Lonely Planet Mallorca by Lonely Planet, Damian Harper, and Hugh McNaughtan - Read Online
Lonely Planet Mallorca
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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Mallorca is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Take a scenic drive on the sinuous road to Sa Calobra, visit the isolated Platja des Coll Baix, or gaze in wonder at the Palma Catedral; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Mallorca and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Mallorca Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, landscapes, wildlife, architecture, arts, crafts, cuisine. Over 30 maps Covers Palma, Valldemossa, Deia, Soller, Fornalutx, Biniaraix, Pollenca, Alcudia, Inca, Arta, Cala Ratjada, Platja des Coll Baix, Cap de Formentor, Illa de Cabrera and more

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The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Mallorca, our most comprehensive guide to Mallorca, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

Looking for more coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's Spain guide for a comprehensive look at what the whole country has to offer.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travellers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

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Mallorca

Contents

Plan Your Trip

Welcome to Mallorca

Mallorca's Top 17

Need to Know

Accommodation

First Time Mallorca

If You Like

Month by Month

Itineraries

Eat & Drink Like a Local

Activities

Travel with Children

Regions at a Glance

On The Road

Palma & the Badia de Palma

Palma & the Badia de Palma Highlights

Palma de Mallorca

Sights

Activities

Courses

Tours

Festivals & Events

Eating

Drinking & Nightlife

Entertainment

Shopping

Badia de Palma

East of Palma

West of Palma

Cycling in Palma

Western Mallorca

Western Mallorca Highlights

The Southwest

Andratx

Port d'Andratx

Sant Elm

Portals Vells & Cap de Cala Figuera

Serra de Tramuntana

Andratx to Valldemossa Coast Road

Valldemossa

Port de Valldemossa

Deia

Soller

Port de Soller

Biniaraix

Fornalutx

Bunyola

Orient

Alaro

Cala de Sa Calobra & Cala Tuent

Monestir de Lluc

Road Trip: Andratx to Monestir de Lluc

Northern Mallorca

Northern Mallorca Highlights

Pollenca & Around

Pollenca

Cala Sant Vicenc

Port de Pollenca

Cap de Formentor

Badia dAlcudia

Alcudia

Port d'Alcudia

Cap des Pinar

South of Alcudia

Ca'n Picafort

Son Serra de Marina

Colonia de Sant Pere

Betlem

Hiking the Capes of Northern Mallorca

The Interior

The Interior Highlights

The Central Corridor

Santa Maria del Cami

Binissalem

Santa Eugenia

Inca

Lloseta

Caimari

Campanet

Sineu

Sa Pobla & Muro

The Southeast

Algaida

Montuiri

Petra

Manacor

Felanitx

Eastern Mallorca

Eastern Mallorca Highlights

The Northeast

Arta

Parc Natural de la Peninsula de Llevant

Capdepera

Cala Ratjada

Canyamel

Cala Millor to Portocolom

Cala Millor

Porto Cristo

Portocolom

Hiking the Eastern Coast

Southern Mallorca

Southern Mallorca Highlights

Cala Pi

Sa Rapita

Colonia de Sant Jordi

Ses Salines

Illa de Cabrera

Santanyi

Cala Figuera

Portopetro

Parc Natural de Mondrago

Cala d'Or

Understand

Understand Mallorca

Mallorca Today

History

Landscape & Wildlife

Mallorcan Architecture

Arts & Crafts

Survive

Directory AZ

Climate

Customs Regulations

Discount Cards

Electricity

GLBTI Travellers

Health

Insurance

Internet Access

Legal Matters

Maps

Money

Opening Hours

Post

Public Holidays

Safe Travel

Telephone

Time

Toilets

Tourist Information

Travellers with Disabilities

Visas

Volunteering

Women Travellers

Work

Transport

Getting There & Away

Getting Around

Language

Behind the Scenes

Our Writers

Welcome to Mallorca

The ever-popular star of the Mediterranean, Mallorca has a sunny personality thanks to its ravishing beaches, azure views, remote mountains and soulful hill towns.

