What to do in Mallorca: Our highlights + sightseeing map
Mallorca is only partying and mass tourism? Think again! Apart from the party beaches, Mallorca has so much more to offer: traditional fishing towns, picturesque coastal roads and hidden natural wonders. In this article, our Mallorca expert Ina will tell you what to do and see in Mallorca.
I was 17 years old when I went to Mallorca for the first time. In the summer of 2000, in Cala Ratjada. Party holiday. At the time, I unfortunately wasn’t really interested in the really beautiful sides of the island yet.
But today I know: the German loved vacation island has so much more to offer than party spots, giant touristy hotels and the like.
Mallorca – it’s sun, mountains, sea, culture and cuisine, and a capital city that no longer has to hide behind other European metropolises.
Right in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Mallorca brings together so many attractions that you won’t even know where to start: which beach is the nicest, which cove the most secret, which town has the greatest charm?
So that you can get a good overview of the island, I’ll introduce to you here the 22 best sights and highlights of Mallorca.
General tips on sightseeing in Mallorca
Before I jump in, I have a few general tips for visiting the highlights in Mallorca.
#1 Book a rental car
Discovering Mallorca is definitely best done with a rental car. In particular, you’ll reach the small fishing villages and the secluded beaches most comfortably by car.
At the airport of Palma, but also inside the city, there are multiple rental car providers. To book a rental car you’ll simply need a valid driver’s license, an ID and a credit card.
My tips for booking a rental car:
Don’t wait too long to book. As soon as you have a flight to Mallorca, it’s worth booking the rental car right away. They’re particularly popular in Mallorca and so the shorter in advance you book, the more expensive the rental price.
It’s best to get a small car because I can guarantee that it’s no fun maneuvering the narrow alleys and streets of the island with a huge limousine.
#2 Travel in the off-peak season
It’s universally known that Mallorca is very crowded in the summer. From June to the end of August, the beaches, hotels, restaurants, vista points and sights are packed.
If you’d like to do yourself, and also the island, a favor, then it’s better to visit Mallorca in the off-peak season. It’s often really nice in April/May, as well as in September/October, but the winter months also have their charm.
#3 Book a guided tour
If you don’t have any desire to drive, you can still discover the island with a guided tour. There are numerous day tours from Palma that take you by bus, car or train to the nicest spots on the island. These are the most interesting:
And now enough with the preparation! Here are my 22 most beautiful sights on Mallorca.
What to do in Mallorca – Sightseeing map
So that you can get a first overview of Mallorca and can see where the sights are located on the island, I’ve plotted out all the sights on a map.
You can also save the map to your computer or phone:
#1 The Old Town of Palma
In recent years, the capital of Mallorca has developed into an equally high quality and trendy year-round destination. Barcelona’s little sister, as it’s so often called, is all grown up.
In Palma, you’ll meet creative and culture loving people from all generations and nations. There are new design hotels, modern restaurant concepts and diverse shopping opportunities.
The Old Town itself is full of sights: winding alleyways, an imposing cathedral, the Royal Palace and the palm-lined harbor promenade are ideal for a city stroll full of culture.
In addition, Palma has excellent flight connections and can be easily reached from all German airports.
This is one of my favorite places in Mallorca: Portocolom. You just have to like this small port town on the east coast. Nearly no other place in Mallorca has preserved the original charm of the traditional fishing village as well as Portocolom.
To this day, many residents of Portocolom go out to sea early in the morning to throw out their nets. It’s tranquil and wonderfully calm here. Not a hint of mass tourism.
You can either relax on a small beach, book a boat ride with a typical Mallorcan Llaut, or you can treat yourself to something delicious in the many small restaurants and bars directly on the harbor.
My tip: come to Portocolom really early in the morning, rent a stand up paddle board and paddle along the cove towards the North.
#3 Sant Elm
Only a handful of hotels, a few restaurants and a miniature harbor: it’s almost a miracle that there’s still a town as tranquil as Sant Elm on Mallorca’s coast.
