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guide to mallorca

Mallorca is the largest Balearic island nestled off the coast of Spain with towering hills and green landscapes. With welcoming people, beautiful history and stunning beaches that’ll take your breath away, Mallorca is a fantastic holiday destination if you’re looking for a mix of culture, shopping and luxury. Whether you’re planning a weekend, a week or longer, here’s a guide to get you started on your planning. We’ve included our favorite hotels, itineraries and activities you have to consider for your holiday.

Where to stay

Mallorca has a number of adorable towns to choose from when thinking about your accommodations. They each offer something a little bit different, so we’ve marked our favorite towns and hotels below to hopefully help you narrow it down:



Palma is the capital of the Balearic islands and is the main central hub of Mallorca. The airport is located just outside the city and Palma is filled with shops and restaurants catering to tourists. If you’re looking for a quick city escape, Palma is the place for you. Some of our favorite hotels in Palma are:

  • El Llorenç Parc de la Mar (adults only, quick to shops and tourist sites, beautiful ocean views)
  • Hotel Cappuccino (elegantly and quirkily restored & reasonably priced, smack dab in the middle of prime shopping)
  • Can Cera (luxurious and serene, located in the middle of prime shopping)
  • Sant Francesc Hotel Singular  (32-room luxury boutique hotel with beautiful art and stunning rooftop pool)

Port Adriano

Port Adriano is a quick 20-minute drive from Palma and offers travelers an easy jumping-off point for exploring the island while being away from the hustle and bustle of Palma. There is only one main hotel in Port Adriano, Pure Salt Port Adriano, but it’s worth the consideration if you plan to drive to multiple towns, including Palma, and explore the island during your stay. Pure Salt offers guests an exceptional spa, amenities like bike rentals, scooters and even car rental easily accessible within the hotel. 

Tramuntana Mountain Region 

Once you’ve settled on where you want to stay, or if you want to split the stay into multiple towns, it’s time to plan your itinerary. Here’s an example of our trip to get you inspired:

Day 1

Let’s consider your arrival day as “Day 0”, so Day 1 becomes your first full day in paradise. While I saved Palma for the end of my trip, I would actually recommend starting with Palma. I had expectations that Palma would be filled with small boutique shops, overflowing with beautiful Mallorcan goods as far as the eye can see, so I saved a lot of my shopping for the end. However, Palma is really a lot more like any other modernized medieval city, filled with big brands, Spanish or otherwise (think Valentino and Louis Vuitton). While local crafts and trinkets may not be in the cards for Palma, there is a lot to see when it comes to historical architecture and the old windy streets of Old Town. 


If you’re looking for the high end shops, be sure to check out:

  • Passeig del Born – known as Golden Mile, with anything from Zara to Louis Vuitton
  • Avinguda de Jaume III – adjacent to Born, you’ll find Cartier, Guess, Massimo Dutti and more
  • Carrer Jaume II – a quaint street full of small shops with nick nacks, as well as my new favorite perfumerie, Agua de Baleares.


While you wander through the main shopping streets, be sure to check out:

  • Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca (located close to Passeig del Born)
  • Royal Palace of La Almudaina (next to the Cathedral)
  • Basilica de Sant Francesc (heart of old town)


If you are looking for smaller, winding streets dotted with cute cafes, check out Carrer de Colom. While you’ll still encounter plenty of chain stores and tourist nick-nack shops, you will also encounter smaller boutiques like Antica Santoria (one of my favorites) and vaguely more local Mallorcan shops. 

Day 2

If you’re renting a car for only a few days, your next day would be best spent driving the UNESCO world heritage “roadtrip” from Valldemossa to Soller and back. UNESCO has deemed the area of Serra de Tramuntana as a world heritage site and is a fantastic way to spend the day. Depending on where you are coming from, start you day early and plan to stop along the way in the quaint, historic towns. They each offer something different, so plan to spend 30 minutes- 2 hours in each town to shop, pop into small cafes and explore the beautiful architecture and views. 

One tip – do not follow Google Maps as it will try to take you on the most direct route via highways. One of the splendors of this roadtrip is driving the winding mountain & cliffside roads through the quaint towns. Once you get to Soller/Fornalutx, you will want to take the direct road back to Palma, Port Adriano or wherever you are staying. Here is a map of our route:

driving route mallorca tramuntana

Stop #1: Valldemossa 

The first stop on our roadtrip was Valldemossa. Valldemossa sits atop a beautiful hill that feels lightyears away from the bustling city. I would recommend arriving on the earlier side as the cobblestone streets are car-free and there are only a few parking lots that fill up very quickly. Be sure to bring lots of coins for the parking meters throughout this road trip. Within the small town, you will find cute shops and a few cafes. We bypassed thore more “tourist-focused” cafes and stopped instead at a family owned cafe called Barbaflorida. The espresso drinks were nothing to write home about, but the homemade cakes were fantastic. 


There are some cute shops as well as a Chopin museum in Valldemossa so be sure to take a walk around the beautiful town before departing.

Stop #2: Deia

The next stop on our roadtrip was the town of Deia. Deia has become the high-end enclave for celebrities and millionaires, with its stunning views and luxurious homes. This sleepy town has become known as the “place to get away” for celebrities, politicians and business people looking for quiet inspiration, luxurious accommodations and delicious cuisine. Perched along the hills, Deia features magnificent views and stunning architecture. 


