We’re not going to pretend that Mallorca is the underdog of the Balaerics – if we did,
our nose would grow longer than Pinocchio’s, and nobody wants to
see that. A destination decorated with honey-hued villages, carpets
of fragrant citrus trees and stretches of powder-white sands, this
island deserves every inch of admiration it gets.
Mallorca is one of those places that is so
charming, you can almost smell it before stepping off the plane.
Swerving the booze-cruise crowds of Palma, we’ve swum through
gin-clear waters and strolled through crumbling old-town squares to
serve you an extra-large slice of the sun-bleached streets that are
worth bookmarking this summer. Join us as we tour Mallorca’s most
breathtaking towns and villages.
Classical music festivals and vibrant street markets: five of
our favourite towns and villages in Mallorca
Best for: keen hikers
Flanked by the dramatic Serra de Tramuntana mountains, the
jigsaw-like old stone houses of Fornalutx make for one of
Mallorca’s prettiest backdrops. Just a 40-minute drive from the
fast pace of Palma, the go-slow vibe of this place is made even
more inviting by a bevy of sun-drenched squares decorated with
olive-green shutters and oyster-white parasols. While days are well
spent strolling stone staircases and making pit stops for
tapas-style bites (not forgetting the jugs of sangria), it’s also
worth stomping along some of the town’s many pine-clad walking trails to best appreciate its charm. We
recommend starting with the Blick auf Port de Sóller Loop, a 10km
hike suited to all skill levels.
Where to stay: Fornalutx
Best for: romantics
Teeny-tiny Banyalbufar is the kind of town where everyone knows
everyone, which isn’t massively difficult given that its population
hovers around 1,000. Having been settled as an Arab farm in the
10th century, the community has since protected its ancient
terraces and dry-stone walls, and continues to give a nod to its
agricultural roots through vegetable and fruit production. For an
off-grid, romantic retreat, you can’t go wrong with a lazy week
here. Spend mornings lounging in the rock-strewn bay, before
escaping the midday heat with a feast at the tasty, shaded set-up
of the Pegasón restaurant and bar.
Where to stay: Hotel Ca Madò
Best for: music lovers
Nothing makes a destination more appetising than it being the
birthplace of a sought-after signature food dish. Step forward, the
nature-rich town of Valldemossa, aka the home of crumbly coca de
patata – a sweet and delicate speciality pastry. But food isn’t the
only thing that makes this spot so spectacular. It’s also
recognised among classical music lovers as the inspiration behind
many of legendary composer Frédéric Chopin’s works. If your Spotify
playlist is packed with instrumental sounds, look to visit in
August, when the Chopin Classical Music Festival takes place in the
breaking grounds of the Carthusian Monastery. Hunting for a base at
which to chill between culture-packed days? Recharge at the rural
and rustic boutique hotel Mirabò de Valldemossa.
Where to stay: Mirabò de Valldemossa
Best for: art enthusiasts
Sitting pretty in Mallorca’s south-east, the golden-stone
village of Santayí has become something of a playground for art and
design enthusiasts. Find a handful of galleries and workshops
tucked down its narrow, winding passageways. One to make a beeline
for is the Gemma Leys Gallery, which showcases Leys’ intricate oil
renditions of treasured travel memories. Make sure you’re in town
on a Wednesday or Sunday to browse Mallorca’s most colourful and
vibrant street market. Taking place in the Plaza Mayor, basket-clad
stalls overflow with local produce, handmade ceramics and garments
stylish enough to make you question your entire wardrobe.
Where to stay: S’Hotelet de
Best for: sundowner seekers
Did we mention that we’re obsessed with scouting out the next
best sundowner hangout? Oh, we did? One more time won’t hurt.
Stepping up to fulfil our needs, the east coast village of Porto
Colom promises a slew of no-frills, rustic beachside shacks. Before
sunset, skip down to the harbour to watch fishermen returning with
buckets of fresh fish, then head straight to the bohemian Kaikuana Beach bar.
Offering sweeping vistas across Cala Marçal Beach, it’s an idyllic
spot at which to sip a refreshing mojito while watching the burning
sun plunge into the glistening Med.
Where to stay: Ca’n Gaià