A traveller's Guide to Mallorca, Spain
It is often (incorrectly) thought of as simply a 18-30s holiday destination, yet Mallorca offer so much more to travellers. Mallorca (or ‘Majorca’) is the largest island in the Balearics (Ibiza and Formentera lie to the west, and Menorca to the east) and an ever-popular Mediterranean destination thanks to its glorious beaches, up-market port towns, remote mountains, stunning views and small rural villages.
The island enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, sunny summers - in the height of summer temperatures can exceed 40°C, very occasionally sparking thunderstorms. However, the cooling influence of the sea does offer welcome relief to the sultry conditions. Summer is of course the busiest time of the year, but spring and autumn have more comfortable temperatures in the mid to high twenties, making these seasons ideal times for outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking. Rainfall is more common in autumn and winter, and on clear nights it can get fairly cold during winter, when the temperature can approach freezing point leading to the occasional overnight frost.
Palma is the capital of Mallorca, and a popular destination for city-breaks. With its crooked medieval streets, lined with galleries, restaurants, bistros, and shops, and a glistening bay packed with boats and cruise liners, Palma offers plenty to those on a city-break. Palma’s Gothic Roman Catholic Cathedral - Cathedral de Santa Maria de Palma (Cathedral of St. Mary of Palma, or more commonly referred to as La Seu) – is the stand out landmark of Palma. The enormous La Seu is located on the sea front, and is spectacular, both inside and out.
The Badia de Palma (Bay of Palma) spreads out as flatlands to the east and the hills to the west, towards the main mountain range, Sierra de Tramontana, a World Heritage Site. The rocky coastal mountain range extends from the southwast to the northeast of the island and its highest peak is Puig Major (1,445 metres high). These mountains have a colder climate because of altitude, and in winter can be covered with snow. They are also windier and receive more precipitation, up to 1,200 mm (47 in) per year, meaning they are also greener and covered by forests. Its limestone spires and bluffs are ideal for exploring on foot or by bike, and as such, many avid hikers and cyclists take an annual trip here. Along the rugged coast, you can also find many bays, including Alcudia and Pollensa, as well as smaller, more up-market ports such as Puerto de Andratx.
Mallorca has many coastal resorts overlooking its beautiful beaches, making it perfect for a relaxing holiday. The sea is warm enough for swimming from July to September, while in June and October it is quite cool. Protected nature reserves are important for wildlife – Cabrera Island Marine Reserve and the S’Albufera Nature Research are two of the main ones, housing many birds, animals and reptiles. South of Mallorca is the small archipelago of Cabrera, made up of small islands and islets, protected in the national maritime-terrestrial park of the same name.
However, if you fancy doing something a little different whilst visiting the island, you could head inland and stop in one of Mallorca’s many rural hotels or ‘fincas’ (farmhouses) that provide a luxurious base for a week or two spent exploring the lush countryside, villages, hilltop monasteries, olive, carob and almond groves, vineyards and wineries in the interior of the island. Indeed, tWC Editor was so captivated by the stunning, rural parts of Mallorca that she chose to get married in one of its wineries!
Climate of Palma, Mallorca
- Average min temperature range: 4°C in January to 18°C in August
- Average max temperature range: 15°C in January to 31°C in August
- Average driest month: April with 25 mm and 13 rain days
- Average wettest month: October with 70 mm and 6 rain days
- Average daily sunshine: 5 hours in December to 11 hours July