Majorca has been offering sun, sand and sea package holidays for over 60 years, but did you know that the island also offers adventure activities, superb architecture, diverse watersports and a colourful culture. 10 million annual visitors can’t be wrong: it’s time to rediscover Majorca, aka Mallorca.
Hike the Serra de Tramuntana Mountain Range
Running along the entire northwest coast of the Balearic Island of Majorca, is the rugged Serra de Tramuntana region. The area is the most natural and unspoilt on the island and is populated with deep pine forests and rich olive groves. The steep limestone cliffs and deep valleys are dotted with traditional Spanish fincas (farmhouses). The 50km coastline is rugged and steep and perfect for a challenging hike or climb. Start your hike in Lluc, Soller and Pollenca and consider hiring a local guide as the limestone mountains can be difficult to navigate. Or hire a bike and consider camping out under the stars.
Explore the culture of Palma de Mallorca
The capital city of Majorca, Palma, is home to half the islands population. And it’s here that you’ll find the best concentration of historical and cultural sights. Fourteenth century Bellver Castle, aka Castell de Bellver, features an interesting museum with classical sculptures and archaeological artefacts. This traditional castle has a moat, three towers and an inner courtyard. Explore the massive Catalan Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, aka Le Seu which was started in 1221. And visit the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, which is an art museum dedicated to the late Joan Miro (1893-1983). The Catalan artist lived on Majorca for 27 years and his museum of bursting with his paintings, drawing and sculptures. Wander the historic center with its maze of tiny alleyways and private courtyards. Take in the Arab Baths, museum of contemporary arts and the very real Bull Ring where bullfighting still takes place.
Ride the Soller Railway
Combine a trip to the town of Soller with a nostalgic railway trip aboard the Tren de Soller. Heading out of Palma’s Plaza de Espana, this sure beats walking or biking the route instead! The train coaches are wooden and feature sash windows. It’s like something out of a Swiss chocolate advert from days gone by – watch the video below for a taster.
Soak up the nightlife at the Paseo Maritimo
Nightlife and the Balearic Islands are a classic combination and Majorca has its fair share of bars, clubs and restaurants. Head Oceanside to the lively Paseo Maritimo in Palma de Mallorca. This is the port area, where amongst the yachts you’ll find the all-night bars and nightclubs, where it’s said that Frank Sinatra used to party. The clubs don’t get going until late and carry on until sunrise.
Discover a different side to Alcudia
On the north side of Majorca is Alcudia: home to the ubiquitous Majorca package holiday. Yet this town also offers so much more than ‘just’ sun, sand and sea. Explore the S’Albufera Natural Wetlands Park which provides an important habit to some 270 different bird species. The park has a 12km walking trail which provided ample opportunity for bird sporting. Alcudia was surrounded by 13th century walls which parts of can still be walked and there are Roman ruins too. Pack your walking shoes for a pleasant amble along the Ermita de la Victoria trail or try the quieter Talaia d’Alcudia track which takes you to the beach.
Spend 24 Hours in Pollença
Spend Saturday night sampling some excellent fresh fish in the charming little city of Pollenca on Majorca’s northeast coast. Then head out to the Formenter Peninsula to either watch the sun set or watch the impressive sunrise. Then on Sunday morning, head to the Pollença Sunday market in the main square which sells locally made produce and souvenirs. Then climb up to the hermit Monastery atop Puig de Pollença, which dates back to 1348. There is also a superb walk to Cami Vell del Far which is the old lighthouse track.
Majorca’s second city, Manacor lies in the east of the island and is well known for its (artificial) pearl factories and abundance of furniture shops. Manacor is largely off the main tourist trail so offers a more authentic and laidback experience. Top sights include the 19th century Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the artisan market at Sa Bassa each Saturday morning and the Enagistes Tower which houses the Manacor History Museum.
By Julie Bowman