7 Mallorca Destinations Locals Love for Beautiful Beaches, Fresh Seafood, and Charming Towns

With direct flights now available from New York to Mallorca, here are some of the top spots on the island to eat and explore, according to a local.

Popular beach in Santanyí, Spain
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When my husband, toddler, and I moved to Mallorca — the largest of the Spanish Balearic Islands — in May 2020, the island was a once-in-a-century kind of quiet. Only locals frequented the charming towns, dreamy crystal blue waters, and iconic fincas (Spanish farmhouses).

Arriving in Madrid from New York in March 2022, our glamorous expat dreams of late-night tapas hopping and traveling to new cities every weekend were abruptly halted by the pandemic. My husband and I were fortunately able to work remotely (he in marketing and me with my jewelry line, Zahava), and so we decided to relocate to the breathtakingly beautiful island of Mallorca to ride out the proverbial storm.

With no tourists in sight, the keys to the castle were ours — no lines, no traffic, no reservations needed — and we were able to deeply explore this magical destination. Now, the world has thankfully opened up again, and the island is buzzing with life. With travel to Mallorca easier than ever with a newly launched direct flight from New York via United, here's how to explore the island like a local, with some of the most magnificent restaurants, beaches, and hotels we've discovered along the way.


Palma de Mallorca Cityscape with Cathedral and Fountain, Aerial View during Sunset
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The capital city of Palma is easy to overlook, especially for those coming to Mallorca for the famed beaches. However, this charming and surprisingly robust city offers an array of cute cafes and cultural experiences. Because of the way the roads are built, you often have to drive through Palma to get from one town to another, so basing yourself here is a good idea if you plan to explore the entire (larger than you think it is) island. We live in Palma, and our favorite way to start the morning is with a trip to Mercat de l'Olivar, the largest fresh market on the island. Expect beautiful produce, handmade pasta, and a sprawling fish market here. We love stopping by Fornet de la Soca, famous for its Mallorcan baked goods with a twist, and the Swedish bakery, Palma Bread, for its homemade sourdough (they fly their flour in from Sweden — seriously).

The weather in Palma is always warm and beautiful, even more so than other parts of the island, and there are gorgeous hikes and bike rides just outside the city. Rapha can set you up with a bike (and green juice).

For lunch, we often head to Cafe Riutort. Owned by a sweet Mallorcan couple, Riutort serves up a different vegetarian menu each day, based on what's freshest at the market (don't leave without trying the pistachio sea salt cookies). Another favorite is Bar des Mercat in the Santa Catalina market — a modest grill and counter where the chef will prepare anything you see at the market (go for the fresh squid and some artichokes).

The town of Palma is worth exploring, with great shops like Cortana (romantic, ready-to-wear pieces designed by Mallorcan Rosa Esteva, and crafted in Barcelona) and Rialto Living, which is like a tiny, old-school department store. Head to the Palma Sport & Tennis Club or Mistral to catch up on some emails with a delicious cappuccino, or go for a manicure at Calm Slow Beauty.

Come evening, enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop terrace of De Tokio a Lima, then head to dinner at our favorite hidden gem, La Juanita Cuina Fresca. This small cafe has a reasonably priced pre-fixe menu that changes based on seasonal ingredients. Sit at the counter and watch the chef at work.

As for where to stay, crash at Sant Francesc if you're looking for something special, or choose from tons of tiny hotels and Airbnbs throughout town.


Serra de Tramuntana mountains and town and bay Port de Pollença on the Spanish Balearic island of Majorca
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With a sizable British expat community, and therefore a largely English-speaking population, Pollença was an obvious choice for our first home in Mallorca. We spent our first year on the island living up against the mountains, with chickens laying fresh eggs in our backyard each morning, jasmine growing wildly outside our window, and roosters waking us up in the morning.

This dreamy town has a wonderful farmers market each Sunday morning, which we would frequent after our hike up the Puig de Maria. For a special meal or overnight stay, Son Brull (known for its yoga and brunch) is a dream — the spectacular vineyard and finca-style architecture make it the quintessential Mallorcan backdrop.

Don't miss the nearby Platja de Formentor, as the drive alone is spectacular. Surrounded by trees, the beach is serene, with still, shallow water that's ideal for kids (the easy parking doesn't hurt either). Take a look at Morgan and Morgan for beautiful homes to call your own, if only for a week, in the area.


Caimari, Raiguer region, Serra de Tramuntana, aerial view, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
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Our favorite restaurant on the island is nestled in a small, darling town called Caimari. Ca Na Toneta is owned by three sisters (front of house, sommelier, and chef), and the seasonal pre-fixe menu is a masterpiece. The dishes are simple and bright, with fresh, local ingredients from the best purveyors, and there's always a story behind each vegetable or piece of cheese. The charming decor, earnest spirit, and thoughtfully prepared plates make for a memorable evening. Just don't be in a hurry; it's a relaxed, multihour affair.

Deià and Sóller

Aerial view, Cala Deia bay, Deia, Serra de Tramuntana, Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
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Deià is the crown jewel of Mallorca, known for its cliffside ocean views, gallery-filled mountain town, and history of attracting artists, poets, and celebrities. For a healthy breakfast, start your day at S'Hortet with a coconut yogurt bowl. The famous La Residencia, a Belmond Hotel, is worth the splurge for a night or just a lemonade under a palm tree overlooking sprawling gardens and ocean views.

However, our favorite spot is Ca's Patro March, a fish shack down a long, windy road (rent a small car, trust me) and hanging over turquoise waters. Today, you can reserve your lunch spot in advance online (reservations open up two weeks out), but up until 2021, you had to physically drive to this wild location and put your name down (they never answered the phone). We happily made the pilgrimage each spring to secure a few spots for the summer.

Nearby, in Sóller, rent a boat to travel to Sa Foradada (only accessible by boat or long hike) for delicious paella and one of the most epic views. It's a swim from your boat to your table type of place (OK, there's a dock, but you get the vibe). Afterward, check out the beautiful town, including Re Organic, a favorite with local, eco-minded products, and Bloss You for some fresh flowers.

East Coast

Arta on balearic island Mallorca, Spain
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The eastern coast of Mallorca is rural and rugged, with some of the most untouched countryside and spectacular views (the drive toward Cala Torta is otherworldly). Spend the day at Cala Mesquida, enjoying its dreamy waters, and make a point to check out the uber-chic Es Racó d'Artà hotel and spa. Predi Son Jaumell Hotel Rural, a finca-style property in the beautiful Mallorcan countryside, is another favorite in the area.

Santanyí and Ses Salines

Popular beach in Santanyí, Spain
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Head southeast toward Santanyí for quaint villages and some of the best beaches on the island. Cala Llombards is our favorite beach, and we go almost every weekend in the summer. A magical cove with a lovely sandy stretch, it's a short walk up to the rocks where you can jump off into the electric blue waters. Map to the chiringuito (beach bar) to park.

For dramatic stretches of sandy beach, Es Trenc is a winner. You'll drive past salt mines and can even pick up some of the famous Flor de Sal d'Es Trenc table salts on your way back to town. When you get hungry, have lunch at Casa Manolo, a family-owned spot that serves an incredible "squid in its own ink" dish. Later, head to Restaurant Laudat for an elegant dinner. An oasis I have come to love in this area is Cal Reiet, a hotel with wellness-focused cuisine, tropical gardens, and yoga offerings. It's a special place to escape the heat and noise.

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