday map, C’an Pastilla’s fishing trade was the town’s nuts and bolts. It slowly grew from a single hotel – named the Hotel C’an Pastilla – to a popular local hotspot, and eventually hit the big-time with European tourists in the Sixties. Today, chic boutiques and late-night-ish cocktail bars have made themselves at home on the main streets. The town’s hung on to its Majorcan roots though – you’ll see dribs and drabs of old-school Spanish architecture all over the shop, and the whitewashed church of Sant Antonio de la Playa has stood its ground.
This north-east resort once had its feet firmly planted in fishing village territory. But as soon as people started clocking its holiday appeal, things took a pretty sharp turn. These days, it’s a tried-and-tested remedy for sun-starved Brits, with a family-friendly vibe that’s hard to top in these parts. The secret’s pretty simple when you boil things down – a big sandy beach, and bars and restaurants that pay as much attention to Majorcan cuisine as they do to international tucker.
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