Explore the Balearic Islands: 5 Tips for Visiting Mallorca Spain
Have you ever traveled somewhere where everything just kept going wrong? If you have, you know it is not fun, and it can really ruin a vacation. Although it is adventurous to go with the flow every now and then, traveling to a new place in a time crunch can get pretty stressful.
We were excited to visit Palma de Mallorca, Spain and have been craving to go since we studied abroad in 2017. Since we were in Barcelona in our most recent European excursion, we decided to finally make it happen. Our trip to the Balearic Islands would be a short one, as short as two and a half days. Due to our extreme lack of planning, it was no surprise that Mallorca was a shit show for all of us.
Truth is, this island is too beautiful to not enjoy every second of it. And for that, we’ve come up with 5 tips for visiting Mallorca Spain down below!
1. Rent a Car
We made this our first tip because it was definitely our first mistake. As our RyanAir flight got delayed to Mallorca (shocker), we read some blogs about the necessity of renting a car in Mallorca. We were unsure about whether or not to get one but the short answer is: get the car! You might be asking, “Is there LYFT in Mallorca? Or Uber?” Nope. Unfortunately, Uber or Lyft do not exist in Mallorca, and only a few select cities in Spain.
In that case, renting a car is your best option. The island is very spread out that makes it impossible to walk all over the place and the taxi rides get expensive. Since Uber and Lyft don’t exist in Spain, your only options without a car are either paying the pricy taxi ride, or just skipping out on a local beach that would’ve been worth every penny.
Renting a car is also convenient because you’ll have the freedom to make your own schedule. You can plan out how many sights you want to see, and how many beaches you want to go to. And if you know anything about Mallorca, it’s their beaches – that are absolutely stunning. With that said, rent the car in advance. Many rental car companies will let you rent a car with just a regular driver license but you do need an international driver’s license. You can apply for one online. Be sure to read the fine print to avoid getting any fines or getting pulled over.
One more thing, make sure you pick the RIGHT car. By that we mean, book a car you can freaking drive. We ended up booking a car through our hotel and it never crossed our mind to ask what kind of car it was. To our surprise, it was of course, a stick shift – that none of us knew how to drive. To save yourself the embarrassment of totally looking like a dumb American, ask these questions. Keep in mind, it is Europe and the preferred car is manual. Automatic cars are limited so book yours in advance if you can only drive automatic.
2. Always Carry Cash
Carrying cash is something we usually never do. With almost all places accepting cards, we don’t see the point. Plus, carrying cash makes us more tempted to spend it.
In the city center parts of Palma, 9 times out of 10 you will be just fine with using a card. If you plan on traveling to other parts of the island, such as the beaches, definitely take out cash beforehand! These areas are secluded with little access to wifi, meaning the taxi drivers are unable to use their portable credit card reader. Also, the local stores outside of Palma may only accept cash.
Save yourself the trouble and carry enough cash to cover a few taxi rides and food to-go.
Tip: If you’re traveling in a bigger group, make sure to have more cash as a whole since taxis only accept 4 passengers per car for safety reasons.
3. Know Some Spanish
Although you can get away with English speaking with the locals in Spain’s popular cities, Mallorca was a different story. Not many of the locals spoke English. We found that the majority of our taxi drivers only spoke Spanish, so it’d be handy to know a few words in Spanish to get you to where you want to go.
It’s also just polite in general to try to speak Spanish. Any local will respect your effort, even if you sound horrid. Luckily we live in the information age where we can get quick Spanish translations at the palms of our hand so use it when needed.
4. Bring Basic Essentials
When in Mallorca, beach it. Most of the local beaches we visited were in remote areas or on opposite sides of the island from where we were staying. These beaches also didn’t have the flattest surfaces. Expect to hike up and down to get to the water.
If we knew beforehand, we would have packed these essentials and tips for visiting Mallorca Spain:
- Water shoes – Who would have known how rocky it is! The journeys to the beach aren’t the smoothest for your feet. Pack a pair of water shoes to make it a bit easier. Also if you enjoy cliff jumping, you most definitely will need water shoes!
- Portable charger – This is essential. We didn’t have access to a lot of service when we were outside of Palma. Also, if you navigating through the island, bring a portable charger to avoid having your phone battery die on you.
- Bring your own food – Let’s face it. Being at the beach and swimming makes you hangry. A few of the local beaches we visited didn’t have anything around to grab a quick bite. If you are staying in Palma, pack some sandwiches and snacks to hold you over while there.
- Sunscreen – Depending on what season you go here, Palma de Mallorca can get scorchingly hot. Protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. Bring sunscreen to avoid painful sunburns.
5. Visit Local Beaches
Aside from spending time walking around the vibrant city of Palma, explore the local beaches Majorca is famous for. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, however there are only a handful of secluded gems that are really worth the drive from the city.
Caló Des Moro
Located in the south of Mallorca lies one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s something straight out of a travel magazine. We’ve never been to a beach like this one, and the journey getting here was long and costly, but worth it. It’s about a 55 minute drive from the city of Palma. If you’re taking a taxi from there, it costs about 70 euro one-way to get there (eek). Like mentioned earlier, bring cash because our taxi only accepted it and we barely had enough to cover the cost!
Once here, it is a 20 minute walk to get down to the beach. Then, a climb down a hill with a lot of rocks. A bit rough to get to if you’re already in your swimwear, but the extra effort getting down here makes it more special. If you’re here during the tourist season, try to get here before noon to get a good spot for the day and to enjoy the warm, beautiful blue water that surrounds the area.
Safety Tip: This beach is unguarded and very rocky, so keep that in mind if you’re traveling with kids and/or cliff jumping!
Cala S’Almonia is another popular local beach located just a few minutes from Caló des Moro. It’s the same path getting down here, except you must go down a steep flight of stairs if starting here first. This beach is charming with a tiny beach house in the center. It’s also very spacious with more areas to lay out at. If you’re in a bigger group, perhaps start out here first as its more accommodating.
If you have no access to get to the local beaches, don’t sweat it. The beach in Palma is just as beautiful, neighboring plenty of bars, and day club restaurants. It may be more crowded than these other ones, but you do get the best of both worlds here with the city center being a short distance away.
Essential Tips for Visiting Mallorca Spain
We all know traveling isn’t always glamorous. In fact, improvising while traveling will make the best out of some unpleasant situations. Although we had a short two days here, the sights, the food, and the beaches made the shit show of problems all worth it. Palma de Mallorca is a laid-back, lively Spanish island filled with dark narrow streets, cafes, shops, restaurants, and architecture that’ll take your breath away. So if you’re considering coming here, keep these tips for visiting Mallorca Spain in mind.