While always a perennially popular holiday destination, tourists flocking to Mallorca
have been on the sharp increase of late and the Balearic isle is seriously starting to creak at the seams
. With packed beaches and overcrowded resorts becoming the norm over the warmer months, we’ve picked some of the best places to dodge the worst of the island’s summer squeeze.
While the neighbouring bay of Sa Calobra can be crammed with sun-worshippers over the high season, the smaller Cala Tuent is just that bit trickier to get to and therefore less crowded. While it’s mostly pebble and shingle, the pine-clad mountain backdrop makes for a particularly picturesque setting and you can always bank on crystal water.
Nestled among the verdant surrounds of the Tramuntana mountains, the restaurant of Es Guix features a truly magical setting. While the food is excellent, the stunning spring-water swimming pool carved out of the rocks and surrounded by dense forest is the main draw. And a huge bonus over the summer is you have to book, so numbers are always limited and it never gets too crowded. Just be sure to book well in advance!
C/ Baix, Urbanización Es Guix, Escorca, Mallorca +34 971517092
While the north side of the long sweeping Pollensa Bay is home to one of the island’s larger and more popular resorts (Port de Pollensa), to escape the crowds head to the south end and Sa Marina. Away from most of the area’s hotels and touristy developments, it a relatively unspoilt stretch of coast popular with locals and a great spot for wind- and kite-surfing.
Located 10 nautical miles off Mallorca’s south coast is Cabrera Island – an almost untouched piece of natural wilderness guaranteed to be free of busloads of tourists. It’s around a hour’s boat journey, but a world away from the upbeat resort of Colonia Sant Jordi; designated a national park this is a haven for both land and sea-based wildlife. There is one simple hostel – Albergue de Cabrera – where visitors can spent the night on the island, but are not allowed to stay longer than a day during peak season.
Tucked away in one of the less-traversed corners of the Tramuntana sierra is the tiny and impossibly quaint village of Estellencs. Too small to attract coach loads and just remote enough to discourage most casual day-trippers, this authentic slice of sleepy Mallorquin life attracts just a trickle of mostly hikers and cyclists. It even has a small rocky cove, Cala Estellenc, and the surrounding views are some of the island’s most breathtaking.
Located between the now well-documented destinations of Deia and Soller is the less-known Llucalcari – a secluded clifftop village barely comprising a few dozen houses. From this peaceful, charming, and usually blissfully tourist-free spot, visitors can also access the narrow cove of Es Canyaret. While the setting is certainly unspoilt and scenic, the real highlight is a waterfall that cascades over the mountain face, generating clay pools that you can use as natural mud-packs, before washing it off with a dip in the turquoise waters.
Sa Dragonera is a tiny uninhabited island and nature reserve just off Mallorca’s southwest coast, directly opposite the resort of Sant Elm. Named due to its dragon-like shape and the lizards that inhabit it – a subspecies not found anywhere else in the world. Ecologists won an important battle to stop hotel development on the island, and it remains totally unspoilt with a pristine natural park. The boat trip over takes just 20 minutes, but visitors can’t spend the night. Be sure to return before dusk for some for some of the island’s most spectacular sunsets over the island.
Es Caragol (or Platja des Caragol) is Mallorca’s most southern beach and, while certainly not the most remote, far enough away from most major resorts to rarely be packed. At over a kilometre its also a decent stretch of sand offering plenty of space to unfurl a towel out of earshot of other bathers. With no lifeguard, restaurants, or toilets, facilities are certainly in short supply so don’t forget to pack your own provisions.
Cap des Pinar Peninsula
Stretching out into the sea between the huge twin bays of Alcudia and Pollensa is the Cap des Pinar peninsula. A modest mountain range forms its backbone and provides plenty of lovely, and relatively empty, hiking trails and footpaths lined with Aleppo pine forests and peaks with spectacular sea views. There’s also several out-of-the-way coves to be explored, including the particularly secluded Platja des Coll Baix. It can be a bit of a tricky trek for some – hence its sparse occupation – alternatively just hire a boat from the nearby Port de Alcudia and approach from the sea.
Santuari de la Mare de Déu des Puig
What better place than a hilltop monastery to escape from the tourist hoards? While not a challenging walk, there’s no road access and the 45-minute hike to the top is sure to get the heart pumping. The views from the puig (hill) are stunning, and as well as having a nose around the monastery there’s a small restaurant serving a menu of unfussy Mallorquin cooking. You can also stay the night in the modest lodgings of one of the monastery’s 12 cells, and likely wake the next morning to the sound of goat bells.
Surrounded by pine-clad hills, this stunning beach is at least 15 minutes’ walk from the nearest road and therefore one of the quietest on the island’s east coast. There are no facilities so be sure to at least bring a bottle or two of water. Some visitors arrive by boat, though space in the cove is fairly limited. For avid explorers, there is an entrance in one of the cliff faces here that leads to over 500 metres of underground caves, also don’t forget to check out the natural bridge rock formation just north of the beach.
Son Brull Hotel & Spa
Of course one way to get away from the great unwashed is treat yourself to a top-notch rural retreat, and they don’t come much more blissful and bucolic than Son Brull. Housed in a restored 18th-century Jesuit monastery, this five-star property expertly combines charming historic architecture with some gorgeous 21st-century design. The rural setting is also pretty special nestled among vineyards, lavender and lemon orchards in the foothills of the Tramontana sierra. A luxury teakwood spa is a highlight and, largely sourced from products grown on the surrounding farmland, the on-site dining is outstanding.
Ctra. Palma -Puerto Pollença, Km. 50, 07460 Pollença, Islas Baleares +34 971 53 53 53
Despite being Mallorca’s second largest town (after of course the capital Palma), with a reputation for industry over sightseeing, Manacor remains relatively unscathed by mass tourism. There is, however, plenty to see and do including regular authentic Mallorcan markets, the spectacular interiors of the Church of Nostra Senyora dels Dolors, and the factory shop of the famous Majorica flawless imitation pearls. Being the birthplace of tennis champ Rafa Nadal, fans can also peruse the Rafa Nadal Museum Xperience, which includes, alongside a display of all his major trophies, a range of sports-related activities and experiences with high-tech simulators.