Mancor de la Vall
Huddled in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountain range, the picturesque village of Mancor de la Vall is testimony that clusters of traditional, rural charm of this diverse island still thrive, albeit just minutes away from the vibrant hubbub of a bustling market town, stretches of sandy coastline and craggy coves, or iconic landmarks to which sightseers are drawn. The sedate pace of life is almost obligatory within this small locality, focused around the village plaza where narrow streets converge, shady terraces fill with espresso sipping occupants and the chatter of tales being exchanged is accompanied solely by the soft chimes from the church tower. This relaxed milieu extends into neighbouring villages of Selva, Caimari and Lloseta, whilst in stark contrast nearby Inca, famed for its excellent selection of restaurants, springs into life as hungry locals descend to dine amidst large oak barrels, low beamed ceilings and a collage of terracotta tiles in the old converted wine cellars.
Porto Colom (Cala d'Or)
One of the largest natural harbours of Mallorca, the picturesque traditional fishing village of Porto Colom serves as the harbour of Felanitx. Considered by many as one of the best preserved old towns in Mallorca, the original core of Porto Colom comprises the church and a cluster of pastel-painted fishermen’s houses around the harbour, a scene that appears little changed over a century or more. This peaceful village still imparts authentic charm and a gentle pace of life. Along the harbour an array of shops, bars, cafés and restaurants can be found, and beyond, two small sandy beaches.
The lovely golden sandy coves of Cala d’Or are perfect for families with little ones who just want to build sand castles and play, and yet still be close to amenities. For those who require more activity, bicycles can be hired, or the nearby Mondragó National Park can be explored on horseback. The local restaurants cater for all tastes, and for those with a sweet tooth lovely patisseries, offering a wide range of confectionery, can be found in and around the centre of Cala d’Or. Waterfront restaurants at the picturesque marina are renowned for their excellent choice of the freshest of fish.
A picture postcard hilltop village. Campanet has retained its traditional charm and tranquillity and is one of the few untouched, authentic villages left on Mallorca. Campanet is also well known for its caves – a local shepherd discovered the caves by chance in 1945 and just a few years later they were opened to visitors. The impressive ‘Coves de Campanet’, less busy than others, home extraordinary stalactites and stalagmites. The guided tour of around 45 minutes takes you through the separate chambers telling you stories along the way. Campanet – a typical Mallorcan village with a friendly local atmosphere, offering everything you may need… minimarket, cafes, bakery, weekly market. In May, Campanet hosts the annual trade Fair, you’ll discover an array of stalls with local produce from the Balearic Islands.
A quaint village located in the southeast of Mallorca - an ideal base from which to reach the larger surrounding towns and the array of picturesque coves and beaches which are just a short drive away. The village itself offers a couple of both traditional and contemporary restaurants, a baker, local bar, bank, chemist and a mini supermarket. The weekly fresh produce market takes place on the square next to the church.
Every year on 2nd August, in the historic town of Pollença, the battle between the Moors and Christians is re-enacted with great enthusiasm by the locals. Visitors are welcome to join in the festivities of this special fiesta. The town’s narrow streets wind around a number of plazas lined with cafés and restaurants, where visitors can sit outside, enjoy a meal, and watch the world go by. On Sunday mornings the main square, Plaça Major, is transformed into a bustling market, with stalls spilling out into the surrounding streets and squares, selling a vast range of goods, from fresh produce to jewellery and leather goods. Pollença’s long history is evident from its many age-old buildings – the Roman Bridge, the town’s churches, a Jesuit college, the Convent of Sant Domingo, the Shrine of St. Mary the Mount, the King’s Castle, and the baroque, late 18th century Oratory of the Calvary, reached by climbing the 365 steps of Mount Calvary.
The inland village of Sencelles retains the preserved charm and harmony of a quiet and traditional Mallorcan lifestyle in an attractive rural setting. The landscape is generally flat, ploughed by riverbeds crisscrossing the pretty countryside of Holm Oak forests and cultivated lands. The village is very typically Mallorcan with a couple of bars, a well-known local restaurant, superb bakery cum coffee shop, a bank, chemist and some small local shops. The area was in former times an Arab farmland and still its main industry is from the land, including almond and fig trees but most importantly the vineyards – representing the main activity in this area.