Cala Llombards, Southern Mallorca | Vulcano/Shutterstock ©

Lyrical Landscapes

For Miró it was the pure Mediterranean light. For hikers and cyclists it is the Serra de Tramuntana's formidable limestone spires and bluffs. For others it is as fleeting as the almond blossom snowing on meadows in spring, or the interior's vineyards in their autumn mantle of gold. Wherever your journey takes you, Mallorca never fails to seduce. Cars conga along the coast in single file for views so enticing the resort postcards resemble cheap imitations. Even among the tourist swarms of mid-August you can find pockets of silence – trek to hilltop monasteries, pedal through honey-stone villages, sit under a night sky and engrave Mallorca's lyrical landscapes onto memory.

Return to Tradition

Mallorca's culture took a back seat to its beaches for decades, but the tides are changing. Up and down the island, locals are embracing their roots and revamping the island’s old manor houses, country estates and long-abandoned fincas (farmhouses, estates) into refined rural retreats. Spend silent moments among the olive, carob and almond groves and you'll soon fall for the quiet charm of Mallorca's hinterland. Summer is one long party and village festes (festivals) offer an appetising slice of island life.

Coastal Living

Mallorca tops Europe's summer holiday charts for many reasons, but one ranks above all others: the island's stunning coast. Beyond the built-up resorts, coves braid the island like a string of beads – each one a reminder of why the island's beaches have never lost their appeal. Go west for cliff-sculpted drama and sapphire seas, or head north for hikes to pine-flecked bays. Scope out deserted coves in the east, or dive off bone-white beaches in the south. With a room overlooking the bright-blue sea, sundown beach strolls to the backbeat of cicadas and restaurants open to the stars, you'll soon click into the laid-back groove of coastal living.

Mediterranean Flavours

Eating out in Palma has never been more exciting, with chefs – inspired as much by their Mallorcan grandmothers as Mediterranean nouvelle cuisine – adding a pinch of creativity and spice to the city's food scene. Inland, restaurants play up hale-and-hearty dishes, such as suckling pig spit-roast, to perfection, pairing them with locally grown wines. On the coast, bistros keep flavours clean, bright and simple, serving the catch of the day with big sea views.

Why I Love Mallorca

By Damian Harper, Writer

My parents did the right thing and bought a house in Fornalutx when I was four. Every summer spent in Mallorca was blissful: building camps with friends in the torrent, leaping from high rocks into the waters of the Port de Sóller, listening to the donkeys clop up the steps of Calle del Monte. Nowadays it's what I took for granted then that transfixes me most: the mesmerising night sky, the Tramuntana glowing like coals at sunset, the timeless terracotta hues of the stone houses and the deep azures of the Mediterranean. And each time I return, there's something else that enthrals me.

Mallorca's Top 17

Palma Catedral

Resembling a vast ship moored at the city’s edge, Palma Catedral dominates the skyline and is the island’s architectural tour de force. On the seaward side, the flying buttresses are extraordinary. A kaleidoscope of stained-glass windows and an intriguing flight of fancy by Gaudí inhabit the interior, alongside an inventive rendering of a biblical parable by contemporary artist Miquel Barceló. You’ll find yourself returning here, either to get your bearings, or simply to admire it from every angle.

vulcano/Shutterstock ©ulcano/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Medieval Artà

Set back from eastern Mallorca’s busy summer coast, Artà has enduring year-round charms. Its stone buildings line narrow medieval streets that gently climb up a hillside before ascending steeply to one of the island’s most unusual church-castle complexes. The far-reaching views here are compelling, while back in town fine restaurants, hotels and an agreeably sleepy air make it an ideal base for your exploration of the island, including nearby Parc Natural de la Península de Llevant.

Karel Funda/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

The Road to Sa Calobra

Even local drivers mutter three Hail Marys before braving the scenic helter-skelter of a road to Sa Calobra. It translates as 'The Snake' and slither it does, for all 12 brake-screeching, hair-raising, white-knuckle kilometres. Drivers teeter perilously close to the edge to glimpse a ravine that scythes through the wild, bare peaks of the Tramuntana to arrive at a sea of deepest blue. But if you think the looping hairpin bends are tough behind the wheel, spare a thought for the mountain bikers that grind it up here!

Simon Dannhauer/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Staying on a Farm

Light years away from the busy coastal resorts, Mallorca's hinterland is sprinkled with fincas (estates) where it can be peaceful enough to hear an olive hit the ground. Whether endearingly rustic or revamped in boutique-chic style, properties such as Ca N'Aí take you that bit closer to the spirit of rural Mallorca. Days unfold unhurriedly here, with lazy mornings by the pool, strolls through olive groves and citrus orchards, and dinners under the stars to the tinkling of goat bells.

