Things to do in: Mallorca

June 09, 2016
Marialaura Dolfi

Cushioned by the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca is a picturesque island that looks like the backdrop of every Dolce and Gabbana perfume ad. The largest of the Balearic Islands, this popular holiday destination immediately conjures up images of sun, sand, relaxation, and late summer nights spent on the beach with a drink in hand. Aside from the stereotypical experiences that resorts and the “island life” offer, Mallorca offers something beyond that — like opportunities to immerse yourself in nature or learn about the rich history of the islands and of Spain.

Fuel up at Moltabarra Bar de tapas Viatjoteca

If you’re looking for a cool, cosy bar to have some tapas, head to Moltabarra! This tapas bar, located in the Sa Gerreria neighbourhood, is the best tapas bar in the city. Every Tuesday night is proclaimed tapas night (and if you want to head there as part of a group, we’ve got food tours that stop there).

Everyone is hungry for tapas!

Aside from tapas, other favourites include pintxos (a small snack eaten in bars — usually in Northern Spain) and their famous super tortilla, called the tortillazo. Prices are affordable, the portions are big, and the food is fresh. With an inviting bohemian atmosphere, locals and visitors alike love to hit up this place.

Moltabarra’s tapas are the best on the island – and we can see why!

The bar is lined with vintage sofas, wooden barrels, mismatched chairs, and cardboard cut-outs of hot-air balloons, rabbits, and other dreamlike images. The waiters are extremely friendly, and they only serve you at the bar — not at the table! If you’re feeling particularly chatty or friendly, it’s a wonderful opportunity to make friends with the other patrons!

Address: Carrer del Pes de la Farina, 12, 07001 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain

Take a day trip to Alaró

When you’ve seen all the fun, touristy spots, it’s time to head out of town for a day trip to Alaró. A scenic and historical place outside of the tourist spots of Mallorca, the village of Alaró is easily accessible by public transport. Head to the castle and take a tour (entrance is free!), or if you have the time, spend the night there — breakfast is included! Prices are quite decent, around EUR 18 per person, but reserve your spot in advance to guarantee a booking!

This lovely village, at the base of the Sierra Tramuntana Mountains, was founded by the Arabs. Today, Alaró has a very authentic feel, as the only people who tend to visit are locals. This town comes alive at night, with several bars and restaurants around the main square filling up. (The number of bars in this tiny village is actually quite impressive.)

Take a walk through the mountains near Alaró Castle

The most interesting part of the village however, is Alaró Castle. During the Christian reconquest of the area, the surviving Arabs lived in Alaró Castle. This castle was the last place to be reconquered across all of the Balearic Islands by the Christians. While the castle is located at the top of the hill, I promise that the views are amazing and definitely worth the trek. Some of the pathways are surrounded by olive and almond trees, with panoramic views of the bay, the mountains, and the fields. The sights are absolutely inspiring.

Some technical info: The walk is 15 kilometres and takes approximately 5 hours. It starts and ends in the main square of Alaró in Plaça de la Vila. The castle is 822 metres above sea level. While it is a relatively easy path to climb, it is not wheelchair accessible, nor suitable for those with a medical condition or small children. 

How to get there: From Palma to Consell, take the T3 (Train 3), and from Consell to Alaró , take the bus line 320. Find more information on getting there on the public transportation website.

Spend a relaxing day at the beach

You probably came to Mallorca looking to relax on a beautiful beach, right? If so, head to Calò des Moro! Calò des Moro is a small beach, covered in white sand, with crystalline waters, and white cliffs. It’s located on the southern coast of Mallorca, close to the Es Llombards village. This beach is a paradise waiting to be discovered — you’ll be glad to know that very few tourists go there.

The privacy and beauty of this hidden gem is well worth the journey!

The colours of the sky and water are spectacular as you walk down the trail to the beach, nestled between high walls populated by pine trees, bushes, and rocks. If you’re looking for a good spot to take pictures, snap a few shots from the top of the trail!

Snorkelling is also a great option on this beach, as there are a few underwater caves that you can explore. If the sun is a little strong and you’re looking for some shade, there’s a little cave on the beach that’s a great spot to read and listen to the crashing waves.

