Find something for everyone on this Balearic Bohemia
Contrasting landscapes, crystal-clear coves, and the cosmopolitan capital of Palma are why many holidaymakers migrate to Majorca over the summer. But the Balearic island also has a lovely collection of picture-perfect towns and villages, which each comes with a wealth of events and activities to offer. Our Majorca expert, The Luxury Travel Book, let’s us in on their recommendations for where to go and what to do.
If history is your thing
Begin in the old town of Pollensa, originally founded in 1229 with the Catalan conquest of Majorca. The town has been conquered many times since, over the centuries, all of which has contributed to its rich history. Visitors can now explore its emblematic buildings, including the Calvari, the Parish Church and the Cloister of Sant Domingo. Don’t miss the Museum, located in the old cloister of the Dominicans, which dates back to 1588.
If you’re a creative type
In the early part of the last century, the beguiling beauty of the town and the area became an attraction for artists, writers and musicians. This artistic bunch were inspired by its allure, and Pollensa continues to draw many visitors for the very same reason year after year. The Festival de Pollenca takes place every August, and is a celebration of a wide range of music – including classical, contemporary and traditional from lesser-known places – along with film and literature.
If you like to get active
Pollensa offers some great outdoor pursuits for those who like to get their bodies moving,
The 9-hole Pollensa Golf Club is just 2km from the town and is spoilt with spectacular views of the Serra de Tramuntana and the bays of Pollensa and Alcúdia.
For hiking enthusiasts, take the 30-45 minute walk up to the Puig de Pollensa. The Puig de Maria is an ancient monastery which sits on top of a mountain next to the town, with wonderful views to the bay, Cap de Formentor and the Tramuntana mountains. There is a lovely little café at the top where you can treat yourself after your climb, as well as picnic tables if you’re organised enough to pack your own spread!
Cycling is a popular activity throughout Majorca, with an abundance of routes to suit single cyclists and groups of all levels. The abundant countryside and spectacular scenery around Pollensa make this an ideal area for cycling enthusiasts. One of the best-known cycling routes on the island can be found here: Port de Pollensa is at the foot of the windy 20km road, which finishes at the Cap de Formentor lighthouse.
If you’re craving relaxation
Just north of Pollensa, you will find some of the best beaches in Majorca, often less crowded than others. Puerta Pollensa is about 10 minute drive away, where you can rent boats, windsurfing equipment, small catamarans and water bikes. From Puerta Pollensa you can drive a little further or take a boat to Formentor beach, which is more secluded and even more beautiful.
On the north west of Majorca, on the coast between Soller and Valldemossa, is the breathtakingly beautiful, delightful village of Deia.
Robert Graves, the British poet and writer, spent his adult life in Deia, and the idyll is still home to numerous artists, writers, and musicians. You can see what inspired his writing and poetry while absorbing the atmosphere, taking in the vistas, and people watching with a coffee in one of many cafés and restaurants Deia has to offer. You are also welcomed to explore Graves’ home, which has been refurbished and opened to visitors in 2006.
Once you’ve had your fill of Deia’s bohemian streets and delectable cuisine, it’s well worth making the quick trip to Valldemossa. The charming village was home to composer Frédéric Chopin and his partner George Sand in 1838, while he recuperated from illness. Some of Chopin’s greatest compositions were created here, and his music has become part of the essence of the island.
Winding our way north, we find ourselves in picturesque Port de Soller. Another adorable village with intimate narrow street and ancient buildings, it was originally built as a seaport for the town of Soller.
The drive along the mountain road from Deia to Port de Soller is seriously scenic and comes highly recommended. However, a popular alternative way to travel is by the historic railway, which has connected Palma and Port de Soller since 1912.
During your visit, make sure you pop into Soller’s Museum Ca’n Prunera. The institution is dedicated to contemporary modernism, and features impressive works by Toulouse-Lautrec, Klee and Léger.
Making inroads inland, from Deia and Valldemossa, we discover Alaro. Charmingly traditional, the town makes a good base for those looking to explore the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, both on foot and by bike.
Alaro is well known for its hiking trail, an old stone road which begins in the town and traverses up past the 15th century castle. The climb takes about two hours, with picturesque picnic spots and a restaurant along the way. Once you reach the top, you are treated to spectacular panoramic views of the countryside and the sea. The surrounding area is also great for cycling too, if you prefer to explore on two wheels.
Not far from Alaro is Binissalem, is also just a short drive, full to the brim with vineyards and rich wine-making tradition. There is a hugely popular wine festival, Festa des Vermar, held in September, which celebrates the annual grape harvest with parades, grape-crushing competitions and wine-tasting contests. We’re sold!
We end our trip in picture-perfect Port d’Andratx. This quintessential fishing village is also one of Majorca’s most exclusive resorts.
For the rich and famous
It is clear to see why Port d’Andratx is such a popular haunt for celebrities and yachting enthusiasts; exceptional restaurants and bars are set around the happening harbour, making them ideal hang outs from which to watch the sun go down.
For the culture vultures
And there’s plenty on offer for the explores among you too. Remnants of the island’s rich and varied history are evident here, including the watch towers of Sant Carles and Sant Francesc, built to defend the area from pirate attacks. You’ll find the remains of a19th-century monastery – Monasterio de Santa Maria de la Trapa de Santa Susana to give its full name! – hidden in the nature reserve of La Trapa. From here, there are spectacular views out to sea and over to uninhabited Sa Dragonera islet. You can take a short boat trip over to Sa Dragonera, which has been a natural park since 1995, and explore the coves and hiking trails.
The Contemporary Arts Centre in Andratx hosts exhibitions featuring photography, sculptures and paintings by both local, national and international artists. The CCA also offers an artist-in-residence programme, which makes studios available for artists.
For the outdoorsy types
Interestingly, the Andratx Golf Club was designed by the famous Gleneagles, from Scotland! It is well-known that the 18-hole championship course is one of the most difficult and challenging in Majorca.
The lively Club de Vela marina has moorings for 500 boats and offers sailing lessons and canoeing during the year. The port is always full of life and oozing with character, as the fishermen bring in their daily catch. You can buy their fish fresh off the boats during the evenings.
Typically, the impressive scenery around Port d’Andratx’s attracts curious hikers and cyclists. The dramatic coastal hill roads can be enjoyed on foot or on wheels, and cyclists can venture deeper into the countryside towards the Tramuntana mountains for more challenging rides.
For the beach babes
For those in search of sun, sea and sand, there is a sprinkling of small beaches at the port which give easy access to crystal clear waters. And if you have your own transport, neighbouring Camp de Mar and Sant Elm resorts have large sandy beaches you can spread out on.
To find out more about Majorca and the most luxurious apartments available to rent, contact The Luxury Travel Book