JCOLL/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Palma's Art Trail

The crisp Mediterranean light drew some of Europe’s most respected painters throughout the 20th century, but two in particular – Joan Miró and Mallorcan Miquel Barceló – will be forever associated with the island. Miró’s former home, the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, contains a fine range of his works, while Barceló adorned Palma’s cathedral with flair and distinction. Elsewhere, works by Picasso and Dalí can be found in Palma’s galleries, Es Baluard, Palau March or the Museu Fundació Juan March.

Es Baluard | Aldorado/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Valldemossa

In any poll of the prettiest villages in the Balearics, Valldemossa is always a contender, if not outright winner. Draped like a skirt around the eastern foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana, the village has the usual Mallorcan cobblestone lanes, flowerpots, pretty church and stone architecture. But Valldemossa gains extra cachet with its former royal monastery, which once housed Frédéric Chopin and George Sand; aside from giving Valldemossa’s residents something to gossip about in perpetuity, their stay bequeathed to the town one of Mallorca’s most uplifting music festivals, Festival Chopin.

Vulcano/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Deià

The mountains of Serra de Tramuntana rise like a natural amphitheatre above Deià, a bird's nest of a village perched high above the iridescent Mediterranean. Mallorca has countless pretty towns, but none surpass this peach: its gold-stone buildings climb a pyramid-shaped hill and glow like warm honey as day fades to dusk. It has long been the muse of artists and writers, not least the poet Robert Graves. Head to nearby Son Marroig, once the romantic abode of an Austrian archduke, to see the Mediterranean aflame at sunset.

Son Marroig | Holbox/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Touring the Coast of Cap de Formentor

The narrow, precipitous peninsula of Cap de Formentor is one of the most dramatic mountain ranges in southern Europe. Here, peaks thrust upwards like the jagged ramparts of some epic Mediterranean fortress, while forests of Aleppo pines add light and shadow to austere rocky outcrops that drop abruptly to some of the most beautiful and isolated beaches and coves on the island. However you travel the road running its length, prepare for drama and photo ops on every sweeping bend.

FCG/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

The Pollença Sanctuaries

Of all the towns of the Mallorcan interior, it is Pollença that rises above the rest. Its two hilltop sanctuaries and pilgrimage points look down on a medieval roofscape of stone and terracotta. Climb the 365 steps of the Calvari or walk through woods of holm oak and pine to Santuari de la Mare de Déu des Puig for spirit-lifting views. At ground level, wander the town's tangle of lanes, mooch around its Sunday market and watch the world go leisurely by from a front-row cafe on the Plaça Major.

Calvari | Holbox/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Cruising to the Illa de Cabrera

The only national park in the Balearics, Parc Nacional Marítim-Terrestre de l'Arxipèlag de Cabrera ( GOOGLE MAP hEaster-Oct) is a special place and Illa de Cabrera is the jewel in its crown. The largest of 19 uninhabited islands that make up the marine park, Cabrera is blissfully peaceful – its wild headlands and secluded beaches are protected by laws that limit the number of daily visitors to sustainable levels. Boat excursions to the island from Colònia de Sant Jordi stop off at Sa Cova Blava, an exquisitely blue marine cave of rare beauty.

Javier Fernández Sánchez/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Cycling in the Serra de Tramuntana

The winding, climbing, plunging and largely smooth roads of the Serra de Tramuntana, where road and track racing professionals like to limber up for the Tour de France, are a cyclist's wonderland. This wild mountainscape of pockmarked limestone peaks, serpentine bends and cliffs that sheer down to the Mediterranean offers the most challenging terrain on this bikeable island. Among the top rides are the 55km loop from Pollença to Monestir de Lluc and, for the fast and fit, the awesome 12km ascent from Sa Calobra.

Tomas MLklik/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Cala Ratjada's Hidden Beaches

Amid the overdevelopment that blights so much of eastern Mallorca, beautiful bays and half-moon coves peek out to remind us why people eternally come here in search of the perfect stretch of sand. The beaches within striking distance of Cala Ratjada – particularly Cala Agulla, Cala Mesquida, Cala Mitjana and Cala Matzoc – are some of the best on the island, with pearly white sand and turquoise waters set against a backdrop of pine trees and sand dunes.

