1. Ses Païsses, Artà
Combine a visit to Artà’s excellent Tuesday market with a visit to this impressive Bronze Age Talayotic settlement on the outskirts of the town – one of the best preserved in the Balearics. It’s worth a visit to imagine what life must have been like within its walls for the island’s early settlers. This attraction closes over the lunch period.
Camino de Ses Orbaies, Artà
2. Capdepera Castle
Visit the remains of this early 14th century hilltop castle, dominating the small town of Capdepera, with commanding views over the north-east coastline (on a clear day you can see Menorca). The enclosing walls once contained some 150 dwellings. A great place for youngsters to let their imaginations run wild!
Tel +34 971 81 87 46
3. Betlem Heritage, near Artà
It’s a gorgeous drive from the north side of Artà (with a possible sighting of Menorca on the way) winding up to the tranquil rural setting of the ‘Ermita de Betlem’ at Sa Deves de Ferrutx. If you’re lucky, the only other sounds up at the hermitage will be birds, insects and sheep bells, making it a fantastic spot for a picnic lunch, after a visit to Artà. The hermitage was founded in the early 19th century by the hermits of St Honorat in Randa and the Trinity in Valldemossa, and the small chapel is the perfect place to escape the heat and glare of the sun. Don’t all go at once!
Follow signs in Artà to Ermita de Betlem
4. Mallorca Balloons, Manacor
A great way to see lots of sights! An early morning flight in a hot air balloon from Mallorca Balloons’ base on the outskirts of Manacor will see you soaring over the island, drifting peacefully with the wind, at a height of 1,000-1,500 feet. On a clear day you might see Cabrera and Menorca. Balloon baptism and flight certificates included.
Tel +34 971 59 69 69
5. Caves of Drac (Cuevas del Drach or Coves del Drac) in Porto Cristo
World-famous ancient limestone caves, mapped by French geologist Edouard Martel in the late 19th century. There are four enormous main chambers, numerous romantically-named formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and one of the world’s largest underground lakes – the scene of several daily classical music concerts. Guided tours take you through the caves.
C/de la Coves, Porto Cristo
Tel + 34 971 82 07 53
6. Caves of Hams (Cuevas del Hams or Coves d’es Hams), Porto Cristo
Less famous than Drac, but worth a visit for their own spectacular and colourfully illuminated stalactites and stalagmites, and the underground lake. The caves were discovered by the Mallorcan, Pedro Caldentey, in 1905.
Ctra Manacor-Porto Cristo – 1 km from Porto Cristo
Tel +34 971 82 09 88
7. Els Calderers, Sant Joan
The estate was owned by the Calderers family as long ago as the 13th century, and construction of the present manor house is thought to have begun in 1750. Visit the house and farm for a flavour of aristocratic life in Mallorca in the 18th and 19th centuries. The interior of the house is particularly interesting, with its traditional furnishings and equipment.
Follow signposts from Ma-15 Palma-Manacor, km 37.
Tel +34 971 52 60 69
8. Gordiola Glassworks
The Gordiola family has been making glass in Mallorca since the early 18th century and at their works near Algaida you can watch glassblowers in action in front of raging furnaces. The building itself is ugly 1960s faux-castle and the shop area very commercialised, but go upstairs to the museum and you’ll find a fascinating collection of old glass, including early Gordiola examples and glassware collected from all over the world by seven successive generations of the family. You wouldn’t want to have dust the exhibits!
Ca’n Gordiola Ma 15
Palma-Manacor, km 19
Tel +34 971 66 50 46
9. Mallorca Planetarium
Many visitors aren’t aware that the island has an important astronomical observatory, of which the Mallorca Planetarium is a part. The Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca premises have a definite space-age look to them, in complete contrast to the sleepy neighbouring village of Costitx, but this rural location benefits from clear night skies. Every Friday and Saturday at 19.00 hrs, the Planetarium projects the spectacular multi-lingual audio visual programme, Evolution, onto the domed ceiling. Afterwards you can enjoy guided sessions in the observation pods.
