Mallorca is the paradise that I never knew I was missing in my life...it truly is the ultimate destination for adventure seekers, families, romantics, friends, and those who want to escape some TLC. It was the perfect remote location for a gals' getaway, which is what my friends and I have been planning for months for our 4 year reunion since studying abroad together in Vienna. We wanted to pick somewhere tropical and warm, but intimate enough to catch up on life while sipping wine, enjoying tapas, and chilling on the beach. Check, check and check!
WHERE TO STAY
As a long-time loyal Marriott member, I always look forward to staying on Marriott properties for work, but even more so when I go abroad on vacation. There's just something about the international hospitality that is extra special, and the staff really go out of their way to make you feel at home even when you're thousands of miles away. With a group of 5 in Mallorca, we really wanted to find a spacious place that would allow us to spread out, have multiple bathrooms to make getting ready easier and faster in the morning, and a large common space for a lot of chatting. I am not a huge fan of Airbnb, only because I haven't had the best experiences on rentals with them, so I have been very partial to hotels because I enjoy the amenities and the personalized service.
The Marriott's Club Son Antem was the perfect fit for us because they offered private two and three bedroom townhouses that also included parking right outside for our rental car. The Vacation Club property is large, perfectly manicured, and offer all the amenities you could ever need without ever having to leave the property at all. The hotel's main building features both outdoor and indoor pool and saunas, a large area for playing sports and games outside, La Terrassa, a restaurant and bar serving up delicious international food throughout the day, and a spa for that well-deserved pamper treatment. Another feature of Club Son Antem that attracts guests year-round is the hotel's two 18-hole courses, driving range and putting green. Equipment rentals and lessons are available as well.
Although it's not a beachfront resort, Son Antem is only a 15 minute drive from Palma and the airport, and located very centrally on the island which makes getting around fairly simple. As guests, we felt incredibly welcomed and taken care of throughout our stay and we thoroughly enjoyed our few bottles of complimentary wine as well :) This is a terrific property for families and groups.
Many people visiting the island opt to stay in Palma, which is convenient for walking and has a variety of food options without having to drive or eat at your hotel. For the romantics and those who want to stay closer to the water, there are hundreds of hotels scattered along the coast of Mallorca island, ranging from hotels to luxury hotels. Port de Pollença, Port d'Alcúdia, Playa de Muro are popular options in the north, or head west and stay near Puerto Portals, Port d’Andratx and Port de Sóller.
Photos courtesy of Marriott
HOW TO GET AROUND
The easiest way to get around in Mallorca is to rent a car. There are plenty of car rental companies that you can choose from at the airport and around the island, so there are not shortage of options for your trip. Whether you want a sexy convertible to cruise around in or a reliable mini van to transport the fam, the choice is yours. We rented a cute forest green Mini Cooper Countryman from HASSO Rent A Car, which was a fairly easy process. After arriving at Palma de Mallorca airport, we hopped onto a shuttle outside which took us to the rental station where our car was waiting for us. to be picked up.
Driving in Mallorca is the easiest and cheapest way to get around the island, as taxis are infrequent to come by outside of Palma and can add up quickly going from beach to beach. Our hotel was very accommodating when we did find ourselves needing a taxi to get into town when we didn't have a designated driver or we didn't want to deal with parking. All of the beaches we visited and even Palma had plenty of parking options, so that was never a big concern.
Playa de Muro
Located in the Northeast of Mallorca in the town of Muro, Playa de Muro is the largest sand beach on the island and an oasis with a large, 6 km stretch of white sand beach that has something for everyone. It is considered to be a. blue-flag beach, a title given in recognition of water quality, environmental management, safety and services and environmental education and information across beaches and marinas. Playa de Muro is perfect for all ages, and there are plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars around the area. Best of all, it's easy to get to considering the number of hard-to-get to beaches on the island. So if you're not into winding roads and driving through mountains and cliffs, then this beach (and neighboring Alcudia beach) is definitely or you.
This part of Mallorca is very popular for sailing and water sports due to its large bay and favorable winds. It's a great place for water-skiing, jet skiing, paragliding and serves as a common pick-up point for scuba diving companies. Public facilities are available and you can rent chairs and umbrellas all along the beach for a small daily fare. We really enjoyed lounging around for an afternoon nap and enjoyed golden hour in the evening.
