Where to Stay on Mallorca: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

(This post may contain affiliate links. Find more info in my disclaimer)

Heading to the Spanish island of Mallorca this year? Here’s a complete rundown on where to stay on Mallorca (also spelt Majorca) to help you choose which part of the island to stay in, which town, resort or beach is for you, and the best beach hotels, whether you’re booking DIY accommodation or looking for a package vacation. This resort guide will cover:

  • which part of Mallorca to stay in
  • where to stay in capital Palma de Mallorca
  • Mallorca’s main resorts; the best places to stay for nightlife, cheap packages and a younger crowd
  • a rundown of Mallorca’s quieter resorts and villages; the best places to stay for couples, families and nature

Cala Agulla beach on Mallorca

MALLORCA OVERVIEW

Mallorca is one of the Mediterranean’s original beach holiday destinations – and one of its most beautiful islands. It’s the 7th largest island in the Med, and the biggest of Spain’s Balearic islands (hence its name, which means ‘the big one).

It was one of the earliest destinations to really embrace package tourism, and unchecked development in the 60s and 70s has left a few coastlines scarred with eyesore hotels. The worst is concentrated around the Bay of Palma, but even these resorts are gradually being reimagined as slick resorts with tempting hotels. There are over 260 beaches on Mallorca, 60 of them are Blue Flag, and most of them sporting pristine white sands and turquoise waters. It’s undoubtedly one of the best places in Europe to find sandy beaches.

But it also has a dramatic mountain range with excellent hiking and outdoors activities. There’s a smorgasbord of history and culture to discover around Mallorca, from prehistoric stone towers to bohemian villages, vineyards, and atmospheric market towns. Although none of the coastline can truly be considered undiscovered there are plenty of rugged and quiet sections to escape the crowds. Popular resorts Soller, Port de Pollensa and Port d’Alcudia both have handsome old towns attached.

As such as well-established and popular destination, it’s unsurprising that Mallorca has a very high standard of accommodation. There’s plenty of luxe on offer (as demonstrated by TV’s The Night Manager) – as well as style and value at lower price points. The island is flecked with beautiful stone villas, incredible fincas (converted farmhouse properties), heritage hotels, and stylish boutique conversions.

Its thriving capital Palma makes a great city break at any time of year, with mild winters that also see a show of almond blossoms. There is a large international community that live on the island year-round.

You’ll come across a mix of Castillian Spanish spellings, and the local Mallorquin dialect which is more similar to Catalan. Here we’ve used the most familiar to tourists.

GETTING AROUND

Airport: Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) is 8km east of Palma and is served by domestic and international flights, including a wide range of budget carriers over the summer season. I recommend using Skyscanner to find cheap deals. Buses from the airport to Palma run frequently throughout the day and cost €5 – line 1 goes to the centre of Palma and there are several resort buses too – see the Airport website for a full list.

Bus: Mallorca has a good bus network. See EMT Buses for Palma and TIB for island-wide services.

Ferry: Ferry services connect Mallorca with the mainland (Denia, Valencia, Gandia, Barcelona) and the other Balearic Islands (Ibiza, Formentera, Menorca). You can buy tickets through Direct Ferries.

Rail: Mallorca has one train line that runs from Palma across the interior to Sa Pobla, for local use rather than tourist destinations. There is also a popular vintage wooden tourist train that runs from Palma to Soller.

Boat houses at Santanyi

yacht anchored near Cala D'Or

WHERE TO STAY – THE HIGHLIGHTS

sunloungers and parasols at Playa de Formentor, Mallorca

WHICH PART OF MALLORCA TO STAY IN?

  • NORTH: Mallorca’s rugged north is defined by the Serra Tramuntana mountain range. There’s a triangle of beach resorts at the northeast tip Alcudia and Port de Pollensa, but the rest of the coastline is steep and hilly and home to some of Mallorca’s prettiest villages. In the middle is the gorgeous Soller.
  • SOUTH: Lots of pretty coves with small sandy beaches and cliffs on either side (known as ‘calas‘), which are very picturesque but mean beach space is at a premium in summer. You’ll also find small fishing villages, turquoise waters, and surprising historical gems tucked away inland. The main resort area in the south is lively Cala’Dor. The southwest side of Mallorca is home to flat salt pans and vast white sand beaches.
  • EAST: Mallorca’s family-friendly resorts line the east coast, with the biggest being the blockbuster duo Cala Millor and Cala Bona. of resorts around Cala Millor/Cala Bona. There are some delightful hidden hinterlands and a huge number of golf courses.
  • WEST: Capital city Palma is located on the west, in the middle of the busy Bay of Palma. The is the most developed part of Mallorca and home to megaresorts Magaluf, Palmanova and Santa Ponsa. Beaches are sandy and hotels are huge. The north-west corner is quiet and lovely, with some of Mallorca’s most upmarket beach villages.

