One of the most popular destinations in Spain’s Mediterranean, Mallorca is a beguiling blend of hilltop towns, sandy coastlines and lush olive groves. Although the island’s idyllic beaches are rightfully popular, venture farther inland as well to explore its diverse landscapes.
The island’s culturally rich capital, Palma, is worth visiting to see the striking Gothic Catedral de Palma. Look for a surrealisticbaldachin by Antoni Gaudí and a bizarre painted ceramic tableau by sculptor Miquel Barceló. Branching outward from the cathedral, you’ll find a charming web of alleys lined with historic buildings and excellent restaurants.
North of Palma is the pretty town of Valldemossa, best known for its 14th-century Royal Carthusian Monastery. Over the years, this intriguing monastery has been home to kings and monks, as well as composer Frédéric Chopin and novelistGeorge Sand.
Be sure to visit Sóller, a gorgeous town dotted with grand 19th- and early 20th-century buildings. Look for interesting Moderniste-style structures designed by contemporaries of Antoni Gaudí. Attend the traditional Saturday market.
Wander the quaint streets of Alcudia, with pretty stone houses and graceful churches. Visit the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Pollentia, which dates back to 70 B.C.
No visit to Mallorca is complete without a trip to the beach. El Arenal is one of the island’s most popular, known for golden sands and all-night parties. Head to Cala Mesquida on the northeastern coast for excellent surfing or to Cala Comtessa on the western coast for calmer waters and a more family-friendly atmosphere.
Mallorca is 130 miles (210 kilometers) away from Barcelona. Reach the island by boat or plane. Most sites are accessible from the capital, Palma, by bus. To avoid the crowds, skip the high season in July and August. The waters are usually warm enough for swimming until early October. Spring is also a lovely season to visit when the island’s fragrant almond blossoms are in bloom.