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Things to do in Majorca

What to do in Majorca

When you think of an idyllic Mediterranean island, you may as well be picturing Majorca. This perfect holiday island is blessed with translucent waters, hundreds of kilometres of sandy coastline with secluded rocky coves and sandy beaches, and an abundance of vibrant and sophisticated towns and cities.

  1. Discover this beautiful town
  2. Visit the island’s major pilgrimage site
  3. Relax on the island’s best beaches
  4. See one of the world’s largest underground lakes
  5. Visit the resting place of Robert Graves
  6. Explore a historical little town
  7. Walk the island’s amazing mountain range
  8. Gaze up at this magnificent cathedral
  9. Live it up at a music festival
  10. Tour the Majorcan vineyards
  11. Explore the mountain villages
  12. Ride a vintage train
  13. Roam around Moorish botanical gardens
This ever-popular Spanish star has ravishing beaches, antique towns tucked up in its mountains and the Balearics islands’ most cultured city – Palma – where a Gothic cathedral serves as a backdrop to an excellent café and restaurant scene. A popular haunt of both the rich and famous, and a youthful crowd looking fun in the sun – we’re looking at you, Magaluf – Majorca can be done at a luxury level or on a budget.

No matter what kind of traveller you are – if you’re into hiking epic landscapes, visiting grand old buildings with long and fascinating stories, or if you simply want to kick back on perfect sandy beaches, Majorca is the place for you. Discover this perfect holiday destination with these Majorca holiday packages.

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1. Discover this beautiful town

One of the island’s most beautiful inland towns, Valldemossa is best known as the home of the writer George Sand and her lover, Frédéric Chopin. The couple were lodged in the former Carthusian monastery, La Real Cartuja de Valldemossa, which was in use from 1399 until 1835, when the monks were expelled and their cells were sold as apartments – although the ‘cells’ were three-room suites with private gardens. Those rented by Sand and Chopin are now a museum, which displays manuscripts, Chopin’s death mask and his piano. You can also visit the massive church, the pharmacy, with a beautiful collection of 18th-century ceramic jars, the library and the Prior’s Cell, complete with a life-size model of a prior.

Extra: There is an interesting Museu Municipal here, too, with documents relating to the Archduke Ludwig.

2. Visit the island’s major pilgrimage site

The magnificent Santuari de Lluc is home to the venerated La Moreneta, a dark-stone statue of the Madonna and Child, which has drawn pilgrims since the 13th-century. According to legend, it was discovered by an Arab boy called Lluc, whose family had converted to Christianity. He took the statue to the church of Sant Pere in the tiny village of Escorça nearby, but it kept returning to the place where he had found it, so it was finally allowed to stay and a chapel was built to house it.

Extra: If you attend Mass in the church during the school year you’ll be able to hear the Lluc boys’ and girls’ choir.

3. Relax on the island's best beaches

The island’s beautiful beaches are the biggest attraction for many­ visitors. Majorca’s on the map as the location of ITV’s summer Love Island show. That youthful scene is alive and well on Palma beach, where chat-up lines are flexed as much as those well-oiled pecs. And as it’s close to the island’s international airport, you can be stripped off and lying on the sand within moments of touching down. But don’t just stay in Palma, there are 262 beaches to choose from. Port d’Alcúdia, one of the biggest resorts in the north, has an immaculately maintained 10km arc of pine-studded golden sand. Cala Deià, to the west, has a pretty pebbly beach in a hoop-shaped cove, is a great place for a swim – the water is clean and cool, and there are beach bar-restaurants to refuel at too. Some of the prettiest can be found also near the Cap de Formentor, where the idyllic sandy beaches, lapped by clear turquoise waters and backed by picturesque cliffs, make you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven. The pretty, pine-shaded Platja de Formentor is a favourite spot for a picnic and offers splendid views across the bay.

Extra: The town of Alcúdia is also a hotspot for water sports – there are windsurfing, kitesurfing, surfing and catamaran classes, as well as Spain’s longest cable ski for wakeboarders.

4. See one of the world's largest underground lake

One of the most popular attractions on the island, the Coves del Drac are a beautifully presented cave system with one of the world’s largest underground lakes. Seven daily tours in summer (four in winter) run through 2km (1 mile) of brightly lit chambers and spectacular formations, culminating with classical music recitals and boat trips on the 177m (581ft)-long subterranean lake named after Edouard-Alfred Martel, the French speleologist who explored the caves in 1896.

Extra: On the road to Manacor, the Coves dels Hams are competing for subterranean custom by offering a digital ‘virtual adventure’.

5. Visit the resting place of Robert Graves

Set on the slopes of the Teix massif, Deià is a delightful town of honey-coloured stone that has attracted artists, writers and assorted expatriates for years. However, it is Robert Graves, the poet and author of I, Claudius and the autobiographical Goodbye to All That, who came here with American writer Laura Riding in 1929, who is most closely associated with the place. Graves loved Deià and fiercely defended the northwest coast against commercial exploitation. It was largely due to his efforts that the area was designated a protected zone. His home, Ca N’Alluny, has been restored and opened as a museum. The house and garden are delightful, and retain much of their original character as well as exhibiting the writer’s effects.

Extra: Narrow, winding streets lead to the top of the village and the little church of Sant Joan Bautista. Beside it is a small cemetery overlooking the Mediterranean; a simple cement slab bears the inscription ‘Robert Graves, Poeta, 1895–1985’.

