7 days exploring Mallorca in September. We visited Palma, the beach, and charming historic mountain villages.
Highs & Lows
Hiking in the Serra de Tramuntana
Driving in Palma
I love the Mediterranean. The warm, dry weather, the diverse history, the food, and of course the water. So with new direct flights from Newark to Mallorca, I jumped on it (plus flight costs were comparable to other European cities). Our 7-day September itinerary was to get a mix of city, restaurants, history, beach, and hiking in the mountains. Our expectations were surpassed!
We started our trip with 3 nights in Palma. I highly recommend spending time in Palma. Very clean and a charming old city with lots of history and wonderful restaurants. We hired a guide for a historic tour which included the spectacular Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma. The city has great energy and while it was filled with tourists, it still has the feel of a real working city. One day we drove just 30 minutes to one of the many beach clubs in the area. For $55 per person we reserved chairs at the pretty Mhares Sea Club which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. Each day we explored the city and then at in local restaurants and finished with drinks on the roof of our hotel. In mid Septemember the weather was pretty warm during the day (80s) but was perfect at night. I do not reccomend driving in much of the old city. Our hotel was located on a streets the could barely fit even the smallest car.
We spent half a day at Mhares Beach Club which is just 25 minutes from Palma. Getting into the water is rocky and tricky but the beach club has a very nice pool and restaurant. We then drove on to the village of Santanyi. It was pretty sleepy midday so we didn't spend much time in Santanyi.
Just about 35 minutes outside of Palma, located in the mountains, Deia is a charming, small and quiet village with incredible mountain and sea views. The village itself doesn't have a lot of activity (Valldemossa is busier with shops/restaurants) but it's such a pretty village to base yourself in the area.
We drove from Deia to Soller. Be very careful as the road is extremely narrow and curvy and has dozens of cyclists. The village of Soller is busy with tourists but is still charming and has a pretty central square with a cathedral. We took the 20 minute antique train from the village down to the port de Soller to have lunch at Patiki Beach (recommend!). The train is difficult (see details in the Q/A). The port is lined with cafes and shops and has a sandy beach.
Just 15 minutes from Deia is the beautiful village of Valldemossa. Lots of charming streets, views of the area and of course a cathedral. We did a cliff hike nearby, then explored the villages shops and restaurants. Tip - make dinner reservations in advance as we saw many turned away.
Q & A
What would you have changed?I would not have rented a car in Palma. We stayed in the old city and driving in the old city is tough as the streets are narrow and filled with pedestrians. I would have rearranged by schedule to have 2 days without a car, then on the 3rd day rent a car for day trips to the east side of the island and park the car outside / near old city.
Anything go wrong during the trip?An intense rain storm that started late one afternoon and lasted about 12 hours.
Restaurant recommendations?Palma Canela: charming very small "asian fusion" restaurant. El Camino: Highly recommend! Fun, upscale, tapas restaurant Deia El Olivo, located at La Residencia hotel. Very elegant, high-end food, romantic outdoor setting with a view of the charming village of Deia. Reservations must be made 1-2 months in advance. The crowd was mixed between couples and friends but definitely dressed up expecting an elegant evening. Port de Soller Patiki Beach: We had lunch right on the beach, this unassuming yet charming restaurant was fantastic. Lots of great vegetarian options, and the freshest fish. Highly recommend. Valldemossa Es Taller: Our favorite dinner in Mallorca (El Olivo's ambiance can't really be beat though). Fun, "cool", casual but high quality restaurant located in a former auto shop. The creative but hearty food is fantastic (lots of great vegetarian options) and the atmosphere at dinner is lively and fun. Foodie approved. Prime dinner time seemed to be at 8:30pm. 7:00 was sleepy, 10:00 things started to wind down for the evening.
Tips you would give a friend?September is a great time to visit as I've heard the crowds are far less and the weather isn't as hot. Our hike just outside of Deia is called Torrent Sa Noguera Mirador San Volta de s'Escolta. We parked at the restaurant which is located at the end of the hike (the 1 hr hike is an out and back and found it on AllTrails).
Packing tips?Comfortable shoes for hikes and city touring but people were dressed up at night in the restaurants.
Transportation Tips?A car is needed to explore the island but no need to have it in the city of Palma.
Any surprises?The island is very clean, and the prices in the restaurants compared to the U.S. was very reasonable. I though staying in Deia would be too quiet but I preferred it to Soller. Soller was quite crowded with tourists.
Booking details?I booked direct at hotels and used Sixt for the rental car. They tried to upsell to a larger car saying the small car low clearance would be difficult for the beach areas - I don't think that necessary and a smaller car is far more needed for the roads and villages.