The small, almost sleepy hollow in the far west of the island has remained a quiet village across the years that’s particularly popular among the locals.
The village is not the only true haven of peace though, the beach is also dream-like and isn’t as overcrowded as many others in the area.
My tip for the active: from Sant Elm, you can take a wonderful hike to the old Trappist monastery La Trapa. For the well signposted hike, you’ll need around 3.5 hours and should bring some stamina along.
My tip for the less active: Sant Elm is a perfect point of departure for a trip to La Dragonera, an island off the coast. The boat ride alone is a tiny highlight.
#4 Fishing village Cala Figuera
The fishing village of Cala Figuera on the south of the east coast near Santanyi is considered one of the most beautiful coastal towns of the island. And I can only agree with that. When I get a visitor, we always go here.
Cala Figuera, with its deeply cut bay, is not only super photogenic, this spot also exudes its own special charm. Stroll along the cute harbor, past the pretty white houses and the small boats and watch the goings-on.
My tip: as beautiful as this place is, you can’t spend a lot of time in Cala Figuera. So it’s best to come here during the afternoon! Then you can watch how the fishing boats come back into the harbor and in the evening you can try the freshly caught fish in one of the restaurants with a view of the small bay.
Sóller, the center of orange production and the capital of Tramuntana, is located in the northwest of Mallorca and has more than 10,000 residents. So quite large for Mallorcan standards.
The cute city with its old, tiled mansions, narrow alleyways and lively square in front of the parish church Sant Bartomeu is definitely worth a trip.
Orange groves reach into the old town, where a nostalgic streetcar made of wood connects the city of Sóller with the Port de Sóller, and exude a wonderful fragrance with their flowers.
My tip: drink a fresh pressed orange juice from the fruits of the surrounding fields in one of the many bars and restaurants. Or try fresh orange ice cream from the Fabrica de Gelats.
Valldemossa is one of the most beautiful mountain villages of the island. It became famous for its prominent guests, such as the French writer George Sand and composer Frédéric Chopin, as well as for the former Carthusian monastery. You can see the monastery’s green roof from a distance.
Valldemossa, with its almost 2,000 inhabitants, is not just one of the most beautiful towns on the northwest coast, but also by far the most visited. Up to a half-million tourists crowd through the narrow alleys here every year. You heard it right: crowd — in the truest sense of the word.
So if you’re smart, come here in the off-season. Because one thing is certain: huge crowds make even the most beautiful villages no fun.
My tip: take a little detour and drive down the switchbacks shortly before Valldemossa to Port de Valldemossa. Here, you can admire the gorgeous mountain silhouettes while swimming in the crystal clear water of the small beach.
If your hotel is in the north or east of Mallorca, you can also book a guided day tour to Valldemossa and Palma. You’ll be picked up at your hotel and driven and guided around both places with a tour bus and a German guide.
Away from the tourist strongholds, the island comes to rest. The idyllic mountain village Deià, which everyone always raves about, is just such a place.
Surrounded by olive, lemon and almond trees, there’s no trace of huge hotels at the foot of the Es Teix Mountain. Quite the contrary: small, exclusive boutique hotels attract Mallorca vacationers to the small town of 800 inhabitants year after year.
The galleries of the artist village are a must for all art enthusiasts. In spite of all the hype, Deià has luckily maintained its charm to this day. It’s best to come and see it for yourself.
My tip: Be sure to drive from Valldemossa to Deià. The winding route is together one of the most beautiful and most interesting.
#8 Cuevas de Artà
Mallorca conceals a geological treasure underground: fantastic cave formations that were discovered by chance and only a few of which have been made accessible to visitors.
The Cuevas de Artà, for example. These caves, situated some 40 meters high above the coast, are among the major attractions of the island, though they aren’t as heavily visited as the caves at Porto Cristo.
