WHERE — Mallorca, Spain
PHOTOGRAPHY — Jessie Bush, Sam Flaherty
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH — Faithfull The Brand
It’s no great mystery that Mallorca is one of my favourite summer haunts. I know that for a lot of Brits there’s a ‘spring break’ stigma, but given that I grew up on the other side of the world I have no such associations.
Don’t get me wrong – tourism is deeply entrenched in Mallorca – although realistically I think that’s true of most accessible places in the world. But what wins my vote is that despite the hoards of holiday makers who visit each year, there are still countless untouched beaches you can reach via moped, sleepy villages that have retained their Mallorcan charm and properties to rent that feel as though they are truly in the middle of nowhere. That and the insanely turquoise water.
Mallorca: where the sea looks like a swimming pool
Mallorca is a quick 50 minute flight from Barcelona, although there are countless direct flights from all over Europe, making it a super easy island destination to get to.
Although most of the main towns and villages are serviced by bus (and a few lucky spots on the west coast by train), your best bet is to hire a car from Palma Airport and go from there. Despite being a relatively small island, Mallorca has impressively massive highways, making driving super straight-forward.
However if you just want stick to one part of the island then you can definitely take a taxi/bus/train to your destination and then just hire a moped for a few days so you can explore nearby beaches.
Where to Stay
Although there are some beautiful hotels in Mallorca, to me one of the best part about coming here is booking a traditional Spanish home near the beach (and a pool if you’re lucky) without breaking the bank.
If you have time, I’d suggest breaking your trip into two parts. First up, head along the west coast to the incredibly picturesque villages of Valldemossa and Deia for a few nights to get your fill of cobblestone streets, dangling wisteria and hilly village views.
Then once you’re itching for some beach time, head across the island to the east coast where you will find the clearest, bluest waters you’ve ever laid eyes on. Cala D’Or is pretty touristic but is conveniently located near lots of dreamy beaches and Cala Mondrago National Park. Spots like Cala Romantica, Cala Mandia and Cala Murada have epic beaches without being too built up. There are a lot of apartments available right on the water (provided you book early enough) – and really, what’s better than waking up to sea views?
Oh, the wisteria
Where to Eat
I will admit, that whilst I love Spanish food (yes, even as a vegetarian), restaurants on Mallorca aren’t exactly cutting edge. But what they lack in kale, craft beer and flat whites, they make up in homemade aioli – which is the go-to starter of the Balearic Islands.
For a super quaint courtyard and an affordable fresh homemade cooking that will make you wish your mother was Spanish, Restaurante Sa Vinya is the real deal. Take a seat outside and enjoy the super friendly service (they even let me order meat dishes and swap out the meat – which is definitely not the norm in Europe).
Restaurante Sa Vinya, Carrer Viña Vieja, 07179 Deià
For breathtaking ocean views (not to mention the best spot on the island for sunset drinks), Mirador de Na Foradada Restaurant is the ticket. Google Maps says it’s closed, but just follow the sign from the main road and head towards the sea. Given this place could be popular from the views alone, the food is still delicious and the prices are more than fair. Definitely worth hunting down – there’s nothing better than a long lunch on the deck outside.
Mirador de Na Foradada Restaurant, Diseminado Sa Foradada, 2, 07179 Deià
I know you don’t come to Spain for the Italian food, but I had the best pasta of my life (twice) at the incredibly unassuming Cafe Mama Mia. From the outside it looks little more than a local canteen, but the Italian couple understand what it means to make great food. Best of all, it’s open all day and is directly across from the sea.
Cafe Mama Mia, Ronda Matí, 31, 07687 S’Illot-Cala Morlanda
For a modern take on Spanish cuisine, Quince Restaurante y Catina is my favourite spot for a delicious meal that will satisfy even the most skeptical traveler. They also offer a a few non-Spanish options such as curry, gyoza and beetroot salad which doesn’t hurt if you’ve been living off tapas. All served whilst overlooking the marina and nearby bay.
Quince Restaurante y Catina, Carrer del Verí, 1, 07680 Porto Cristo
What to Eat
And just incase your trip to Mallorca is also your induction to Spanish cuisine, make sure you try:
Padron Peppers: small, green, non-spicy peppers that are pan fried in oil and served with chunky seat salt. Way more delicious that it sounds.
Pa Amboli (homemade aioli): obviously this is self explanatory, but homemade aioli in the Balearic Islands is akin to the baguette in France. Yes it will make you gain 3 pounds, but you eat it with most meals because it’s so damn delicious. Often served with mini rolls and green olives.
Locals order Gin & Tonic’s, tourists order sangria.
Spanish Omelette: again – this one is pretty self explanatory – but I promise that a real Spanish omelette is nothing how the rest of the world interprets it. It’s bigger, more oily, less eggy and has way more potato. And is all kinds of delicious.
The Best Beach
I’ve created an entire blog post to the best beaches of Mallorca, so feel free to check that out. But if I had to pick one, Cala Varques is an untouched, turquoise heaven.
What to Do
Walk around the cobbled streets of Valldemossa, go to Cala Mondrago National Park and walk through the forest and along the rocky coastline, go skinny dipping in Cala Varques, discover the old town of Pollenca, take a trip out to Cap de Formentor and take a day trip to Cabrera National Park.
What to Pack
As a chronic over-packer this concise list is as much for me as it is for you. Pack your favourite bikini and/or one-piece (although many beaches are clothing optional).
The sun can get pretty fierce so don’t forget a wide-brim hat. Just stuff your delicates in the head and lay clothes flat over the brim to keep it’s shape in your suitcase.
You will live in denim shorts so pack your favourite vintage pair.
Mallorca was made for white linen dresses. After the beach. Before the beach. Out to dinner. You get the idea.
As far as footwear goes don’t bother going overboard (no you don’t need those extra pair of heels). A pair of trainers, sand-friendly sandals and linen espadrilles is all you need. Not only are espadrille’s authentically Spanish, they are also super comfortable and universally flattering. Win, win.
Don’t forget good beach towel – preferably a pretty Turkish one as they are lightweight, take up minimal space and dry quickly.
And lastly, pack plenty of books. Expect to spend a lot of time at the beach with a book in hand.