Mallorca is an amazing destination to visit, with its incredible beaches and landscape and endless things to do.
From art and culture to pristine beaches, from Gaudi to jet ski, from old stone manor houses to modern shopping centres… there is something for everyone in Mallorca and it all just depends on what kind of activity you are looking for.
Our 11 best excursions and things to do in Mallorca
If you’re on holiday for a limited time in Mallorca, then how do you choose the best things to do, see and visit to make sure you get the most out of your short stay? This list of the best excursions and things to do in Mallorca should help you to decide how you want to spend your holiday.
1. Discover a Hidden Cove
There are many big beaches and tiny coves in Mallorca. In fact, the entire coastline is spectacular. Most people start with the beach closest to where they are staying and often don’t end up exploring any further than that. But that’s a shame because there are some truly amazing beaches to discover in Mallorca, if only you take the time to get off the beaten track.
Here are our top five:
Sa Canova Beach
This beach is one of those secret corners of the north and you will be hard pressed to find anyone that is not a local who has heard of it. It is a virgin beach on the eastern end of Alcudia Bay, close to Son Serra de Marina. It wouldn’t be on this list if years ago, plans to be urbanise the whole area had gone ahead. Fortunately, that never took place, and now you can enjoy this beach in all its tranquil splendour. Being a virgin beach, you can only get there on foot, walking either from Estanyol or from Son Serra de Marina.
Sant Joan Beach (Alcudia)
Another beach in the north of Mallorca; this time a rocky cove nestled between the Bay of Alcudia and the Bay of Pollensa.
Sant Joan Beach is not well known with tourists but gets crowded easily with locals at the weekends. Its sandy seabed is spectacular, and you can walk out more than 50 metres before the water starts to get deep. With views of the Bay of Pollensa, Formentor and the La Victoria mountains, it is a real beauty, and it’s an ideal beach to visit in the evening for a sunset swim.
Cala Mitjana is located near Cala Dor in the southeast of Mallorca. Access to the beach is through a private property, something which makes it difficult to reach and also to find, which has allowed the beach to retain its charm. The cove is an unusual inlet of the sea with three branches, in one of which we find the small beach. It is one of the best beaches of Mallorca if what you are looking for is to disconnect in nature and tranquillity. It is quite isolated and protected from the wind. Its waters are crystal clear and are very good for snorkelling.
Cala Tuent is a gorgeous beach located in the Tramuntana Mountain area very close to Sa Calobra, although much less known than this famous beach. Cala Tuent is a virgin beach of about 170 metres in length, with pebbles and gravel, with clean waters and green and blue colours. It rarely gets crowded. The beach is surrounded by magnificent landscape with pine trees, olive trees, rocks, mountains, and absolute tranquillity. On one side there is the Es Vergeret Restaurant, a very short distance from the beach, with incredible views of the entire cove. There are huts dotted around the beach, which are used by fishermen.
Port des Canonge
Port des Canonge is another hidden beach in the Serra de Tramuntana and it is not easy to reach. There is only one road with plenty of curves. It is an old fishing harbour with a small cove where you can swim. The cove is made up of coarse gravel and Poseidon remains (a kind of seaweed unique to this archipelago). With perfectly clear water and a pleasant sea temperature, it is ideal for people who like places that are not too crowded.
2. Explore the Mondrago Nature Park
Mondrago Nature Park is one of Mallorca’s unspoilt areas. It is incredibly pretty and natural. There is a visitors’ centre by the car park where you can pick up information about the wildlife and birds you are likely to come across in the park as well as a route map with trails for trekking.
The nature park is located in the southeast of Mallorca close to the pretty town of Santanyí. Mondrago Park ends right by the sea where the water seems to be more turquoise than anywhere else on the island. If you do decide to go to Mondrago, make sure you take your towel and bathing suit, as you will want to make time for a swim at one of the two beautiful beaches in Cala Mondrago, right by the nature park. S’Amarador Beach is the first cove, but if you follow the path around the coast, you will come to Ses Fonts de n’Alis, another cove of similar beauty, but with fewer sunbathers!
3. Hire a Boat
There are a million and one boat trips available on Mallorca, what with so much coastline, calm waters and hot weather. You can go on a catamaran tour with lunch, on a glass bottom boat trip, on a boat to see other beaches, big boats, small boats, wooden boats, ferries… You name it, Mallorca offers it.
The problem with these boat trips sometimes is their popularity. Everyone wants to do a boat tour in Mallorca and so they get very busy, especially in the larger resorts.
