As the plane landed in Mallorca we were reminiscing about trips past to the island; self catered family holidays in white walled hotel complexes, walks down dusty quartz lined paths to waterparks and how we’d overlooked the island for our coming of age party week, opting for Ibiza instead.
It’s true Mallorca hasn’t had much of a rep as a truly desirable holiday destination for the savvy millennial but when we heard about the lush properties that Melia Hotels (www.melia.com) have on the island, we were intrigued to put our preconceptions to one side and go and explore…
We discovered that there’s so much packed into this island that you could stay pretty much anywhere on the island and be within easy reach of adventure. We opted for a beach base (our recommendations are at the end of this article) which made all drives super quick as we weren’t navigating cities and also a great option for those days when the sea was glistening and we just wanted to chill with a mojito.
Here’s three of our favourite island adventures; we can’t wait to go back and find some more.
Once simply seen as the city closest to the airport, Mallorca’s capital has transformed itself into an incredible city retreat. The Old Town is simply stunning, with the epic imposing Cathedral towering over winding streets we spent many hours wandering around, hiding from the May heat in shadowed plazas.
The city is home to some illustrious shopping streets like the Passeig des Born as well as the impressive contemporary art found in Es Baluard, a museum as beautiful from the outside as the inside, with its great sea view. We happily spent a long weekend exploring vintage shops like Seattle Vintage and Quint, fuelled by flat whites from RoseVelvet (who also do a mean cheesecake) and cold brew from El Molienda; the first of third wave coffee shops to hit the city a few years ago.
Whatever you do, don’t miss quirky Santa Catalina; a flourishing area of ex fisherman’s cottages turned restaurants and bars. There’s even a pizza delivery company in one of the windmills in the neighbourhood! We had great mojitos and tacos at Patron Lunares ; a gorgeous bistro with high ceiling and novel decor and innovative Mexican at Toloache, run by a charismatic team who’ll make their views on Tex-Mex well known! Drinks-wise, as in mainland Spain, you’ll find some mean G&Ts on the menu (many using neighbouring Menorca’s Xoriguer gin); in fact, there’s a restaurant called Gin Burger with a menu championing two of our favourite things!
If you fancy spending the night in the city, the Melia group have a number of gorgeous well priced options, for example the chic city centre Innside Palma Center with a panoramic rooftop equipped with pool and bar.
A super cutesy day trip that doesn’t need the car (and therefore allows for lunchtime Sangria!) ; is to take the vintage train cross country from Palma to the mediaeval town of Soller, at the foot of the Tramuntana mountains. Starting out in commercial Palma, you are soon chugging along through lemon and olive groves, spying countryside villas you make mental note to google the price of.
After grabbing some lunch in Soller catch the (also vintage!) tram down to the super picturesque Port de Soller. It’s so picture perfect and, in fact, If you are a fan of the Night Manager you might recognise this spot from the show. A walk from the port will take you to some gorgeous beaches for a quiet sunbath or straying just a few steps from where the tram leaves you presents many eating and drinking options, with a stunning view. Grab an icecream from local maker before heading back to Palma for the evening.
Deia has long been considered Mallorca’s most picturesque village and with the epic drive (if a little nail biting on those tiny, twisty roads) along the I-10 it’s not hard to see why.
The road from Andratx to Deia skims the coast, climbing into the mountains, giving peeks of the glistening sea through olive groves. Some view points are absolutely astonishing and rival the incredibly famous Pacific Coast Highway but a lot closer to home!
From the town itself, there are incredible views from up near the church and almost too many great restaurants to choose from; from those with Michelin Stars (Es Raco d’es Teix) and fresh Italian and Asian cuisine (Nama). This little town has a huge celebrity following from literary heritage (Robert Graves and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to name but two) to popstars staying here before their wedding days (Robbie Williams, we’re looking at you). It’s certainly the quiet life up here, bar the odd raucous night at the town’s bar and there’s plenty of hiking to be had. For example, a short adventurous walk will take you down to the secluded Cala de Deia with its seafood restaurants; but before you have too much vino, remember you’ll have to get clamber back up!
Where to stay…
To soak up the party vibes we stayed at the quirky and colourful Sol House Mixed by Ibiza Rocks hotel in Magaluf. The notorious party town has calmed down over the past few years and in amongst the ‘brits abroad’ vibe there are peeks of luxe with beach house bars and restaurants.
The Sol House Mixed by Ibiza Rocks property is just set back from the strip; at a perfect distance to decide if you’d like to throw yourself into the party or prefer to enjoy the beach, the pool and a couple of cocktails rather than a ‘night out out’. If you are throwing yourself into the party, don’t miss the hotel’s epic buffet breakfast which will restore your faith after too many fishbowls!
To enjoy this stunning part of the coast but with a more laid back vibe we hopped around the island to close-by Palma Nova beach where the Sol Beach House resides. Right on the beach front it’s a calm oasis and smells great (seriously, not sure what the milky coconut smell is but we miss it!) Embracing the classic balearic vibes the hotel is all white-walls and driftwood with quirky Desigual prints to inject character into the surroundings.
The pool bar serves a super healthy and tasty menu of fresh juices and salads which acts as the perfect antidote to the often bread and cheese heavy beachfront options. Soaking in the pool or chilling on your balcony, Sol Beach House is a stunning base from which to plan explore the island but we don’t blame you if you struggle to leave! This beach hotel has a number of fantastic suites with private terraces, loungers and even jacuzzis cementing it as the ideal balearic base for your Mallorca adventure!