Exploring the Island of Mallorca

Mallorca Travel Guide

While Mallorca has the sun and the beaches, it also has over 2,000 years of history and culture to discover. Within this page, you will find over 90 places to visit, each of them with their own story. You will also find an engaging history of this fascinating island complemented by stories on famous people, events, buildings, and organizations. But it is not all about history and culture, there are also links to leisure parks for those who want to relax and links to activities for those who are feeling energetic. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.

palma cathedral and mallorca days out, majorca

Top Thing to do

These are the most popular Mallorcan places to visit for a leisure day out:
  1. Marineland (Portals Nous)
  2. Western Water Park (Magalluf)
  3. Pirates Adventure (Magalluf)
  4. Katmandu Park (Magalluf)
  5. Golf Fantasia (Palma Nova)
  6. Palma Aquarium (Playa de Palma)
  7. Aqualand (Arenal)
  8. Hidropark (Port Alcudia)

And for you golfers, the island has more than 20 courses all over the island. For further details check out the website of Mallorca Golf Connection, who can also organize green fees for you at a discounted rate.

Drach Caves

The two cave systems on the outskirts of Porto Cristo are two of Mallorca’s best know attractions. The Caves of Drach, or the Dragon’s Caves, are to the south side of the village, just off the Ma-4014 to Port Colom.

caves of drach mallorca (majorca)

The caves were first mentioned in 1338 by the head of King Jaime III’s Royal Household, Roger de Rovenach, in a letter to the mayor of Manacor. The name did not appear until 1632, by which time Porto Cristo was no more than a small harbor, and the locals probably spoke of a mythical dragon that lived deep in the cave.

caves of drach mallorca (majorca)

A German cave explorer, M.F. Will, made the first plan of the caves in 1880, mapping out the Black Cave and the White Cave. Archduke Ludwig Salvator, a member of the Austrian royal family who had lived on Mallorca since 1867, was interested in the caves and wanted to find out more. In 1896 he invited the Frenchman Edouard A. Martel and his assistant Louis Armand to explore them. Martel is considered to be the father of modern speleology (the study of caves) and he had been leading underground expeditions across Europe since 1888. He made his way through the first two caves and into a third, which he named Luis Salvador’s Cave, and then set about exploring a huge underground lake. Using two boats, his small group paddled over 170 meters to reach the far end where they discovered another cave, now called the French Cave. The lake was named Lake Martel in his honor.

Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca

Palma Cathedral, or La Seu, is the Gothic jewel in Palma’s crown. It serves as a tomb for the Kings of Majorca, a place of worship and a place of ceremony. It is also the Episcopal See of the diocese. The building is an important showpiece of Mallorcan art, from medieval to modern times and has been worked on by both local and foreign craftsmen.

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (majorca)

The best place to appreciate the Cathedral and its setting is to walk to the south side of the lake called the Parc de Mar, (by the Guinness Bar). From here you can see how the Cathedral sits comfortably between the Royal Palace to the left and the Bishop’s Palace to the right. The sea came right up to the walls in front of the cathedral before the Paseo Maritimo was built in the middle of the 20th Century, and it could be seen from all over the bay.

Castell de Bellver

On the eastern outskirts of Palma is a wooded hill, rising 113 m (365 feet) above the city, and on its summit is the unmistakable profile of Bellver Castle. Jaime the Conqueror stated his desire to build a castle on the hill following his conquest of Mallorca in 1229 but nothing happened until his son Jaime II appointed an architect in 1300. Pere Salva was supervising the conversion of the Almudaina when he ordered to take control of the ambitious project and for the next nine years, teams of men toiled to make the King’s wish come true.

bellver castle palma der mallorca, majorca

Bellver Castle’s circular ground plan is both unique in Spain and unusual in Europe. It has an inner courtyard surrounded by two colonnaded floors while the central well gives access to the underground water cistern. The castle has four towers on the cardinal points of the compass and while three are attached to structure, the fourth, the Torre de l’Homenatge (Homage Tower), stands on its own. A bridge connects the tower’s second-floor door to the rest of the castle and it is said that prisoners were dropped into the ground floor dungeon nicknamed ‘The Pot’ to await their fate.

Cap de Formentor

The northeast point of Mallorca is the windswept headland called Cap de Formentor, or what the local people call the ‘ Meeting Point of the Winds’. Nature has conspired here to form a breathtaking landscape of steep cliffs rising from the sea and while the rugged peninsula is twelve kilometers it is never more than three kilometers wide. The highest point is Fumat Hill at 384m above sea level while the steep cliffs form several steep-sided coves including Cala Figuera, Cala Murta, and Cala Pi de la Posada.