So why not consider hiring a boat just for your family or group for the day? There are several on offer, from catamarans to sailing boats to Mallorcan “llauts”. You tell the captain if there is somewhere special you’d like to go and if not, you just let him show you what he considers to be the best spots. You can swim from the boat, snorkel in clear waters, use the kayaks and stand-up paddles that are normally provided, and you can do it all away from the crowds.
Normally you can hire a boat with captain or skipper for half a day or a whole day and food and drinks are usually provided as well as use of the cabins if needed.
4. Take a trip to Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Mallorca and of the Balearic Islands, is a fabulous city and is not just about shopping – though if you do like shopping, you are in the right place.
But Palma has so much more to offer and is one of the most beautiful and cultural cities in the Mediterranean. Here are our top seven things to do in Palma de Mallorca:
Visit Palma Cathedral
The Gothic Cathedral in Palma dominates the seafront and the old town. This imposing and beautiful building is one of the most visited churches in Spain and for good reason. Work on Palma Cathedral began in 1230 after the Christian conquest the previous year. King Jaime I of Cataluña decided to build the cathedral as a thanksgiving to God for his victory over the Moors. Work would continue for several centuries with fires and setbacks meaning different architectural styles would be favoured throughout its construction. This makes it a fascinating cathedral to visit, and it is highly recommendable to take a tour with a professional guide.
Take a guided walk of the old town.
If you are going to take a guided visit of the Cathedral, then why not take advantage of your knowledgeable guide and make it a tour through the Old Town of Palma in general? This way you will get to see the best old streets of Palma, the courtyards that make the city unique, the Church of San Francisco and the City Hall in Cort Square with the famous olive tree.
Visit the Bellver Castle
The Castell de Bellver is a circular castle with a location that allows that, from the castle, you have an incredible view of the entire city, the port and the cathedral. Being entirely rounded, the castle is architecturally very unique.
The castle was meant to be a royal residence, as Mallorca was an independent kingdom. Work began on the castle in the year 1300 but with the fall of the Kingdom of Mallorca in 1343, the castle was used on and off throughout history as a prison. Nowadays the castle holds a museum where you can learn all about its construction and about its (sometimes very dark) history.
Visit the Arab Baths
The Banys Arabs date back to a period between the 10th and 12th centuries. The baths, it is believed, were probably part of a nobleman’s house and are like those found in other Islamic cities. For the Moors, Hammams (or bath houses) were meeting-places as well a place to get washed. It is believed that some elements used in construction of the Arab Baths in Palma were recycled from the Roman epoch, such as the columns.
Discover Palma’s art galleries
You will never have enough time to get round all of Palma’s art galleries as there are so many, but you could select a few if art is something that interests you.
The most famous art gallery in Palma is the Es Baluard Museum with its temporary and permanent exhibitions of contemporary art. There are many interesting sculptures at Es Baluard Museum and there is a wonderful restaurant attached to the museum with a great patio.
Other interesting places to visit in or close to the centre of Palma are:
the Joan Miró Museum, which, as well as displaying his art also recreates his 1980s workshop and studio so that you can get a feel for the artist’s creative process
the Fundació Joan March on Calle Sant Miquel, which houses a collection of little-known art from local artists and famous international artists in an old 17th century manor house.
Take a boat tour around the port
There is a unique boat trip lasting one hour that takes you around the port of Palma so that you can see the amazing cruise ships and yachts up close, as well as enjoying some amazing views of Palma City from the sea, such as the cathedral and the Bellver Castle. This boat trip is one of the nicest and most original ways to see the city and it departs several times a day all year round.
Explore Santa Catalina
Santa Catalina is currently the trendy part of Palma, which only a few years ago was nothing but a local market and a few run-down bars and restaurants.
Now it is a busy and bustling area with tapas bars, trendy city restaurants and a great vibe at night-time. Santa Catalina still centres around its popular market, where locals and restaurant owners get their fresh veg, fish and meat. As a result, the restaurants in the area are excellent in quality and countless in number. Some of the streets have recently been pedestrianised and bars and cafes set their tables and chairs outside for a great al fresco experience.
5. Visit a Theme Park – Great one for Families
Mallorca has more theme parks than you might realise and there are some excellent days out to be had for families. In summer, water parks are the most popular kind of theme park, with Aqualand and Western Park, the two big ones coming top: kamikaze your way down the huge slides, battle the waves in the wave pool or gently meander around the lazy river. These water parks are the biggest in Mallorca and among the biggest in Spain and they have something for everyone and some fabulous children’s play areas and splash pools.
