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Updated August 2023

It surely felt like it would result in an alternative guide to Mallorca when we skipped Palma entirely. We skipped Palma mostly because we were after something particular. I’m sure it’s wonderful there — a bustling city with history, architecture, and culture. But what we were after were quiet hilltop villages, winding mountain roads, and calas with water so blue that we would be talking about it for years to come.

The Alternative Guide to Mallorca

It was a big debate — Mallorca or Menorca? Which of these iconic Balearic islands would we land on for a weekend away during our time in Barcelona. We pulled the trigger on Mallorca shortly after I read the stories of the town of Deiá and saw the photos of Caló des Moro. I’m a complete sucker for places that feel otherworldly and it didn’t take much to convince.

The Alternative Guide to Mallorca
Deiá

Though it’s an island, Mallorca feels far from it. In one breath it’s flat land with fincas sprinkled throughout. In the next, it’s plunging cliffs and high mountains etched with pine trees. In between? Rolling hills that remind me of Tuscany.

The second debate was where to stay on the island of Mallorca. It takes a good 1.5 hours to go across and we did one night on the east and the rest of our time in the west at the loveliest hotel in an area I could have spent a week in. In hindsight, I would have spent my entire time on the west and done just a day trip to the east. Take a peak at where we visited, what we ate, and where we stayed on this alternative guide to Mallorca.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Luxury Hotels in Mallorca:

  1. Belmond La Residenciafor the best luxury hotel
  2. Es Racó d’Artá, for the best design luxury hotel
  3. Castell Son Claret, for the best west-side luxury hotel
  4. Can Ferrereta, for the best east-side luxury hotel
  5. Sant Francesc Singularfor the best Palma luxury hotel

Travel Tip: Self-driving is the best way to explore Mallorca. We use Discover Cars for our rental cars in Europe, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt. Renting a car and driving in Mallorca is very straightforward. Book a rental car with Discover Cars here.

The Alternative Guide to Mallorca


Tips for Traveling to Mallorca

How to Get to Mallorca

It’s a quick and usually cheap flight from nearby major hubs like Barcelona. If you’re flying from the US, connecting in Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, or even Munich is a great option.

Getting Around on Mallorca

I highly recommend renting a car to visit Mallorca. It will give you so much freedom to explore the island in its fullest. The cars are really easy to grab at the airport, I recommend booking in advance as well.

We use Discover Cars for our rental cars in Europe, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt.

How Many Nights on Mallorca

I’d recommend a minimum of three nights. I could have easily done five nights to see the island in it’s fullest!


Where to Stay in Mallorca

Castell Son Claret (Es Capdellà)

Staying at Castell Son Claret in Mallorca

Set at the base of the UNESCO protected mountains of Tramuntana, Castell Son Claret is a vision to be seen. It’s certainly picturesque from far away but as you make the approach, you’ll see just why this 19th-century castle is a must stay when visiting Mallorca. Fitted with cozy rooms and beds that will make it hard to leave, it’s a comfortable place to call home. Downstairs is the highlighted restaurant, Zaranda — the only two star-Michelin restaurant on the Balearic Islands. Needless to say, you’ll know that every detail of your trip is in good hands here. Book the best rates here.

Belmond la Residencia (Deiá)

Travel Guide to Deiá, Mallorca

I had the great pleasure of experiencing the Belmond la Residencia in Deiá on my latest trip to Mallorca. This Mediterranean oasis truly set the scene for an unforgettable experience in Mallorca. It’s perched right on a breathtaking hillside that offers sea views and picturesque olive groves. When it came to traveling with our baby, Belmond la Residencia was an amazing option, and they even had an on-site babysitter that was able to watch her while we enjoyed a romantic date night. Book the best rates here.

Es Racó d’Artá (Artá)

The 12 Best Hotels in Mallorca

Es Racó d’Artá is a truly dreamy resort that is located right outside of Artà. If you’re looking for a hotel that promotes a sense of wellness and self-connection, this is the place for you. Guests are also able to totally personalize their experience upon arrival. From meditation classes to spa treatments to wellness workshops, there are plenty of meaningful ways to spend your time at Es Racó d’Artá. The infinity-edge pool looks out onto a green Mallorcan mountainside, and the simplicity of the rooms and decor really set the scene for a serene experience. Book the best rates here.

