Mallorca – Overview

Something rather exciting is happening in Mallorca. After decades of being known for its pile ’em up, sell ’em cheap holidays, it has been quietly reinventing itself as the place to find understated glamour in authentic surroundings. The capital, Palma, is now one of the most fashionable small cities in Spain. The island’s tumbledown fincas and dilapidated manor houses have been spruced up and turned into luxurious hotels and holiday villas. And its rundown harbours transformed into chic marinas.

Fortunately, mass tourism is only interested in the sandy beaches of the southwest and pockets of the east coast, leaving a whole island of mountains – the Tramuntana Sierra covers about a third of Mallorca –  and dramatic, craggy coastline for the rest of us. 

On this island you’ll discover treasures at every turn (and we do mean turn: Mallorca’s roads are vertigo-inducing serpentine): isolated hermitages, historic castles, ancient monuments. Where else can you drive half way up a mountain, stop at a scruffy farm building, and order the most delicious roast lamb you have ever tasted? Or anchor in a deserted cove, swim to the shore, then pick your way up a shepherds’ track to a hill-top restaurant for lunch?

Learn more about the luxurious side of Mallorca or about taking a twin-centre holiday with Ibiza.


Palma (PMI)


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Mallorca – Location & Map


Mallorca – Villas


Finca Llevant

  • Mallorca, 8 bedrooms/sleeps 18
  • Elegant 16th Century houe
  • Panoramic countryside views
  • Ideal for large parties

Casa Lluna

  • Mallorca, 4 bedrooms/sleeps 6
  • Stylish interiors
  • Mesmerising views
  • Wifi, air-conditioned, Sky TV
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Mallorca – Regions


Stretching across 500 miles of Southern Spain, Andalucia is one of Europe’s most popular destinations – and not just because it’s bathed in sunshine for 320 days of the year.

Mallorca – Our Guide

The British love affair with Mallorca has been a long and faithful one. Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill, Robert Graves: great writers and thinkers have been inspired by the beauty of the island for almost a century. Spain consistently tops the list of most popular holiday destinations, and in summer 2014, British travellers made up almost a quarter of the total number of visitors to Mallorca. 

So what keeps so many customers so very satisfied? Well, apart from the obvious natural advantages of squeaky clean beaches, stunning countryside and reliable sunshine, major credit is due to the Mallorquin government and tourist authorities. For more than a decade they have focused on quality over quantity, limiting environmental impact and promoting local products. This quality commitment goes island-wide, most obvious to visitors in the rebirth of restaurants offering proper local food, and the new wave of stylish modern properties that are slowly coming onto the market. Visitors no longer come just for the beaches either, with hiking, cycling and birdwatching opportunities reckoned to be some of the best in Europe.

Mallorca – History & Culture

Palma de Mallorca was founded in 123bc

The first human settlement on Mallorca can be traced back over 5000 years to an early Talaiotic Bronze Age culture, and there are still a few remnants of this civilisation be seen on the island today. In the 8th century BC, it was colonized by the Phoenicians and formed part of the ancient empire of Carthage until it was captured by the Roman Empire in the Punic Wars.

The Romans were responsible for the early founding of the city of Palma de Mallorca, and also introduced the olives and grapes that became a major part of the region’s trade and gastronomic traditions. In 534 AD, the Romans were conquered by the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire, and Christian churches were built across Mallorca.


It wasn’t until the invasion of the Arab Moors 400 years later though that agriculture and industry began to flourish and Palma was transformed into the great capital of today.

In 1716, following the War of Spanish Succession, Mallorca became part of Spain, and then in 1983 the Balearics were granted ‘autonomous region’ status within Spain. This autonomy is very strongly felt throughout the islands, with Palma being the capital not just of Mallorca but of the whole region. Mallorca has two official languages – Spanish and Catalan – though the locals tend to converse in Mallorquin dialect, further marking their independence from the mainland.

Walls of the old town in Palma de Mallorca

Mallorca – Climate

A mild Mediterranean climate makes ideal beach weather

Sheltered by its north-western mountain range, Mallorca enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate. Summer is from June to September, when the average temperature ranges from 27° to 30°c with gentle breezes and very little rainfall, making perfect beach weather and great conditions for water sports.

By the end of September and into October, temperatures ease back down to the mid-20°c range, though it is still just warm enough to enjoy the beach during October half term. Spring and autumn are the best months to explore the rocky inland areas by bike or on foot.       


For more challenging hiking, bear in mind that the Tramuntana Mountains can create their own cloudier, wetter micro-climate, so be prepared for changeable weather conditions at altitude.

November through to January sees temperatures drop from 19°c to around 15°c during daytime with cooler evenings and nights. January is low season for Mallorca, and though it is cooler it can be ideal for exploring the countryside and for biking along the quiet lanes. By March temperatures creep back up into the 20°c range, and whilst there may be a few showers, by April and May the air is warm enough and the sun bright enough to enjoy the beach again.

Mallorca is sheltered by a mountainous terrain

Mallorca – Activities

Calm waters make great sailing conditions

Mallorca is great for outdoor activities. In summer, the sea can be as warm as 23°c with gentle breezes. With top class marinas and yacht chartering companies around the coast, Mallorca is a mecca for leisure sailors, hosting several international regattas annually.

And when you feel like a change from the sea, the mountainous north west shelters some exquisite villages for those who appreciate a more authentic environment. Not far from Soller is the village of Fornalutx, which comprises a tiny main square and a handful of narrow streets hiding small cafes, shops and a restaurant or two. The village is surrounded by citrus orchards and lush green valleys, perfect for exploring on foot or by mountain bike.       


Also in this area are Soller, Valldemossa and Deia. Each quite beautiful in their own right, these towns have also become centres for music, art, gourmet local foods and artisan crafts. 