6. Explore a historical little town

Set in a broad valley, amidst groves of oranges, lemons, almonds and olives is the lovely little town of Sóller – a busy, prosperous place that claims, like several others, to have been the birthplace of Columbus. It is full of well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century mansions, and the main square, Plaça Sa Constitució, with numerous cafés, is a good place to sit and absorb the town’s character. Like the main street, the Gran Via, it has Moderniste (Catalan Art Nouveau) flourishes, including the church of Sant Bartomeu, and the former Banco Central Hispano (now Banco Santander) on the opposite corner, whose exteriors were designed by a pupil of Antoni Gaudí.

Extra: About five minutes’ walk to the east is Can Prunera, a Modernist house which is now a museum dedicated to the movement.

7. Walk the island's amazing mountain range

The highlight of any trip to Majorca is a walk or drive across the stunning Serra De Tramuntana, the mountain range that forms the northern backbone of the island. A picturesque road winds through the cliff tops, with the coast on one side and terraces planted with fruit trees and olives and some delightful little villages on the other. Along the road stands a succession of miradors, lookout points with commanding views of the entire coast, still crowned with ancient watchtowers from which lookouts once scanned the sea for pirate ships.

Extra: The Mirador de Ricardo Roca has fantastic views of the coast, and a huge restaurant in which to sit and enjoy them.

8. Gaze up at this magnificent cathedral

Standing proudly above Palma’s city walls, spectacular when illuminated at night, is the Cathedral. Also known as La Seu, this is one of the finest Gothic churches in the whole of Spain. Begun in 1230 by Jaume I, on the site of the Great Mosque after the Christians recaptured the island from the Moors, it took nearly four centuries to complete. It stands out for the beauty of its mediaeval architecture, flooded with kaleidoscopic shafts of light, and for the later additions made by no less a figure than Antoni Gaudí. Its imposing exterior, seemingly rising up from the water, is perpetually bathed in golden sunshine. Densely packed flying buttresses on the south front create an extraordinary effect, especially in the glow of the setting sun, when they are reflected in the lake of the Parc de la Mar below.

Extra: The Museu del Catedral contains a splendid silver monstrance, some interesting mediaeval Cathedral tower by night paintings and holy relics.

9. Live it up at a music festival

This island likes to party, as seen in its special penchant for festivals. Its annual multi-day music concert in May, Majorca Live (that’s the Catalan spelling of Majorca), has taken the Balearic Islands by storm in recent years. Previous headliners include The Prodigy, Primal Scream and Jamiroquai, the international acts mixed in with local talent and a range of music genres.

Extra:  There’s no camping at Majorca Live, so base yourself in Palma, a 20-minute taxi ride away.

10. Tour the Majorcan vineyards

You’ll be spoilt for local vino here, as Majorca has around 60 vineyards. In recent years, lots of those wineries have started offering tours and tastings too. Binissalem’s Bodega José Luis Ferrer is widely regarded as Majorca’s best red. Book ahead for an hour’s tasting (€11), which comes with local crackers and Mahon cheese. Though when you’re planning what to do in Majorca's winelands, you could always let Majorca Wine Tours do the organising for you – they run everything from a VIP Finca Experience to a bike-riding vineyard and tasting tour.

Extra: Drop by for the “wine fair” in May - a wine-tasting weekend set in magnificent surroundings in the heart of old town Pollensa.

11. Explore the mountain villages

It’s not all about beaches and boozing here: the mountains, crisscrossed with roads and footpaths, camouflage a string of beguiling villages where life goes at a gentle pace. Some say Estellencs is Majorca’s prettiest, where a huddle of old stone houses cling gingerly to steep, sea-facing slopes. Fornalutx is another jewel in Majorca’s crown: its location is knock-out, with honey-coloured stone houses set in a valley perfumed by orange and lemon groves. 

Extra: Drive 10 minutes from Fornalutx to Mirador Ses Barques, a restaurant with a knock-out ocean view.

12. Ride a vintage train

One of the quirkier things to do in Majorca is to hop on the rattly vintage train that winds its way over the mountains from Palma to Sóller. The line was completed in 1912 on the profits of the orange and lemon trade: the railway was built to transport the fruit to Palma. These days, the 28km journey is a tourists’ delight. With narrow carriages that look like something from an Agatha Christie novel, the train threads upwards to spend five minutes tunnelling through the mountains, where the noisy engine and dimly lit carriages give the feel of a rollercoaster ride. Beyond, out in the bright mountain air, are the steep valleys and craggy thousand-metre peaks at the heart of the Serra de Tramuntana.

Extra: The almond groves on this route blossom profusely in January and February.

13. Roam around Moorish botanical gardens

A day at the oasis-like gardens of the Jardines de Alfabia is one of the best things to do in Majorca. The watered trellises and terraces dating back to green-fingered Moors. Brightly coloured flowers cascade over narrow terraces to the sound of gurgling watercourses, and at the end of the path lies a verdant jungle of palm trees, where bulrushes crowd in on a tiny pool of water lilies. It’s an enchanting spot, especially on a hot summer’s day. Metres from the pool is the house, a modest hacienda with a wide veranda and high-ceilinged rooms. Inside is an eccentric mix of antiques and curios, including paintings of local bigwigs and exotic animals, most memorably a particularly odd-looking elephant.

Extra: There’s an outdoor bar (usually) selling glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice – a snip at just €2.

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