Can Ferrereta (Santanyì)

One of the best things about Can Ferrereta is the fact that it is located so close to some of the best beaches in Mallorca. This 17th-century home has been converted into an adults-only hotel with everything from a sleek swimming pool to a full spa and wellness center. Technically, teenagers over 14 years old can stay here, but younger children and toddlers are not permitted. Also, it is important to note that this hotel is seasonal, meaning it is only open from March to October. Book the best rates here.

More Mallorca Hotel Options

For a more in-depth Mallorca hotel guide, read The 12 Best Luxury Hotels in Mallorca.


What to Do and What to See in Mallorca

As far as what to do in Mallorca, the experiences are endless. You can go hiking in the mountains, cycle the roads (tons of tours for this!), visit the local sights, go sailing, and spend time exploring. There’s truly something for everyone so I’d recommend picking a few based on interest.

Since the experiences are such a wide range, I wanted to share the places we saw and wouldn’t miss in Mallorca…

West Side

  • Deiá: This was our favorite hilltop village to explore by foot. We walked to the top to see the historic church and were mesmerized by the views. Nearby at the ocean, there are a few restaurants for lunch which is incredible.
  • Valldemossa: It’s probably the most visited hilltop village in the area and for good reason. It’s known for the Chopin Museum and the winding streets you can get to spend an hour or two explorings.
  • Driving the Ma-10 from Estellencs to Deiá: One of the best parts of our trip was making this exciting and nerve-racking journey along the high cliffs of the west. The views are incredible and you pass through small towns and villages.
  • Port de Sóller: If you’re looking for a smaller port town, this is the place to come.

East Side

  • Calò des Moro: Probably the most photographed cala around, this one is incredible for the colors. Arrive early to beat the crowds as the beach is tiny.
  • Cala s’Almunia: Around the corner from the popular Calò des Moro, this little cove is a great place to go set up on the rocks for an afternoon of swimming.
  • Cala Llombards: This was our favorite for hanging out in the late afternoon. We jumped off the rocks and swam in the clear waters.
  • Torent de Cala Pi: Not too far from Palma, you could spend an hour or so exploring these incredible blue waters.
The Alternative Guide to Mallorca
Cala Santanyí

Where to Eat in Mallorca

As there are a ton of destinations within Mallorca, it’s hard to cover the best restaurants across the island. We ate out for all of our meals so here is where we landed on as we were exploring:

  • Restaurant Olivera at Castell Son Claret: We had a more upscale lunch on the terrace at our hotel when we arrived. The setting is magical and the food is incredible. I highly recommend coming in for lunch or dinner here even if you’re not staying at the hotel.
  • Mesón Ca’n Torrat in Calvià: This was the highlight meal of the time in the region. A traditional restaurant serving the best suckling pig I’ve had since babi guling in Bali. It was to die for. Get your own plate because you will not want to share. *Reserve or try your luck with the bar.
  • Ca’s Patro March in Deiá: For an idyllic lunch on the coast, this fish restaurant is a win. I’d opt for the catch of the day (whole fish) and a glass of rose.
  • Es Roquissar in Valldemossa: We came in for afternoon coffee and a snack, and the whole menu looked delicious. If we weren’t so tired, we would have hung around for dinner here.
  • East26 in Santayni: Our first meal was lunch here and this space is stunning. They have salads, oven-fresh pizzas, and a range of other dishes for healthy options.
  • Restaurant Es Moli in Santayni: Our one dinner out on the east side of the island was here. It gets 10/10 for ambiance as the space is set in a beautiful garden (call in advance to reserve). The food was more like a 6 or 7 / 10, with classic dishes from Mallorca.

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The Alternative Guide to Mallorca

The Alternative Guide to Mallorca

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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