How to get there: Calò des Moro is a one-hour drive from Palma de Mallorca. From Palma, you’ll pass through four villages: Llucmajor, Campos, Santanyì, and Cala Llombards. Once in Cala Llombards, the road is renamed “Era de Sa Roca.” Continue straight on this road until you turn right onto a dead-end street called “Cala Llombards.” At this point you can look for free parking. From here you’ll have to walk one kilometre to reach Caló d’es Moro. You’ll see a sign along the path that will direct you to a long staircase that leads to Cala s’Almunia. From this fishing area, the path will continue on to Caló des Moro.

Some other important things to note: avoid the beach when the wind is blowing from the south and from the southeast. The tiny, white beach disappears when the sea is wavy and wild! Also, if you’re looking for some alone time, avoid the beach on August weekends and in the middle of the day.

Address: 07690 San Antonio de Portmany, Balearic Islands

Take in the views at Castell de Bellver

Castell de Bellver is a Gothic-style castle that was built in the 14th century. Located atop a hill, three kilometres west of the centre of Palma de Mallorca, this castle is a rare example of circular castles that were built in Europe.

From the castle, you’ll have an amazing view of the city of Palma, and Palma Bay. There is also a lovely park around the castle where you can relax, have a picnic, let the kids play, and just take in the spectacular view! If you’re more adventurous, there are some paths in the woods where you can go on a walk. In the summer time, the grounds are often home to many night concerts. If you happen to be in town when a concert is scheduled, don’t miss out this experience, as the ambience is something out of a fairy tale.

If you’re an architecture enthusiast, don’t miss out on admiring the structure of the castle by taking a walk inside. For all the art history buffs out there, you’ll be glad to know that the castle often hosts many art exhibitions. On Sundays, entrance is free; during the week, entrance is approximately EUR 4 (discounts are available for students and those on retreats). Guided tours and audio guides are also available.

You can easily reach it from the centre of the town by bus, taxi, or car. By bus you can take the tourist bus number 50, which takes you right to the front of the Castle (stop at Castell de Bellver).

Otherwise, there are local buses like the number 3 and the number 20; however, from your bus stop you’ll have about a 20-minute walk to the castle. Opening hours and prices can be found here.

Treat yourself to some “you time” at the Basilica de Sant Francesc

Basilica de Sant Francesc (Saint Francisco Convent and Church), is a beautiful historical structure right in the centre of Palma de Mallorca that was built in the 13th century. It is made up of a basilica, a beautiful cloister, and several detached buildings, among them the private school of Saint Francesc.

The architecture alone is spectacular

When you first enter the structure you’ll be under the impression that you’ve travelled back in time. This is not only due to the gothic structure, beautiful architecture, or the famous art contained inside — the monks of Saint Francisco still live, work as teachers, and pray here. Juniper Serra studied here before colonising California, which is why his statue is in front of the church.

There is a beautiful picture next to the altar that you should look out for. It shows Palma de Mallorca during the medieval times. If you’ve hit up all the tourists spots you’ll probably recognise Castell de Bellver, the harbour, and the cathedral — the rest has changed since then.

Explore the grounds of this beautiful church

The patio is the part of this historical complex that brings the whole structure together by providing a source of light. I love taking walks around the patio to just think and take some me time out of my day. Damià, one of our Mallorca Urban Adventures guides, studied here, so he knows everybody very well, and sometimes we go there when we want to experience a little peace and quiet. This isn’t a massive a tourist spot, and the tourists that do visit are very respectful of the monks and try to maintain the silence. If you’re in the area I would definitely recommend visiting this church and convent as the place just exudes positive energy.

Other information: You don’t need to be a part of a private tour to enter inside. Adjacent to the church, on your right, is a school that is part of the convent complex. Go to the school and ask for a visit. Admission is around EUR 3. The keeper will be at the entrance and he will show you the cloister and the church. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9.30 am – 12.30 am / 3.10 pm – 6 pm. On Sundays and days of festivity hours are 9 am – 1.30 pm.

Address: Basilica de Sant Francesc, 07001 Palma, Islas Baleares, Spain.

Mallorca Tours | Urban Adventures

Picture it: amazing hidden patios along narrow streets, panoramic views out to the sea, gothic cathedrals and sailing traditions. Sound like paradise? Sounds like Palma de Mallorca! Get a taste of Roman, Arab, and Catalan influences in this Mediterranean destination, where you’ll be forgiven for wanting to stay forever.