when we went: august 2022

Mallorca. Was. STUNNING. We were in Europe for almost a month last August 2022 for a few weddings, and while we were working remotely for most of the month, we set a week aside for a proper vacation—and Mallorca is where we went to unplug. There are quaint little Spanish towns, beautiful unspoiled beaches and coastline, and lots of delicious fresh food. I can’t recommend it enough! 

There are a LOT of options online that can definitely get overwhelming (I must’ve read every single blog post available while we were planning) but I’m going to break down how we did it in hopes that it can help guide you just a little bit. 

getting there & getting around

We were in Barcelona the week before we went there, so for us getting there was so easy—a 45 minute flight from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, the main city on the island. That said, from the states you’ll have to fly through one of the big European hubs, like Madrid or Zurich. 

Once you get there, definitely rent a car—it’s the best way to get around the island, which you’ll likely be doing quite a lot of. We picked it up right at the airport and it was super easy. A few things to note:

  • If you’re not comfortable driving stick shift, make sure you specify that you need an automatic car while you’re booking online ahead of time.

  • When you’re booking, double check that you’re booking a normal gasoline car. We accidentally booked an electric car (I think it must’ve said it in the fine print) and had the unexpected expense of upgrading to a normal car when we got there. We could’ve taken the electric one, but were worried that we would’ve had a hard time finding places to charge up. 

  • Choose a smaller car—it will be much easier to figure out parking. 

  • Spain technically requires having an International Driver’s Permit, which we didn’t realize until the day before we went haha. An IDP is basically just a document that you can apply for ahead of time with your normal driver’s license that authorizes you to drive in certain countries. The rental car company did not ask us to show this, but technically, if you were to get pulled over, the cop may ask you to show it and I think you can end up with an extra fine if you don’t have it. I used this site to get a last minute digital copy for peace of mind, but I didn’t end up actually needing it. 

where we stayed

This was the hardest thing to decide. There are SO MANY OPTIONS. We were also going in August, peak tourist season, which means we were priced out of some places off the bat, but we just rolled with it.

We ended up at Bikini Hotel in Port de Soller and LOVED IT. The one thing I’ll say is that Port de Soller is definitely very touristy. However, I wanted to be near the water (a lot of the quaint towns are more inland), and I also wanted to have the convenience of a town with restaurant options within walking distance, so Port de Soller checked all of our boxes. It was a bit under an hour from Palma de Mallorca, too, which meant getting to & from the airport was easy. 

Here are some other options that came up when we were researching where to stay! 

  • Palma de Mallorca, if you want the convenience of staying in the big city.

  • Alcúdia sounded like a great option for families with kids. 

  • Deia would’ve been magical, I’m sure, but it was too expensive. I also didn’t want to feel so secluded (driving those windy roads everytime we had to leave to go somewhere would’ve thrown me over the edge). 

  • A good friend stayed in Fornalutx and absolutely loved it. 

  • Sóller (not the port where we stayed) also sounded like a great option. 

what we did

I will start by saying there is SO much to do on the island, and we only scratched the surface. We were on a 6 day vacation after a busy few weeks working and traveling around Europe, so while we were eager to explore, we also desperately needed some downtime, and we ended up splitting our time pretty evenly between exploring and just relaxing at our hotel. 

Day Trip to Deià & The Beach

One of the first places we wanted to check out was Deià. If you’ve done any research on Mallorca so far, you’ve probably heard that you absolutely must check it out. It’s a gorgeous little town in the mountains less than an hour outside of Palma. It was only about 30 minutes from our hotel in Port de Sóller, but it felt much longer because the roads are so windy and narrow (I was white knucking the steering wheel the whole way up). 

Parking there can be tricky—we got there early (10am-ish… which might as well be 7am by Spain’s standards) and had no problem getting a spot in the public parking lot (labeled Public Parking on Google Maps). If you decide to go there closer to lunchtime or later in the day, you’ll probably end up having to squeeze in somewhere on the street. Us city folk, who do not own or drive a car regularly, could not be risking the horror of having to parallel park, lol. 

One caveat to getting there early (on a Sunday, no less) is that not much was open yet. As much as I was whining for a coffee or a nice place to sit down for a snack in the moment, it did end up being a really nice morning of just wandering around! The town itself is tiny but absolutely stunning. Walk the streets and head up to the viewpoint for a nice view of the town and the ocean. 

As soon as the clock struck 12:30 and places started to open for lunch, we sat down at Ca na Marca for tapas and drinks. We chose it because it was one of the first places opening for the day and I was getting hangry, but it was lovely! There were a good amount of other options on the main road as well — I always recommend checking a restaurant’s rating on Google Maps before sitting down just to make sure you’re not going to accidentally eat somewhere touristy & horrible. 

After lunch it was time to head to the Deià beach, also known as Cala Deià. Like many beaches in Mallorca, the best ones are a hike away. This was a solid 30 minutes from the center of town, so definitely wear comfortable shoes and bringing a water bottle is a must. Follow Google Maps in the direction of the beach, and then follow the signs on the road pointing you towards the beach. Chances are there will be other people walking in the same direction as you! 