Cala Mesquida | Michael Thaler/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Platja des Coll Baix

Isolated coves are the most alluring of Mallorca's many charms, but few can rival the Platja des Coll Baix. Accessible only by sea or on foot through fragrant woods, this hidden beach on the pine-draped headland of Cap des Pinar is a stunning white crescent, backed by cliffs and pummelled by sea that shimmers unfathomable shades of cobalt blue and turquoise. Here the soundtrack is an increasingly rare one – water lapping against the shore, the trill of birdsong and (if you time it right) complete silence.

aldorado/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Water Sports

One look at Mallorca's unfathomably blue sea has water-sports enthusiasts itching to slip into a wetsuit or leap on a board. Scuba divers are in their underwater element in Formentor's caverns and around the southern islands – Illa de Sa Dragonera and Illa de Cabrera (for divers with requisite permission) – where wrecks, cave drops and waters swirl with rays, octopuses and barracuda. Coasteering, kayaking and – deep breath now – cliff jumping lure adventure seekers north. Kite surfers go with the winds off the Badia de Pollença.

Cala Llombards | El lobo/Shutterstock ©

Top Experiences

Birdwatching in Parc Natural de S'Albufera

Twitchers flock to Parc Natural de S'Albufera, a tranquil nature park and one of the Mediterranean’s premier sites for birdwatching, as the home of 300 bird species, including 64 who breed here. The trails that wind amid the wetlands of this protected area are best explored on foot or by bike. Look out for herons, osprey and egrets from the observation decks discreetly tucked between the reeds, and bring binoculars for the best chances of spotting waterbirds in the marshes.

European bee-eater | Carlos José Pache/agefotostock ©

Top Experiences

Taking the Slow Train to Sóller

Palma and Sóller rank highly as attractions in their own right, but the antique wooden train that rattles between them is like rewinding 100 years. Scenes of rural Mallorca flash past like film stills, as the train zips through fertile valleys and climbs languidly into the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana. Traversing tunnels and narrow valleys before emerging high above pretty Sóller, this memorable ride is a poignant reminder that it is the journey itself that matters.

Holger Leue/GETTY IMAGES ©

Top Experiences

Eating at a Celler in Inca

A suckling pig turns slowly on a spit, the burble of animated conversation rises above the clamour of pans and the chink of glasses, waiters bustle between tables, bringing generous helpings of conill amb ceba (rabbit with onions), frit mallorquí (a lamb offal fry-up) and llom amb col (tender pork loin in cabbage parcels). You eat heartily and drink deep of local wine below the beams and next to giant barrels in Inca's celler restaurants – this is Mallorcan dining at its most authentic.

Celler Ca’n Ripoll | Tolo Balaguer/agefotostock ©

Need to Know

Currency

Euro (€)

Language

Spanish, Mallorquin (a dialect of Catalan)

Visas

Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days; not required for members of EU or Schengen countries. Some nationalities will need a Schengen visa.

Money

ATMs are widely available in towns and resorts. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Mobile Phones

Local SIM cards are widely available and can be used in European and Australian mobile phones. Other phones may need to be set to roaming.

Time

Central European Time Zone (GMT/UTC plus one hour)

When to Go

High Season (Jul–Aug)

A Clear skies, sunny days and warm seas.

A Temperatures soar as do room rates. Book well ahead or try for a last-minute deal online.

A Fiesta time! The island's towns host high-spirited parties, parades and music festivals.

Shoulder (Easter–Jun, Sep & Oct)

A Most hotels and restaurants open at Easter and stay open until October.

A Days are often still mild and crowds are few.

A Ideal season for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and canyoning.

Low Season (Nov–Easter)

A Many hotels and restaurants close. Palma is the exception.

A Pack layers for cooler-than-expected evening temperatures.

A You'll have the island's trails, beaches and sights to yourself.

Useful Websites

Consell de Mallorca (www.infomallorca.net) Excellent website from the island’s regional tourist authorities.

LonelyPlanet (www.lonelyplanet.com/mallorca) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Top Fincas (www.topfincas.com) Directory and booking service for Mallorca’s rural properties.

Balearsnatura.com (www.balearsnatura.com) Excellent resource for the natural parks of the Balearic Islands.

ABC Mallorca (www.abc-mallorca.com) Lifestyle portal for both residents and tourists.

TIB (www.tib.org) Public transport fares, times and routes across the island.

