Mention Mallorca to anyone and it’s almost guaranteed that the image they conjure up will be of the notoriously trashy party scene thumping away in Magaluf— not too dissimilar from the neon and vomit themed Full Moon Party on Koh Pha Ngan, just conveniently located in Europe. Just like you’ll find in Thailand, though, there is so much more to this popular island than drunk teenagers and alcohol poisoning. If you’re willing to spend a little time and petrol exploring beyond the city centre, you may just find that Mallorca steals your heart.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, sitting off the east coast of Spain in the sunny Mediterranean and enjoying all the crystal blue water that comes with the territory. The whole island is hardly more than 100km, but it is surprisingly full of adorable hillside towns, dramatic cliffs that plunge into the sea below, spectacular sandy beaches, and even tiny mountain ranges. My friend Katy and I rented a car to explore the island better, and I would readily recommend this to anyone as a reasonably affordable, and certainly the best, way to get around and really see Mallorca. Unfortunately for us (although my Spanish isn’t the best anyway), the primary language is Catalan, but we found that everything is very well signed, and often even in English, so getting around was hardly a challenge.
During our week on the island, we spent our fair share of time just relaxing on the beach and splashing around at our AirBnB in the stunning Port d’Andratx, but we also explored quite a bit. Katy actually met someone from Mallorca while I was hiking the TMB, and he recommended heaps of spots for us to visit, so we left feeling like we saw some local gems in addition to the main sites.
This is the third post in my mini blog series on the best places to discover in Mallorca!
We met up with our Mallorcan friend, Nico, one day for some local tour guiding, driving about 40 minutes from Andratx to reach this beautiful, and very Spanish looking, town in the hills. He treated us to the local treat of coca de patata, which is a sweet bun topped with powdered sugar, and then walked us through the town, whose main claim to fame is that the famous Polish composer, Chopin, stayed in the Carthusian Monastery for one winter (and literally no one has ever forgotten about it).
The Monastery, Real Cartuja de Valldemossa, now stands as a museum to Chopin and is surrounded by colourful, overflowing gardens that are worth wandering through. In the middle of some particularly beautiful rose bushes, there’s even a large, metal bust of Chopin (ok, we get it, Chopin stayed here), but we didn’t explore any more of the Chopin paraphernalia. Instead, we walked through the adorable cobbled streets to reach the Mirador de Miranda dels Lledoners that looks out over the ochre rooftops and rocky mountains of Valldemossa. Not to be missed!
From Valldemossa, we drove for a few minutes to reach a “secret viewpoint” and then a few more minutes to a more well-known spot, Mirador de Na Foradada, both with incredible views over the ocean and the little rock peninsula, sa Foradada. To reach the “secret” spot, travel just a few kilometres south on the Ma-10 and park on the side of the road before following a short, somewhat dilapidated path for a few minutes towards the edge of the cliffs. (Apparently the fancy house below, slightly to your left, belongs to Michael Douglas. In the movie version of my life, I’m invited to spend the afternoon at his pool.)
If you’re having way too much fun and just don’t want to go home, take in the incredible views from either the Mirador de Na Foradada restaurant or the bar overlooking the ocean, or journey out onto the little rock peninsula for a fancy experience at the tiny Sa Foradada restaurant.
Our final stop on Nico’s impromptu Mallorca tour was Deià, an amazing little town in the Serra de Tramuntana. All the houses are built on terraces up the hillside and the result is so incredibly Mediterranean that it almost hurts. Visit the cemetery for panoramic views over the most picturesque Spanish town you’ve ever seen, and then walk back down the cobbled streets to Sa Fonda or one of the other little bars to enjoy some of the locally made Gin Eva.
Read about more incredible places to visit on Mallorca in my other posts about discovering the island!