Mallorca was extraordinary, and absolutely exceeded my expectations based on the research I did and photos I looked at before our trip. What made it so special was that while getting your typical Spanish, beachy experience, it was also dramatically mountainous. It was so fun to jump in the car and drive around the steep and winding roads that quickly rose, fell, turned, and made me feel like we were going to run into (or off of!) the side of a cliff more often than I might have liked. The bikers love those roads too, because even outside of the height of tourist season, it seemed like every biker that was anyone was in Mallorca for the weekend. My guess is it gets even busier as the summer months go on. So if you are driving, watch out!
WHAT TO DO
- First things first, get out of Palma! Palma is where the airport is located and apparently where the party is at, but I just felt like we were in LA. When you escape the business and get out to the smaller villages, you will have an entirely different experience.
- Drive along the MA-10 from Soller to Banyalbuar (photo 5) - There are incredible views all along the road (you will find yourself pulling over repeatedly) and stop in Valldemossa (photo 13) for one of the most picturesque little towns you will see. Chopin lived there with George Sands.
- Torrent de Pareis (photos 4, 7, 8) - Not only is this pebble beach stunning as it sits between two steep cliffs, but the ride down is so cool (although very slow since you have to do a 180 every 100 feet). There are bikers all along the way, and you can't pass them until you can see far enough ahead that you know you won't run into another car (photo 10). Go early!! It is popular and we were lucky enough to have a morning to ourselves before the afternoon crowd descended.
- Cap de Formentor (photos 1, 12, 18) - This is another wild and winding road filled with more bikers than cars, complete with jaw-dropping views. And that water is bluer than any blue I have ever seen.
- Soller (photo 15) - You should really stay in Soller, but if you don't, you should absolutely drop by and walk around. The two way streets feel more like pedestrian walkways, there is a beautiful cathedral in the middle of town, and it is filled with lemon and orange groves.
WHERE TO EAT
- Don Pedro Cafe Bistro - This little cafe is located right on the beach in Port de Soller (photos 2, 14, 16) and it is totally casual and well priced. We got a variety of tapas and a rack of ribs. While everything was delicious, my favorite was the toast smothered in goat cheese, caramelized onions, and sun dried tomatoes.
- Sa Fabrica de Gelats (photo 9)- Soller is filled with lemon and orange groves, so I thought it was only appropriate to order those flavors of ice cream. I didn't miss my usual order of chocolate at all.
- Hotel Salvia - I will recommend this hotel below, but even if you don't stay there, go have a meal there! It was fresh and delicious and the setting is beautiful. I had the most delicious lemon linguine that I wish I could recreate back home.
WHERE TO STAY
- Hotel Salvia (photos 3, 6, 11, 17) - I can't recommend this little boutique hotel highly enough. It is right in the middle of the town of Soller, with a magnificent setting against the mountains and the kindest staff you will ever meet. Do yourself a favor and go straight to the town cemetery to park and don't even attempt to pull up to the hotel itself. You will be sorry and you will probably crash your car (we avoided that but got very close).