Important Numbers

Exchange Rates

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than €100

A Basic digs in a hostel, guesthouse or last-minute deal on resort hotel: €45–60

A Breakfast in hotel, three-course menú del día lunch: €15–20

A Bus ticket to nearby towns and beaches: €2–5

Midrange: €100–250

A Double room in midrange hotel: €75–150

A Cafe lunch, dinner at local restaurant: €30–40

A Car rental: from €30 per day

Top end: More than €250

A Double room in top-end hotel: €150 and up

A Sit-down lunch and dinner at first-rate restaurant: €80–100

A Boat tour or guided activity: around €50

Opening Hours

We’ve provided high-season hours; hours will generally decrease in the shoulder and low seasons. Many resort restaurants and hotels close from November to March.

Banks 8.30am–2pm Monday to Friday; some also open 4–7pm Thursday and 9am–1pm Saturday

Bars 7pm–3am

Cafes 11am–1am

Clubs midnight–6am

Post offices 8.30am–9.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am–2pm Saturday

Restaurants lunch 1–3.30pm, dinner 7.30–11pm

Shops 10am–2pm & 4.30–7.30pm or 5–8pm Monday to Saturday; big supermarkets and department stores generally 10am–9pm Monday to Saturday

Arriving in Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) Bus 1 runs every 15 minutes from the airport (ground floor of Arrivals) to Plaça d’Espanya in central Palma (€5, 15 minutes); buy tickets from the driver. A taxi for the same 15-minute journey from the centre will set you back between €18 and €22. Some hotels can arrange transfers.

Ferry Port, Palma Bus 1 (the airport bus) runs every 15 minutes from the ferry port (Estació Marítima) to Plaça d’Espanya. Tickets cost €3 and the journey takes 10 to 15 minutes. Expect to pay €10 to €12 for a taxi to the city centre.

Tap Water

Tap water is safe to drink across Mallorca, but is often unpalatable because of high sodium or chlorine levels; bottled water is cheap to buy.

Accommodation

Where to Stay

Hotels & Hostales

A hostal (sometimes called a pensión) is a small-scale budget hotel, usually family-run. The better ones can be bright, spotless and characterful. Hotels cover the entire spectrum, from no-frills digs through to design-focused boutique hotels and luxury hotels.

At the budget end, prices vary according to whether the room has a lavabo (washbasin), ducha (shower) or baño completo (full bathroom). At the top end you may pay more for a room with a balcón (balcony) or sea view, and you can fork out more for additional comfort in a suite.

Refugis

Simple hikers’ huts, or refugis, are mostly scattered about the Serra de Tramuntana, and are a cheap alternative to hotels when hiking. Some are strategically placed on popular hiking routes. Many are run by the Consell de Mallorca’s environment department (www.conselldemallorca.net/refugis), while others are run by the Institut Balear de la Natura (http://ibanat.caib.es). Dorm beds generally cost around €12; some also have a couple of doubles and meal service. Call ahead, as more often than not you’ll find them closed if you just turn up.

Monasteries

Seeking a meditative retreat? Mallorca has a handful of monasteries (technically hermitages, as their inmates were hermits and not monks) offering basic digs in converted cells, blissful silence, often spectacular views and superb hiking options. Kids are more than welcome, but they might have to keep the noise down. Four favourites:

Santuari de la Mare de Déu des Puig (971 18 41 32; s/d/tr €14/22/30) Take in the full sweep of the north coast from this captivating hilltop hermitage in Pollença, where goat bells are your alarm call. Staying here is an ascetic, tranquil experience. First-floor rooms have the edge. Guests can use the refectory and barbecue areas, or you can order food (the paella is terrific).

Petit Hotel Hostatgería Sant Salvador (www.santsalvadorhotel.com; d/ste €75/115) The monks of Sant Salvador, a fortress-like hermitage high above the plains around Felanitx that dates to 1348, packed up for good in 1992, leaving their home to be converted into a distinctive hotel. Their former cells are now simple, spruce rooms, each with an outstanding panoramic view and private bathroom.

Hospedería del Santuari de Lluc (www.lluc.net; s from €34, d from €41, apt from €84) Popular with school groups, walkers and pilgrims, the Santuari de Lluc has 81 rooms and 39 two- and three-bed apartments (with kitchen), varying in size and facilities. Some look over the courtyard, but those with mountain views are best, while the downstairs rooms are dark and best avoided. It's a magical spot in the Tramuntana and breakfast can be booked.

