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Mallorca for 10 days

My wife and I will be spending 10 days on Mallorca this coming spring, April 25 - May 5. It will be our last stop at the end of a 3-month European tour that will have taken us through lots of mediterranean coastal areas. With the exception of a week on Lake Como, we'll be staying in a coastal town most nights.

During the 3-month trip we will set up a base for a week or more, in 8 different areas. We're not big on ticking items off a list of "must see" sights/sites. We like to "live like locals" in each area. Although a day trip or two, either renting a car, or using trains, buses and ferries, will occur in almost all week-long stops. So being in or near a transport hub is helpful too.

In each week-long stop we reserve an apartment. My wife loves to cook (and I love to eat!) So shopping in local markets, cooking classes and simply soaking up the local culture is high on our list. We're not fans of big cities, so we like to stay in mid-sized centres. We'd rather set up camp in a medium sized area (think Solerno - not Naples, Sitges - not Barcelona, or Naxos - not Myconos) just outside of a major centre that we can travel to if we want.

Yet tiny towns or villages that don't have good veggie or seafood markets, or are too sleepy - won't do either. The challenge is finding the "goldilocks" sized places to set up for the week. We don't need or want nightclubs, but we also can't have a small town where the sidewalks get rolled up at 7pm either!

While everything else has been fairly easy to plan - I'm struggling with Mallorca. I can't find a mid-sized area that suits us. My guess is Palma is too big. I've read that the mid-sized areas of Magaluf and S'Arenal are full of partiers, and the other mid-sized areas are inland.

Can anyone suggest a goldilocks-sized place on the coast for us to set up for our last 10 days?

Thanks in advance, Bob

Posted by
4352 posts

You're going to struggle to match everything you want. Palma, whilst itself is a fantastic city, would appear to be too busy for you. You're absolutely right to exclude Magaluf and S'Arenal, completely not what you want.

If you want to "live like a local" and experience excellent markets (although markets aren't held every day, usually once or twice a week and they're equally full of locals AND tourists) then you'll want to be in places such as Campos, Santanyi, Arta etc. Port de Pollença on the Northeast coast is a pleasant port town and will be livening up in April/May however I haven't stayed there so can't advise what it's like in the evenings. The majority of the towns will have a main plaza and surrounding streets which will contain a number of restaurants and bars which will be filled with locals and tourists often late into the night.

If you want the coast and a bit of liveliness then Cala D'or may be an option. It's more of a tourist destination than a residential town with more restaurants and bars to choose from, some tourist tat shops but it has a pleasant cove and is a short drive to some fantastic unspoilt beaches and tiny port villages.

I would highly recommend a car. I've always driven in Mallorca, it's a fantastic place to drive and public transport is a bit hit and miss. The train network isn't particularly extensive and doesn't serve the coastal areas so you would be relying on buses. Bear in mind that nowhere on the island is more than 1 1/2 hours drive away so within 10 days you can explore the whole island with a car in which case your location base does not have to be so 'perfect'.

Posted by
593 posts

We will be in Mallorca around the same time as you will be. Our first time there - I’ve narrowed in on Soller as our base. It’s not tiny - combined with a few hamlets that are within walking distance the population is 14,000. You can also take the tram to Port de Soller for even more dining options. Soller is a good base for hiking, if that interests you. I’ll be posting my itinerary in hopes for ideas from fellow travelers, soon.

There will be a major cycling event during our timeframe that supposedly clogs the northern roads with cyclists and can make for difficult driving. Not sure about that because I haven’t experienced it, just going off what I read on other forums.

Edited to add - the pathways to those tiny hamlets are lined with citrus trees that are supposed to smell divine when we’re there. That walk is definitely on our list! There are fincas around Soller that are available for rent. They might be perfect for you.

Posted by
4352 posts

There will be a major cycling event during our timeframe that supposedly clogs the northern roads with cyclists and can make for difficult driving. Not sure about that because I haven’t experienced it, just going off what I read on other forums.

This will be a big issue. Mallorca is hugely popular with cyclists and many locals are beginning to resent their presence. During the warmer months the tight mountain roads often become jammed because motorists are stuck behind groups of slow moving cyclists and the roads are not conducive to overtaking. There are complaints about cyclists openly urinating on the meeting up points (including women) and lots of rubbish being left behind, energy gels, water bottles etc, hogging the roads in groups, ignoring red lights etc, etc. so when a major cycling event takes place expect the problems to be worse.

Cycling is popular all over the island but the mountains in the north do attract the majority despite the inclines being clearly too difficult for quite a few.

