Mallorca is one of the top holiday destinations in summer and, as a result, the main attractions and sights become very crowded and busy with tourists. But there are many ways to discover the forgotten island life of days gone by, find a secluded spot on a hidden beach, or sample some of the rich and diverse Balearic gastronomy. Whether you like hiking in the inland, a day at the beach or a magnificent boat trip, there is always a way to discover what others are missing. Here are some of the top things to do on Mallorca:
1. Visit La Granja and experience the olden day Mediterranean
La Granja in Mallorca is a splendid place for families and couples to learn about the days of yore. You will explore a 17th century country manor house located in one of the most gorgeous settings of the Tramuntana Mountain range close to the village of Esporles in Mallorca’s southwest.
Not only is the manor house and its grounds beautifully preserved and a delight to visit, but there is a lot to learn during your day out. You will see people dressed in the traditional Mallorca dress of the time and you will see demonstrations about the jobs, chores and daily tasks that filled people’s days.
La Granja was once a working estate with families living and working within the grounds. Here you can learn about their daily life. Many of these daily tasks were focussed around eating and drinking and local gastronomy. Depending on the time of year you will be able to sample either olive oil made locally on the estate with their own olives, sobrassada, a typical product made from pork, and even wine from their own grapes.
You can easily spend a full day at La Granja: visiting the manor house, the grounds with local farm animals, and they have a restaurant there too so you can make a day of it and get lunch. If you don’t have a full day to spend, you can get round La Granja in a few hours.
La Granja is open all year round and you can buy your entrance ticket in advance at click-mallorca.com and enjoy a discount compared to door prices.
2. Cabrera Island, the gem of the Balearics
If you are staying in Mallorca then you must take a boat over to Cabrera Island for the day. It is an uninhabited island that is protected as a national park. Its beaches are pristine, and the views from the hill close to the harbour are spectacular.
You could easily spend the whole day swimming, snorkelling and relaxing at one of Cabrera Island’s amazing beaches but it is also great to hike up the hill to Cabrera Castle and explore the ruins as you learn about this beautiful place’s dark history. The views from the castle are second to none and this is an unforgettable experience for families with kids.
To get to Cabrera Island you need to take the boat from Colonia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca. The crossing takes less than an hour and the journey is an exciting part of your day out. There are different departure and return times for the boat to Cabrera and you can find out more information and book your return boat trip with a swimming stop at the Cueva Azul (Blue Cave) here.
Swimming at the Cueva Azul is one of the highlights on your day out to Cabrera Island, where the waters are bluer and clearer than anywhere you’ve ever seen. Plus, when possible the boat goes right inside the cave, much to the glee of the passengers onboard.
3. Discover Mallorca’s inland at the Puig de Bonany
The Puig de Bonany is a hill just outside the historic village of Petra, which you can hike up on a pleasant walk from the village itself. This day out is highly recommended combined with a visit to the birthplace of Fray Junipero Serra and lunch at one of the old ‘Cellers’.
Puig de Bonany means “hill of the good year” and gets its name from a local legend about a year of terrible famine on the island, when the local people of Petra and the surroundings decided to build a wonderful church at the top of this hill, dedicated to the Mother of God, and during this terrible year for agriculture, the lands close to the hill had one of their best years ever.
If you are visiting Mallorca during the summer months when it is too hot to hike, or if you simply prefer not to, you can drive up to the top of the Puig de Bonany and park your car there. You can visit the church and you can enjoy some of the most marvellous views of Mallorca imaginable: from here you can see all the way to the Bay of Alcudia and beyond and you can see right across the Mallorca’s blanket-like plains.
4. Dolphin Watching in Mallorca
Can you imagine joining a boat trip in Mallorca, knowing that this very day you will see real life dolphins in the wild out at sea? Well this is a perfect reality in Mallorca, with boat tours departing from different parts of the island to sail out to the high sea and spot dolphins from the boat.
Many of these boat trips take place before dawn, which is the best time to see dolphins at their most active when they are hunting for their breakfast. One of our favourite dolphin-watching excursions is from Alcudia bay at dawn. Alcudia bay faces east and the sunrise at sea will be one of the highlights of your holiday. This, combined with seeing dolphins on the same day makes a truly unique experience.
The sunrise and dolphins boat trip from Alcudia sets off just before dawn and lasts for around 2.5 hours. The boat trip takes you out to the high seas and you will have a great bonus view of the Cape of Formentor too. The experienced crew generally know where to find the dolphins but some days it takes longer than others. There is rarely a day when no dolphins are spotted at all and in fact, last summer season there was not even one day that the passengers of this boat trip did not have the pleasure of watching the dolphins in the sea.
On the way back there is a small buffet breakfast onboard the boat, with coffee, tea, juice and croissant-like pastries included in the price.
As you can imagine, this is a very popular excursion and it is therefore essential to book in advance – days in advance if you can, to avoid disappointment. You can make your booking at click-mallorca.com, where you will pay less than directly at the port and will receive directions by email about where to board the boat and what time.
5. Alaro Castle
If you want to enjoy seriously amazing views of Mallorca, explore the Serra de Tramuntana Mountain Range and experience true local life all in one day then a visit to Alaro Castle is a great option.
The castle is located just outside the pretty town of Alaro at the top of a majestic hill which forms part of the UNESCO protected mountain range. You can drive partway up the hill or you can park on the outskirts of Alaro town for a full day hike.
The first half of the hike is uphill, of course (as the castle is located right at the top) but the way is clear and the path is well-trodden. This is a very popular day out for the local people of Mallorca and also for visitors to the island. On the way up you will walk through typical Mediterranean countryside with olive trees, Holm oaks and gorgeous views of the fields below. The terrain is rocky and good shoes are essential.
The castle at the top has a bar where much-needed refreshments are served with a view that makes the steep climb well worth the effort. You can explore the castle ruins and learn a little about Mallorca’s history at the same time.
The walk back down is much easier on the legs and you can give encouragement to those you pass struggling on their way up! At the halfway down mark (which is where you will park if you drive partway up) is a rustic and typical restaurant which is renowned for serving the best shoulder of lamb on the island. Missing out on this rustic experience would be a sin. If you have to wait for a space at a table, don’t be put off as the food is absolutely worth it. Here are some reviews about the restaurant.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa-Marie is a local guide in Mallorca, specialising in taking people on memorable tours and excursions to little-known places and secret beaches and coves.
© 2020 – Simon Andas and Lisa-Marie Sykes