The road from Port de Pollença to Cap de Formentor is 13.5 kilometers long and it twists and turns its way up and down the steep slopes, even passing through a tunnel at one point. It was built by the Italian engineer Antonio Paretti in the 1960s and he also built the spectacular Sa Calobra road in the mountains to the west (check out the Sa Calobra webpage in the Tramuntana East section). You can visit Paretti’s memorial at the Mirador de la Creueta and, if you have a head for heights, walk along to the lookout point across Cap de Formentor. You can also see Albercuix Watchtower on the hill above where guards kept a lookout for pirates. A side road from the car park heads up to the summit.

Areas of Mallorca Island

the areas of mallorca

Ponent

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Sa Dragonera – Take a boat trip to Dragon Island, a tranquil island nature reserve.
  • Sant Elm (San Telmo) – Discover the tranquil village where Jaime the Conqueror’s fleet anchored before invading Mallorca.
  • Andratx and Port Andratx – Explore a beautiful fishing harbor and village where pirates once roamed.
  • Es Capdella and Galatzo – Take a walk in a beautiful country park and learn about the Evil Count.
  • Calvìa – Visit a typical Spanish village which is only a short distance Mallorca’s busiest beaches.
  • Santa Ponça – Learn about the Catalan invasion of Moorish Mallorca in September 1229.
  • Portals Vells – Discover the caves created by the masons who built Palma Cathedral.
  • Na Burgesa & Bendinat Castle – Find out about the battle between Jaime the Conqueror and Emir Abu Yahya in September 1229.
  • Secar de la Real and Puigpunyent – Learn about Jaime the Conqueror’s siege of Palma in the winter of 1229.
  • Génova – Visit the hilltop shrine for one of the best views of Palma.

Tramuntana West

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Estellencs & Banyabulfar – See the hillside village where stone terraces cling to the mountain
  • La Granja Estate – Discover the delights of a manor house filled with stories about Mallorcan life.
  • Valldemossa – See the wonderful mountain village and the monastery where Frédéric Chopin stayed.
  • Alfabia Estate – Visit this Arabic inspired manor house and gardens in the Tramuntana foothills.
  • Raixa Estate – Discover this large manor house and its ornamental gardens.
  • Son Marroig & Archduke Salvator – Learn about Archduke Ludwig Salvator who saved many ancient mountain estates.
  • Deià – Found out about Robert Graves, poet, and author, who chose to write in this hillside village.
  • Miramar – Visit the mountainside refuge where priests were taught and books were printed.

Tramuntana East

Places well worth visiting include

  • The Orange Train – Learn about the train which has traveled from Palma through the mountains for 100 years.
  • Sóller – Discover the Valley of Gold and watch the Orange trains pass through the town center.
  • Port de Sóller – Visit this delightful harbor where pirates once came ashore.
  • Fornalutx – Discover one of Spain’s most beautiful villages.
  • Orient – Find the hidden valley at the foot of Mallorca’s highest mountain.
  • Mountain Roads & Sa Calobra – Drive down Mallorca’s craziest road to visit one of the Mediterranean’s largest canyons.
  • Lluc Monastery – Take a trip to Mallorca’s mountain monastery.
  • Pollença – Discover the home of the Knights Templar.
  • Pollença Port – Learn about 16th Century pirate attacks and a 20th Century seaplane base.
  • Cala St Vincenç – Visit this beautiful cove and learn about the Castle of the King.
  • Formentor – Drive out along this rugged headland to visit Mallorca’s northeastern point.

Raiguer North

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Santa Maria de Cami – Discover the two old villages of Santa Maria and take a walk into the Coanegra Valley.
  • Consell – Learn how the people of Consell survived plagues and famines over the centuries.
  • Alaró Castle – Climb to this ruined hilltop castle to see the wonderful views of the island.
  • Binissalem – Discover the cultural center of Mallorca’s wine industry.
  • The Wine Route – Learn about the story behind Mallorca’s wine industry, both past, and present.
  • Lloseta & Biniamar – Learn how the people of Lloseta lived in fear of the Evil Count.
  • Inca – Visit Mallorca’s largest market and discover ancient buildings in this thriving town.
  • Mancor de la Vall – Discover the Santa Llucia Sanctuary in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains.
  • Selva – Learn how mountain-based bandits made the lives of the people of Selva misery for years.
  • Campanet – Discover the Caves of Campanet in this delightful valley.