The Cuevas de Artà include stalactites with strange shapes and extraordinary proportions, such as the “Reina de las Columnas,” which is truly a “Queen of the Columns” with a height of over 20 meters.
The caves in Porto Cristo are indeed also really worth seeing, but the ones in Artà are a little less crowded during the summer high season.
#9 Dragon Caves in Porto Cristo
Near the port town of Porto Cristo, in the east of Mallorca, are the largest and probably best known caves of the island: the Cuevas del Drach, or the Dragon Caves. At 1,200 meters long and 25 meters deep, they’re Mallorca’s largest accessible stalactite caves.
A little history: at the end of the 19th century, Archduke Ludwig Salvator von Habsburg commissioned the then famous cave explorer Martel to explore these caves. He discovered the huge underground lake that bears his name today.
Lake Martel is 117 meters long, 30 meters wide and up to 14 meters deep. During visits to the caves, it serves as a backdrop for classical music concerts where musicians play their instruments on illuminated boats.
My tip: you should go either really early or really late. It’s not so crowded then and you’ll still get a parking space. Even better: you park in the center of Porto Cristo, explore this nice little place, which usually gets little attention, and then walk around fifteen minutes to the caves.
Alternatively, you can also visit the caves in combination with a half-day tour through the north of Mallorca. During the tour, you’ll also visit a pearl factory.
#10 Cap de Formentor
Jagged rocks, wide views and blue sea. The best known and most visited lookout point of Mallorca is without a doubt Mirador Es Colomer at Cap de Formentor. This lookout point is on a narrow promontory that extends far into the sea in the northeast of the island.
It’s actually so well visited that the island council blocked access for general car traffic to the northernmost tip of Mallorca in the summer months from the middle of June to the middle of September from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
But don’t worry: if you’d like to go to Cap de Formentor during the day, you can visit it with shuttle busses from Port de Pollença (round trip costs around 3 euros).
Even though this lookout point is no longer an insider tip, you should definitely drive the coastal route with its many switchbacks up to the lighthouse.
In good weather, the view even extends to Menorca, the neighboring island 40 kilometers away, and is really breathtaking.
My tip: pack your swimsuit, the long white sandy beach Playa de Formentor is practically on the way.
You can also book a boat tour from Alcudia to Cap de Formentor. On the tour, you’ll sail on a boat with underwater windows along the rugged coast and stop for a swim at the beach of Cala Figuera.
#11 Cúber Reservoir
Sometimes it seems like you’re in Patagonia, and then hints of Alpine landscapes or Scandinavian fjords will also come to mind.
Whoever takes this path feels as if they were on a trip around the world through the most beautiful natural landscapes: in the middle of the Tramuntana Mountains below the Puig Major, the highest mountain on the island, lies the Cúber Reservoir, which first and foremost serves as the drinking water supply for the municipality of Palma.
This spot is a perfect retreat for anyone who’d like to experience Mallorca’s nature and enjoy absolute stillness. A small path leads around the lake.
Animal lovers will also get their money’s worth here: sheep and donkeys like to accompany walkers part of the way.
#12 Serra de Tramuntana
The northwest of the island, from Calvia to Pollenca, is all about the wild Tramuntana Mountains.
The Serra de Tramuntana, as it’s officially called, is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2011 and protects Mallorca from the cold north winds.
The mountain range is also an oasis for hikers: rugged rocky landscapes and breathtaking views as well as small hidden coves are the rewards for all sporty vacationers.
If you prefer it more relaxed, just take the panoramic road MA-10 from Andratx to Pollenca. It runs right through the northwest, past small mountain villages such as Banyalbufar, Fornalutx and Deià, as well as along Cúber Reservoir and the orange town of Sóller.
From Palma, you can book a guided hiking tour with a picnic through the Serra de Tramuntana.
There are spikes as far as the eye can see here! In the very south of the island, on the edge of the tiny town of Ses Salines, you can find the largest botanical garden of Europe.
