Mallorca is easy to spend a lot of time in. Being super quick to get to from the UK, with a rich culture, warm weather and so much to explore has made the island an almost annual pilgrimage for me over the last decade (Covid aside).
Friends come for golf weekends or lazy weeks in lovely villas. But I’ve always loved spending a few days in Palma, it’s such an amazing city it’s a shame to drive straight through it and out to the cost. So wander the streets, taste your way through the markets and peruse the promenade before heading down the coast (we normally head to Port Andratx).
Here are a few places to go and things to try if you have a week in Mallorca.
There’s so much jammed into this vibrant city and a lot of history to boot. Take your time exploring the streets, squares and definitely don’t miss the Cathedral (it would be very hard to miss it). And if you end up in any of the places below then you have somewhere to head to if you need it.
Hit up the indoor market for quick drinks and delicious tapas – just don’t leave it too late as it shuts in the afternoons. A bustling atmosphere to a backdrop of gorgeous flowers, endless rows of cured meats and mouth-watering cheeses.
It’s the hub for local chefs to find the best ingredients and a place to find spices, meats, vegetables and seafood that can be hard to source elsewhere on Mallorca. It even gave us a little inspiration to swap flower for a vibrant bouquet of chilli’s. Much more up our street.
If you’re in Santi Catalina for breakfast then you should try it here. The logo seems to be a dog weeing up a tree but don’t let that put you off. It was our favourite breakfast stop in Palma. Super fresh burata on black olive bread and tomato pesto was the perfect way to blow away a few glasses of last nights wine.
Now you’re in the beating heart of Santi Catalina to explore the ancient houses, windmills, bakeries and endless coffee shops. And if you must check your emails or need a couple of hours on the laptop then ‘Simple Smart Food Bar’ is a great place to knuckle down. Minimalist vibe, all exposed concrete and huge open void for windows, plus the juices are great.
The old town, away from the harbour front, is where to head in the evenings. It’s much quieter with better food and a super friendly vibe. Roam the piazzas and pop up bars grabbing Spanish omelette, padron peppers and albondigas as you ditch the English pints (pinta) for a nice cold caña. The smaller size means the beer stays cooler in the summer. Much better than a warm pint.
Once it gets to dinner time, La Bodeguilla was discovered on our last trip to Mallorca and may just be a stop on every holiday from now on. The suckling pig melts in your mouth and the skin a super thin crispy crackling like I’d never tasted. Octopus and pig jowl came first and do even better. Our table of 7 had 14 dishes we each thought was the best. Even the bread and oil was great. Basically head here and you’ll get a great meal.
Next door to La Bodeguilla the hotel bar Za-atar is a great spot in a grand old inner courtyard full of dramatic lighting and big old palms. They have some great local beers and the cocktails are well worth trying. We actually delayed our dinner reservation to stay here for a few more tipples.
And once dinner is all said and done and you find yourself wandering the streets. Head to Bar Nicolás for a refreshing gin and tonic looking over the old square. If they don’t have your gin of choice I’d be amazed.
If you’re looking for a little exploration slightly further a field of have a bit more time to explore then there are plenty of places to head just outside Palma.
The circular Castell de Bellver (castle) sitting high up above the port (you could walk there, but it’s better to walk back if you have the time and it’s not too hot). It’s better to take a taxi for around 6€ its easier than the bus and has air conditioning.
You’ll be met with fantastic views across the city and the bay, plus you can learn a little about the history of Palma and the island. From city planning over the ages to revolts, plots and bloodshed.
If you fancy a full day trip out (the train times make it a full day) then hop on the train and head up to Soller, you’ll even find Picasso ceramics without leaving the station. There’s an old school tram that links the old town and the port so you can explore the harbour front as well as amazing walks around the old town.
Head here on a Saturday and you likely stumble across market stalls groaning with colourful fruits and vegetables, Mallorcan pottery and island delicacies. Don’t miss the areas famed oranges – they even have a festival just for them.
One of the best things you can do in Mallorca is head left along the sea front on a bicycle from Palma. Heading down past the lovely Portixol to Ciutat Jardi and beyond. Passing countless restaurants, bars and cafés so sample and all on a completely flat and very wide cycle path that makes the whole experience a breeze. Pop into beach clubs, stroll the beaches and marvel at the architecture.
Once you’ve had a blast in Palma it’s time to switch for a slower pace of life and spend some time in a rather swanky Port Andratx villa. Laze by the pool, head into town for dinner or shopping and generally get a little more relaxed.
Universal has the best beers in town in a great location right on the corner to catch the sunset. Great stop for a cheeky drink at the bar before dinner. And if you can bag a table it’s some of the best grub in town. Well worth booking, especially on the weekend.
Tim’s is essentially the hub of the port, sprawling across the front. We loved the bao buns with Iberico pork. Perfect with a bottle of the rosado pallido watching the port go by. It’s also the unoffical gay bar of the port and next door no. 11 is another great spot for pre dinner drinks.
Head back from the front and you’ll find the best fish restaurants and the nice quirky cafes with green courtyards to escape the heat with shade under the trees and a light breeze. Breens.deli is a nice little find for super fresh juices and a light lunch. But there are plenty of streets to explore away from the water front.
Back on the front, cappuccino is the place to watch everyone who rents the little motorboats and tugs not requiring a licence try to manoeuvre in and out the port. And more generally watch the whole port walk past.
Looking for something a little different? Casa Ton right on the street next to a wonderful interior design shop (if only we owned a villa out here) is the spot. Looks unassuming and the guy who served us was incredibly knowledgeable on all things food and wine. Plus, my god the prawns slayed. (The Mallorcan red prawns that is – see them, eat them).
The wine was delicious and it was our favourite pit stop in town. A must for a long, tasty wine soaked lunch. And they let us in on the little secret that Binnissalem is apparently the spot in Mallorca for super fine rosé