Mallorca Guide

The cheap, overdeveloped image of mass tourism that Mallorca has been desperately trying to shed is mainly due to the area within the bay of Palma. With resorts such as Cala Major, Arenal, Palma Nova and the infamous Magaluf if you're after a holiday spent between the bar and the beach with the odd break for a full English then this is where to head. Away from here, although there are some exceptions, the rest of the island has developed in a far more conservative way and has in many cases stayed a bit of a secret because of the over development elsewhere.

Things start to change soon after Magaluf and as you pass the headland to the west of the bay of Palma there are more family orientated resorts such as Peguera and Santa Ponça then onto the fashionable and monied Port d'Andratx. After S'Arenal and the protection given by the Bay of Palma there's the low lying and windswept coast which has a distinct lack of development or local population.

North-west coast

The mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana (also the name of the winds that can sometimes batter the Balearic's exposed northern coasts at certain times of year) separate this coast from the rest of the island keeping a very unspoilt coastline in tact. The mountains have kept development to a minimum and in many areas it is wild and almost pristine with the Serra falling steeply into the sea. Towns and villages worth a visit include Deià, a favourite holiday home location for the rich and famous but still charming, Port de Sóller and its inland namesake Sóller and a little further north the villages of Fornalutx and Biniaraix.

North-east coast

Dominated by the Bay of Alcúdia and the smaller Bay of Pollença this coast shows both sides of Mallorca. The smaller bay offers the low rise family resort of Port de Pollença with its beautiful inland sister just a few kilometres away. Over the headland however Port d'Alcúdia seems to be trying to catch up with the bay of Palma favouring vertical development which doesn't really stop until you reach its eastern limit. Other than this one unspoilt part of the bay and the equally unspoilt headland coast, there is the wonderful wetland area of the Parc Natural S'Albufera de Mallorca providing a haven for wildlife, especially birds.

East coast

Inland the Serra de Llevant provides the backdrop for the coast though not to the dramatic extent offered by Serra de Tramuntana to the north west. Development is extensive, with the biggest resort being Cala Millor, but generally low rise in the form of holiday home complexes. The pretty inland town of Artà is worth a visit or makes a good base to explore the area including the unspoilt northern headland to the Bay of Alcúdia and the small resort of Canyamel which has the nearby spectacular caves of Coves d'Artà.