Majorca splits itself quite nicely into cultural, outdoorsy and sporty things to do. In that sense there’s lots of variety, though if you’re a total culture vulture it won’t keep you busy for long.
I prefer mooching about Palma and soaking up the atmosphere to sightseeing, but with several top-notch galleries such as the Fundació March’s impressive collection of Spanish artists, and the contemporary works of Es Baluard, it is a hot destination for art lovers. Nit de l’Art (Art Night) on the third Thursday in September gets you into over 30 galleries for free.
Head out of the city and the island has plenty to keep all the family happy ranging from the theme parks around Magaluf, to rambling manor house museums like Els Calderers de Sant Joan (www.elscalderers.com ), and whimsical caves and grottoes.
The island’s greatest attraction, arguably, is its 208 beaches so I’m including my top tips for these, as well as some cool activities for nature lovers, my favourite garden on earth, and a couple of eye-popping hiking trails.
Things to consider
Things slow down quite a bit in the winter (more or less Nov 1st to March 30th). Many attractions have restricted opening hours midweek, or are shut altogether.
Cultural sights are generally cheap and/or free. Not so the kids theme parks which are among the most expensive in Spain.
Beaches on the other hand are free and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for gentle shallows for little ones (Es Trenc), rock pools for older kids (on the shingle coves of the West Coast), and water sports for teens (Alcúdia). There are also some nicely secluded bays for nude bathing.
If you want to explore, I can’t state strongly enough: rent a car. Public transport won’t get you terribly far, with the notable exception of the train to Sóller.
Palma’s hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus costs 15 euros adults, 6.50 euros children and is a good way of getting orientated while taking in the lion’s share of what the city has to offer. If you want to spend the rest of your time at the beach, there are some sweet little spots dotted all around the bay that are easily accessed by bus.
If you’re coming for outdoor pursuits like hiking or bird watching my favourite time of year is spring when you get fresh, clear days and lots of flowers.
Beach babies will get most sun hours if they come in July or August, but it’s crowded. I recommend September when it’s still warm and balmy, but way quieter instead.
How I’ve picked my things to do:
It’s not possible to include everything in a short guide, so I’ve aimed for a good spread mixing obvious sights like Palma’s cathedral with quirkier entries like Robert Graves house in Deià, as well as lots of outdoors stuff.
While I’ve covered enough in the city for a grown-up weekend away, Majorca’s main attractions are largely family orientated and a lot of my suggestions reflect that. If there’s anything you feel I should have in here but don’t, please do write and let me know.