Cala Ratjada is built on a small rocky peninsula on the extreme northeast corner of the island and is the principle port of the Capdepera district. The resort has been a fishing port since the 17th century and even today is the second most important fishing port in Majorca.
Cala Ratjada is a resort that tends to cater mainly for the German market.
Must see attractions include the three major beaches: the Cala Ratjada, the Cala Son Moll and the Cala Gat. The Caves of Arta are also located close by.
See My Travel Page for more information.
The modern resort of Cala Millor is situated on the east coast of Majorca, and close to Cala Bona. The town is the largest tourist development on the east coast of the island and is suited for a more traditional family holiday.
Must see attractions include the beach with all the amenities that you would expect for a tourist destination.
Cala Millor is known as the “Better Bay”
See My Travel Page for more information.
Starfish Glass Bottom Boat
Starfish is a glass bottom catarmaran that operates along the south eastern Majorcan coast - we stayed in Cala D'or and the boat goes on daily visits to Porto Colom, Mondrango, Cala Figuera and to other various coves and beaches.
We took the Porto Colom trip - the boats are clean and fairly comfortable - they travel fast and because of this it is only possible to see the underwater world when the boats are static.
There are toilets on board and refreshments. On some trips it is possible to swim from the boat.
I am not sure a disbaled person could access the boats as I cannot see that there is wheelchair access.Related to:
- Family Travel
Alcúdia is a small town in north part of Mallorca between the bays of Alcudia and Pollença.
We parked the car outside the city walls (there are some free parkings just opposite the main gate) and walked inside the old town which is small anyway.
The area was inhabited since prehistoric times although for the first organized community we have to go Phoenicians. Romans (during the first century AD) created Pollentia that was as the capital of the island. Vandals destroyed the town during 5th century and 3 centuries later it was rebuilt by Moors that named it with the arabic name Al Cudia (on the hill).
Then the christians arrived (Jaume I liberated the island) and built the circuit of walls around the town although they used many stones from old roman buildings, the first wall dates from 14th century but there was a second wall added during 17th century.
Tourism arrived in Alcudia in the 70s but it was after 1985 when the construction booming at Port d’Alcudia brought massive groups of tourists.
Most of the visitors prefer the Port d'Alcúdia (3km away from Alcudia) because of the long beach of course, in our days it is a major summer resort with lots of hotels and numerous restaurants around the marina, very popular among families that prefer this area as a base for their holidays.
The truth is that we spent our time in the old town of Alcudia which is surrounded by the old medieval walls from 14th century! What you can do here is:
-Walk along the picturesque small well reserved and pedestrianised alleys, check the wallss and some old buildings (Ca’n Fondo, Ca’n Torro, Ca’n Canta etc)
-Check the medieval gates(puerta Principal and Xara Gate, the latter is the most picturesque and can be seen in post cards too)
-Visit some small museums, the monographic museum or the archeological museum
-Visit the market in front of Xara gate (at plaza Carlos V) on Tuesday and Sunday mornings (9.00am to 15.00)
-Visit San Jaume church (pics 4-5), I was surprised by its decoration, it also includes a small museum
-See a bull ring from 19th century
-Check the remains of an old roman town when it was called Pollentia (including a roman amphitheatre from 1st century BC)
-relax at one of the numerous small cafes and restaurants, many of them at placa de la Constitucio but also at the back alleysRelated to:
- Castles and Palaces
Valldemosa is a beautiful village about 17km NW from Palma.
It’s a picturesque place, located at 435m above sea level on the valley of Sierra de Tramuntana. It’s ideal for a small day trip, we loved the area, full of green with many olive and almond trees but also oaks. 6km from the village following a narrow road you go down to Port de Valldemossa, a small fishing port.
Its name Mussa Valley goes back to muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 711. Mussa was the Mauritanian ruler of the area (hence the name).
It’s famous for an old monastery (Royal Charterhouse of Valldemosa) that turned into a guesthouse during 19th century and hosted some famous people like Frederic Chopin and Georges Sand but if you read the book “A winter in Mallorca” that Sand wrote you will notice that they didn’t really loved the place and the locals :).