You might ask yourself: why also go to a botanical garden when there’s already one cactus after the next on Mallorca? That’s true, but at the Botanicactus, the diverse cacti and succulents green and bloom across more than 150,000 square meters. In total, you can marvel at over 1,600 plant species here from across the world. And it’s guaranteed that you won’t be able to see these otherwise on the island.
Particularly nice for everyone who arrives in the low season: the garden is open all year round.
Another plus for anyone on the search for beautiful photos: Botanicactus is the perfect place for great Instagram photos.
#14 Lluc Monastery
For Mallorcans, the Lluc Monastery (actually Monestir de Lluc), which is secluded in the Serra de Tramuntana, is the most important place of pilgrimage on the island.
Three old, still well used pilgrim paths lead here in a star formation: from Sóller, from Inca and from Pollenca. Even today, the monastery is still referred to as the spiritual center of Mallorca or the heart of the island.
The high point of a visit is the basilica with the Black Madonna, or as the Mallorcans say: La Moreneta. But you also shouldn’t miss the small monastery museum, the calvary and the botanical garden, home to around 200 native plant species.
If you’re lucky and are at the monastery at the right time, you can experience the famous boys’ choir “Blauets de Lluc,” which today also includes girls, live in concert.
My tip: spend a night in the monastery rooms of Lluc. Comfortable, absolutely reasonable in price and most definitely a special Mallorca experience.
#15 Son Marroig/Sa Foradada
The best: from Son Marroig, the former residence of the Archduke Ludwig Salvator and today a popular wedding location, you have a magnificent view over the mountains and the sea. The perfect sunset spot.
The restaurant “Sa Foradada” is close by, named for the cliff with the hole opposite. Here, you can look over the chef’s shoulder. A very special dish is on the menu: traditional Mallorcan Paella. Rumor has it that it’s the best on the whole island.
There’s only one little catch: the restaurant is only reachable by foot or boat. The path begins at the Son Marroig estate. You have to first climb over a small iron gate and then walk along the path around 50 minutes to the sea. The journey is worth it!
The “Sa Foradada” is also popular among stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Halle Berry and the Mallorcan tennis ace Rafael Nadal are said to have all dined here.
#16 Monastery Santuari de Sant Salvador near Felanitx
The former monastery Santuari de Sant Salvador majestically sits atop the approximately 500 meter high mountain of the same name and is my absolute favorite lookout point in Mallorca.
After heading right shortly after the city limits of the small town of Felanitx and continuing down the road for around 7 kilometers, you’ll reach the plateau of the monastery mountain with a view of the gigantic monument Crist Rei.
From here, you can let your gaze wander across almost all of Mallorca: the east coast with its small harbor villages as well as the many small coves, as far as Alcudia in the north of the sunny island, the Tramuntana Mountains and in clear conditions, even the group of islands around Cabrera.
My tip: pack some bread, tomatoes, salami, cheese, beer and wine and enjoy the sunset from the monastery. If you’d like, you can also stay overnight. The Petit Hotel Hostatgeria Sant Salvador is located in the monastery, with 20 double rooms and two apartments.
#17 Es Trenc beach
This approximately 2.6 kilometer long natural beach has long been no secret, but for me it’s still one of the most beautiful beaches of the island.
Even though I’m more of a fan of the many coves/Calas, especially when high season takes over Mallorca, I also really like going to spacious beaches.
Thanks to its Caribbean flair, Es Trenc is the best known beach in Mallorca, which of course has its disadvantages: it’s usually jam-packed here, especially in the high season.
It’s quite different in the low season: from October to April, the long and then often deserted sandy beach beckons you to take long walks.
My tip: park on the less busy side of the beach, at the harbor of Sa Rapita. You can usually still get a good space here even in the high season and you won’t feel so much like you’re packed in like sardines.
#18 Playa de Formentor beach
Total Caribbean flair: the fragrance of pine in your nose, the fine white sand between your toes and the crystal clear sea is only a few steps away. It’s said that the Playa de Fermentor is one of the most beautiful beaches of the whole Mediterranean. And that may be a good thing.
