Thinking about a holiday to Majorca but don’t know where to start? We spoke to two local writers to get their insider tips on the must-visit restaurants, shops and beaches on the Balearics’ biggest island.
Caterina Bury lives in Majorca’s capital Palma, where she runs travel blog Palmallorcastyle about life in the town, on the island and beyond. Her top tip for Majorca? Visit during the winter. “In the so-called little summer, white and pink almond blossoms cover the island. It’s really breathtaking,” Caterina explains.
Anna Nicholas has lived in Sóller in northwest Majorca for 15 years. She’s a journalist and the author of six books about life in Majorca (her newest book, A Chorus of Cockerels, is out now). Anna’s best tip for enjoying Majorca on a budget is the menu del dia. “Lunchtime menus offer far better value than in the evening, so it’s always worth looking at that option if you’re on a budget.”
You can’t beat local recommendations, so we thought we’d pick their brains for a little while longer…
Where can we find the best beach?
AN: There are many marvellous beaches in Majorca, with waters as clear as glass. But probably my favourite is in Ses Salines, in the southeast of the island. It is called Es Caragol, meaning “the snail”. The rock formation in this area is stunning and the sand a soft, velvety yellow – the colour of egg yolk.
CB: There are about 365 beaches on the island, some of them you can only reach on foot or by boat. One of my favourites is Son Serra de Marina, a natural beach in a huge bay with spectacular views of the mountains and the coastline, and it almost always has big waves.
Where is your favourite restaurant and why?
CB: I really love Joan Marc in Inca. The chef’s Mediterranean cuisine combines seasonal local produce, traditional recipes and modern cooking. And he’s a really nice guy.
AN: One of my absolute favourites is Es Turo, in the village of Fornaltux in the Sóller valley. We’ve been visiting since our son was a few months old and he’s now 19! The food is fresh, typically Mallorquin and represents great value. The vistas are fabulous and dining al fresco on the terrace facing the Tramuntanas is a treat. In high season, it’s important to book ahead.
Can you point us to some great places to shop?
CB: Whenever I travel, I check out the local farmer’s market. There is one in every village on the island, and the towns have market halls that are open every weekday. The Mercat in Santa Catalina, Palma’s old fisherman’s district, is the place to find everything the Mediterranean has to offer.
AN: I’d have to agree with visiting Santa Catalina market, and also Mercat de L’Olivar in Palma. Both have wonderful fresh fish and vegetables, excellent sushi bars, and all sorts of eateries where you can dine on the spot. The atmosphere is fun and welcoming and they are great places to run into friends from all over the island.
Best places to get a drink? Coffee, or something stronger?
AN: I have a few of these. Locally, I always have my double espresso and croissant at Café Paris in Sóller town right on the main plaza, where my chum (the maitr’d Carmelo) shares a morning joke or two. In Palma, I like to visit Fibonacci, off Jaume III, which is run by the charismatic hostess Flavia Fasce from Argentina.
CB: A wonderful place that serves Salar (local Majorcan coffee) is Rosevelvet Bakery. It’s located in a small side street in Palma’s old town close to British chef Marc Fish’s famous restaurants, Misa and Simply Fosh.
What is the one thing we must do in Majorca?
AN: There are so many hidden treats in Majorca, but I’d probably opt for the tiny island of Dragonera, which is a nature reserve in the southwest. It is historically important because this is where the Aragon King Jaume I first came and took stock before conquering the Moors in 1229. Aside from the history, it’s a spectacularly beautiful place for a walk and it’s not spoilt by cafés, bars or gift shops – just nature in the raw.
CB: I’d have to say Correfoc, the spectacular fire runs that take place all over the island on the Fiesta Sant Sebastiá at the end of January. It’s a crazy parade at night with devils dancing through the streets, fireworks, crackers, drums and everything. New Year’s Eve is nothing compared to this.