The entrance fee is 7,5euro including entrance to the church, monastery rooms, the pharmacy room, Museo Municipal and Palace of King Sancho where we watched a piano concert.
Apart from that you can also visit Sant Bartolomeu church (built in 1245 in baroque style) or Santa Catalina Thomas reservoir (patron saint of Mallorca). We also stopped for coffee at the central square, there are numerous small café and restaurants around but from the prices it was obvious that the village is focusing on tourists as there are also small hotels, souvenir stores etc.
I would love Valldemosa even without a visit to the famous old monastery. Walking around its charming small alleys was so refreshing, picturesque corners, beautiful stone houses with green windows, nicely decorated doors, flowers…Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Soller and port de Soller
Soller is a small town at NW of Mallorca island, about 28km from Palma.
It’s a ideal for a daytrip from Palma especially if you combine it with a side trip to Port de Soller (4km from Soller) with the nostalgic old tram. Villages Fornalutx and Biniaraix that also located in the valley may also worth a visit but unfortunately we didn’t have time for them but we were impressed by a couple we met that told us that they visited all of them on foot. Of course the general area is a paradise for those who like hiking, mountain biking etc
Sóller has about 14,000 inhabitants. The city lies on a green (very fertile) valley but you can see that it’s surrounded by the hills of Serra de Tramuntana, actually you can see Puig Major, Mallorca’s highest mountain at 1443meter. The valley of Soller is famous of many orange, lemon and citrus trees, no surprise so many places in Soller offer fresh orange juice. The citrus trade with France brough lots of money during 19th century
Most visitors take the old wooden train from Palma, it goes (slowly) up the mountain through several tunnels before Soller. On your way back you can use a bus, its faster (and cheaper).
Placa Constitucio is the central square of Soller. All visitors will come here sooner or later because its full of street cafes where you can relax watching the old trams passing by. The square is nice on its own with a fountain and numerous plane trees but we also loved the architecture of the buildings that face the square. Apart from the beautiful Sant Bartolomeu church you can also see the ajuntament(town hall) of Soller. The building has an impressive staircase
The most impressive building is on the left of the church, an amazing structure made by Joan Rubio (Gaudi’s student) in 1912 in the typical (for that era) modernism style. It was once Banco de Soller (now Santander Central Hispano) that was founded in 1889 by some rich emigrants that return back to Soller.
Not much to do here except drinking some fresh orange juice, killing time before you take the train back to Palma, the tram down to the port or just visit a near by museum. At the train station (100m uphill from the square) you can visit Sala Picasso and Sala Miro.
The most popular activity for the visitors of Soller is to take the tram down to the port.
Slow and noisy the Orange Express will take you down to a 25’ ride that will take you back in time because it has that old atmosphere and it feels very nostalgic, similar to the trams of San Francisco. The ride is scenic as the tram goes down passing by the last houses of Soller and then next to numerous orange and lemon trees that give a great smell in the air. At the end it goes along the beach of Soller before you get off in the center of the port.
Once in the port you will notice a beach where you can swim and the marina with numerous yachts (some of them were really impressive). There are numerous cafeterias and restaurants to choose, we also noticed many hotels, I guess the area must be crowded in summer months, in late may it was just ok. Going up and down the promenade was nice but we got bored without something to point the camera except the yachts and the sea so we walked toward the north end of the promenade to see the lighthouses (pic).
Unfortunately the Museum de la Mar was closed, it’s a museum, about the maritime history of Soller that is housed in an old chapel from 13th century. It’s open daily except Mondays…
Puerto de Pollensa is small seaside town (popular among british families) with not much to offer to someone that wants something more than a beach and sangria.
It was a cloudy morning so the beach (platja Lelenaire) was empty but still lovely for taking photos. We had a morning coffee in the town and that was it all so I cant really tell if we could spend some more time here.
I know that Every Wednesday they have a regular market at Placa Miguel Capllonch, a square that houses many cafe and restaurants and also the Church of Our Lay of Carmen.