Camí de l’Observatori
Telephone to reserve your place:
+34 650 386 881
10. Calvary Oratory, Pollensa
Pollensa’s a charming town with a distinctive Roman bridge, but the best-known place here must be the Calvary Oratory, on top of a hill that was once owned by the Order of the Knights Templar. There are 365 steps to climb to reach the top, which is the location for the atmospheric Good Friday re-enactment of Christ’s final suffering on the Cross.
11. S’Albufera Nature Parc
These peaceful protected wetlands, just off the coast road north of Can Picafort, are the habitat of a wealth of birdlife, bringing serious birdwatchers from all over Europe to spot the rare migrants and breeding species. There are paths for walking and cycling, hides and a visitor centre. Mosquito repellent recommended!
Ctra Artà – Port d’Alcúdia. km 27,2
Tel +34 971 89 22 50
12. Alcúdia Old Town
A rich history means there’s plenty to see in and around this walled old town, on the site of the Roman settlement of Pollentia. The walls were built after the Spanish conquest and were restored to include the 26 original towers and imposing gateways; it’s possible to walk along the top of part of the walls, giving good views of the area. Of particular interest are the narrow streets of the Arab quarter, the Pollentia ruins, and Mallorca’s only intact Roman theatre.
13. Alfàbia Gardens
These peaceful gardens, with watercourses and pools, are thought to have been designed by Benhabet, a Muslim governor of Inca in the 13th century, and are a great example of the Moorish talent for landscaping and irrigation. Even if you’re not a particularly keen gardener, you’ll appreciate the beautiful shady spots on a hot day, and the garden snack bar offering fresh fruit juices, farm products and other refreshments.
The pergola walkway, with its shooting water jets, is great fun for all the family, while green-fingered types will enjoy the English-style gardens and impressive collection of trees. The ‘hacienda’ has traditional ‘cloth of flames’ fabrics, old prints and furniture.
Ctra Palma-Sóller km 17 (south side of Coll de Sóller)
Tel +34 971 613 123
14. Finca Son Real
This public estate is between Can Picafort and Son Serra de Marina and offers a series of marked trails through the estate for walkers and cyclists, with access to an unspoilt beach. There are useful information boards along the trails about the local flora and fauna, as well as a visitor centre. The farm still functions, and you’ll see local breeds of sheep and pigs. Once on the beach, it’s an easy walk to the remains of a necropolis, featuring many graves of various sizes.
Finca Son Real
Ctra Can Picafort – Artà
Tel +34 971 18 53 63
15. Junipero Serra’s Birthplace and Museum, Petra
It’s no surprise that many American visitors make their way to the oldest part of this rural village, for here is the birthplace of Fray Junipero Serra, the 18th century Franciscan missionary who left Petra for California. There he founded nine missions, from which cities like San Francisco and San Diego grew. The privately owned museum, founded in 1955, has a fascinating collection of exhibits, including a painting of the San Carlos mission, presented to the museum in 1984 by then President Ronald Reagan. Nearby visit the house where Serra was born, in 1713 – a truly humble home.
C/Des Barracar Alt, Petra
Tel +34 971 561 149
16. Sineu market
This rural town in the heart of Mallorca dates back to ancient times and was important during the Middle Ages, when it was home to a royal palace (now a convent). The town is the venue for a huge and very popular market every Wednesday morning, attracting island visitors and the local farming community. The numerous stalls – selling everything from leather goods to local foods, artisan crafts to animals – are spread throughout the narrow streets of the town.
17. Puig de Randa – Hermitage of Our Lady of Cura
This walled hermitage sits atop the distinctive flat-top mountain of Randa – visible from a large part of the island. The chapel is the oldest surviving building, part of which dates from the mid-17th century. The original hermitage was founded by scholar and missionary Ramon Llull in the 13th century (he prepared his missionaries here for their work in Africa and Asia) – making this an important place of pilgrimage on the island. Views from the top are fantastic on a clear day and you can enjoy them with something to eat or drink from the café.