Palma is the island capital, a gracious small city with distinctive Mediterranean charm. Easily accessible, the city is dominated by its huge cathedral. There are literally dozens of other little churches in the back streets of the old town, interspersed with tempting little tapas bars, bodegas and cafes. There are plenty of swanky designer shops, but if you prefer your labels at market prices, then try the big Sunday market in Pollenca town, possibly followed by a lunch and a walk to the top of the Calvary steps to admire the amazing view.

Mountain villages offer a change of pace

Mallorca – Feasts & Festivals

Traditional decorations

In Mallorca, every town and village has its own saint’s day spectacularly marked by feasts, fireworks, battle re-enactments and street parties like no other.

One of the biggest saints festivals is the Festes de Sant Sebastia held on the 19th January, the celebration of the Patron Saint of Palma Saint Sebastian. Once martyred for his Christian beliefs by the Romans, the legend of Saint Sebastian tells the story of how one of his bones cured an epidemic of disease in the 16th century. He is now celebrated every year with multiple live music shows in the squares of the city of Palma.



The festival of Nit de Foc on Midsummer Eve marks the beginning of Mallorca’s summer fiestas and is one of the year's biggest parties. Held in Parc de la Mer, huge bonfires and firework displays celebrate the life of John the Baptist and revellers run through the streets dressed as fiery demons lighting flares before the evening rock concerts begin.

In September, the wine-growing village of Binissalem hosts its infamous Fiesta des Vermar, more commonly recognised as the mass grape fight held in celebration of the grape harvest. Giant paella, music performances and a giant’s parade are the more subdued prelude to the messy main event, where wearing white is compulsory!

Paella can be found at many festivals and celebrations

Mallorca – Food & Drink

Sweet apricot ensaimadas

Like many islands, the cuisine of Mallorca has been greatly influenced by the successive occupiers who have settled it throughout history, though modern cooking takes most of its inspiration from high quality local produce, including citrus fruits, almonds, olives and sea salt.

The island produces much of its own fresh vegetables and meat, simply grilled in summer or lovingly slow cooked in the cooler months to create rich and complex dishes. Lamb is common on menus, as is pork, though most often in the form of a robust, garlicky sausage. Main meals are often accompanied by pa amb oli or pa am tomaquet – a kind of do-it-yourself garlic bread that you assemble at the table.


Frit Mallorquí (a kind of fry-up based on either fish or meat), arròs brut (literally “dirty rice”) are classic dishes, and no holiday breakfast is complete without ensaimadas, sweet, spiral-shaped buns that also make great presents to take home.

Mallorca produces many high quality red and white wines, some based on centuries old methods and others embracing new techniques and styles from the New World. Binissalem is the largest growing area, credited with rekindling the island’s dying wine production back in the 1990s, while Pla I Levant in eastern Mallorca is famous as the place where vines were first planted as far back as Roman times.

Ingredients for a typical Mallorcan dishPicture

Mallorca – For Families

Beaches are pristine with plenty of facilities

Mallorca is an unbeatable family destination, with many safe, Blue-Flag beaches, a warm though not extreme summer climate and a convenient short flight time from the UK.

The gentle sandy beaches at Pollenca and Playa da Muro are wonderful for young children. Animal lovers can find plenty of interest in the island’s many natural reserves, including the Cala Milor wildlife park and Sa Dragonera, a small island reached by boat trip. Palma Aquarium is a great day out, as are the various water parks around the island. For older and more adventurous children, canyoning, zip-wiring, rock climbing and mountain biking are on offer at the many family adventure parks on the island.


There are deep-sea fishing charters departing from a number of bays, or you can dangle a fishing rod off the harbour walls and wait to see what will bite. Take a boat tour around the Caves of Drach full of unique limestone formations, a scenic hot air balloon expedition, or a vintage train ride through the twisting bends between Palma and Soller for the best views.

History fans will enjoy the ancient Roman remains of Pollentia, the most important Roman city in the Balearics, and the Talaiotic vestiges of the early Bronze Age culture at Capocorb Vell. There are also many ruined fortresses and watchtowers along the coast, including Castell de Bellver, Capdepera Castle and Castell D’Alaro: perfect for those at the ‘knights and pirates’ stage!

Boat trips are a favourite with families

Mallorca – For Couples

Palma de Mallorca at dusk

With luxurious villas and hotels ranging from the intimate to the truly sumptuous, Mallorca is the perfect romantic getaway. The capital Palma is one of the smartest cities in Spain: stylish yet authentic, brimming with contemporary galleries, chic shops and trendy restaurants offering a modern take on traditional cuisine. Palma’s waterfront draws the yachting crowd and some of the more discreet celebrities in the summer months, resulting in a mix of glamorous lounges, restaurants and cocktail bars as well as some more bohemian bars and jazz clubs.

The whole island has a thriving art scene, from major galleries such as Es Baluard Museu to the smaller workshops and studios dotted around centres like Soller and Deia. These beautiful little towns are a delight to explore.


Soller is famous for its elegant and historic architecture, while Deia was a favourite of English poet Robert Graves, and has since become a centre for musicians and artists in search of an alternative lifestyle. The surrounding Teix Mountains are thought by some to radiate a healing energy, so after a walk around the rocky coast, you can unwind with a scenic, open air spa treatment.

Along with a passion for fine food, wine growing is enjoying a revival on Mallorca, and many of the best new wineries and vineyards offer tours and tasting sessions. Wine making was introduced to the region with the arrival of the Romans, though production suffered a blow when a plague of phylloxera attacked the vineyards in the 19th century. Visit the central plain of Binissalem where the rebirth of the industry began in the 1990s.

Marinas draw in an evening yacht crowd

Mallorca top properties