For a good selection of villas try James Villas, Oliver’s Travels, and HomeAway.

PALMA DE MALLORCA

Le Seu cathedral in Palma de Mallorca

Intoxicating Palma is increasingly one of Spain’s most interesting and atmospheric cities; it has undergone something of a renaissance since the 1980s. Palma has been a busy town since the Roman days, and there’s a wealth of Moorish and medieval Christian architecture in its warren of historic backstreets. It’s all topped off by eye-catching Gothic cathedral – the iconic sandstone La Seu Cathedral.

Recent decades have added to this mix chic hotels, art galleries, boho neighbourhoods, hipster bars, and a burgeoning food scene. As well as cutting-edge cuisine (there are 8 Michelin-starred restaurants as of 2019), the city is awash with tasty bakeries and traditional bodegas. Midweek tapas bar crawls have become a recent tradition – look up Tapas Tuesdays.  It’s also a great city for shopping, with many traditional and artisanal wares for sale as well as boulevards lined with designer boutiques.

Top sights to see in Palma include:

The city of Palma sits squarely in the middle of the Bay of Palma, which extends east as far as S’Arenal and west to Magaluf. This is the most built-up stretch of beach on Mallorca and is well connected to the city by bus. But the nearest section of beach is C’An Pere Antoni (pictured below). Buses frequently run along the bay in either direction. You can also walk or cycle along the waterfront Paseo Maretimo promenade for miles.

Transfer time: 10 minutes from Palma Airport.

C'an Pere Antoni beach in Palma de Mallorca

STAY IN PALMA

There are so many amazing places to stay in Palma that it’s hard to know where to start.

At the 5-star luxury end, established favourite Sant Francesc Hotel Singular has elegant decor and a large rooftop pool and hot tub.

New contender Can Bordoy sports art deco interiors, a house dog, and a quiet but central location.

The highlight at El Llorenc is the extensive (and very Instagrammable) rooftop terrace area and pool – considerably larger than the others in town. 

The pool at Boutique Hotel Can Alomar is also spacious. Hotel Mama has a smaller pool but an arty vibe with a cinema.

Converted monastery Convent de la Missio has a central location, sleek neutrals, and a rooftop plunge pool. 

Stylish 4-star boutique hotels worth checking out are:

On a budget? Hostal Ritzi, Hostal Bonany, Palma Old Town Apartments, and Casa Catalina all offer good value.

Backpackers have a few options – pod bunks at We Hostel Palma, flashpacker vibes at Hostel Fleming, and the airy dorms at Palma Port Hostel which is popular with boat crews.

PLAYA DE PALMA

To the east of Palma, the beach resorts of Ca’n Pastilla and S’Arenal are linked by the busy 4km strip of sand and that is the Playa de Palma and its adjoining promenade.

Can Pastilla sits at the end of the airport runway – this is either a plus or a minus depending on your point of view. The airport is so close that many use it to squeeze the most out of a cheap short break to Mallorca, particularly in the shoulder season – you can roll off the plane be at the beach in a matter of minutes, and the attractions of the capital are close by. The beach is long but also windy and exposed, and the whole length is clad with enormous hotels. The promenade to Palma is pleasant though, tt’s possible to walk or cycle all the way to although buses are cheap and frequent. For a longer break, there are more appealing destinations elsewhere in the island.

S’Arenal is a party destination for young Germans on cheap packages (think stags and hens), so you may wish to avoid it unless you’re a young German looking for a cheap party.

Transfer time: 5 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY THERE

Resort hotels are cheaper here than in the city, and several have had a recent revamp. Try the 5-stars Hipotel Playa de Palma Palace & Spa and Iberostar Selection Llaut Palma in the middle of Playa de Palma.

At the Can Pastilla end have a look at the BQ Aguamarina Boutique Hotel.

CALA MAJOR

To the west of Palma, the coastline is heavily developed with a string of resorts running all the way around to Magaluf. The first main resort that you reach from Palma is Cala Major, once a glam beach suburb of the city. The sandy beach is shady, child-friendly, and enclosed by towering palms and hotels.

The Spanish royal family holiday here (the Marivent Palace), and you’ll find the Joan Miro Foundation in Cala Mayor too. It has a slight air of faded glory and is mid-gentrification – boutique hotels have started popping up. 

