Mallorca has always been the big-hitter holiday hotspot, a multifaceted paradise offering holidaymakers everything from awe-inspiring mountain scenery and hiking to crowd-pleasing beach resorts for all budgets.
Despite Mallorca’s well-deserved popularity with European tourists, the Balearic island has managed to maintain much of her intrinsic beauty and charm, and independent travellers can easily swerve the package resorts. Start with a city break in Palma, a Spanish capital that seduces hard and fast, with a pink-hued Gothic cathedral towering over a glitzy marina dotted with superyachts, where Michelin-starred restaurants rub up against traditional bakeries and dimly lit cocktail bars. There are elegant mansion house hotels to be found in Palma’s old town, while neighbouring Santa Catalina is the city’s most vibrant quarter, where old fishermen’s housing have been converted into international eateries and hip bars.
Beyond Palma, there is the dreamy hillside town of Deià, which inspired the poet Robert Graves and now attracts low-key European A-listers, who are snapping up property in the area. There’s also the painfully pretty horseshoe bay of Port de Sóller, the port of Pollensa, which featured in an Agatha Christie story, and the historic town of Santanyí, all golden-hued stone houses and excellent eateries, just a stone’s throw from one of the island’s loveliest beaches.
Here’s our guide to Mallorca, from lavish Spanish hotels to local tapas bars.
This is where superyacht chefs shop for international delicacies and locals linger in tapas bars. The corner bar will grill anything you buy in the market – we recommend squid and sardines – and serve it alongside a cold Estrella for a few extra euros.
Palma’s ultimate fine dining experience is chef German de Bernardi’s Japanese, Peruvian and Mediterranean tasting menu, served on a leafy terrace overlooking Paseo del Borne.
Ca’s Patró March, Deià
Ever since this rustic seafood joint featured in The Night Manager, a John le Carré adaptation starring Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston, it’s been tricky to get a reservation, so book well in advance. But there’s no more romantic spot to eat paella than perched on the rocks of Cala Deià.
Ridiculously ornate interiors and a perfect old town location make this courtyard bar a must-visit for a gin tonic, as the Mallorquins call it.
This new cocktail bar in a narrow street in La Lonja offers inventive botanical-based cocktails with ingredients grown from a kitchen garden.
An Irish vegan gastropub in Spain might be tricky to get your head around, but it all makes sense the moment you step into this delightful old pub, complete with a serene courtyard and some of the best plant-based dishes on the island.
This palatial 16th century hotel attracts a steady stream of A-listers, drawn in part by Deià’s reputation as a bohemian, arty enclave in the hills. The hotel has a collection of 33 original Joan Miró artworks, the Barcelona-born Surrealist who made Mallorca his lifelong home.
Palma’s old town is not short of mansion house hotels, but this 17th century palace, tucked away in a winding street five minutes from the Gothic cathedral, is utterly spectacular, with antiques and artworks from the owner’s own collection.
This 17th century townhouse has been exquisitely refurbished into a 32-room five-star hotel, and now feels like a remote finca, despite being in the heart of charming Santanyí. You’re a short drive from Cala de Santanyí, and Es Trenc, one of Mallorca’s most spectacular beaches.