Majorca (also “Mallorca”) is a popular island destination off the eastern coast of Spain. One of the Balearic Islands, it’s often called the jewel of the Mediterranean for its azure seas, white sand beaches, and charming towns. Majorca is the largest Balearic island, and its largest town of Palma de Mallorca is the archipelago’s capital.
Little is known of Majorca’s early history, although there’s evidence of habitation in the Neolithic period (6000 – 4000 BCE). Remains of some of the talaiots, or stone towers, can be seen across the island. Later inhabitants, during the Phoenician and Roman era, established towns and colonies on Majorca. Arab Moorish invaders from North Africa conquered the island in the early 10th century. Until the mid-13th century, when the Spanish re-conquered the Balearic Islands, Majorca was under Moorish rule.
The islands prospered under the Spanish, although Majorca suffered during the 1930s Spanish Civil War. Following the Second World War, the island grew as a tourism hot spot. Palma in particular thrived and today is the largest town in the islands.
You might be interested in this one week Mallorca itinerary.
Things to See and Do in Majorca
Palma de Mallorca town
Palma de Mallorca, the islands capital, is a bright medieval town with plenty to see and do. It was founded by the Romans, sacked by Vandals, and finally reconquered by the Byzantines and then the Moors. Under James I of Aragon, Palma and the Balearic Islands became Spanish. Palma has long been a port town and is popular with tourists who spend time here before heading on to Ibiza or Menorca. The original town centre is home to several small churches, the Gothic Cathedral of Majorca, the Alcazar (fortified Royal Palace), and narrow, winding streets worth exploring. With the growth in tourism, Palma has a plethora of luxury hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly called La Seu, is an enormous Catalan Gothic cathedral located in the old city of Palma, adjacent to the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean. James I of Aragon began construction in 1229, but the cathedral was not completed until 1601. It has the second highest nave of all European Gothic cathedrals, standing at 44m tall.
Road to Sa Calobra
The road to Sa Calobra twists and winds its way 13 kilometres along the mountains into the bay at Sa Calobra. It is one of the most dangerous roads in Spain as it does not have any guardrails or lines in the centre of the road, however it is also an exciting road. It features plenty of hairpin turns, a 360 degree curve that winds around and under itself, and a 720m elevation gain.
Visit Coves dels Hams and Coves del Drach
Palma has plenty of caves on both land and sea, two of the most popular are Coves del Drach and Coves dels Hams. They are both located in the eastern region of the island near the town of Porto Cristo. Tours depart daily with several operators from Palma and Porto Cristo.
Visit Port de Soller
Port de Soller, a small town at the western edge of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, on the far side of the island, was up until recently a hidden gem. The town was very hard to access, but with the opening of the new tunnel in 1990s, it has opened up tourism to the beach town. It’s a traditional fishing village with plenty of seafood restaurants, boutique shops, and local tavernas. There is a tram line that runs to Soller, an inland heritage town.
Palacio Real de La Almudaina
The Palacio Real de La Almudaina is also known as the Alcazar, the Moorish fortified palace. It was built by the Muslim caliphates following the Arab conquest in the 11th century, but was rebuilt in 1309 by James II of Majorca. It was the royal palace of the Kingdom of Majorca until it passed to the Crown of Aragon under Peter IV in 1349. The palace, although converted to the Gothic by James II, retains Islamic elements and a very well-laid out courtyard (14th century) and garden (which was rebuilt in the 1960s).
Fundació Pilar I Joan Miró in Majorca
The Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Majorca is a museum dedicated to the work of Spanish artist Joan Miro. Miro’s wife, Pilar, and his mother were from Majorca, and the couple created the foundation in 1981. He used a nearby studio from the late 1950s until his death in 1983; it is now part of the museum. The collection includes over 6000 pieces from Miro, including sculpture, paintings, and a library.
Where to Stay in Majorca
Visitors to Majorca can choose from small, boutique bed and breakfasts, mid-range three and four star hotels, and stunning four and five star luxury hotels. The Iberostar brand, a luxury Spanish hotel brand, has fifteen different four and five star luxury hotels in Majorca, with five in Playa de Muro and three in Palma. The remaining hotels are scattered around the island at various beaches. All of the hotels are set into the landscape with extensive pools and gardens, chic lounge areas, vibrant bars and restaurants, and casual dining options. Many lie along kilometres of white sand, perfect for strolling at sunset or sunrise. You can find more information at Iberostar.com.
Iberostar Cala Millor
This adults-only hotel is located on the east side of the island. It is a great base to explore the nearby Punta de n’Amer nature park and fortress.
Iberostar Jardin del Sol, Costa de la Calma
This adults-only hotel near the village of Calvia is a great place to relax and enjoy traditional spa services or a round of golf.
Iberostar Pinos Park, Font de sa Cala
Pinos Park is a family-friendly hotel complete with a waterpark, adventure outings, and children’s clubs. Parents can hang out on the adjacent beach knowing that their children are being cared for 100% by knowledgeable and dedicated staff.
Iberostar Playa de Muro
There are five Iberostar hotels in Playa del Muro. All are family-friendly, although two have Star Prestige benefits for adults (rooftop terrace and open bar). Some offer bicycle hire, others have exceptional spas, and all are perfect for relaxing in the sun by the pool.
Iberostar Playa de Palma
All three of the Playa de Palma properties are all-inclusive, which is perfect for travellers seeking luxury with the knowledge that everything is taken care of. All three are also recently renovated, have gorgeous pools, and offer dining and drinking establishments. One is family friendly, one is adult only, and the third offers Star Prestige benefits for adults.
Iberostar Grand Portals Nous
This adults-only property on Majorca’s southern coast is brand new. Head here for lush beaches, sparkling seas, and complete relaxation away from the bustle of town.
Iberostar Club Cala Barca, Porto Petro
Club Cala Barca is an unlimited service, family-friendly hotel on the southeastern coast of Majorca. It has eight swimming pools as well as beach access, and is adjacent to Mondrago Natural Park, where you can explore hiking trails and pine groves as well as hidden beaches.
Iberostar Ciudad Blanca, Puerto de Alcudia
The property here includes both hotel rooms and apartments. Bahia de Alcudia is on Majorca’s northern coast. Ciudad Blanca is family friendly and all-inclusive, ideal for travellers seeking a family vacation for a great price.
Majorca is super easy to get to from gateways across Europe, and it’s a wonderful family vacation destination. There is plenty to do in Palma, the largest town, as well as around the island. Stay at one of these fantastic Iberostar properties for a comfortable, luxurious experience in the Spanish Balearic Islands.