Mallorca stands out as the largest island of the Mediterranean archipelago collectively known as the Balearic Islands. It’s not just its size that differentiates Mallorca from its more party-friendly neighbour, Ibiza, and its quieter cousin, Menorca. This vibrant Spanish destination is full of cultural, historical and natural attractions.
It’s easy to see why Mallorca (also known as Majorca) is regarded as one of the best summer destinations in Europe. It’s relatively easy to reach the island from major European cities, yet the tranquil villages, turquoise seas and rugged mountains that envelop Mallorca combine to serve up a mesmerising escape that feels like a world away. Winters are mild in comparison to the rest of the continent, and an interrupted tourist season this year has only increased the appetite to visit the jewel of the Balearics as soon as possible. What can returning visitors and first-time travellers expect to find on Mallorca in 2021?
All the Balearic Islands have made concerted efforts to ban single-use plastics by the first half of 2021, highlighting the importance of sustainable tourism in the region. Palma, the popular capital city of Mallorca, on the south coast, is also forging ahead with plans to transform itself into a smart tourism destination this year. Digitalisation and technological solutions are being put in place to make tourists feel safer in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. These are all positive steps in bringing visitors back to the island, but there are many more reasons to explore Mallorca and book a stay at one of our carefully selected hotels.
The capital city is more casually known as Palma, but locals also add “de Mallorca” to its title. The airport serves millions of visitors every year, making it the most convenient stop on a trip to the island. There are remnants of different historical rulers all over Mallorca, but Palma stands out as the seat of power for rulers dating back to the Roman era. Like most of southern Spain, Islamic rule played an important part in the development of Mallorca, while in more recent times the tourism industry has shaped every aspect of the city.
All of the major attractions of Mallorca are less than an hour away from Palma and the city itself has plenty of things to do and places to see. Gastronomy is a huge part of the culture here, with several Michelin-starred restaurants attracting day trippers from the mainland. Art and culture play a big part of daily life, too, and your itinerary should include visits to galleries, museums and historical sights.
Palma has several beaches that are popular with tourists, but you can find many more seaside retreats away from the city. The bay of Cala Sant Vicenç, in the northeast of the island, has four small beaches, each of which is quieter than those in the south. Cap de Formentor, better known as Formentor, is recognised for its lighthouse and some of the best views on Mallorca. It might not be ideal for sunbathing, but it does offer visitors a chance to appreciate a different side to the island.
Day trips to one of the many cave networks on Mallorca are popular with more adventurous visitors. There are spectacular underground coves and even lakes below street level you can safely access. Two of the most popular activities to enjoy on the island involve spending time outdoors, with hiking and biking showcasing the mountains people rarely associate with Mallorca.
Given that 2021 will see people gradually return to previously popular hotspots like the Balearics, one final activity worth considering this year is island-hopping by boat. Combine this with a stay at one of the hotels we’ve picked out below, and you’re sure to have a perfect trip to kickstart the year in style.
Find peace and serenity near the rural town of Llucmajor. Sa Bassa Plana is a boutique 18th-century estate on 250ha (618 acres) of land. The surrounding gardens are beautifully maintained, with local wildlife often passing by. Deer, rabbits and partridges – along with all the animals from the farm – can be spotted from your bedroom window. Spectacular coves, idyllic beaches and wild forests are all within a few kilometres, and outdoor adventurers can make the most of South Mallorca’s scenic hiking trails and ideal cycling roads – or choose to relax in the Mediterranean sunshine by one of three pools. The on-site restaurant serves organic local delicacies straight from the farm, and wine made from the hotel’s surrounding vineyards. Make sure to visit Vi Rei, their very own wine cellar and the biggest on the island – they provide free wine samples for any guests at the hotel.
Spend an unforgettable holiday in a gorgeous manor house in the Tramuntana Mountains. Far away from the noisy tourist hotspots, Son Pont is a calming oasis where you can relax and unwind. Walk through the 140ha (346 acres) estate and discover relics like the oil mill and chapel. The rooms are artfully decorated with wooden furniture that bring a warmth against the natural stone walls and modern bathrooms. After breakfast on the terrace, wander through the beautiful gardens of the hotel, or bathe in the sun by the pool.
Traditional architecture meets modern design at Can Aulí, a 17th-century building that has been renovated into a sleek, luxurious manorial hotel. Contemporary furniture and light fittings are matched by calming pastel coloured walls inside and out. Breakfast is an unmissable experience, where you can sample a variety of local seasonal delicacies – many from organic vegetable gardens and farms in the area – served in the tranquil courtyard. Cycling, golf, hiking, sailing, and scuba diving can all be arranged at concierge, or if you’d rather relax; massages, treatments, hammam and a “sensation” shower are all available at the wellness centre. You can also take a speedboat experience around the island, the perfect way to see Mallorca from the sea.