So, do you have a day off in Palma that you’re unsure what to do with? You LUCKY thing. Let us help.
Here are some great things to do and see in Majorca for fun daytime activities. We’ll save the food, drink, and nightlife for another article.
Best Places to Swim: Sa Colabra, the Delta, Cala Pi, Platja des Coll Baix.
Forget long, open stretches of beach. The swimming spots that will really stick in your mind on Majorca are the dramatic ones hemmed in by giant cliffs or beautiful coves reached only by tender or goat paths. There’s something so very Mediterranean about bathing off the rocks — so don’t discount the rocky coves when looking for your day-off swimming spot.
The mightiest of all these swimming spots is Sa Calobra, a small cove dwarfed by cliffs that almost touch at the top to create a sense of standing in a rock cathedral, opening up to a stunning turquoise cove. Sa Colabra is remote and located at the end of a long, shadowy canyon where the Tramuntana mountains drop into the sea. You can take the ferry, but the drive along the steep ‘Snake Road’ to the beach is part of the adventure itself, and you can have lunch in the village of Sa Calobran. You’ll want to make a day trip to this place!
For an option close to the boat, jump in the tender and head around to the Delta, an area of flooded quarries which have created some stunning coves. Another top rocky spot is Cala Pi & Cala Beltrán, while Platja des Coll Baix near Alcudia is remote perfection — you can only reach it by boat or on foot, and if you’re walking, you’ll have to scramble over boulders along the way. Also, you might have goats as company on the beach.
For A Traditional Lunch with a Jaw-Dropping View: Where else but the Lamb Restaurant?
There are certain iconic places that you almost have to have gone to ‘earn your stripes’ as a yachtie. The Lamb Restaurant, perched halfway up a mountain on the way to the castle up at Alaró, is iconic. Rustic, delicious. Not terribly vegetarian-friendly. Still worth going, though, just for the experience and that view.
Don’t expect fancy —this is absolutely not what this place is about. The inside is very rustic, while the outside tables with the mountain view have plastic chairs. You won’t much care, though, as you tuck into their legendary slow-roasted lamb shoulder or their excellent suckling pig or goat. You can drive up there, but the road is gut-stinkingly narrow, rough, and, let’s face it, scary. (Definitely don’t take the boss’ car.) You can also walk from the village of Alara, which takes about 90mins. However, you get there, go early on the weekend, or the lamb will have sold out.
For Golfing under the Spanish Sun: Golf Son Gaul, Club de Golf Alcanada
By golly, the golfing in Majorca is good, with two stellar options for your game. Coming in as one of Europe’s top golf 100 golf courses, Golf Son Gaul is set on a grand estate in the Majorcan countryside, in a bucolic landscape of olive groves and vineyards. This vast, link-style course offers an exceedingly pleasant place to play a round of golf, with a legendarily tricky 18th hole. Want somewhere even more visually spectacular? (In Majorca, there’s always somewhere more spectacular). Head to Club de Golf Alcanada, set on the bay of Alcudia. Expect strong sea breezes, fantastic sea views and a great course across the valleys. Finish the day with a cold beer at the club terrace overlooking the lighthouse.
For Shopping: Palma’s Old Town
Oh, you have a treat in store. Majorca offers some really great shopping, with the lion’s share of it in and around the rabbit-warren streets of the Old Town. Visit Passeig des Born & Avinguda Jaume III for high-street brands, and Avinguda Jaume III for brands like Cortefiel, Mango, Loewe, Rituals and Kiko — as well as the good ol’ El Cort Ingles department store. Hear your footsteps on the cobblestones as you explore the laneways around Placa Cort for lovely boutiques and art galleries, or walk back into history by visiting the traditional shopfronts along Carrer Colón. Santa Catalina offers many lifestyle stores, and shoe shops abound along the Placa Major, where you’ll also find an alfresco craft market. Placa d’Espagya provides all the big department stores and Spanish brands like Zara and Massimo Dutti. There’s also a great covered food market here. As any good yachtie knows, there’s also some excellent designer shopping in boutiques around the marinas, whether at Puerto Portals, Port d’Andratx, or Port Adriano.
For History and Architecture Buffs: Palma and Beyond
If you’re based in Palma, you’re already right in the middle of history. The Santa Maria Cathedral ‘La Seu’ dominates the old town, standing guard over the Bay of Palma. This spectacular gothic building was begun in 1229 and finished in 1601, which is admittedly quite a long time in production, but the results are stunning. Other places worth a visit are the Almudaina Royal Palace, an old Moorish fortress, one of the official residences of the King and Queen of Spain. Just outside Palma, we recommend visiting the wonderful Castell Bellver, a perfectly round citadel with a stunning internal courtyard, which sits high above the Bay of Palma. Other notable historical attractions include walking the parapets on the Alcudia city walls and the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pollentia.
For Inland Adventures Among the Citrus and Olive Groves: Soller
Take the narrow gauge train up into the hills from Palma to Soller before exploring this beautiful valley town famous for its citrus and olive groves. Then jump on the tram for the short trip down through the citrus groves to Soller Port. It’s a lovely day out in the Spanish sunshine.
For Artist Colonies and Hollywood Glamour: Deia Before You Die
Majorca is a prominent place and very beautiful across different terrains. But if you want to experience the most breathtaking scenery, you’ll want to head to the Tramuntana Mountain range, a jagged, soaring mountain range that drops almost vertically down to the sea. This range is UNESCO listed for its natural and cultural significance. It is dotted with pirate lookout towers, vineyards on steep terraces, and devilishly pretty stone villages perched high above the sea.
Of all these, the most unmissable is Deia, a town which became the darling of artists and writers before a cavalcade of Hollywood stars made it their home. After having your fill of artist galleries and steep streets wreathed in bougainvillaea, you can head back to sea level to lunch and swim in the tiny cove of Cala Deia. If you’re there in the afternoon, you’ll definitely want to hang around for the sunset across Sa Foredada rock—considered one of the most incredible sunsets in Europe. A day in Deia is an outing you’ll remember until you die.
For Lush Gardens and Fine Estates: Les Jardines de Alfabia & Son Marroig
You can discover a lush Moorish oasis at the foot of the Serra del Tramuntana: the Jardines de Alfabia. These stunning historic gardens are set on the estate of a 15th-century manor house and are a playground of water features and beautiful vine-covered pergolas above terraces of orange groves. For a fine estate with gobsmacking views, wander the gardens of Son Marroig, a country estate perched on the vertiginous Tramuntara coast at Valdemossa.
For Hiking: Take the High Road on the Dry Stone Route.
There are so many great walking trails in Majorca. One of the most famous is the HR221, an ancient 90-mile trail of stepping stones that links the mountain villages. You probably don’t have eight days to do the whole route, but dipping in and out is a fun way to see the island. (Soller to Fornalutx is an excellent section of the route.) There are also hiker hostels along the way if you do want to hike multiple days.
For Adventure: Caves and Treetops
Go underground at Drach Caves, which extend for more than 2 kilometres and feature one of the largest underground lakes in the world. Alternatively, get into the trees at Jungle Parc Mallorca, with ziplining and a high rope course. (Yes, each one we write of these includes a zip-lining experience. Why? Because high ropes courses are fun and seem to be one of those activities that yacht crew do wherever they go.)
That’s it for now. We have barely scratched the surface of what there is to do in Majorca, so stay tuned for an article about restaurants, bars, and clubs to really turn up the heat on your Palma adventure.