Raiguer South

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Santa Eugènia – Take a walk to enjoy fabulous views over Mallorca’s central plain.
  • Sencelles & Costitx – Drive across Mallorca’s central plain and discover what pagans used to worship.
  • Sineu – Visit the heart of Mallorca, and discover where King Jaime II planned to build his palace.
  • Llubí – Pay a visit to the village started by the Knights Hospitallers of Saint John.
  • Muro – Discover how the quarrymen of Muro persevered to provide the stone for northeast Mallorca.
  • Sa Pobla – Learn about the battles between the rebels and Imperial troops during the Brotherhoods Uprising.
  • Alcúdia Town – Take a walk around the walls and narrow streets of this medieval town.
  • Pollentia (Roman Ruins) – Discover the ruins of Mallorca’s Roman capital.
  • Victoria Peninsular – Visit Victoria sanctuary and enjoy the wonderful views of Pollença Bay.
  • Albufera – Learn about Mallorca’s flora and fauna in this wetland nature reserve.

Pla

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Algaida – Find out why a village moved, leaving behind one of the island’s oldest churches.
  • Randa Hill – Learn about Mallorca’s religious philosopher while enjoying fantastic views of the island.
  • Montuïri – Take a walk along the village’s cobbled street and discover one of Mallorca’s prehistoric settlements.
  • Sant Joan – Visit a sleepy village and Els Calderers house which tells the story of Mallorcan manor life.
  • Porreres – Explore the village famous for apricots and enjoy the views from Montesion Monastery.
  • Vilafranca de Bonany – Visit the 17th Century village established as a tax center which is now famous for its melon harvest.
  • Petra – Discover the village where Father Serra, Mallorca’s famous missionary came from.
  • Maria de la Salut – Step back in time in two tiny Mallorca villages.
  • Santa Margalida – Visit the village where Spain’s richest man came from and enjoy the views across the central plain.

Llevant

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Sant Llorenç des Cardassar – Discover this quiet village which is named after Spain’s savior of the Holy Grail.
  • Artà – Discover a prehistoric settlement and a castle on the site of a hilltop Moorish fortress.
  • Capdepera – Visit this hilltop castle and learn how King Jaime the Conqueror captured Menorca from the Moors.
  • Costa de Canyamel & the Caves of Artà – Check out Canyamel Tower before going underground to explore Artà’s caves.
  • Son Servera – Discover the home of the Royal Hunting grounds and find out why the village church was never finished.
  • Manacor – Discover the town’s splendid church and plaza before visiting the town museum.
  • Porto Cristo – Visit this ancient fishing harbor and explore where a battle raged at the start of the Spanish Civil War.
  • Felanitx – Explore the largest town in southeast Mallorca, home of the leader of the Brotherhood uprising.
  • The Caves of Drach & Hams – Discover a world of stalactites and stalagmites in Mallorca’s famous underground caverns.
  • Sant Salvador Monastery – Drive up to this hilltop monastery to enjoy spectacular views of southeast Mallorca
  • Santueri Castle – Discover the impregnable cliff top Moorish fortress.
  • Portocolom – Visit this natural harbor and its delightful fishing village.

Mighorn

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Llucmajor – Discover the home of Mallorcan shoemaking and a clifftop church.
  • Campos – Learn how this coastal village protected its people from pirate attacks.
  • The South West Coast – Learn how Mallorca defended its coastline from pre-historic times until the 20th Century.
  • Colònia de Sant Jordi – Visit this quiet harbor where Byzantines ships once exported salt.
  • Cabrera Island – Explore this island nature reserve off the south coast of the island.
  • Cabrera Prison Camp – Discover what the island was used for during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Santanyi – Visit the town where the stone for the island’s buildings came from.
  • The South East Coast – Discover the delightful coves in this quiet part of the island.

Palma City

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Llucmajor – Discover the home of Mallorcan shoemaking and a clifftop church.
  • Campos – Learn how this coastal village protected its people from pirate attacks.
  • The South West Coast – Learn how Mallorca defended its coastline from pre-historic times until the 20th Century.
  • Colònia de Sant Jordi – Visit this quiet harbor where Byzantines ships once exported salt.
  • Cabrera Island – Explore this island nature reserve off the south coast of the island.
  • Cabrera Prison Camp – Discover what the island was used for during the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Santanyi – Visit the town where the stone for the island’s buildings came from.
  • The South East Coast – Discover the delightful coves in this quiet part of the island.

Palma Outskirts

Places well worth visiting include:

  • Santa Catalina – Explore Palma’s first suburb on the hill west of the old town.
  • El Terreno (The Hillside) – Take a walk along the marina and learn about its colorful past.
  • Pueblo Espanyol (Spanish Town) – Discover a riot of Spanish architecture in this purpose-built village.
  • Bellver Castle – Enjoy fantastic views of Palma from this 14th Century castle.
  • Son Carlos Castle & Porto Pi – Visit the fort overlooking the Bay of Palma.
  • Marivent Palace – Learn about the King of Spain’s residence on Mallorca.

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