Facilities: On-site changing facilities with showers and toilets are all within easy walking distance from the beach. Taxi's are much more available here as well, which is a transportation option to consider if you are not driving.The beach is. divided into 4 sections, but sectors 1, 2 and 4 are the most wheelchair and handicap accessible with the boardwalk and parking the closest to the beach
Parking: Street parking is free and quite easy to find near the shore, although it make take a round or two in the late morning and afternoon during busy beach times. On-site parking is also available.
Playero Bar Rte & Platja Alcudia
Summer time in NYC is full of rooftop bar hopping, but I would take a drink by the ocean over it any day. After basking in the sun all afternoon at Playa de Muro, we walked to neighboring Alcudia Beach to take in the rainbow sunset and warm breeze. By this point in the evening, the typically busy beach had cleared out and we had the entire stretch of sand all to ourselves. We enjoyed some fruity frozen cocktails at Playero Bar Rte, a full-service beach bar with fabulous unobstructed views of the sea.
Sunrise at Pollença Beach
As much as I love a good sunrise, it's not very often I'll voluntarily offer to get up at the crack of dawn to go see one. But when your hotel is footsteps from the beach in freaking Mallorca, you have to at least make the effort, right? We headed to Pollença Beach at 7am, which was about a 7 minute walk to the shore, leaving us a good 10 minutes before official sunrise. Simply put, oit ne of the most beautiful sunrises I've ever seen in my entire life. Clear skies, calm waters, rainbow skies, and golden light all to ourselves. I treasure those moments of peace so dearly and it was a reminder to enjoy the little things in life. Waking up super early isn't for everyone (especially on vacation), but I highly recommend trying to catch at least one sunset on your trip, wherever you go!
Mirador d'es Colomer
My friends and I spent our first night at a hotel near Port de Pollença in the north of Mallorca before transferring over to the Marriott Club Son Antem for the remainder of the trip. We really wanted to spend a day exploring the beautiful northern part of the island that I've read so much about and seen so many pictures of while researching places to visit.
One of the most beautiful things about Mallorca is it's incredibly diverse landscape. You have Palma as a town to explore and beaches that are easy to get to on flat roads like Playa de Muro and Playa de Alcudia, but to fully experience all of Mallorca's rugged beauty, you're going to have to hold on to your seats. Up in the Sierra Tramuntana mountain range, Mirador d'es Colomer is perched over 300 meters about sea level on precipitous cliffs. It's officially known as the Mirador del Mal Pas, but gets it more common name since it overlooks the small islet of Colomer. The Mirador has vistas of both the bay of Alcudia and Puerto Pollença on the north side of the Formentor Peninsula. You can also see the open Mediterranean toward the beautiful neighboring island of Menorca. The viewpoint is very safe, as there are new safety barriers, ramps for disabled access and paved steps.The road is winding and definitely not for beginners or those with a fear of heights, but the drive is an experience in itself. To get to the beautiful viewpoint, the drive is about 10-15 minutes from the Port de Pollença.
I highly recommend coming as early as possible (but when there is light) since parking is limited and. it gets very crowded in the afternoon. Our second attempt up to the viewpoint, we arrived right after sunrise and it was quiet and magical. It was a bit hazy from the morning's golden light, but I promise the peaceful views are worth the early wake up call and heart-pounding drive.
Platja de Formentor
If you're visiting Mirador d'es Colomer, you're already half way to a handful of Mallorca's most spectacular beaches, so don't stop here after visiting the viewpoint! Continue on the road for about 15 minutes and you will reach Platja de Formentor, another stunning Blue-Flag beach with sparkling blue-green water. This gorgeous white-sand beach is set in a beautiful and dramatic landscape with dense pine forests and incredible views of the Tramuntana mountains. Because it also backs directly into the pine forest, it's great for shade on those extra sunny days.
The beach is quite long (1 km), although it is also very skinny, and fills up quite quickly as the secret is out on this gem. It's a frequent stop for many tourists who head toward Cap de Formentor, which is the farthest point north on the island with scenic views, a lighthouse, and potential sightings of Menorca. We arrived quite early at around 8am, so we were one of the first to arrive. By 10am, the secluded beach started to get crowded, so get here early!
Facilities: There are 2 restaurants on the beach (one is a self-service snack bar and the other is a more upscale spot with a larger selection of beach food including as pizza, burgers and fish). There are also toilets and showers on site, which is very convenient, especially for families. Chairs and umbrella rentals are also available, but limited and there is a selection of water activities you can choose from which are available for rental as well (paddle boarding, snorkeling, windsurfing, etc.) I had bought a snorkeling set the day before, so I enjoyed searching for fish in the shallow, calm waters.