What I liked most was its location, at the bay of Pollenca under the shade of the mountain, it was up there where we drove on the windy road towards Cap Formentor. On the way we left Puerto Pollensa behind but again a nice photo opportunity (pic 2).
Palma de Mallorca is the capital of the island. Most people prefer other places to stay but even in that case the capital worth to be visited and you can see many things in one day.
We used Palma as a base to explore the island so most of our time there was during the evening when we returned from the day trips and we wanted just a tapa bar to relax. But we left one full day for a proper sightseeing of Palma too.
There are many things that worth to be seen here but of course Le Seu the impressive cathedral is the one that will catch your breath. Next to the cathedral we saw the Palace of Almudaina but we also walked among the small alleys where we saw some smaller churches and the unexpected (and well preserved) Arab Baths.
There are also many other museums (Joan Miro’s museum, Museum of Modern Art), numerous cafes and restaurants, the popular Plaza Mayor which a typical Spanish inner square, Plaza Espana which is the main hub for every transport media across the island.
We did some shopping at carrer del Sindicat and we also walked down to the port where the boats depart for other Balearic islands (also for Barcelona and Valencia).
Have in mind that many restaurants focusing on tourists which means low quality and high prices.
There’s also good nightlife with plenty of choices, lively bars and clubs. The truth is that we were so tired after long day trips around the island that a glass of wine was just enough…Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Formentor peninsula is an amazing range that gives the best photo opportunities in Mallorca island, no surprise many postcards of Mallorca have pictures from here including some spectacular rock formations along the bay.
We followed the scenic road from Puerto Pollensa, they say that it gets crowded and the traffic is so high that you may need 2 hours to cover the 14km till the end of the peninsula but we didn’t have this problem in may. The road was made by the Italian enginner Antonio Paretti but we founded kind of scary in some parts because it is narrow and has numerous close turns.
Along the way there are “miradors”, view points that you can stop and take some great pictures. Most of the tour buses and the majority of cars stop at the first one (mirador d’es Colomer) which is great and the most popular, you can also walk up the opposite hill where there is Taliaia d’Albgercuix, it’s an old watchtower (for spying the pirates) located at 380m above sea level and have some great panoramic views from up there.
We decided to drive also all the way up the road until Cap de Formentor and see the lighthouse that dominates the northern part of the island in general.
There are some great corners, numerous paths, a famous hotel (Hotel Formentor) that was built in 1929 (with famous guests in the past like Winston Churchill), the lighthouse of course (Cap de Formentor) even some nice beaches. Of course the main attraction are the rocky formations that go into the sea, formation that have been made through the centuries by wind and water. Noone can beat nature…
We went there by car but many people use an organized tour with a bus that takes you until the first view point which is Mirador d’es Colomer.Related to:
Capdepera is a small town at NE of Mallorca island, 80km away from Palma.
We drove there after visiting Caves del Drach in the morning. There are numerous free parking places in and out the city but during the medieval festival it was chaotic with hundreds of cars covering all the possible places, most of the fields near the main roads that lead to the city where full of cars too.
It’s a quiet small town that probably most visitors of the island wont ever hear about it and can easily be visited if you happen to visit the near by Arta or you just relaxing at Cala Ratjada. Actually there’s only one attraction in Capdepera, a medieval castle on the top of the hill while modern city spreads outside.
There’s not much to do here except to walk up the hill and visit the castle, it seems all the alleys lead up there.
Castell de Capdepera was built by King James II of Aragon in 1300 and used to fortified the small town so to protect it from pirates and other enemies the centuries to come. What you can do here is to walk along the walls (not recommended if you suffer from acrophobia) and enjoy the view not only over the town of Capdepera but also down to the port (Cala Ratjada) or to the green fields on the other side. I felt uncomfortable in some parts because the walkways were kind of slim which is ok for one person but not if 4-5 people meet 3-4 people coming the other way.
Inside the castle you can also see an old church, it is Nostra Senyora de la Esperanca (Our Lady of Hope) that supposed to house a precious wooden cross from 14th century but we didn’t check the interior to see it.
