A Guide to Sailing in Mallorca

See the best of Mallorca from the water on a boat trip around the island
See the best of Mallorca from the water on a boat trip around the island | © Graham Mulrooney / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Damien Gabet
2 December 2021

Mallorca gets over 10 million tourists a year. Most of them hunt down sunshine and good times on the Badia de Palma, a great bay whose fine sand is dotted with palm trees and beach umbrellas. But sail on past the resort strip and you’ll uncover a quieter side of the biggest and boldest island in the Balearics. There are fragrant groves of almond and carob trees, honey-hued villages, Roman ruins, silky beaches and viciously vertiginous cliffs. It’s a Mediterranean masterpiece, so it’s no surprise that painter Joan Miró made his home here.

See all the Mallorca coast has to offer by chartering a vessel through SamBoat. Alternatively, embark on a multi-day sailing adventure with Dream Yacht Charter.

What to see and do

Beaches and coves stud Mallorca’s shore like jewels on a crown. On the edge of the capital Palma, S’Arenal is popular with locals – and has a waterpark behind. Go north for Sa Calobra, a village where the mountains meet the sea, with a beach set in a chasm that’s best reached by boat. Near the southern tip of Mallorca, Es Trenc is a postcard come to life, with limpid water, golden sand and tufty dunes.

For a break from the sea, head to the Serra de Tramuntana, a craggy mass of limestone cliffs and spires that follows the western shore. It has epic hiking routes and a wooden rail line, the Ferrocarril de Sóller, that’ll have you dreaming of lonely mountains.

Palma itself is a magical place, home to a towering cathedral, a Moorish palace and Joan Miró’s studio, now a fascinating gallery. Its alleys brim with bars, studios and restaurants, and its stone buildings glow with warmth at sunset. For a sightseeing day followed by a buzzing night, there’s nowhere better on the island.

Sa Calobra can’t be missed on a beach getaway to Mallorca | © Stuart Black / Alamy Stock Photo

Best mooring locations

Real Club Náutico de Palma hosts the island’s largest marina. There’s space for around 1,000 boats, with a maximum length of 35m (115ft). Boutique hotels and dockside restaurants dot the port area, and sights like the cathedral are a few minutes’ walk.

On the south and west coasts, you can drop anchor in the bright waters off Es Trenc, the broad, palm-lined cove of Cala de Santa Ponça and elegant, lush Cala Mondragó. To the north, try Bahia de Sóller, a lagoon-like bay – hike up from the resort village to the lighthouse for some of the best sunsets on the island.

The Real Club Náutico in Palma is one of the best options for mooring on the island | © Alexey Zarubin / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to eat and drink

Much of Mallorca’s food is unsurprisingly associated with sunshine and sea. Restaurante El Náutico sits slap-bang in Palma’s port, its floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a forest of yacht masts. Baked monkfish tail, beef tenderloin and lobster are complemented by sharp nautical decor. Classy boutique hotel Can Bordoy also excels with its Botànic restaurant in the La Lonja quarter.

Mallorca has an excellent option for hearty mountain food, too. At Sa Torre, a 20-minute drive inland, you can dine on dishes like suckling pig, cod with beans or plum-stuffed chicken among wine casks and ancestral portraits in a vaulted cellar.

For superb dining, you can’t miss Botànic restaurant in Palma | Courtesy of Can Bordoy Grand House and Garden / Expedia

Best charter option

You can reach beaches and coves – and get a different perspective on the island’s rugged cliffs and mountains – from a wide range of boats. Specialist charter company SamBoat has everything from compact speedboats – perfect for an idle potter up the coast – to air-conditioned, five-cabin catamarans where you can sit back and let the skipper worry about the details. If you fancy a more in-depth sailing adventure, Dream Yacht Charter offers multi-day itineraries.

You’ll see a different side of Mallorca from the water as you sail around the island’s coastline | © City Image / Alamy Stock Photo

Where to get groceries

From the marina, pick up everyday necessities at the Eroski supermarket on Carrer de Felip Bauzà. For a bigger shop, there’s a chunky, well-stocked Carrefour in the FAN Mallorca shopping centre on Carrer del Cardenal Rossell, between the airport and Palma. There’s a Decathlon, too, in case you’re running low on swimsuits and snorkel gear.

Key annual sailing events

Mallorca’s size and location mean events are plentiful. Real Club Náutico de Palma organises over 30 alone. Some are open to all – anyone over 12 can try their hand at the island’s leg of the Europa Cup ESP – while others are aimed squarely at the pros. The Princesa Sofia Regatta is one of the five selection events for the Olympics and can attract over a thousand competitors in popular years.

A high number of competitors take to the water every year for the Princesa Sofia Regatta | © zixia / Alamy Stock Photo

Climate and weather

Mild temperatures, consistent winds and mostly calm seas make Mallorca a good yachting destination. The months of April, May, June and September all offer good sunshine and relative quiet, while July to August are hotter but busier. Storms sometimes hit in winter, when winds can be fierce and swells larger. Many businesses close in the off season, but you’ll have your pick of anchorages. Bad weather usually clears fast.

Relax on the beach in Port de Sóller as you explore Mallorca | © Kuttig - Travel / Alamy Stock Photo

How to get there

Most people arrive via Palma de Mallorca Airport, Spain’s third busiest, with flights from most European countries. Ferries from Valencia, Dénia and Barcelona on the Spanish mainland take six to eight hours, stopping at Ibiza en route.

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