La Victoria Petit Hotel Hostatgeria (www.lavictoriahotel.com; s/d €50/60) A side road just east of the bay of S'Illot winds up high to a magnificent viewpoint and this hermitage – the Ermita de La Victòria – that dates from 1400. The 13 renovated rooms have a crisp feel, all white walls and cream linen with timber window shutters and beams. The massive stone walls and terracotta floors lend it Mediterranean grace and the position is just wow. Some excellent walks head off into the hills and along the coast, so the hotel is nicely positioned for hikers.

Fincas (Rural Estates)

Whether it's a serene finca (rural estate, farm-stay), a B&B in a manor high in the Tramuntana or a sea-facing villa, Mallorca's rural properties are hands down the most atmospheric places to stay. Many are historic, stylish country estates with outstanding facilities, including swimming pools, romantic restaurants and organised activities and excursions.

The local tourism authorities subdivide them into three categories: agroturisme (working farms), turisme de interior (country mansions converted into boutique hotels) and hotel rural (country estates converted into luxury hotels).

Booking Your Accommodation

Advance booking is always a good idea, especially in high season (May to September) when beds are snapped up. Increasingly, Palma is becoming a weekend short-break destination, which means that even in low season it can be an idea to at least call ahead. Prices can skyrocket in high season (doubling, sometimes even tripling), while there are usually cracking deals to be had out of season.

Price Ranges

The following price categories relate to a double room with private bathroom:

$ less than €75

$$ €75–200

$$$ more than €200

Top Choices

Best Places to Stay

Can Cera (http://cancerahotel.com; d/ste €352/418)

Es Petit Hotel de Valldemossa (www.espetithotel-valldemossa.com; s €117-162, d €150-180)

Can Busquets (http://hostalcanbusquets.com; s €75, d €86-104, ste €98-116)

Hotel Barceló Formentor (www.barcelo.com; d €225-525, ste €575-900)

Hotel Cap Rocat (www.caprocat.com; ste from €843)

Best Rural Hotels

Cases de Son Barbassa (www.sonbarbassa.com; s/d/ste €181/242/312)

Ca N’Aí (www.canai.com; ste from €165)

Alqueria Blanca (www.alqueria-blanca.com; s €135-145, d €155-165, ste €185-205)

Es Castell (www.fincaescastell.com; s/d/ste €120/165/210)

Sa Torre (www.sa-torre.com; apt €140)

Best on a Budget

Hostal Dragonera (http://hostaldragonera.es; s €55-65, d €70-80)

Hostal Nadal (971 63 11 80; s/d €30/44, without bathroom €24/35)

Hostal Villaverde (www.hostalvillaverde.com; s/d €60/79)

Hostal Pons (www.hostalpons.com; d €75)

Best for Families

HPC Hostal Porto Colom (www.hostalportocolom.com; s/d €70/115)

Hotel Casal d'Artà (www.casaldarta.de; s/d/q €60/96/160)

Hotel Cala Gat (www.hotelcalagat.com; s/d €93/146)

Hotel Barceló Formentor (www.barcelo.com; d €225-525, ste €575-900)

Pension Bellavista (www.pensionbellavista.com; s €35-45, d €55-65, tr €65-75, q €70-80)

First Time Mallorca

Checklist

A Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months after your arrival

A Check airline baggage restrictions

A Make advance bookings for accommodation, restaurants, travel and tours

A Inform your credit-/debit-card company that you'll be travelling abroad

A Arrange comprehensive travel insurance

A Verify what you need to hire a car (including excess insurance)

What to Pack

A Travel adapter plug

A High factor, waterproof sun cream

A Mosquito/insect repellent

A Flip flops

A Hiking boots for Tramuntana trails

A Mobile (cell) phone charger

A Sunhat and sunglasses

A Beach towel

A Bathing suit

A Waterproof coin holder/dry bag

A Camera

A Phrasebook

A A sociable nature – the Mallorcans love a good chinwag

Top Tips for Your Trip

A Detour off the well-trodden trail for a spell and you will find peaceful countryside, restful fincas (farms) and uncrowded beaches.

A Get high: the best views and photo ops are from the monasteries, forts and castles that crown Mallorca's hillsides. Time it right and you'll catch a fiery sunset.

A Allow ample time to get from A to Z. Looking at a map of Mallorca is deceptive. Yes, it is an island and fairly compact, but those twisting mountain roads bump up journey times.

