Most visitors go to Majorca for the beaches, some for the out-of-season hiking, but there’s a lot more to do on this Spanish island than soak up the Sun and trek the trails. It’s a small island, though still the biggest in the Balearics — the small collection of Spanish islands also including Ibiza and Menorca. Much of Majorca is still rural, and if you go inland just a little from the coast, you’re back in “Old Spain,” but the capital city of Palma is a stunning city with a lot to offer visitors. Its medieval old town is architecturally dazzling and it’s where you’ll get the best selection of shops, restaurants, and bars.
Take in the city’s delights and then head up to the north of the island for traditional Spanish charm. If you rent a car, you can even discover some lesser-visited attractions and some out-of-the-way, less touristy places. Here’s my pick of the best things to do on the island of Majorca, Spain.
I love Palma. Its architecture is truly spectacular and the city holds such beauty in every small street and market square. It’s also right by the sea and has a beach and a beautiful old harbor with a lovely promenade. It’s also where you’ll find the biggest concentration of things to do on Majorca.
The cathedral dominates the landscape in Palma, you can see it from many spots as you travel around, and it looks incredible from the sea if you’re on a boat. It’s a glorious Gothic cathedral that’s beautiful from the outside and much bigger than it looks once you get inside. It does get busy and many tour groups visit, but it’s worth dealing with the crowds to see the inside of this majestic structure. There are various different tickets you can buy, including a basic entry ticket and a ticket that allows you access up the many steps to the terraces. If you can make it up the steps, it’s a great insight into hidden parts of the cathedral and you get amazing views of the city and the harbor from the top.
More than just an aquarium, this is closer to a sea life center in how it’s laid out and what’s offered. You can pay extra to snorkel with the rays, watch feeding time for the sharks at no extra charge, and experience a 3D cinema area that gives you an immersive experience of the aquarium and its inhabitants. It’s a large aquarium with a lot to see and you can easily spend most of the day in here. To do and see everything will take around 5 hours, but there is a good restaurant on site, so you can relax and take your time. If you don’t want to do any of the extra activities, you can make it around the aquarium in about an hour.
Castell De Bellver
A short bus ride (buses 46 and 47) from the center of the city is Bellver Castle. This 14th-century castle on the hill does have a few steps to get up to it, but once you’re up there, the views over Palma are incredible. The displays inside the castle give you information on its history and there’s also a museum that takes you through the history of the city. The facilities are pretty basic. There are toilets, but if you’re planning on visiting over lunch, take your own food and drink with you. It’s an interesting excursion from the city and tickets are very reasonably priced, plus it never gets too busy.
2. Caves Of Drach
On the east coast of the island, in the town of Porto Cristo, the Caves of Drach (nothing to do with Count Dracula) is a natural cave formation in an underground lake. Visitors walk down into the caves, on a series of safe walkways, to view the impressive stalagmites and stalactites that are literally everywhere and have grown into some unusual shapes. You then have the option of walking the bridge to the other side of the lake or taking one of the boats on the underground lake. Personally, I found the boat to be a much more experiential way to do it.
Each visit has a section of the tour when the lights are turned off. It is pitch black down in the caves, but there’s a reason they do this. Boats carrying musicians light up the darkness and they give you the most moving underground lake concert you’ll ever experience. Be aware it gets very busy and you’ll be down there with a lot of other people, but it’s quieter early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Pro Tips: It’s about an hour away by car or bus from Palma and there is a gift shop and café on site. Guides often try to rush you through the caves to get the next visitors in, but don’t be rushed.
3. La Casa De Robert Graves
In the small coastal village of Deia, on the west coast of the island, is La Casa de Robert Graves. The house where writer Robert Graves once lived is now a museum. Robert Graves, author of Goodbye to All That and I, Claudius, lived here from 1929 until his death in 1985. His grave can be found beneath a cypress tree in the churchyard. The house and gardens have been kept pretty much as they were when Graves lived here, except for some modifications to allow for disabled access. Inside the house is a short film about Graves’s life and a series of photos on the wall. Most of the house, apart from this, is exactly as it was when the writer lived here.
After visiting the house, spend some time in Deia. It’s a pretty coastal village flanked by mountains with a quiet small-shingle beach. The village itself is also quiet, but there is a bar — Café sa Fonda — that can get quite lively and has live music trad sessions that seem spontaneous. The village has long been loved by artists and musicians, as well as its famous writer, and that still applies today. It has a bohemian feel to it and tends to attract creative people looking for somewhere different than the usual Majorca resorts.
4. Old Town Of Alcudia
A walled 14th-century city, Alcudia’s old town is totally pedestrianized and retains most of its original walls. You can walk the walls for much of the way around the town but not all the way. The town square, the old houses, and the buildings show off some lovely examples of traditional Spanish architecture. You can take some time wandering through the narrow streets and alleys, which are lined with small shops and restaurants here and there. There’s an old church — worth popping into when it’s open — opposite to some Roman ruins. At night, the whole town is lit up and feels very atmospheric, especially as you are then within the walls. There’s a market on the weekends, which is popular and gets busy with locals.
Harbor And Beach
Alcudia also has a lovely harbor that’s a peaceful place for a wander. You can rent a boat from here or go on an organized boat ride out to sea. The main draw of Alcudia, though, is the long sandy beach. It’s a beautiful spot that attracts families and couples, as it never gets too touristy or busy and manages to retain its laid-back and peaceful vibe.