Parking: There is a large parking lot, but it is also known to fill up during peak times and busy months. The cost for parking for the day varies depending on the time of year, but can cost up to 15 Euro a day.
Love these sunnies? They're the Citadel style from MVMT! I loved rocking them all trip long. They're study, sexy and come in. a sleek and buttery case. Use the code PENNYANDDASH15 for 15% off your total purchase over at MVMT, watches included!
Lunch at Bistro Mercat
I definitely needed my tapas fix at almost every meal in Spain, and our lunch over at Bistro Mercat was perfection on every level. We stopped by the sleepy, quiet town of Llucmayor on the way to Mondrago National Park, and decided to stop for a bite before the beach. With a group of 4 at the time, we shared about 6-7 tapas, ranging from classic patatas bravas, to bacon wrapped dates, baby squid and crispy croquettes. Oh, can't forget that delicious jamón ibérico and pan con tomate! They have a loaded menu of delicious tapas options and a wide selection of fresh juices and smoothies too.
Mondragó Natural Park
Famous for its white sand beaches and turquoise sea, Mondragó Natural Park is a must-visit on the Southeastern cost of Mallorca. Though it is quite remote, and the tail end of the drive requires navigating a very narrow 2-lane road, you won't want to miss the stunning cliffs and backdrop of both Cala Mondrago and S'Aramador Beach, located within the park. We only visited Cala Mondrago, but spent a good 4-5 hours relaxing, reading and enjoying the warm waters. The beach did get quite crowded in afternoon so consider heading just a bit east for S'Aramador Beach, which is much larger.
The drive total drive from Palma is about an hour, but if you are looking to stay closer to these two beaches, there are some accommodation options in the rural town of Santanyi and the coastal resort of Cala d'Or.
Facilities: There is a small snack shack and bar at Cala Mondrago, but no restaurants available so bring your own picnic and snacks for the day. Snorkeling is quite popular at this beach as well and there are other water sports available, including kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.
Parking: There is a large parking lot offering free parking, and the walk is less than 10 minutes to the beach!
Breakfast at Rosevelvet (Palma)
Sometimes (even in Spain) you miss a little something more commonly found at home. We found ourselves at Rosevelvet for breakfast, a cute bakery cafe located in the heart of Palma. They have a great selection of pastries, sandwiches, and breakfast plates and bowls. They even have oat milk (instant win in. my book). I thoroughly enjoyed my (beautiful) avocado toast and oat milk chai latte, while my friends enjoyed fresh banana bread and granola fruit bowls.
Hike to Sa Foradada
One of Mallorca's unique gems is Sa Foradada, a distinctive rock formation in the Northwest of the island near the town of Deià. It is about a 45 minute north of Palma, and can be accessed up to a certain point with a vehicle. To access the walk to the tip of Sa Foradada, you have to park your car at the Estate of Son Marroig, just off the road between Velldemossa and Deià. You will come across a gate near the parking area that is marked "Sa Foradada" which you pass and continue down the distinct foot path through centuries-old olive trees.
The biggest draw of this walk of Sa Foradada is actually what's found at the end - an incredible Spanish restaurant, rightfully called, Sa Foradada, serving some of the best paella on the island. It certainly makes the 45 minute walk worth every step to get a bite of fresh seafood paella.
Unfortunately for us, the weather did not cooperate the day we attempted the walk at Sa Foradada. We made it about half way. before the rain and winds really started to kick in. We weren't even sure if the restaurant was still open at that point because they had issued a code warning for severe weather earlier that morning. Though we missed out the opportunity to dine at the end of the hike, I highly encourage you to check it out on a clearer day and to make reservations in advance.
Mercado Gastronómico San Juan
Living in NYC, we are blessed with rotating farmers markets on the weekends all over town, Chelsea Market, and more recently the new, incredible Time Out Food Market in DUMO, Brooklyn. I love nothing more than checking out the food halls other cities have to offer, and trying all of their local cuisine all under one roof.
Mercado Gastronómico San Juan is an indoor food hall set in a spectacular modernist building and commercial center, S'Escorxador. Built in the early twentieth century, the Gastronomic Market San Juan is the first of its kind in Mallorca. It is located in Palma, about a 5-10 minute car ride north from the heart of town.