While it may seem just like a sleepy town from the outside, it’s extremely popular so be sure to be patient with parking and make any reservations if you plan to stay for lunch. Nama, a well-known restaurant for both its cuisine and its views, is the perfect place to stop for lunch. 


Deia is also home to Belmond La Residencia, a unique luxury resort with stunning guest rooms filled with antiques. Many celebrities have frequented this property and is an amazing splurge if you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation in the Serra de Tramuntana. 


Just past Deia is a famous Cala, or small beach, home to two famous “cliffside” eateries: Ca’s Patró March and Ca’n Lluc. These casual eateries are extremely popular, particularly Ca’s Patró March and it is almost impossible to reserve a table. If you plan to stop here, be sure to have patience when awaiting a table. Diners can expect local, fresh seafood literally caught that morning. As with most towns, parking here is almost impossible, particularly in high season so have patience, and it’s possible you may need to park on the main road and walk the steep hill to access the beach. 

The wait for a table was over an hour so we decided to continue on and have lunch in Port de Soller.

Stop #3: Port de Soller

Port de Soller is located on the water and is a larger, more “modern” town than the previous stops. Port De Soller has a picturesque, historic tram that connects the quaint town to Soller just 10 minutes up the hill. It’s become famous for its restaurants and cafes perfectly situated along the coastal beach. The bay is super protected, making it an excellent swimming beach for tourists. There is ample parking located at the entrance of Port de Soller on either side of the bay.

Port de Soller does offer some cute shops along the boardwalk filled with clothes, accessories and memories from Mallorca. Port de Soller is a great stop on this road trip to grab a sangria, some tapas and take in the beautiful surroundings. Be sure to grab a frozen yogurt from Petit Cafe!

Port de Soller does have a number of hotels, including Pure Salt Port de Soller located on the far end of the bay and Jumeirah that is located up the hill with a sweeping view of the ocean.

From Port de Soller, you can either take the tram up to Soller (right next to the parking lot) or you can drive the 10-15 minutes.

We decided to drive to Fornalutx and end the road trip with Soller for most of our shopping. 

Stop #4: Fornalutx

Fornalutx is a tiny village high in the Tramuntana mountains that overlooks Soller and the valley below. It was absolutely stunning, with matching roofs, shutters and narrow cobblestone streets. Immaculately clean, this village is a great photo stop along the way. Take a walk through the small streets to admire the history and beauty of the village. 

Fornalutx is well known for its citrus groves and you will see them throughout the village and the hillsides beyond. You will find a small town square with a bakery, general store and a few cafes. This is a very sleepy town so be sure to get here before 4pm if you want to grab a coffee.

Stop #5: Soller

Soller is just 10 minutes from Fornalutx and is a relatively “larger” town nestled in the valley of oranges, as it’s fondly known. Soller has a number of hotels, many restaurants and dozens of small shops, both local to Mallorca and beyond. I loved shopping in Soller because within just a few blocks, you have access to so many quaint shops selling anything from luxury Spanish clothing brands, Balearic island perfume, Mallorcan wine and olive oils and more. I wish we had spent more time exploring the shops in Soller because I personally found it much more charming than Palma, with its many chain stores. 

I would budget a few hours to explore Soller and everything it has to offer. There are multiple parking lots within 5 minutes of the main shopping streets. 

After Soller, you can get onto a main road that connects to the highway that will take you straight back to the capital or the nearby towns that you are staying in. While the long windy drive takes hours to explore, the quick exit will have you home in no time!

Day 3

Whether you returned your rental car or are keeping it for the duration of your stay, my personal recommendation is to spend your 3rd day (and for some of you, your last) out on the open seas with a boat tour. Anytime we visit an island, we always seek out a way to see it from the water because you get such an incredible perspective and can often explore areas inaccessible by car. 


There are dozens of boat tour companies in Mallorca to choose from. Some of the recommended are:


Depending on where you are staying, one may be better than the other since they will typically pick you up at a port or dock. We were able to experience a 4 hour sail with Sail Trip Mallorca and it was a fantastic experience and they picked up 5 minutes from our hotel. Typically, the charters include food & beverages throughout as well as a stop or more (depending on length) at various bays to snorkel, paddle board or swim. 


Some companies do offer shared charters, but many operate private charters ranging in price.


On our sail trip, we sailed to a beautiful bay near Cala Blanca and swam in crystal clear waters while drinking cava and eating delicious homemade tapas. If you’re even slightly considering a boat trip, it’s 100% worth it. 


One thing to note is that if you do get motion or seasick, I would recommend taking a motion sickness pill in advance of the departure to ensure it works as the seas can be rough depending on season and weather. 


If you’re staying beyond a long weekend, there are so many other amazing experiences to be had on Mallorca. Whether you decide to book a spa day or explore the many wineries in the area, you are guaranteed to stay as busy, or as relaxed, as you want. 


If you have additional days, be sure to drive to the Northern coast for some of the most incredible beaches on the island, such as Cala Formentor, Alcudia and Cala Mesquida. In general, Mallorca is safe, easy to navigate and full of nooks and crannies to explore. Happy travels!

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