Everyone knows that Mallorca has no shortage of big and boisterous resort towns that pull in millions of sun-seekers year-on-year. Lesser-known yet certainly more interesting, however, are the numerous smaller neighbourhoods dotted around the island that offer a more charming – and authentic – experience for those looking for less touristy spots to explore during their time on the island. Here’s a guide to some of our favourites.
This buzzing neighbourhood is great to visit both day and night. During the day it’s home to a wonderful marketplace where you can find local, fresh produce – its market rights have been established since 1249. Local residents and gourmet chefs alike visit the market to source the freshest, tastiest produce. The area is packed full of cool cafes, restaurants and bars each serving a different style of cuisine from tapas to Thai. In the evening it really comes to life, and is one of the best places in the capital to dance the night away or enjoy the balmy evening air outside with a cocktail.
This charming area is best known for its lovely curved bay, lined with restaurants and bars looking out to sea and the beautiful sunsets. It lies just on the outskirts of Palma and in the past was a gypsy district and home to many local fisherman. It is said that Palma’s best seafood is served in this area and just behind the yacht marina there are two beaches, Can Perl Antoni and Playa Portixol, which are great for a spot of sunbathing, with the added extra of fantastic views of Palma Cathedral and the majestic mountains beyond.
Home to one of the island’s most exclusive yacht marina’s, Port Portals is the place to be to rub shoulders with the island’s wealthy and glitterati. King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia can all be found dining here from time to time. With a plethora of luxury fashion boutiques and fine dining in abundance this is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious on the island. There’s also a lovely sandy beach and buzzing waterfront beach club to boot.
For many years this neighbourhood in the northeast fringes of Palma’s Old Town was one of the city’s sketchiest, with dilapidated housing, boarded up shops, and some questionable street life. While it remains somewhat unpolished in places, recent development has breathed new life into the area. This has resulted in the opening of some genuinely hip and interesting establishments, including a slew of hip bars, the excellent Bocalto restaurant, and the trendy Brick Hotel. There’s also still plenty of colourful graffiti and Banksy-eque street art to lend the place some urban edge.
Certainly one of the more laid-back seafront neighbourhoods you’re likely to find around Palma, Ciudad Jardín comprises largely of rows of old low-rise fisherman’s houses that stretch along the sandy coast between Portixol and the airport. The airport end has a relaxed-resort vibe especially in the summer when it attracts a mix of locals and tourists to its fine-sand beach. A pleasant beachfront promenade and cycle lane, a few lovely cafes and restaurants, and very light road traffic, also gives the area a chilled-out but buzzy outdoor vibe.
While more a community than a neighbourhood, this incredible village is suspended between the majestic Tranumtana mountains and the sky blue sea. The main town centre is built on top of a large hill with cascading terraces where cottages nestle amongst old walls and olive groves, under the watchful eye of the the magnificent cliffs of the Teix mountain. The twisting roads are popular with cyclists but mostly, everyone stops for food and drink to take in the views. In 1932, the poet and author Robert Graves built a home in Deia which is now open to tourists. Since then it has become home to many artists and millionaires who keep alive Graves’s tradition of swimming naked in the shingle cove of Cala Deia and hosting long weekend parties at the beach.