My favorite Australian in London had a major birthday in July so we decided a trip to the beach was in order. Josie selected Mallorca which is the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. Because if you’re going to do a beach trip, you may as well do it right. My friend Alaina was in town for work and came along too. 3 girls + 4 days + 1 rental car + 1 Spanish island = muy divertido (a lot of fun!).
Before we get to the rest of the beach photos, let me tell you a short story about how we came to rent a car. I’ve entered a travel phase I like to refer to as “the lazy traveler” whereby I wait until the night before a trip to throw all my clothes into my backpack and look up directions from the airport to the hotel. If I’m feeling motivated I’ll also snap photos of the relevant pages in my travel books to peruse on the flight. For those who know me well, this is very unlike my Type A personality – but I’m trying to embrace the adventures and misadventures that come from traveling without a strict itinerary.
As I was going through my lazy traveler routine for Mallorca I realized the hotel we’d booked was a 40 minute cab ride from the main airport in Mallorca (read: not cheap) or a 2 hour bus trip (read: waste of vacation time). Until now, I’ve been spoiled by the public transportation systems of Europe’s major cities and have rarely relied on cabs, opting instead for buses and trains. As Josie and I sat on our short 3 hour flight the following day from London to Mallorca we realized we would be stranded at the hotel or doling out cash right and left for cabs if we didn’t have our own set of wheels. And that’s the story of how we ended up at the Europcar desk at the airport handing over my driver’s license while Josie gave me a pep talk before my first time driving in over 9 months.
Port de Sóller
With our new found freedom in the form of a sweet little Volkswagon Polo, we zoomed northwest from the airport towards the Port of Sóller. Our hotel was the fabulous Los Geranios just steps from the water.
Soller was absolutely stunning and a nice change of pace from Mallorca’s capital city of Palma. We walked along the beach, ate tapas and frozen yogurt like they were going out of style, rented stand up paddleboards, and indulged in massages at this rooftop spa.
We also used our wheels to venture out on two day trips to Cala Deia and Palma.
According to Google Maps it was a 25 minute drive from our hotel to the rocky, secluded beach of Cala Deia. Well, Google Maps didn’t take into account the winding, hilltop roads combined with my cautious driving or lack of road signs pointing to the turnoff. Exhibit A – questionable island roads:
An hour and a half after departing the hotel I finally delivered us to our destination. We were rewarded by some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.
We enjoyed the sun and ate delicious seafood at one of the two restaurants perched on the rocks overlooking the water. After a much easier drive back to the hotel I happily parked the car for the remainder of the day while we explored more of Soller.
Our final day trip took us to the biggest city on the island and the destination of most tourists, Palma. We first stopped at the Castell de Bellver, a castle built from sandstone between 1300-1311 first used as a royal fortress and later a prison. Today it exists as a tourist attraction and offers scenic views of Palma’s old town and coastline.
Next we drove to Palma’s most popular beach, Platja de Palma for another dose of sunshine and water. After soaking up the sun we set off towards the Palma Cathedral to wander the streets of old town.
We ended the day by feasting on some of the best tapas I’ve ever had at Bar Dia, an unassuming spot nestled in the narrow streets of old town. Josie and Alaina seen here enjoying sangria while I was a responsible designated driver.
Mallorca is beautiful and although we had a lovely time exploring Palma, I’m so relieved we stayed in Soller. I hope you have a chance to visit Mallorca if you’re ever in the area. What did I miss from our itinerary that you loved if you’ve been to Mallorca?
Know Before You Go:
- Rent a car if you want to explore more of Mallorca’s beaches. The bus system had a random and difficult-to-understand schedule in my opinion.
- Avoid Palma or Magaluf areas if you’re seeking a quiet beach retreat. The beaches at both places are stunning, but you’ll be fighting the crowds and dealing with a lot of other tourists.
- Check out this blogger’s suggestions for exploring Mallorca and this New York Times 36 hours guide for more ideas.
- Currency is the Euro.
- The official language is Mallorquinese Catalan although most residents speak English, Spanish, and German to cater to tourists.