With idyllic beaches, jaw droppingly beautiful mountains, picture perfect villages and a vibrant capital city, the Spanish island of Mallorca is one of the most romantic getaways in Europe. Its alluring ambiance even led to the TV series Love Island to be filmed here. That said, there are parts of the island that are over-touristed and over developed, two qualities that are hardly romantic. Discover the top romantic things to do in Mallorca and how to plan the perfect romantic getaway to Mallorca with our mini-guide!
Mallorca, The Island of Love
Mallorca (also spelt Majorca) is the largest island in the Balearic Islands, an archipelago of four islands in the Mediterranean Sea east of the Spanish city of Valencia. Covering over 3,500 km2 (1,400 sq mi), the north of the island features the UNESCO World Heritage listed Tramuntana Mountains, which give the island a greener feel than its sister island Ibiza (see our Romantic Guide to Ibiza here). Mallorca also has less of a party scene than Ibiza, making it possibly a better fit for a romantic holiday, a fact that is augmented by an overall romantic ambiance thanks to quiet cobbled streets, magical historic sites and stunning scenery. Here are some general pointers to keep in mind for your trip and suggested activities for your itinerary below!
General Tips for a Romantic Trip to Mallorca
- Visit Off-Season: If you can manage to visit in spring or autumn, you’ll beat the summer crowds… and have more places to yourselves! We went in early November, the weather was pleasant and we could even swim in the sea.
- Stay in a Boutique Hotel: Mallorca has some absolutely magical hotels (see our recommendations below). These are often found in a historic buildings and provide the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. Plus, you’ll find that they are good value for money compared to other destinations.
- Weekend in Palma: If you only have a weekend, no worries! Palma is super romantic and has enough to do over a weekend, plus there are some beaches you can get to from town.
- Rent a Car: If you want to enjoy the best of Mallorca, stay at least four or five days and rent a car to explore. Car rentals are quite reasonably priced.
- Carless Option: If you don’t drive, fear not. There are public buses that get to some of the main destinations as well as a train to Sóller, although you’ll be somewhat limited.
- Explore the Villages in the North: The villages in the northwest of the island are super romantic, see the section on them below!
- Beach hop in the Northeast: The beaches in the northeast are splendid and more authentic.
- Sample Island Specialities: Due to its size, climate and terroir, Mallorca has some wonderful local food products from delicious wines to cheese and meats, perhaps best enjoyed tapas style!
- Budget: In general Spain is a cheaper destination in Europe compared to more northern countries. However, as tourism is an important economic driver of the island, prices are a little higher than other parts of Spain. It’s comparable to Barcelona or around 10-15% cheaper than Paris.
- Language: The Island’s native language is Catalan, however, you can easily get by in English or a little Spanish.
- Google Map: At the bottom of the article is a handy Google Map with most of the places included in our guide. You can also access it here.
Day 1: Palma de Mallorca by Night
If you’re coming to Palma from a European city, there’s a good chance you’ll arrive either in the afternoon or the early evening, which is the ideal time to stroll around Palma de Mallorca. A sizeable city of 400,000, it feels very much like a local city and not just for tourists. Nevertheless, the historic center is remains intimate, thanks to traffic limitations and ancient narrow streets. Ancient indeed, as the history of the Palma goes back 2,000 years when the Romans set up an outpost here on the Bay of Palma. The city retains some evidence from that period as well as layers from the Moors, who ruled it from 902 to 1229, and then five centuries of regal architecture as the capital of the Kingdom of Majorca.
You can take in this ambiance on a romantic stroll atop the old city walls in the Parc de la Mar. Revamped as a pretty promenade overlooking the sea, and with some man-made water basins below, you’ll also find little romantic nooks where you can stop for a lovers’ cuddle. This also runs alongside the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, which dominates the city and is beautifully lit at night. If you’re in time for sunset, you might like to take a detour down to the the Puerto de Palma, the port which has some bars and restaurants, or you can simple admire the setting sun over the boats and mega yachts.
Afterwards, turn into the city where you can easily get lost in Palma’s maze of crooked cobbled streets. And getting lost is part of the fun! It’s a safe city and ultra romantic when there are few people around! When hunger strikes, you’re in the perfect place for tapas. Some of the best tapas (and ambiance) in town can be Bar España or for a more romantic atmosphere, seek out Bodega Can Rigo, which also has some exceptional local wines and food items. If you want to get a little off the beaten track, then make your way to the Plaça Llorenç Bisbal, a pretty square flanked by the medieval Nuestra Señora del Socorro church and home to the local hangout Bar Rita. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more sophisticated romantic meal, book a table at the Can Cera Gastro-Bar, where you can sample gastronomic tapas in the gorgeous setting of the courtyard of a historic mansion (see more in the hotel section below or here). See more suggestions on dining on our Google Map (not all personally tested).
Day 2: Exploring Palma’s Palaces, Cobbled Streets & Plazas
Palma de Mallorca is also very charming by day (albeit a little more crowded due to cruise passengers and groups). You may like to go inside some of its top historic sites like the Cathedral, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina, the Fundación Bartolomé March, a historic mansion turn modern art museum (somewhat limited collection, but lovely building and views!). Do was wandering on the streets south of the Cathedral, where you can also find the Banys Arabs, the remains of the Arab Baths. One of the most romantic places in Palma, there’s also a pretty garden where you can take a break. If you’d like to do more historic discoveries in the afternoon consider a jaunt to the Castell de Bellver, a circular fortress crowning a hill little northwest of the center.
