11 unmissable attractions in Mallorca
Cheap flights to Mallorca are easier to bag than ever before, thanks to recently-launched routes by British Airways and several other airlines. Here are Mallorca's top attractions.
1. Casa Robert Graves
Robert Graves was a British author best known for his historical novel I, Claudius. Graves moved to the pretty village of Deià in 1929, and this is the house he used to live in. The property has been wonderfully preserved, and it's filled with books, paintings and other everyday objects which he owned, along with copies of his most famous works, including I, Claudius. The furniture, fittings and wall hangings are all original, and there’s a beautiful rambling garden filled with olive, carob and almond trees planted by Graves.
Location: Deià , in the north of the island
Opening times: Monday: 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm
Cost: £6* per person
2. The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma
Otherwise known as La Seu, this is one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in Europe. Legend has it that a storm hit as James I the Conqueror was sailing towards Mallorca. He vowed that if he landed safely he’d build a church on the island, and in 1230, the foundation stone was laid. Work continued for over 400 years and Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi even put his mark on it. It’s open to the public and highlights include a small museum and the Portal del Mirador, a fifteenth-century door by Guillem Sagrera which features scenes from the Last Supper
Location: Palma, the island’s capital
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am to 5.15pm. Mass is held on Sunday.
Cost: £3.30 per person
If you’re looking for wildlife-spotting locations in Mallorca, head to Cabrera, a tiny islet which is part of an archipelago with national park status. It’s especially famous for its lizards and birdlife, including ospreys and falcons. And if you’re wondering how to get to Cabrera? Simply hop on the regular boat tours which depart from Colonia de Sant Jordi and Porto Petro harbour.
Location: just off the southern coast of Mallorca
Opening times: the island is open all year round
Cost: Expect to pay around £30 for a boat tour of the island
4. S’Albufera Nature Reserve
S’Albufera Nature Reserve can be found near Port d’Alcúdia on the northeast coast of the island. It’s one of Mallorca’s best bird-spotting destinations – there are more than 200 species, including beautiful purple herons. You can’t drive within the reserve, but there’s a car park near the Anglesos Bridge. From there it’s just a short walk to the Sa Roca visitor centre, where you can hire bikes and pick up maps. Observation platforms make spotting the local wildlife easy, and there are plenty of secluded, hidden bays to explore. It’s also easily accessible, as it’s close to Playa del Muro, which is one of Mallorca’s best beaches and home to some of Mallorca’s top beachfront hotels.
Location: the north east of the island
Opening times: all year round
5. Alfàbia Gardens
Head to these beautiful gardens to admire the Islamic, Italian and English influences behind this spectacular chunk of Mallorca. The gardens date back to the thirteenth century, and are filled with orange trees, lemon trees, fountains and tropical plants. It’s also one of the island’s most fragrant places, thanks to an abundance of honeysuckle. One our favourite spots is the small bar, where you can enjoy a glass of homemade lemonade while breathing in the floral aromas.
Location: Bunyola, a village 14 kilometres from Palma
Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 6.30pm
Cost: £6.30 per person
6. Lluc Sanctuary
Considered the spiritual centre of Mallorca, the Lluc Sanctuary is a place of pilgrimage. When a carving of the Madonna (known as La Moreneta) was found here in the thirteenth century, a monastery was built, although it’s now a rustic hotel. But the figure is still on display in the seventeenth-century basilica, which is also the location for daily performances by local choirs. The Sanctuary is surrounded by beautiful botanical gardens and it’s a great base for hikes through the surrounding hills.
Location: Escorca in north-west Mallorca
Opening times: daily, from 9am to 4pm
This pretty village, to the north of Palma, is the heart of the island’s wine industry, and it’s where you’ll be find some of Mallorca’s best vineyards. Most of the wineries are open to the public, although during the summer months it’s advisable to call ahead. José L. Ferrer, Macià Batle, Vins Nadal and Son Prim are some of Mallorca’s most popular wineries and they can all be found here. They’re also great places to go to learn about Spanish wine. The top Mallorcan wines are Manto Negro and Callet red wines, and Moll white wine, and they're all produced here.
Location: The northern district of Raiguer
8. Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró
This popular museum celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017. Created as a tribute to legendary Spanish sculptor and painter Joan Miró, the museum contains over 200 of the artist’s paintings and 178 sculptures, along with textiles and ceramics. It’s a great time to visit, because the anniversary will be celebrated with an extensive range of talks, conferences and tours. A new book about the museum, Miro I la musica, will also go on sale.
Opening times: Tuesdays to Saturdays: 10am to 7pm, Sundays 10am to 3pm
9. Mercat 1930
When it comes to Mallorca's top new attractions, this one should definitely be on your radar. Mercat 1930 will be one of Mallorca’s best markets. From June, you'll find it in the beautiful city of Palma, in the cavernous basement of the Bahía Mediterráneo restaurant. There will be around 14 stands offering a wide range of local and international cuisine, and plenty of opportunities to sample some local wine or enjoy a delicious cocktail (or two), so it will be a great place for a pre-dinner drink.
10. Serra de Tramuntana hiking hut
We know what you’re thinking: what’s so exciting about a hut? But if you’re one of the many hikers who come to the island to walk Mallorca’s top walking trails, it’s a rather exciting development, because it means easier access to the spectacular landscape of the Serra de Tramuntana. Constructed inside an historic stable building, this brand new refuge is large enough to provide overnight accommodation for up to 50 people.
Location: Puig de Galatzó Mountain, Serra de Tramuntana
Opening times: year round
This pretty little town, in the east of the island, is filled with beautiful, independent boutiques and cafés. Head there on Tuesdays, when the market takes place, to mingle with the locals and pick up some souvenirs. For spectacular views over the island, hike up to the battlements of the Santuari de Sant Salvador. If you’ve got time, squeeze in a visit to Ses Païsses, on the outskirts of the town. It’s a Talaiotic settlement which was founded 3,000 years ago. There are some beautiful beaches here, and this area also has some of Mallorca’s best caves.
Location: the north-east coast of Mallorca
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*Published July 2017. Prices correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.