The castle is open daily 9.00-19.30 (till 16.45 in winter) and the entrance fee is 2 euros (it was free during the festival)
Inside the town there’s also a central square (Placa Orient) where you can find some café/restaurants and a nice church.
We loved visiting Capdepera because it was during the medieval festival that takes place on the third weekend of may. That weekend Capdepera gets packed with visitors that come and enjoy local products that were typical in that era, most of the small streets are full with stalls that sell for low prices beer, shrimps, fried squid etc while folk medieval music comes from every corner, usually from violin players. Walking inside the festival (it’s like a huge open market actually) and eating from different stalls we easily filled our hunger but also got happy with the beers although it was challenging going up and down the hilly town through the winding alleys :)
Medieval Festival takes place the third week of may but you can also attend Sant Bartomeu festivities (18-25 of august) or Sant Anoni feast day on january 17.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
We visited the famous monastery of Lluc after Soller (33km away)
It’s an important religious place with a nice church and a famous boys’ choir. After a long day on towns along the west coast it was very refreshing visiting a place at 500m, we rest for a while and I cant really describe how great the cold beer was (hopefully there is cafeteria at the monastery). We saw many bikers during our visit, the old cells of the monks are now rental rooms. People use the area as a base for hiking, mountain bike etc
Monasterio de Lluc is probably the most important religious place in Mallorca island with lots of pilgrimages visiting it every year. It is situated on idyllic area (no surprise) just below the highest mountain peaks of Serra de Tramuntana.
The buildings of the monastery date back from 18th century but it was foubded in 13th century (!) when a young shepherd accidentally found a statue of Virgin Mary which was a sign of course to build the monastery there (ok this is just the story of the first monks but it makes the trip/tip better)…
There was no entrance fee so we just walked inside the ugly gate but then we liked the long large yard with building on both sides. I have read that the monastery attracts thousands of visitors but in late may there just a few people there.
What you can do here is visit the museum (small fee), the church (a beautiful basilica), the botanical garden or follow the path that leads to another view point (but we didn’t do this).
Escorca is a great starting point for experienced hikers also, you can try (if you dare) to climb the highest peaks of the island here:
Tomir at 1,103m, Puig Massanella at 1,352m and the highest one which is Puig Major at 1443m
Puig Major houses a military zone so you cant really reach the top, that’s why the highest target for the hikers is Puig de Massanella, not matter which one you choose be prepared as it is a dry area so avoid hot weather and have all you need with you (water of course is priority…)Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Deya (or Deia) is another lovely small village on the mountains of Mallorca island, about 25km from Palma.
We came from Valldemossa but we just stopped in Deya for some pictures and continued to Soller (The road is very scenic for driving) without walking up the steep streets of Deya but I know it’s a favorite village for those that look for something different in Mallorca away from the crowded beaches. The village is developed with cafes, restaurants and pubs and some hotel rooms.
The lovely town seems very relaxing and definitely picturesque with all these stone houses and the idyllic surrounded landscape full of olive and almond trees, citrus orchards and an incredible rocky backdrop with the mountain falling into the ocean (one of the reasons I love WN part of Mallorca). Actually I regret it we didn’t stop because later I’ve read of how many people love this place, many famous ones also lived here like the English poet Robert Graves(1895-1985) that came here in 1930 and used Deya many times in his stories. In our days you can visit his house that is a small museum.Related to:
Caves of Arta (Cuevas de Artá)
The caves of Arta were named after an ancient inland town. The massive entrance to these caverns are cut into the coastal cliffs some 35m above sea level, it was formed by brackish water corrosion. One visitor to the caves, Jules Verne, was said to have been so impressed by the tortured shapes of its stalagmites and stalactites, drawing upon these impressions when he wrote Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Cala Mesquida is situated on the north east coast of Majorca and is a purpose built resort set around a picturesque beach of fine sand that is backed by dunes dotted with pine trees with the beach sloping gently into the sea.
The port and holiday resort of Alcudia lies on the north east coast of Majorca at the western end of the Bay of Alcudia. If the hustle and bustle of the south of the island is too much, then Alcudia provides a good alternative.
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