Another nice thing to do, around lunch time, is to drift over to the Mercat de Santa Catalina. A great local market you can pick up some picnic supplies from the array of vendors or stop for some tapas and other quick bites from some of the bars. The surrounding streets also have a range of restaurants, including some that are more modern in style. The area is also lively at night in case you want to come back later on (although the market itself closes at 5pm).
Where to Stay in Palma de Mallorca
Located in beautifully restored historic mansions, the refined collection of IT Mallorca present the best and most charming boutique hotels in Palma de Mallorca. Each of their four Palma hotels is unique and has characteristics to fit various tastes — from classic to contemporary chic. Read more in my review of IT Mallorca boutique hotels here.
Day 3: Exploring the Villages of the Northwest
Many of the prettiest villages of Mallorca are nestled within the Tramuntana mountains in the west and north of the country. Valldemossa is a good place to start. The charming town is perfect for strolling, as you wander you’ll find some medieval churches, smart boutiques and a number of impressive viewpoints. The town is dominated by the Real Cartuja de Valldemossa, a Carthusian Monastery which has a romantic twist as Chopin and George Sand spent the winter of 1838-39 here. There’s a small museum dedicated to them in town and you can find a statue of Chopin in the Jardins Rei Joan Carles, picturesque gardens behind the monastery. You may want to stay for lunch in town, or for a snack and coffee stop in at Panadería Pastelería Ca’n Molinas. Opened in 1920, this is the birthplace of the island’s famous coca de patata (potato roll), they sell a variety of other baked goods which you can enjoy in their nice back garden.
Hop back in your car and drive onto the next destination which is smaller in size, but not in charm: Déia. The bewitching hilltop village has been popular with artists, musicians and writers since the early 1800s and, in more recent decades, flasher international figures including Richard Branson and Princess Diana. You’ll enjoy a wander around town and literary fans might like to stop in at the Casa Robert Graves, where the English poet and novelist lived on the outskirts of the village.
Déia isn’t far from the sea (there is a little Cala, a peppled cove below the village), and its from this point north where the drive gets truly spectacular as you (slowly) cruise along the coastal road high above the sparkling aquamarine waters of the Med. The road will slowly take you to Sóller, a larger buzzing town. It also has a port, which you can reach via the old fashioned tram from town. With a convenient location and good variety of restaurants, Sóller makes for the perfect place to stay for exploring the area.
Where to Stay in Northwestern Mallorca
The Gran Hotel Sóller, a 5-star hotel and spa found in a restored beautiful art nouveau in the center of town. It has lovely rooms, some with wonderful terraces, as well as an attractive restaurant, a rooftop terrace with a bar and pool, a spa with an indoor pool, all within walking distance to the attractions of Sollér. Learn more on the Gran Hotel Sóller in my review here.
Day 4: High Heights in the North & Center
From Sollér you have a few options. If you would like to delve deeper into the Tramuntana mountains, then a short drive east of Sóller is Fornalutx, another gorgeous stone village. Surrounded by mountains, citrus and olive groves, it’s particularly lovely. You can also do some hiking straight from the village. Back in your car, you can decide to traverse the mountain range. I have to admit, it’s a bit hair-raising at times, however, the views are simply breathtaking. There are some belvedere view points on the route. The road also takes you past the Santuari de Lluc. One of the holiest sites on the island, you can visit and have lunch at the serene monastery before carrying on your journey down into the center of the island.
If you’re interested in wine, then you might rather opt to head to the center of the island, where the gentled rolling hills host some of the islands best vineyards. You can visit these by yourself or aboard the Wine Gourmet Train, this departs at 3:30pm Mondays and Thursdays from the Bodega Jose Luis Ferrer and stops in at this famous winery and other local vineyards. For touring yourself, other notable wineries between Palma and Inca you can do visits and tastings at include Macia Batle and Angel Bodegas. Or you can enjoy some local wine with some stunning views by staying at a historic finca in the area like the Finca Albellons below.
Where to Stay in the Center of Mallorca
Sitting high on the crest of a hill above Inca and overlooking a valley of century’s old olive groves, the Finca Hotel Albellons Parc Natural is a lovely restored historic farm that has been converted into a boutique hotel. In addition to its incredible serene setting, it has a wonderful infinity pool and a great restaurant. Read more about the hotel in my review at this link.
Day 5+: Touring the Northeast Coast
Wait… what’s this mention of gorgeous turquoise waters without including any beaches? Of course not! Mallorca has many beaches, however, some (especially in the south) are highly developed. This is also sadly happening in the northeast, nevertheless, there are still some places you can experience Mallorca’s coastal beauty. Of course, a visit to the beach is somewhat dependant on the time of year… but as I said above, we visited in November and still cold swim. The Formentor Peninsula in the far northeastern corner of the island is home to some splendid calas (coves) like the Platja de Formentor, Cala Figuera or more hidden Cala Murta. You can take in some exquisite views at the Mirador Es Colomer or the Cap de Formentor lighthouse, a bit of a drive at the end of the peninsula.
You could stop in the Port of Pollença for lunch or the prettier village of Pollença which is a little inland and is good for a stroll and for shopping (it’s also home to a Roman bridge!).
A little further south, the town of Alcúdia is also worth stopping in. It has number of Roman and medieval ruins and is atmospheric in the evenings as well. It sits at the top end of the sweeping Bay of Alcúdia, which is lined with beaches. The ones on the far south end of the bay, like the traditional fishing village Colònia de Sant Pere, are more offbeat and are away from the crowds.
There’s so much to do in this part of Mallorca, and on the island itself, you may need to stay longer… or come back!
Happy Romancing in Mallorca everyone!
Note: a special thanks to all of the hotels and their staff for helping introduce us to the island and to Clarisse for joining along on the research!