Three weeks of adventure filled travel around the island of Mallorca. From the best beaches to the most inspiring hikes and food, of course.
Traveling around Mallorca was very simple. We rented a car twice and took the bus a couple times as well. Mallorca’s bus system can get you to the majority of the island in a reasonable amount of time. We rented from Europcar, which was super cheap. The advantage of a case is that you can discover hidden beaches in corners where the bus just doesn’t reach.
We have a habit of not only searching out the best food, but driving ourselves crazy finding the best beach off the beaten path. While this leads to aggravating moments, it also brought us to amazing places.
The first adventure was around the west and northwest coast including a stop in the mountain town of Valldemossa. We visited here twice – once by rental car and the next by bus since it’s a short ride from Palma.
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The whole northern part of the island is very mountainous. Below is a glimpse of the coastal road panaromas along the way to Valldemossa.
Not a bad view, right?
And when you reach Valldemossa, the view of the valley itself is quite amazing! Since there aren’t too many roads, it’s easy to find your way and there is plenty of parking in town.
We stopped for coffee and ensaimadas at Pasteleria Ca’n Molinas – a famous bakery. While the coffee was not the best, the pastries were yummy and the back patio was relaxing. It had that local kind of feel.
The winding streets through town have a mediterranean sort of feel with fruit stands and flowers along rock walls.
We even ran into a little mountain goat. He decided to have a seat along the trail straight ahead of us. Later we ran into lots of goats – big ones, little ones, all chattering to each other in the distance.
Torrent de Pareis
Another stop on our driving adventure was winding down the road to Torrent de Pareis, the famous beach wedged between cliffs that appears at the beginning of the movie Cloud Atlas. The water was gorgeous- I wish we had more time to hike the canyon – we’ll save that for our next visit.
Water this color is just mesmerizing. Don’t you think?
We loved Pollenca. It had lots of nice boutiques and restaurants…I bought a bunch of new clothes at a shop called V’Estim – the shop owner was very sweet.
In the center of town, there is a stepped street that leads to a small church at the top of the hill. With great views, these steps -365 to be exact – called the Calvari Steps, will make you hungry for dinner. Which is good because there are a few right at the bottom of the stairs. They’re a bit on the expensive side, but had amazing menus. We ended up eating at Celler El Moli based off TripAdvisor reviews. It was a short walk, but was more reasonably priced.
Arta is known for it’s artisans! So we decided to drive up and check out what it was all about. It was a touristy place rather than artsy, but really sweet. Lots of restaurants and beautiful vistas.
We ate lunch al fresco at a place called Sa Granja, tucked between lots of other establishments. It was hot so a delicious fresh squeezed juice and a sammie hit the spot after shopping and hiking up the hill to the Santuari de Sant Salvador for the vistas. You’ll always get plenty of olives on your plate in Mallorca, so be prepared – especially if you’re the only olive eater in the family!
Santanyi + Flor de Sal
When we exhausted the north coast, we headed southeast to Cap de Blanc, to Santanyi for lunch and then to the salt flats at – Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc right outside of St. Jordi.
The southern portion of the island is completely different than the mountainous north. The south is very agricultural and flat. Santanyi was a sleepy town that felt a little upscale – everything was closed because it was Sunday, but we enjoyed lunch at Sa Botiga and then kept on moving.
We didn’t make it to the salt flats in time for an official tour of Flor de Sal. However, we did get to snap a few photos and visit the gift shop/coffee house – where I purchased a few different types of salt, naturally.
There are plaques with information on how the water is pumped from the ocean and how the salt is extracted. They explain how specific environmental conditions are necessary for crystallization of this mineral-rich aromatic salt: sunshine, a gentle breeze and low humidity. Climate change can have an effect on this process.
The Best Beaches of Mallorca
Using google maps and scouring the internet, we came up with a list of beaches that we thought we absolutely needed to get to. A few involved 45 minute hikes and led to beaches where the water was so-so and others led to gorgeous calm waters with make-shift margarita bars. All were gorgeous to look at though.
The hike to this beach was about 45 minutes. Down a gravel road, through some fences marked private property – don’t worry there were lots of folks headed in both directions! You’d be surprised what folks will carry to a remote beach. We followed a guy carrying a giant blown up pink flamingo for his girlfriend – it was amusing!
When we arrived at the beach it was busy, but there is plenty of space to spread out. This is the beach where a few hippies had put together a make-shift cocktail and snack bar. There may or may not have been grill cheese and a slack line.
Parc Nacional Mondrago
The national park was busy! There was a line of cars waiting to pay the entrance fee and they were letting cars in one at a time when someone else left. There are 3 beaches – here.
We left all our valuables – phones, cameras, etc in the car for this beach so we could swim worry-free. You’ll have to google photos, but it looks exactly like Cala Varques above – without the hiking part and there are services there. Well worth the stop if you have a car and I believe it’s reachable via the bus as well.
Cala des Matzoc
Cala des Matzoc intrigued us with the reviews online. It took us a little while to figure out how to get to the starting point for the hike. Once we figured it out, we enjoyed an awesome cliffside hike along the coast with views like this.
It wasn’t a long hike, maybe 20-30 minutes from the car. We could see the beach ahead of us and the water looked rough. We didn’t have high hopes.
When we arrived there was way too much debris washed up on the beach for it to be comfortable and the water was full of seaweed too. So we headed right back up. I’m sure this is a great beach at certain times of the year when the wind isn’t bringing in debris.
Did you miss my travel post on Palma? Check it out here!