Soller is a fantastic place, one of my favourites on the island however I wouldn't want to stay there during the cycling event as it will make driving to other places a real pain.

Posted by
10 posts

Julie, thanks for the heads-up about the Mallorca 312.

I just checked - 8,000 cyclists participating. With support folk, vendors and others, my guess is that is a 20,000 bump in population for the region. The event is held on the 25th, so I would assume that most will be there the week before and leave shortly thereafter. There is a good map of the route here: https://milestoneseries.cc/storage/media/2019/10/348/mapa-m312-312.jpg which shows that it's all in the north and west of the island, and is away from Palma (although many will probably stay there).

FWIW, I also looked at cruise ship passenger numbers for my 10 days:
Apr 25 - 7,000 passengers
Apr 26 - 7k
Apr 27 - 4k
Apr 28 - 8k
Apr 29 - 8k
Apr 30 - 9k
May 1 - 9k
May 2 - 15k
May 3 - 6k
May 4 - 7k
May 5 - 11k
**Remind me to be exploring the south and east regions on May 2nd!

Soller or the Port sounds perfect. And I like the idea of a car now. But I also hear JC's warning not to drive anywhere near the bike route when the event is on.

I'm now thinking of doing a few days in Palma once we arrive, then moving to Soller on day 3. The best of both worlds and we miss the biking during the event and Palma cruise ship crush.

JC - any other thoughts? You seem to know your stuff!

Thanks everyone,
B

Posted by
4866 posts

Your travel style is not mine, but having been on a Western Med Islands cruise, I wonder if Corsica or Sardinia might be more fertile ground for your island stop. Because we were on Corsica in late October, even the TI lady could not get a taxi driver to leave the house and take us for a full or half-day outing. THAT's a quiet place. Just an idea.

For our day in Palma, I liked the town, but I wasn't making a concerted effort to avoid other tourists.

Posted by
4352 posts

JC - any other thoughts? You seem to know your stuff!

What do you want to know? I've been visiting the island pretty much every year for the last 10 years or so. I've never been when the large cycling event is on but have been during Easter and the May half term so I've managed to avoid it thankfully.

You're visiting at a great time of year although there isn't really a bad time but spring has great warmth and sunshine without the intensity of July and August.

You may want to consider taking the old wooden train from Palma to Soller which would negate the need to deal with the cyclists and it's a spectacular journey - www.abc-mallorca.com/soller-train-mallorca

Of course this would mean that if you were to rent a car then your options in Soller would be very poor in comparison to that in Palma or, ideally, the airport unless you were to return to Palma via the train.

Posted by
593 posts

I’ve found a very well-reviewed small sailing company that will do full-day excursions while we are in Mallorca. I’m very tempted to book this for one day of our Mallorca time as it will give us a way to see the coastlines and bays and even do some paddle boarding. It doesn’t hurt that they pack a full picnic and drinks, either. This will save us from navigating around all those cyclists in a rental car. I think the sailing combined with a couple of hikes - we should be fairly set for our shortish time that we have there.

Posted by
1241 posts

Others responding are much more knowledgeable about Majorca than me, but - for what it's worth - we spent a week there last year and chose Soller (in the "main" bit, rather than the port). It was ideal for us - we mostly wanted to relax, pootle around the area, buy food in shops for some meals, but visit restaurants as well - and see some of the other island sights on a few days. Nobody would claim Soller is undiscovered by us tourists, but it's attractive and in a pleasant area, and popular enough to have plenty of shops and restaurants. Plus it's just big enough to have several bus services (& the tram to the coast). We hired a car for a few days to see more distant parts of the island, but also used buses and tren locally and to get to/from Palma which was less than an hour away by regular services

Posted by
13 posts

I'm reading your post with interest as we are also planning a 4-5 day Mallorca visit in mid-May 2020. I'm curious if you have settled on Soller as your base or considering other towns? (Since we don't want to rent a car, we are still considering accommodations closer to Palma, but on the fence about it.) Thanks.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi, if you planning your trip as that you also should try to find a base near Alcudia. It is a good place to start to discover northern part of the island, local market in few little cities near buy as puerto pollenca, alcudia, can picafort. Here you can check some ideas: https://www.click-mallorca.com/en/destinations/port-alcudia/ . I was using this site a lot during my stay this summer. Good also to catch ideas. There is also a lot tiny fincas to book. You have a Cala San Vincente, Cala Boquer in the near so plenty of choices. Great start for discover Cap Formentor as well. Do not miss it when you´re going! Breathtaking views all way long. Good if you have a car because in this time it should still be open to enter by car. Hope you have a lovely time!