As well as the water parks, Mallorca is home to:
Marineland: a dolphinarium and marine zoo with a dolphin show, a sea lion show, and a parrot show as well as areas to visit such as the aviary, the reptile house and the penguins and flamingos.
Katmandu Park: a fun, interactive day out for the whole family with an upside down fun house where “imagination is real and reality is just an illusion”. There’s a Splash Park and Soft Play area, a 16M high K3 Climb and the ZOMBIES! XD Dark Ride as well as Expedition Golf, two exciting mini golf courses of “ice” and “fire”.
Palma Aquarium: Get up close and personal with sharks, jellyfish and thousands of species of marine animals at a place where conservation and education are key. Take a ride on the shark vision boat, learn about the whales in the Aquadome and have a seriously fun day out with all the family with face-painting and a pirate ship too!
6. Dine out in style
Going to a nice restaurant is top on many people’s list of holiday treats and is one of the things in Mallorca not to be missed. There are loads of places to eat out in Mallorca, but why not visit one of the island’s top restaurants for an extra special treat?
Santi Taura DINS
Santi Taura, a local chef from the town of Lloseta, relocated his DINS restaurant to Palma just a few years ago. He finds old recipes of Mallorcan dishes, some of which have been practically abandoned, and breathes life back into them in his tasting menu of 11 dishes, plus add-ons for those with a huge appetite. If you want true Mallorcan food with a modern twist in a smart restaurant, then this is the place. If you sit at the bar, then Santi himself serves you the dishes and will give you an excellent explanation about the ingredients used and the elaboration of the dish, plus its origins.
Zaranda’s chef, Fernando Arellano, has opened his new and exciting restaurant in Palma centre and it has been a hit from the first day. Two Michelin stars, dishes to die for, a bit of show cooking in the kitchen and a first class meal in a gorgeous setting. If you really want to treat yourself, you can’t go wrong with Zaranda.
Fusion Restaurant in Playa de Muro is where to go NOW. Now you can walk in and get a table. Now the tasting menu is amazing value. Now the young chef, Javier Hoebeeck is “relatively” unknown. That will not last long because this chef is headed for the top. His dishes are complex, well structured and served with a flair that many chefs with a lifetime of experience still don’t manage.
Nowhere in Mallorca will you eat so well at such reasonable prices… For now.
Andana by Maca de Castro
Maca de Castro focusses on local product and quality. She has a prestigious Michelin Star restaurant in Alcudia, but Andana, her new restaurant in Palma, is a little more trendy, a little more fun and a lot less formal. Andana means “platform” and refers to Palma’s main station that the restaurant is attached to. Dishes are fun and modern and can be ordered to share or individually. The décor is brand new, cosy, comfy and inviting. The place is buzzing and bustling… just like a busy station at peak time.
7. Take a Helicopter Ride
Have you ever imagined taking a helicopter tour on holiday? This is one of the most unique and exciting things you can do in Mallorca. You take off from the Son Bonet Aerodrome, some five kilometres north of Palma de Mallorca and, within five minutes you are already gazing down at the island with a marvellous 360 bird’s eye views of some the most beautiful landscape, such as the Tramuntana Mountain Range, the city of Palma and the island’s impressive beaches and coastlines.
The helicopter tour is a fun and exciting adventure and a once in a lifetime activity that you will never forget. Just the amazing photos you are going to take on the flight are worth the price of the tour.
8. Watch the sunset
Being an island, one of the nicest things to do in Mallorca is to watch the sunset. It’s beautiful, it’s unique and it’s free. The west coast of an island is where one would normally head to watch the sunset (for obvious reasons) and you certainly can’t go wrong in Puerto de Soller, or anywhere in the Tramuntana area. But there are a few places (and not always in the west) where you will witness a second-to-none sunset in Mallorca:
Sa Foradada, in the west of the island, near Deià in the Tramuntana Mountains, boasts one of the best sunsets in Mallorca where you can watch the colours of the sunset illuminate the sky through the hole in the rock bridge, making this one of the most unique sunsets in the world, not just in Mallorca.
Mirador Illes Malgrats
Close to Santa Ponsa is the Mirador Illes Malgrats. The Malgrats Islets are tiny and inaccessible rock formations popping out of the sea. From the Mirador Illes Malgrat, you can witness a fabulous sunset over these islets. The mirador (viewpoint) is very popular among locals so try to get there early to choose your spot.
