What to do in a week on Spain’s largest island
- Days 1 to 3: City of Palma
Mallorca (Majorca), one of Spain’s beautiful Balearic Islands, is a quintessential getaway filled with secluded beaches, charming hill towns, ancient castles, idyllic vineyards and chic cliffside hotels. If you’ve been dreaming of visiting this Spanish island, United Airlines’ direct seasonal service between New York/Newark (EWR) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) is about to make your dreams come true. By eliminating a stopover in Madrid, you can start your Mallorca holiday earlier and arrive refreshed. Mallorca has a lot to offer, and the more time you spend on the island, the more memories you create.
Whether visitors seek luxury resorts in Palma or beach towns, or seek off-the-beaten-track experiences, like listening to live classical music deep in the Caves of Drach, this Mediterranean island has it all. . As Majorca’s main activities are spread across its different regions, it is best to hire a car for the duration of your stay. The island experiences its high season from June to August; however, a visit during the shoulder season, either May or September, offers pleasant weather with fewer tourists.
Read on to find out how you can have a magical week in Mallorca.
Days 1 to 3: City of Palma
Start your Mallorca vacation with a stay in the island’s capital, Palma, either at a boutique hotel like Sant Jaume in the old town or at an upmarket luxury waterfront property like the St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort. After settling in, set off on a sightseeing stroll through the picturesque old town, which includes the Gothic La Lonja maritime trading exchange, La Seo Cathedral, and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina.
La Seo Cathedral and Bellver Castle are some of Palma’s most popular attractions. The 14th-century Gothic-style cathedral is undoubtedly the most iconic building in Mallorca’s capital and one of the tallest cathedrals in Europe, with its central nave rising 144 feet. Marvel at its golden sandstone walls and vibrant stained-glass rose windows, while learning about Art Nouveau alterations made by famed architect Antoni Gaudí. Be sure to sign up for a tour of the terraces, an unforgettable experience to see the stained glass windows up close and be impressed by the panoramic views of the city.
No trip to Spain is complete without visiting a medieval castle. A short drive from the old town will bring you to the 13th century Castillo de Bellver. Perched on top of a hill, the fortress is one of the few circular castles in Europe. Stroll through its Romanesque and Gothic arcades, history museum, and take in views of the city below.
End your time in Palma with a hands-on culinary experience as you prepare a traditional Mallorcan meal at the Sa Llotgeta bakery during a gastronomic workshop with Deborah. The workshop begins with a one-hour trip to Mercado del Olivar – the city’s largest market – to meet vendors and bring back local produce and ingredients for the meal. Back at the workshop, for the next three hours, create a full seasonal menu, including an appetizer, starter, main course (probably a paella), dessert, and taste the fruit of your labor with local wine.
Day 4 and 5: West Coast
The natural beauty of Mallorca’s west coast attracts the towering mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana and the jagged cliffs that plunge into the sea. Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa, a luxury beachfront property that sits right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean.
A short drive from the hotel brings visitors to the UNESCO-listed Alfabia Gardens. The site is home to the residence of a 12th-century Moorish vizier surrounded by delightful gardens, ranging from English landscapes and tropical palm trees to lemon and orange orchards, set right in the heart of the Tramuntana mountain range. Alfabia Gardens is open for weddings and events for those looking for fairy tale inspired celebrations. You can relax in the gardens and stroll around the historic house and former stables.
The property is open from April to October, from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Mallorca is known for its charming mountain towns, and the most welcoming of these is Sóller, located in the Valley of Oranges, surrounded by the Tramuntana mountains. This picturesque town can be reached by a Ferrocarril de Sóller intercity train ride on a century-old vintage wooden train from Palma on a one-hour scenic journey through the mountains.
Sóller’s main square, Plaza de La Constitución, bustles with activity, with people snapping photos of the iconic Sant Bartomeu church and the mystical plane trees surrounding the waterfall in the center of the square. Another popular tourist attraction is the old-fashioned tramway linking the city to the port, which takes cyclists through orange groves and fragrant gardens. Those wishing to stroll through the town are treated to rows of shops selling local artwork, cheese, jewelry (including Manacor’s famous pearls), and souvenirs. At the end of March, Sóller celebrates its coveted fruit with the Orange Festival, featuring local music, food and recipes made with oranges.
Weather permitting, head to the other towns of the Orange Valley – Valldemossa and Deià – to take in the scenic views on a walk or sip coffee and sample traditional pastries like the sumptuous ensaimada at local cafes .
Between April and October, six trains run from/to Palma to Soller, the first leaving at 10:10 a.m. and the last returning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $26 each way.
Day 6 and 7: East Coast
Caves come in all shapes and sizes, but the Caves of Drach are unlike any other in the world. Located on the east coast of the island in the town of Porto Cristo, the caves reach 82 feet deep, stretch over a mile in length, and reveal a sparkling turquoise blue subterranean lake, Lake Martel. Visitors make their way through well-lit walkways and stairways, past spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites to reach the inner auditorium. Once seated, enjoy a truly one-of-a-kind experience: a synchronized light show with a live orchestra performing on a boat floating on the lake. Keep in mind that this activity is not for those who feel claustrophobic in crowded underground spaces.
Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe or head to the nearby Ses Talaioles vineyards for a walking tour and picnic amidst the Llevant mountains. At the winery, savor a sampling of traditional cheeses and Majorcan dishes (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) made to order, while pairing each item with wines, including Sestalino or Talvin Rosé.
Use the family-run, family-run Protur Palmeras Playa hotel as a base to explore the rest of the eastern region. Sports fans can spend a morning at the Rafa Nadal Museum, where children and adults can take part in fun virtual games and learn about the career of the Olympic tennis star via audiovisual media and interactive screens. Those looking for sun and sand can drive north to secluded Cala Torta beach near the town of Arta. Although you won’t find showers or toilets here, there is smooth white sand, rolling sand dunes, a snack stand, and a chance to snorkel in crystal clear, calm waters.
Getting to Mallorca: From June to September, United Airlines will operate three direct flights per week from Newark on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and three direct return flights from Palma on Wednesdays, Fridays and Mondays. Here’s what to expect from your United experience.