Famous for its shoemakers, almonds and apricots, Llucmajor is one of the larger towns on the island. Here you will find a good choice of supermarkets, bars, restaurants, and other general amenities. The market, selling everything, takes place in the Plaça d’Espanya on Wednesdays and Fridays with a smaller vegetable market on Sundays. The annual town festival, with displays of local artefacts, takes place from 12th–15th October.
The Son Antem Golf Club in Llucmajor is one of the largest golf academies in Europe. The club boasts two 18-hole golf courses, located in beautiful surroundings with woods, old olive trees and breath-taking views towards the Randa mountain.
Close to Llucmajor are Randa and Cura. Randa is a small hamlet on the side of the hill and at the top is the Oratory of Cura where the famous 13th century Mallorcan scholar, Ramon Llull, settled for a time and wrote his major work “Ars Magna”. This is also an excellent viewing place from which, on clear days, the plains of the island, the bay of Palma, and the island of Cabrera are visible.
The picture postcard town of Valldemossa, set amid the stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range of western Mallorca, has to be one of the prettiest places on the island. Nestled in countryside of ancient almond and olive groves, its stone clad houses are decorated with potted plants and ceramics in honour of Santa Catalina Tomas, its patron saint. Sitting on one of the many terraces, enjoying a coffee and “coca de patata” (a typical local sweet bread), watching the world saunter by will certainly help to put visitors in the holiday mood. The spectacular mountains are a natural magnet for walkers, cyclists and artists alike, all drawn to its dramatic landscape. Valldemossa is a great base for discovering the smaller towns and villages, such as Sóller, Deià and Banyalbufar.
An agricultural town in the south-east of Mallorca known for its wine vinegar, pork preserving industries, and ceramics, Felanitx epitomises rural Mallorca. Known as the market centre of the south-east, the town comes alive and buzzes with activity every Sunday morning, when market stalls are set up on the narrow streets around the church. It’s best to arrive early for the 09.00 start of the market, since parking can be a problem, as the locals flock to this popular weekly event. Everything from vegetables to ceramics to leather goods can be found here, including capers, for which Felanitx is renowned.
Alongside the church an interesting pottery shop sells the pretty hand-painted ceramics with which the island of Mallorca is associated. Felanitx has a great tradition of handicrafts such as Mallorcan embroidery, artificial pearls and enamel, and, of course, pottery. There are several small, pleasant cafés and bars around the main square, and a small choice of restaurants.
One of the smallest municipalities on Mallorca. Búger, a sleepy picturesque hilltop village which has been totally overlooked by tourism. The natural beauty of Búger is a delight – the ‘Torrent de Búger’ makes for a pretty walk along the stream as it flows through the ancient oak forests and past an old Mallorcan water mill.
Búger has a significant historical legacy dating from ancient times. In the surrounding area, there are several prehistoric burial sites. In the main square soak up the atmosphere on one of the pavement terraces of a local bar. Just five minutes’ drive away in the neighbouring town of Sa Pobla, where popular restaurants, shops, large supermarkets and bars can be found.
Meaning ‘source of salt’, the unspoilt coastal area of Ses Salines has played an important role in the history of Mallorca, with evidence of occupation in the area as far back as Roman times. Ses Salines is a popular spot for ornithologists and keen birdwatchers as the redundant salt pans now provide a lush habitat for many species of migrant, wading and sea birds. The small and tranquil residential town has long, straight, Roman built streets and buildings constructed from the local Santanyí sandstone which glow golden in the sun, a wonderful place to take a stroll and explore the trinket shops and boutiques. There are several cycle routes and coastal walks to enjoy along the island's most southerly point, ‘Cap de Ses Salines’. Nearby, the beautiful Es Trenc beach may be the last undeveloped beach on the island - although it is certainly not undiscovered!
Port de Pollenca
Wonderful beaches of golden sand, shelving gently into the clear, shallow sea and sheltered by the Tramuntana mountain range, together with its friendly atmosphere, combine to ensure Port de Pollença is the perfect place for families and for those who wish to simply chill out and relax. For the more energetic there is a volleyball net on the beach, a range of water sports on offer – kite and wind surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, kayaking, paddle boarding – and pedalos for hire.
Evenings can be spent in the traditional way, joining the locals in the paseo, a leisurely stroll along the promenade and the renowned Pinewalk, lined with a choice of cafés and restaurants. A larger selection of eateries can be found in and around the square in the centre of the town. A wide range of international cuisines is represented in Port de Pollença.