90 miles east of the Spanish city of Valencia lies the Balearic island of Majorca in the Mediterranean Sea. The island has always been a well-known tourist spot among Europeans, though in recent years has also become quite trendy among the broader international scene.
Majorca (also spelled Mallorca), has golden beaches, UNESCO protected sites, history, and a culture all of its own. Though most people who head here plant themselves in one spot, and don’t venture out further than the resort town of Palma.
That’s their loss!
Day Trips From Palma, Majorca
Once you land at Palma de Mallorca Airport, it’s easy to take advantage of Majorca rent a car services and get your own transport. This gives you the independence to visit the island at your own pace.
The bus network here is good but you’ll be locked into the public timetable, and when you only have a limited number of days, it’s not exactly ideal to spend hours on buses. Public transport can often take double the time to get somewhere because of the many stops and transfers.
Majorca is a compact island, so while most destinations are worthy destinations in their own right, many can actually be done as day trips from Palma if you don’t like constantly unpacking and moving around.
Simply arrange your car rental from a company like Roig.com and get ready to drive!
Base Yourself in Palma
Majorca’s capital is a good base for exploring the rest of the island; a beautiful coastal city which attracts people who want a relaxing beach vacation with an infusion of history.
Dating back to the 13th century, Palma has a rich Gothic history (you won’t miss the Gothic landmark of Santa María Cathedral which towers above the bay), and many of the city’s buildings maintain their original baroque influence.
Honeycolored stone and medieval streets makes for an incredibly unique look for a beach city. But despite being a historic town, Palma has a modern soul, with an endless list of modern culture, entertainment and gastronomy.
For things to do in Palma, make sure you visit the Cathedral, as well as the Arab Baths; a bathhouse that dates back to the time the Moors were in charge. For a change of pace why not take a stroll through the Sa Llotja district and take a cocktail or two in the bars.
And of course, there’s the beach. If your time in Palma has fallen over a Sunday, this is often the perfect time for a beach day, as most other attractions close on Sunday.
Image: Andrés Nieto Porras (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
Day Trip From Palma: Magaluf
Just west of Palma, the resort town of Magaluf is a super short 26 minute drive, so you can either set yourself up to spend a couple of days, or if you just want to soak up a bit of the vibe, Magaluf can easily be done as a day trip from Palma.
This is one of Europe’s most famous resort towns, known for its nightlife, beaches, and food scene. The area used to have a reputation as the heart of Majorca’s backpacker party culture, though swanky high rise hotels have started to attract a more affluent crowd, and cleaned up its image considerably.
The beach in Magaluf is around 900 metres, so despite being a huge tourist hub, there’s enough room for everybody. Think golden sand, and turquoise blue water; it’s the type of beach experience you use cliches for like ‘belongs on the front of a postcard’.
Lining the beach are cafes, bars, and restaurants, as well as ritzy beach resorts, theme parks, and vendors offering a wide range of water sports.
The uninhabited island of Sa Porrassa is visible from the beach. If you’re after a mixture of sun, sea, and heady nightlife this is the place to come.
Image: Liilia Moroz [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Day Trip From Palma: Sóller
The town of Sóller is an interesting place to spend time. And it’s only 40 minutes from both Magaluf and Palma, so makes for a very quick drive.
Soller is an old rural town, with grandiose Art Nouveau houses, and narrow streets bursting with tapas bars, niche shops like bakeries, ice-creameries, and juiceries, and upmarket craft shops you can browse which catch the sea breeze.
It’s a very trendy area for cafes and shopping, though nature lovers will be impressed with it’s trails for walking. The trail from Soller to the beach at Cala Tuent have beautiful views of the mountains and the sea. And culture vultures will fall in love with the Old Town, which oozes Medieval architecture and history.
You can either drive to Soller, and book into one of the many hotels, though this is also a popular day trip from Palma, being so close to the city. One of the funnest ways to get there is by taking the vintage tram, which travels between Soller and Palma several times a day.
The tram dates back to 1912, and this is a great way to take in scenic views of the countryside without having to concentrate on the road while driving. You’ll pass through citrus orchards, olive groves, and pine forests. The 100-year-old train route is carved through the Tramuntana Mountain Range.
Image: Ramon Rullan via Pixabay
Day Trip From Palma: Binissalem
Another short drive, Binissalem is only half an hour from Palma, and sommeliers will delight, because this is Majorca’s wine country.
Most of the island’s wines originate from this region of the Baeleric island and most wineries are open to the public. The Romans set up the first vineyards here in 121 BC, so the area has quite a rich history.
Popular wineries include Ca’n Novell Wine Cellar, and ANA Vins Wine Cellar, though it’s advisable to call ahead if you’re planning to visit. Binissalem is mainly known for its red wines, made with the local grape Manto Negro.
This is a popular day trip option from Palma, but there are many hotels in the region if you really want to spend a couple of days relaxing in wine country (plus, don’t drink and drive!). Binissalem feels a lot more authentic than the touristy coastal resort towns; more of a sleepy village that only locals know about.
The town center has a lot of history, with Gothic buildings from the 18th and 19th Century. This is a really fantastic way to dive deeper into island life, as the village is largely untouched by tourism, and you’re offered a rare insight into the traditional Majorcan way of life.
Day Trip From Palma: Lluc Sanctuary
An hour drive north of Palma, head to the Serra de Tramuntana to discover the spiritual heart of Majorca. This is the island’s most sacred site; a former 13th century monastery that has became a place of Catholic pilgrimage.
The story of Lluc is that in the 13th century, an Arab shepherd boy found a figure of the Virgin Mary in a nearby cave, and took it to be placed in the monastery. However every time it was returned to the monastery it miraculously returned to the cave, which the village saw as a sign of God that this was a holy place.
Today there is a shrine here around the cave, though even if you’re not religious, Lluc is a lot more than a sanctuary, it’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in Mallorcan culture, and a great alternative to the typical beach / party days.
Choir boys sing in the morning and evening in Lluc, and the close by botanical gardens make a good starting point for treks into the surrounding countryside. They do have accommodation and food onsite if you want to spend a couple of days.
Image: Rondaies [CC BY-SA 4.0] via Wikimedia Commons
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