Cap de Formentor
At the very northern tip of the island is Cap de Formentor. This is where the Tramuntana Mountain range ends, and indeed, where the island dramatically ends, as the cliffs plunge into the sea. Watch the sunset from the lighthouse at Cap de Formentor, where you can see the ball of fire literally drop into the sea at the magic hour. This is one of the best things to do in Mallorca and, as mentioned, free!
9. Drink orange juice in Soller
Did you know that Soller in the west of Mallorca is famous for its sweet but tangy oranges? No? Well, you do now.
No visit to Mallorca is complete without a visit to the Valley of Soller, where there are many things to do and see. And every activity in Soller should be rounded off with a glass of the local orange juice. Or, better still, an orange-flavoured ice cream.
When you visit Soller Valley you will see fields and fields of orange trees, their branches bowing under the weight of abundant fruit. You’ll see hillsides of bright orange and green. Needless to say: there is no deficit of Vitamin C among the population of Soller.
When you ride on the tram between Soller and Puerto Soller, you will practically go through these orange and lemon groves. When the trees are in blossom, the scent is almost overpowering. Actually, the tram is a great way to get between Soller Town and Puerto de Soller and both are well worth a visit. Here are some things to do in both places:
The old town of Soller is one of the most stunning towns of Mallorca. And even more so because it is situated in a spectacular setting, surrounded by the awesome Tramuntana Mountains.
Here are three things not to miss in Soller:
Visit the train station. Everyone talks about the famous Soller Vintage Train, but people often miss the train station itself which was built in 1606 as an elegant Soller house. The name is Can Mayol and follows a traditional Mallorcan style with a grand courtyard. Visitors to the train station are often focussed on getting to the platform and boarding the famous vintage train and just pass through the grand entrance hall, and admire the architecture, without realising that there is a free art exhibition displaying works by some of the most important artists of our time, such as ceramics by Picasso and paintings by Miro.
See the church of Sant Bartomeu. Dominating the Plaza de la Constitución de Sóller, Soller’s main square, there is an imposing limestone building: the parish church of Sant Bartomeu de Sóller. In 1688 the original church collapsed, and construction of a new Baroque church began, though wasn’t finished until 1733. It was during this reform that the Baroque style was adopted. The Modernist facade that we see today was designed by Gaudí’s disciple, Joan Rubió Bellver in the last century.
Hiking in the Valley of Soller. There are many great hiking trails that begin in Soller and take in the breathtaking Tramuntana views. There are long hikes, short trails and even cycling routes. One particularly pretty route is the one from Soller to Fornalutx and Binaraix. This circular route begins in the centre of town by the Soller Train Station and continues towards Fornalutx and Biniaraix. The 360 panoramic views on the walk are incomparable and much of the route will take you through those famous orange and lemon groves as well as fields of olive trees and almond trees.
Puerto de Soller
The Port of Soller is another pretty town down on the seafront with a charming harbour in a natural horseshoe-shaped cove. Three things not to miss in Puerto de Soller are:
Take the boat to Sa Calobra. There is a boat running from Puerto de Soller daily, which goes to Sa Calobra and back. It takes around 45 minutes each way and the journey is truly spectacular, with amazing views of the Tramuntana Mountains from the sea. In high season the service runs all day back and forth and, in the quieter season, just a couple of times a day. Either way, you can spend the day at the beach in Sa Calobra, one of the Mediterranean’s beauty spots at the mouth of the Torrent de Pareis Gorge.
Eat a paella. When you visit Spain, you MUST eat a paella at some point. The problem is, how do you know which place is good for paella? How do you know which restaurants the local people choose? Well, in Puerto de Soller, you don’t need to worry: just go to the seafront, sit at any of the restaurants in the port and order your paella. It will be a great paella and you will enjoy it in a wonderful setting.
Soller Maritime Museum. Housed in a former monastery (Santa Caterina d’Alexandria) with a long and colourful history, the Port of Soller’s “Museu de la Mar” tells the story of the region’s fascinating maritime past. The building itself, constructed in the late thirteenth century, was destroyed and rebuilt several times through the centuries. The Maritime Museum shows how Puerto de Soller, due to its isolated situation, has stronger links to the sea than many other towns and villages in Mallorca. In the past it was easier to transport things via boat round the coast rather than travelling over the mountains inland.