The first floor contains about a dozen or so food stalls with a wide selection to satisfy any craving. You can get everything from pitchers of fresh fruit sangria and made-to-order personal paellas to fresh catches of the day and a selection of all your favorite traditional tapas. There is plenty of high top seating on the first floor, and additional seating on the second floor, which is where the restrooms are also located. The market concept is awesome for great groups because everyone can choose a dish and bring it back to the table for a mini potluck.
Palma is the capital of Mallorca, located on the southern coast along the Bay of Palma. The vibrant city spans around 80 square miles and dates back to the 13th century Christian reconquest of the island and to the Moors, Romans and Talayotic people before that. Palma is wildly rich in history and one of Mallorca's greatest treasures. In addition to the many history sites scattered around the city, there is also an endless array of restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops that have popped up over the centuries.
One of Palma's most recognizable sites is The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu. It is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral that dates back to the early 1200s but was completed in 1601. The cathedral area is known as the historical heart of Palma, and a great starting point to begin wandering around and exploring every crevice of the city. Wander in every direction from the cathedral and you will come across medieval street lines with aristocratic townhouses, public squares, baroque churches, narrow alleyways, and bohemian neighborhoods. I highly recommend spending an entire day exploring Palma on foot to get the best
Other major sites you can't miss in Palma include Almudaina Palace, Old Town, Castell de Ballveral, and the Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art.
Tapas at Bar España
Nestled in a dark corner just off a main street in Palma, Bar España is a bustling tapas restaurant and bar that I highly recommend checking out. It was a bit difficult to find with following precise Google map instructions and even with verbal instructions from locals, but once we found it, we knew we were at the right place. 8:30pm was prime town at the restaurant; every bar seat and table was taken, and we waited a full 30 minutes before finally being seated. The menu has a. good selection of traditional tapas and unique options, and pinchos can be chosen directly at the bar. After ordering an assortment of patatas bravas, mini burger, duck with goat cheese, etc., we headed toward the bar with our places and selected a few additional pinchos (skewered pieces of toast with toppings). Prices are very reasonable and it was a great value considering the. fast service and great ambiance.
Caló des Moro
This small, rocky beach is one of Mallorca's best not-so-secret treasures. Tucked in a cove and framed by high and overgrown cliffs, Caló des Moro is an oasis with shallow turquoise water and picture perfect views. It is one of the most stunning beaches on the island and is great for lounging around all day in pool floaties and enjoying the beautiful sunset. Caló des Moro is located about 6 km from Santanyi in the southeast corner of the island, about a 45 minute drive from Palma. The road is quite narrow, but you will get there, I promise!
Parking; Follow the directions on your maps and you will reach the parking lot for the beach. From here, you will pass Cala s'Almunia on the way, but continue to Caló des Moro. You will have to earn the beach views with a short hike, which will take another 10-15 minutes on foot. There is a steep rocky staircase that you will have to descend in order to reach the sandy cove - be careful!
Facilities: There are no facilities close to this beach, so make sure to pack your lunches and snacks and bring entertainment, whether they be floaties, snorkels, etc. Part of what makes this beach so special is how little they try to exploit and build on the land. Treat it with respect, and as always make sure to bring an extra bag to take away all of your trash.
Tip: Arrive EARLY. This beach is quite small with only 40 meters of it covered in fine-grained sand. The beach starts filling up quickly before 10am, so you will want to come as early as possible to secure a good spot. Most people will spent 4-5 hours here, but we spent a whopping 8!
Dinner at Contrabando in Llucmayor
Talk about an amazing last dinner in Mallorca! Contrabando is a Tapas Bar located in the town of Llucmayor, a 20 minute drive from Palma. We stopped by for dinner after spending the entire afternoon at Caló des Moro with no expectations, and boy were we blown away. The restaurant is quite large and airy with modern yet rustic decor, and service was friendly and quick considering that we were one of the only parties since it was early for dinner. The showstoppers of the evening were the delicious tapas, that came out about 3 at a time (we ordered about 8 to share between 6 of us). Every single dish was spectacular, but I particularly loved the grilled octopus, mushroom, and meatballs!
And don't forget dessert! The selection is overwhelming and not for the indecisive, but we were very pleased with the crema catalana and the Mallorcan tiramisu.
Thank you Mallorca for a beautiful time and even more spectacular views. If you haven't been yet, I hope this post gives you a lttle more motivation to visit on your next holiday!