While millions of visitors head to Mallorca every year for the sun, sea, and sand, there’s a dizzying array of places to visit and experience away from the holiday resorts. We’ve managed to filter the list down to just 20 of the real must-visit attractions.
This pre-historic site dates back to 900BC and visitors can still see the remains of dwellings and towers. It is accessed through the Museum of Son Fornes which is housed in the Moli des Floret building, an 18th century restored flour mill. As well as more pre-historic sites of interest nearby, the gothic church of Sant Bartomeu is also worth seeing for its impressive interior and the sanctuary of Santuari de la Bona Pau, which dates back to 1395 and offers great views across the area.
This wonderfully unusual botanical garden displays an enormous variety of cacti from around the world, some centuries old and measuring several metres. Specifically designed to encourage the growth of the cactus, artificial terraces protect the plants from the wind. There’s also a section dedicated to flora native to Mallorca, while tropical plants and fields of bamboo can be explored around an artificial lake. You can even buy a specimen to take home.
A protected nature park in the Tramuntana mountains, this reserve is not to be missed. Not only are there wonderful views across the mountains you can also zip line down the longest zip wire in Mallorca, bask in the clear pools beyond the waterfalls and watch the wonderful birds of prey circle above. There is a also an animal sanctuary which cares for grizzly bears, emus, martens, deer, civet cats, goats, peacocks and more, that are unable to live independently in the wild.
On the east coat of Mallorca these caves are one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. The caves hide one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world and are home to a wonderful display of stalactites and stalagmites. A boat trip through this mystical underground world is a must.
A brilliant outing for families and marine lovers, Palma Aquarium has a fantastic display of over 25 tanks bringing you face to face with colourful displays of hammer head sharks, star fish, eels, sea horses, groupers as well as corals and anemones. You can even dive with the rays in a special pool. The large gardens, outdoor playground and Touch Pools, where the children can pet some of the sea life make it a fun and fascinating trip for all.
This unmissable landmark is an incredible piece of architectural and artistic brilliance. Started in 1229 and finished in 1601, it is situated on the site of a former Moorish mosque. It is designed in the Gothic style but has had many influences over the centuries, including a contribution by Catalan legend Gaudi.
Notable for being one of few round castles in existence in Europe, this wonderfully positioned fort was built in the 14th century for King James II of Mallorca. After serving as home to various kings it was transformed into a military prison from the 18th to the mid 20th century. It is now a popular attraction for visitors and houses the city’s history museum.
The workshops of Jean Miro were donated to the island so that visitors could experience the original space in which Miro created his artworks and view the 1512 drawings, 118 paintings, 75 sculptures and graphic works and 275 other works. Over the years the Foundation has acquired works by other artists including Chagall, Rueda and Villalba. The Foundation also hosts wonderful temporary exhibitions. Guided tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Beginning in Palma this delightful wooden train travels through two local towns before reaching the Tramuntana mountains where it slowly traverses several bridges, including the five point Soller Viaduct and travels through thirteen tunnels. The views are breathtaking through the majestic mountains. The train terminates at the charming town of Soller, from where guests can stroll its quaint cobbled streets before catching the vintage tram down into the picturesque Port de Soller – a beautiful horseshoe bay surrounded by mountains.
Alfabia is a particularly peaceful site consisting of a historical house, picturesque gardens and orchard in the heart of the Tramuntana Mountains. The estate dates was originally owned by the island’s Moorish Viceroy and is mentioned in literature dating back to the 12th century. The best way of getting there is via the Soller train (above) though don’t forget to let the conductor know in advance if you want to get off or it won’t stop!
One of the most beautiful towns in Mallorca, Valldemossa is tucked away in the hills of the grand Tramuntana range. Surrounded by forested hills and luscious countryside it is a popular destination for cyclists and hikers. With winding narrow lanes and pretty houses decorated with flowers and the patron saint of Mallorca, Saint Catalina Thomàs, it’s both a relaxing and charming place to visit. The most famous landmark is the 13th-century monastery where the composer Chopin famously spent a famous winter.
One of the most breathtaking look-out points in Mallorca, Mirador Es Colomer is located in Cap Formenter and looks out towards Minorca in the east, Cala Fiquera in the west and Alcudia in the south. The cliffs are fairly high and the wind can be vicious so make sure to choose a calm day.
Every Wednesday from 8am to 1pm in the main square is the one of the biggest and most popular markets in Mallorca. Located in the pretty village of Sineu in the centre of the island it hosts stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to local handmade crafts, plants, flowers and clothes. Said to date back to 1306, this market is a hub of activity.
A fabulous market packed full with gastronomic delights, San Juan Mercado Gastronomico modelled itself on the food markets of the big European cities, though with plenty of added local flair and style. Located in a particularly impressive building (that was previously an abattoir) the market can be enjoyed Monday to Sunday from noon to midnight – and 4am at the weekends for night owls often with live music and DJs.
These fascinating remains of an ancient Roman town and theatre in the north of Mallorca are busting with stories of ancient history. Located just outside of Alcudia the site is well preserved and houses a museum of the artefacts that have been excavated at the site. Pollentia was founded by Quintus Caecilius Metellus in 123 BC and was the mom important city in the Balearics during the Roman period.
Still used by the King of Spain for summer ceremonies, the palace we see today is the result of modifications made to the Muslim fortress constructed in 1281 and still contains the original baths from the Moorish era. With a range of expertly woven tapestries and artefacts from across the eras on display it’s a great place to dive into the rich history of the island.
Although this area is tricky to get to, it is one of the most beautiful spots on Mallorca to watch the sun set. Take in the view from the Mallorquin restaurant and dine looking out across the the Port of Soller.
Created by the famous Voyeur Club in Palma, this famous festival takes place towards the autumn each year and is hosted in atmospheric venues like Bellver Castle, The Auditórium, Teatre Principal and many more. International artists perform live sessions and music lovers can mingle. Jazz festivals also take place in towns around the island including Inca and Sa Pobla.
A great family day out, these wetlands can be accessed by car or via an easy cycle on one of the many routes on offer in the area. They are are located in-between Alcudia and Can Picafort. Entrance to the wetlands is free and maps and binoculars are available from the visitors centre so you can explore the area and catch glimpses of the small animals and various birds that inhabit the site.
Not for the faint-hearted, this is one of the biggest festivals in Mallorca. For one day only during the summer on the eve of Saint Joan, Palma plays host to bonfires, fireworks, pop concerts and the Mallorquin devils and demons. These terrifying creatures have grotesque masks and carry pitchforks. They perform the Correfoc or Fire Run where they run through the streets with firecrackers and fireworks. An utterly unique experience!