10. Explore Mallorca’s villages
A great thing to do in Mallorca is to spend a day visiting some of the island’s villages and small towns. Many people make the mistake of associating Mallorca only with tourist resorts and tourist activities. But there is a rich local culture to be uncovered for those who want to get off the beaten track and go and explore.
The villages at the foot of the Tramuntana are quaint, unspoilt, traditional and a joy to visit. You could visit all the following villages in one day if you wanted on a mini road trip:
The small town of Campanet is a good place to start this inland village route, as it has an exit off the motorway and is easy to get to by car, about a 30-minute drive from the city of Palma.
Campanet’s main attraction is its intrinsic beauty. Nestled between mountains and valleys, it has a characteristic charm of its own. It is a pleasure to walk through the narrow streets of the town and observe the authentic Mallorcan architecture. All streets lead to the main square, the Plaça Major, where the imposing baroque Church of the Immaculate Conception dominates the skyline. This impressive church was erected around 1700.
Campanet is known for its natural spring water, as many springs run down the mountains to this place. If you visit after a lot of rain, you can visit Ses Fonts Ufanes on the outskirts of the village, which are natural springs coming up out of the ground with the force of a river.
From Campanet, you can drive on country lanes to get to the other villages on the route.
Moscari is a tiny village en route from Campanet to the other villages in the area. The name comes from Latin origins. There is a handful of stone villages, farms and an abundance of colourful orchards surrounding the town.
It’s worth parking up and having a stroll down the country lanes to enjoy the fresh air and pretty scenery.
Caimari is an actual town, much bigger than Moscari. It had two large squares and many pretty stone buildings. Its local population is mostly elderly and, in the evenings, the benches in the squares are full of people that are out for a stroll and to socialise. There are lots of places to stay overnight, as there are many rural hotels, most converted townhouses.
Caimari is famous in Mallorca for its olive oil, which you can buy at shops all over the island. And in autumn, the town has an impressive fair with stalls and events related to olives and olive oil, with the local restaurants participating to elaborate special dishes especially for the fair.
Selva is probably the most impressive of these villages, with amazing panoramic views of the surrounding valley and the Tramuntana Mountains. It is the main town in the municipality of Selva, which also includes Caimari and Mancor de la Vall.
Selva’s main attraction is its church, the impressive Sant Llorenç located in the Plaça Major. Its 42 steps will take you up to the renovated Gothic-style façade. Many parts of the church were renovated after a fire in 1855. To maintain its authenticity, the engineer in charge worked with the original plans dating from the 17th century.
If you have time for lunch, there are several good restaurants in town, including the locally renowned Miceli.
Mancor de la Vall
Mancor de la Vall is another place with an interesting autumn fair: this time dedicated to the prestigious wild mushroom found only in Mallorca: the esclata-sang (sang because of the blood-coloured oil produced when cooked).
This village of only 1500 inhabitants has its origins documented in prehistoric times, with Talayotic settlement remains having been discovered locally.
The village today is based around the Sant Joan Baptista church, built in the neoclassical style in the 19th century, one of the most emblematic buildings in the village.
It is also worth the 20-minute walk to the Sanctuary of Santa Lucía to enjoy the wonderful views it offers of the town and the mountains. What was once a small hermitage is now a much grander place to enjoy a day or afternoon of contemplation.
11. Go Horse Riding
Horse riding in Mallorca is one of the most popular activities among tourists thanks to the excellent weather and stunning terrain. Horse riding in Mallorca is suitable for all levels, and there are options for experienced riders and beginners alike.
A great family option is the Rancho Grande Barbecue night that takes place in summer at Rancho Grande in Son Serra de Marina. The evening starts with a one-hour horse riding session from the vast ranch, out through the pine forest and over plains, where there are excellent views of the countryside and even the sea. Riders are split into groups according to ability, with experienced riders being able to canter over the vast plains and the beginners walking in single file through the pine woods. There’s also an option for those who don’t want to ride at all, and they can travel in the sangria wagon, singing songs along with a guitarist. After the horse riding, everyone meets up back at the ranch for a hearty BBQ feast followed by music and dancing.
For those more interested just in pure horse riding, a unique experience is the three-hour riding tour from Rancho Can Picafort, which takes you through the woods to the beach at the edge of Can Picafort. From there you can ride on the beach itself in the Son Real area, where you will enjoy marvellous views of Alcudia Bay and participate in the unique chance to ride directly on the sand (something that isn’t possible with other stables).
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