Other sanctuaries worth a visit – for the exciting drive to the top and their awesome views on a clear day – are Sant Salvador (the last to lose its monks, in the 1990s), near Felanitx; Monte-Sion, near Porreres, and the Ermita de Nostra Senyora del Puig, near Pollensa.
18. Lluc Monastery
The island’s most sacred site, the monastery of ‘Nuestra Señora de Lluc’ has a spectacular location in the Tramuntana, surrounded by holm oak and pine forests, and has been a place of pilgrimage since the 13th century. Visit the Basilica and see the wooden statue of the Virgin, La Moreneta, in its own chapel. Also worth seeing is the gallery of the old pilgrims’ hospice (Es Porxets), the pilgrims’ route ‘El Cami dels Misteris del Rosari’ and, slightly hidden away, an enchanting small garden. There are places to eat and drink and you can even stay overnight. ‘Els Blavets’ (The Blues) is Lluc’s choir, which gives a short performance each morning.
19. Museu de la Jugeta – Toy Museum, Sa Pobla
A renovated mansion, known as Can Planes, is home to a fascinating toy museum, packed with old toys – more than 3,000 of them – to bring out the child in every visitor.
C/Antoni Maura, 6, Sa Pobla
Tel + 34 971 54 23 89
20. Naturaparc, Santa Eugènia
Llamas, deer, ostriches, ducks, peacocks and black vultures all call this countryside family attraction home. There’s also a butterfly garden, with around 500 butterflies, and an animal petting park.
Ctra Palma – Sineu, km 15,4
Tel + 34 971 14 40 78
21. Castell d’Alaró
This centuries-old remote castle was a former, almost impregnable, Moorish stronghold. Park your car near the white-painted traditional restaurant (famous for its slow-roasted lamb and featured in the British TV programme Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes) and walk up to the castle (wear walking shoes and take water, it’s quite a way!). You’ll have earned that hearty lunch by the time you return.
22. Royal Carthusian Monastery, Valldemossa
Originally a royal residence, this monastery was the home of Carthusian monks from the late 14th to early 19th centuries. Polish pianist and composer Chopin and his French partner George Sand stayed here over the winter of 1838-39, inspiring Sand to write ‘A Winter in Majorca’. See their artefacts, the Old Carthusian pharmacy, and Palace of King Sancho. You can even enjoy a short Chopin recital as part of your visit.
Tel +34 971 61 21 06
23. Son Marroig
The favourite home of Archduke Ludwig Salvator, Son Marroig is in a prime location perched high above the sea. Its Italian gazebo is emblematic of this glorious estate, where there’s a museum devoted to the life and works of the Archduke. From the gardens there’s a good view of the rock known as Na Foradada, named for the huge hole in its middle.
Ctra Valldemossa – Deià.
Tel +34 971 63 91 58
24. Home of Robert Graves, Deià
The poet and author Robert Graves lived at Ca’n Alluny in Deià from 1929 until he died. In 2006 his house and garden were opened to the public, having been acquired and refurbished by the Fundació Robert Graves. The house retains the feel of the writer’s home, with many of Graves’ personal effects on display. Visit the village churchyard to see where he was buried, under the simplest of headstones. Ctra Deià – Soller, Deià
Tel +34 971 63 61 85
25. Ca’n Prunera, Sóller
In the centre of the town, this iconic property – a family home until 2006 – now houses a permanent Modernist art collection with works by national and international artists including Picasso, Miró, Matisse, Magritte and Chillida. There are also temporary exhibitions and an art library. The gardens are used for concerts and other cultural events.
Travelling from Palma to Sóller on the delightful wooden train – dubbed the Orange Express – dating from 1912, will give you the chance to experience another of the island’s favourite attractions, as it travels through spectacular mountain scenery into the Sóller valley.
C’de sa Lluna, 90, Sóller
Tel +34 971 63 89 73
26. Finca Galatzó
Like Son Real in the north, this finca has been converted into a public amenity. Come here for the scenery, fresh air and sheer beauty of the surroundings, or to enjoy hiking, cycling, mountain-biking or horseriding on the different graded routes through the estate. The old manor house dates from the 19th century and can also be visited.