A Walk. Whether it's pilgrim-style to a monastery, through the back alleys of a cobbled old town or to a hidden bay, many of Mallorca's most alluring sights can only be seen on foot.

A Mallorca is made for cycling: many professional teams do their winter training here, and it's the ideal way to meander among wineries and finca hotels.

What to Wear

Mallorca is a laid-back island and most people find they over-pack, especially for beach and poolside holidays that require little more than bathing suits and a couple of changes of shorts and T-shirts. Going out is a casual affair and ties and jackets are not required, even in the smartest restaurants.

Summers are hot, but layers are advisable for the rest of the year when the weather is patchier and evenings are cool. Forget wearing high heels on the cobbled streets of Mallorca's hill towns – flats it is.

Sleeping

Reserving a room is always a good idea – book well in advance (at least two months) if you are travelling in the peak months of July and August, when beds are like gold dust.

From November to Easter, the vast majority of hotels close in coastal resorts. Palma is a year-round option, though, and you'll also find a sprinkling of places open in towns like Pollença and Sóller.

A Hotels These range from family resort hotels beside the sea to converted manors with boutique-chic interiors inland.

A Hostales Small no-frills budget hotels, usually family-run.

A Fincas Farm-stays in rural, peaceful areas.

Taxes & Refunds

Spain's IVA (VAT) goods-and-services tax of up to 21% is included in stated prices. Refunds are available on goods costing more than €90, if taken out of the EU within three months. Collect a refund form when purchasing and present it (together with the purchases) to the customs IVA refunds booth when leaving the EU. For more information, see www.globalblue.com.

Bargaining

The only place haggling skills may be called for, or appropriate, is at markets. Otherwise it's not done. If you want something, be prepared to pay the asking rate.

Tipping

A Hotels Discretionary: porters around €1 per bag and cleaners €2 per day.

A Cafes and bars Not expected, but you can reward good service by rounding the bill to the nearest euro or two.

A Restaurants Service charge is included, unless ' servicio no incluido ' is specified, but many still leave an extra 5% or so.

A Taxis Not necessary, but feel free to round up or leave a modest tip, especially for longer journeys.

Etiquette

Mallorcans are generally easygoing, and used to the different mores of foreigners, but will respond well to those who make an effort.

A Greetings Shake hands on first meeting and say 'bon dia' (good day) or 'bona tarda ' (good evening). In more casual situations, greet with two kisses – offer your right cheek first.

A Socialising Mallorcans, like all Spanish, are a chatty, sociable lot. Don't be shy – try to join in their rapid-fire conversations, and be prepared for people to stand quite close to you when speaking.

A Eating & Drinking If you are invited to a Mallorcan home, take a small gift of wine, flowers or chocolate. Wait for your host to say bon profit! (enjoy your meal) before getting stuck in. Dunking bread in soup is a no-no, but otherwise meals here are fairly relaxed affairs. Join in a toast by raising your glass and saying salut!

Language

Travelling in Mallorca without speaking a single word of Spanish or Mallorquin is entirely possible, but picking up a smattering of these languages will go a long way to winning the affection of the locals. English is widely spoken in the beach resorts and in major towns, but in the rural hinterland and small villages you'll find it handy to have a grasp of a few basic phrases. Plus it's part of the fun!

If You Like…

Art & Culture

Pack up your towel, break from the beach and discover Mallorca's cultured side, with cathedrals, galleries and artsy hill towns.

Catedral Sing a stained-glass rainbow in this Gothic wonder moored on Palma's seafront.

Museu Fundación Juan March Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Juan Gris and Mallorcan native Miquel Barceló.

Deià Poet Robert Graves found his muse in this dreamy hill town.

Real Cartuja de Valldemossa A Carthusian monastery and the former residence of royals and Chopin.

Ca'n Prunera Modernista mansion with artworks of the Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin and Klimt calibre.

Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró Miró’s former home is filled with his works and spirit.

Palma Catedral | Foto-Select/shutterstock©

Scenic Drives & Rides

Mallorca's precipitous coastlines and hairpin-riddled mountains call for slow touring. Slip behind the wheel for gear-crunching drives, heart-pumping bike rides and unforgettable journeys.

Andratx to Monestir de Lluc Mallorca’s drive among drives cuts across the spectacularly rugged Serra de Tramuntana high above the Mediterranean.

Sa Calobra 'The Snake' sounds like a theme-park ride