I’ve just returned from a lazy week on the island of Mallorca, off the coast of Barcelona, Spain. I spent a week catching up with my other half; he’s been living in Palma since March, working for a design agency he adores.
Palma is a small beach town built around an old shipping port. While it’s no longer used as such, the town has been a go-to destination for Northern Europeans chasing the sun during summer months. And why wouldn’t it be? Palma’s full of incredible restaurants, bars + shopping and is in close proximity to gorgeous beaches + seaside towns for day trips.
We spent our mornings sipping cappuccinos and indulging in Fibonacci’s delicious pastries, while checking emails using their free wifi. Recently profiled by Monocle, Fibonacci is known to have some of the best bread in Palma + roast their own espresso.
Each afternoon, we traveled to a different beach to laze the day away with a beer and a book. If you walk for 15 minutes along the water from the port in Palma, heading east, you’ll hit Playa de Palma. The beach is 4.6 km long of pure white sand and warm turquoise water and is surprisingly not busy given its close proximity to Old Town. Another great option is to hop on the city bus headed southwest to Illetas Beach, about 30 minutes from the city centre. The beach is flanked by two high end hotels in a gorgeous cove. On nice days this beach is a popular destination, so expect it to be very busy. There are also day trips you can plan to visit quieter, remote towns. We opted for a day trip to Soller on the northwest coast of the island. We took a train through the mountains and orange groves, stopping in Soller for a quick bite to eat before hopping on a tram to Port de Soller for some beach time. If you make it there check out the restaurant Nautilus, propped high in the mountains, and ask the waitress for directions to the swimming hole nearby. Hands down, the best swimming we did on the trip.
After spending long days in the sun, it was time to eat and Palma didn’t disappoint. Eat like the locals and make your way out around 9:30pm; restaurants + bars are pretty empty until then. Seeing that my other half had been living in Palma for almost four months, he took the lead + brought me to his favourite spots. Bar Flexas in the Placa Major neighbourhood serves up sharing plates made with fresh local produce and ingredients, including an amazing salad with tomatoes, corn, tuna and poppy seeds. A classic octopus dish was elevated with a spicy paprika-based sauce + chunky sea salt. Close by, Amor de Madre serves some of Palma’s best pinxtos + cocktails. Pinxtos are small snacks typically served on a slice of baguette and include toppings such as Iberico ham, tomatoes, varieties of cheese + fish (sardines, tuna + anchovies). Duke in the Santa Catalina neighbourhood is owned by a pair of globe-trotting surfers who serve up pan-Pacific Asian dishes inspired by their travels. We shared a plate of ceviche, a tapas sampler including prawns and escargot + an amazing bottle of $8 house red wine.
Traveling to the island is relatively painless; there are numerous flights from Madrid + Barcelona every couple of hours. Hotels are reasonable and AirBNB is popular across the island. Palma’s transit system is easy to navigate and taxis are plentiful – though expensive. Language was never a barrier; pretty much everyone speaks English fluently.
Though Mallorca is a tiny island, it packs a punch with gorgeous scenery, beautiful beaches, amazing food + welcoming residents. I’d go back in a heartbeat.