Near Es Capdellà.
27. La Granja
Since Roman times, this country estate or ‘possessió’ in the mountains has had a natural spring – an important asset on this island. The estate was the home of Cistercian monks until the mid-15th century, then became a private house. It’s open to the public for visits and is a great place to see traditional rural crafts in action, taste local products, and enjoy demonstrations of Mallorcan music and dance. Visit the gardens, the house – with its attractive breezy loggia – workrooms, cellars, and the rather creepy torture chamber! There are places to eat – or take a picnic to enjoy in the extensive grounds.
Ctra Esporles-Banyalbufar, km 2,
Tel +34 971 61 00 32
28. La Reserva Puig de Galatzó
This nature reserve covers more than 2.5 million square metres and is a wonderful place to wander through spectacular scenery and vegetation. Well-marked paths enable you to make an easy walk, though sensible footwear and comfortable clothes are recommended. There are waterfalls, animals, bar and barbecue area and an adventure circuit, including zip wire, rock climbing, a hanging bridge etc.
Predio Son Net
Tel +34 971 61 66 22
29. CCA Andratx
One of the largest centres of contemporary art in the Balearics and, indeed, Europe, set against the backdrop of mountains, on the outskirts of Andratx. There are three exhibition areas – Kunsthalle, Gallery and Espai, an attractive courtyard, good café with mountain-view terrace, library and gift shop. A must for lovers of contemporary art.
C/Estanyera 2, Andratx
Tel +34 971 13 77 70
CITY OF PALMA
Mallorca’s capital has a wealth of sights, of which these are just a few:
30. Sa Seu – The Cathedral
This iconic 14th century cathedral is an awesome sight from the sea or the Paseo Marítimo. Work began in 1306 on the modification of the mosque which stood on the site before it, to create this very special place of worship. On a sunny morning, the large rose window at the nave end throws beams of coloured light into the stately building, which also houses a museum. The interior features the work of the great Modernist architect Gaudí, and the artist Miquel Barceló.
31. Almudaina Palace
An ancient palace vying with Sa Seu, located opposite, for the attention of visitors. A mix of Moorish and Gothic styles, the stately stone palace houses a central courtyard, Hall of Councils (decorated with tapestries and coats-of-arms), officers’ mess, King’s and Queen’s rooms, chapel and Gothic hall. As well as a visitor attraction, the Palace is used for official events involving dignatories and visiting members of the Spanish royal family.
32. Castle Bellver
The 14th century circular ‘Castell de Bellver’ has been a royal fortress, summer residence and even a prison, and is a striking Palma landmark. It lives up to its name, with panoramic views from the top over Palma and the pine forests that surround this magnificent structure. Visit the several museums and the prison and, on summer evenings, the Castle’s central courtyard is the setting for concerts under the stars.
33. Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
An interesting building incorporated into the old city walls – with views over the Paseo Marítimo – that’s home to a large collection of contemporary art. Many of the artists exhibited are Mallorcan or have a relationship with the island. As well as permanent, there are temporary exhibitions.
Plaza Porta de Santa Catalina, 10
Tel + 34 971 90 82 00
34. Arab Baths
Dating from the 10th to 12th centuries, these are one of the few examples of Arabic architecture in Mallorca. Explore the different bathing areas and spend time, as the bathers of old would have done, relaxing afterwards in the quiet gardens.
C/Can Serra, 7
Tel +34 971 72 15 49
35. Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation
On the west side of Palma, this attraction for lovers of art was once the home and studio of Abstract Expressionism painter and sculptor Joan Miró – who lived most of his life in Barcelona, but whose mother and wife were from the island. He bought the property in 1956 and lived here until his death, when the place was enlarged to become home to a permanent exhibition of his works, which number more than 6,000. The grounds house some of his sculptures and there’s also a good café for refreshments.
C/Joan de Saridakis, 29, Palma
Tel +34 971 70 14 20