It’s about a kilometer long, but at around 10 meters wide it’s quite narrow, so there aren’t too many places to lounge. The spots below the pine trees are especially popular during the summer. The same applies here as to many other beaches: getting there early is worth it!
With a parking fee of 9 euros, it’s certainly not a beach for every day. You can combine a visit here perfectly with an excursion to Cap de Formentor. It’s located halfway from Pollenca.
#19 Playa de Muro beach
The approximately 5 kilometer long beach Playa de Muro is located on a forested dune area in the north of Mallorca and stretches from the popular vacation resort Port d’Alcudia to Can Picafort.
Since the beach here runs far and flat into the sea, it’s particularly popular among families with small kids. Warning to everyone without kids: it can get very noisy at times. Just before Can
Picafort it gets a little quieter though.
My tip: even though I’m not a huge beach club fan and prefer small beach shacks, the beach club “Ponderosa Beach” is really great. Enjoy delicious food with your toes in the sand. How wonderful! A little drawback: you have to dig deeper into your pockets. But a cheaper alternative isn’t far: there are tasty snacks right next door at “Oma & Opa.”
#20 Cala Varques cove
Until even a few years ago, Cala Varques (pronounced Cala Barques) was a total insider tip. Only a few tourists knew about this great “Cow Cove,” which owes its name to the four-legged visitors that show up on the beach every now and then.
Today it’s unfortunately no longer a secret, but it’s still great. The cove is a paradise for sailors, climbers and nature enthusiasts.
I myself only come here early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when most tourists disappear into their hotels and the beach is slowly taken over by the local “hippies.”
Small drawback: since 2018, you unfortunately can no longer drive right to the beach, and instead have to park at a parking lot and then walk around 30 minutes to the cove.
My tip: from Cala Romantica there’s a great hike to Cala Varques. It takes around twice as long as the journey from the parking lot, but is all the more beautiful for that.
You can also book a guided hiking tour to Cala Varques. You’ll be picked up by bus from your hotel and driven to Porto Cristo, where the guided tour through the woods to the cove starts.
#21 Sa Calobra cove
You can only get to the cove of Sa Calobra by boat from Port de Sóller or via a 14 kilometer long and narrow road with a lot of switchbacks. Especially during the summer there’s quite a lot of traffic, and you have to continually make room for busses and cyclists.
I would rather come here in the low season. Not only because the roads are much emptier then, but also because the cove itself is much more enjoyable. In the summer, it’s almost impossible to get a good spot there.
Even if that all doesn’t sound too positive, the place is amazingly beautiful and swimming between the steep cliffs is really an experience. The somewhat difficult journey is definitely worth it.
#22 Red Lightning: historical train from Palma to Sóller
It’s one of the hallmarks of Mallorca: the train from Palma to Sóller, also called the Red Lightning or the Orange Express. Since 1912, it runs daily from the train station at Placa de Espana in Palma to Sóller in the northwest of the island.
Anyone expecting a train behind this fast-paced name that rushes along the 28 kilometer route through the Serra Tramuntana at high speed would be mistaken. The nostalgic train takes its time and only arrives in Sóller after almost an hour ride through almond, orange and olive groves, dark tunnels and deep ravines.
The fun isn’t so cheap at 32 euros for a round trip. But it’s definitely worth it. Very important: don’t forget your camera, the train even runs a little slower in some places.
My tip: from Sóller, continue by street tram to Port de Sóller. If you’re already in the area, you should definitely see the little port town.
You can also kill two birds with one stone and visit all the great mountain villages in the area in one day. You can do this with a guided day tour with the Red Lightning from Palma. Besides Sóller and Port de Sóller, you’ll also visit Valldemossa and Deía.
Those were my 22 most beautiful sights in Mallorca! Do you know them already or can you recommend some more? Then we look forward to your comments!
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