The beach itself is crowded and rocky, as many of the beaches are in Mallorca, so don’t expect to have a lot of soft sand all to yourself. In most cases, it’s the water that makes the Mallorca beaches worth all of their trouble. It’s calm and absolutely stunning, and basically everyone is swimming. While these beaches felt pretty touristy and very safe, obviously keep an eye on your belongings when you’re in the water. Also note that, like most of the beaches in Mallorca, there are no public bathrooms. Since there happens to be a restaurant next door, they have bathrooms that I believe you can pay for if you really need them. 

To end our day at the beach, Ryan made us a reservation at Ca’s Patró March, a popular seafood restaurant right on the beach. This place was really busy and it can be tricky to get a reservation, so I definitely recommend booking in advance. We got gazpacho, I got razor clams (YUM), and he got steak because he doesn’t eat seafood (booo). It was delicious, with a stunning view, and perfect to fill our bellies before we had to hike 30 minutes back to the car. 

Sunset boat trip on Airbnb Experiences

The next evening, after a day relaxing by the pool, we decided to do this Airbnb Experience sunset boat trip. We LOVED it and would highly recommend it for a few reasons. First is that, while it’s a little more expensive, this tour only accommodates a smaller group, so we didn’t feel like a gaggle of tourists on a 100 person catamaran (no shame though, we’ve done that too). Second is that because we were on a smaller speed boat, we were able to cover a lot of ground and see a lot of things. 

We stopped at some incredible caves and hidden beaches that are only accessible by boat. We did lots of swimming, beer and snacks were provided, and it ended with a stunning sunset. Our guide was friendly and informative, and we had a really fun evening with some fellow travelers! 

Calo dos Moro + Figuera for lunch 

On one of our last days we decided to drive across to the southeast corner of the island (about an hour and a half from our hotel) to check out another famous beach, Calo dos Moro. I’m going to admit we were SO overwhelmed with all the options for beaches, but we ended up heading to this one because although it’s quite well known, it looked absolutely stunning—and it was. 

For starters, parking here is another nightmare, and unlike in Deià, we did not get there early enough to take advantage of the one public parking lot (which you can find with a simple search on Google Maps). Instead, we had to find street parking. Which felt really easy until we came back to a parking ticket. Which was really hard to pay because it was in Catalan, and the website was impossible to navigate, but I digress. Moral of the story: be extra careful when parking here, or get a ticket and ignore it like we did.

Brief update: Shortly after writing the first draft of this post, we got a lovely letter from Avis alerting us of the ticket and a whopping extra fee they were charging us for the ~awful trouble~ they had to go through to…send us a letter telling us about a fee. Can you sense my annoyance coming through your screen?

After we parked, it was another hefty walk to the beach, but unlike in Deià, I wouldn’t call it a hike. Even still, wear comfortable shoes and pack light. There were a few vendors selling soft drinks on the beach, but I don’t think that’s guaranteed, so I recommend bringing your own water. Also note that there are no bathrooms. 

Once we actually made it there, it was stunning. The water was so blue and calm, and so many people were in there swimming and jumping off the rocks. We settled down on a rocky patch of sand and made our way right in. 

After a bit of time on the beach, we decided to head to Figuera, a nearby fishermen’s village that I wanted to check out in hopes of finding some fresh fish. And we did! I had my hopes set on a place called Restaurant La Petite Iglesia that I had read about on a blog, but it wasn’t open (you never know when people in Spain are going to decide they’re in the mood to show up for work on any given day, lol). But we ended up stumbling upon Restaurant L’Arcada Cala Figuera and it was delicious. Again, I got the fresh fish and Ryan got something that wasn’t seafood, which was probably pretty sad looking, but he seemed happy that I was happy, and that’s why I love him. 

After lunch we wandered along the water of Figuera, which was very charming and cute (but small), before heading back to the hotel for the night. 

Lounged by the pool 

Last but not least, there was lots of poolside lounging over the course of the week. I think I read 3 books, usually with a mocktail in hand. 

things we didn’t get around to

There were a few things that were on our list that we simply didn’t have time for. I hope this can provide some inspiration when you’re planning your trip!

  • Explore Palma de Mallorca, the main city on the island. Check out the Santa Catalina neighborhood and find somewhere yummy for dinner and drinks.

  • Check out Sóller’s town square and then take the quick hike to Fornalutx via the Dry Stone Route (this is a route that takes days to do in its entirety, but you can also just do sections of it).

  • Check out the Drach Caves (here’s a half day tour I was interested in).

  • Check out Valldemossa, which is a small village in the mountains near Deià. There was an olive oil tasting here I was interested in.

  • Head to Mondrago National Park for hiking and beaches. This was near Calo do Moro, but we just didn’t have it in us to try to squeeze in a million activities in one day. Sometimes less is more!

  • Head to the northern region. Check out Santuari de Lluc, Pollenca, and Platja des Coll Baix (a beach that takes 30-45 minutes to get to on foot). 

And even this list of things we didn’t do still only scratches the surface! As you can see, there is SO much to do in Mallorca. Ultimately, I’m so happy with the way we did things, what we saw, and how we were also able to give ourselves time to relax after a really busy month. 

I cannot recommend Mallorca enough. Just know the beautiful, unspoiled nature of the beaches are not necessarily “easy.” But they are worth it!

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