It’s just 15 minutes into the centre of Palma so ideal for a dual city-and-beach break, though the relatively small beach does get very busy in high summer and at weekends.

Transfer time: 20 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CALA MAJOR

Hotel Nixe Palace is an established 5-star with old-world charm and a golf concierge.

But possibly even more appealing is the adults-only Be Live La Cala Boutique Hotel, with its chic neutrals, Bali beds, and sea view pool terrace.

ILLETES

Illetes beach, Mallorca

Upmarket and picturesque, Illetes (sometimes spelt Illetas) is one of the nicest places to stay in the Bay of Palma. The development here is quite dense and the beaches are small, but it’s a scenic wooded area and its comfortable resort hotels are tucked away behind the pines.

The beaches are sandy and get very busy in the summer thanks to its proximity to Palma (frequent buses, a 20-minute drive), but it has a more chilled out vibe than the larger resorts along this section of coast. 

Transfer time: 20 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN ILLETES

Illetes has a handful of particularly appealing resort hotels:

PORTALS NOUS

Portals Nous attracts a jet setting crowd thanks to its swanky marina, Puerto Portals. Expect megayachts, international cuisine, casinos, and overpriced bars. Long promenade and chic boutiques. There are some beautiful beaches in the area, and plenty of apartment blocks housing ex-pats and second-homers thanks to its excellent facilities. It’s one of the biggest marina hubs in the Mediterranean, and the constant stream of visiting boats and their crews keep this small town buzzing. 

Between Portals Nous and Illetes is the quiet and exclusive area of Bendinat which has a small beach and lots of luxury villas.

Transfer time: 20 minutes from Palma Airport.

PALMA NOVA

Palmanova aerial view

One of Mallorca’s original beach resorts, Palma Nova is a cheap and cheerful town which is popular with Brits who come over on package deals. It’s also home to large ex-pat community.

The main Blue Flag beach impressively wide and sandy, with family-focused play areas and watersports.

Palma Nova is a good option for those who like plenty of entertainment and activities nearby for all the family – from play areas and watersports at the beach, to crazy golf, proper golf, and the nearby Katmandu Theme Park and Western Waterparks. And Magaluf is only a 10-minute walk around the coast if you fancy a big night out.

Transfer time: 25 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN PALMA NOVA

Check TUI, Jet2 and Loveholidays for bargains and package deals to Palma Nova.

Big resort hotels are the name of the game here, with Zafiri Palace Palmanova one of the top choices.

The adults-only Senses Palmanova is ideal for couples and has a chic white decor. 

For apartment rental, try HomeAway.

MAGALUF

Magaluf beach and bay

Magaluf is Mallorca’s biggest beach resort, as well as it’s most famous (and infamous). If you want to party all day and all night this is the place for you – it’s one of the top nightlife spots in Spain, if not in the whole of Europe. Boat parties, pool parties, beach clubs and superclubs all vie for your custom.

 That said, efforts have been made to tame the beast in the past decade, with its seedier parts getting a makeover in an attempt to appeal to a more upmarket party crowd. 

The centrepiece is its 1km Blue Flag beach which has ample space for cafes and clubs as well as family facilities. Magaluf is surrounded by attractions for the energetic and the easily bored, with a good selection of theme parts, water parks, sports and evening shows. High competition keeps the prices down.

Transfer time: 25 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN MAGALUF

Most arrivals to Magaluf book through tour operators where you can usually find some of the cheapest package deals. Check TUI, Jet2, Easyjet, and Loveholidays.

BH Hotel is the best party hotel in town. It has its own beach club and pool parties and is popular with young groups.

Melia South Beach is a stylish beachfront resort with a spa and fitness club.

SANTA PONSA

Santa Ponsa beach

Santa Ponsa is a busy but family-friendly resort, it’s like the less built up and boisterous little sister of Magaluf and Palmanova. There’s plenty of space and family facilities on the wide and sandy Blue Flag beach, and almost every activity you could wish for – including the nearby Jungle Parc adventure playground. It’s no slouch in the nightlife stakes either.

As with Palmanova, there’s a big ex-pat community (particularly Brits) who live here year-round so there’s everything you’ll need close at hand, including a wide range of international cuisine.

Transfer time: 30 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN SANTA PONSA

Top picks for couples are the adults-only Pure Salt Port Adriano and Iberostar Jardin del Sol.

For families, the Jutlandia Family Resort has entertainment to keep the kids occupied.

PEGUERA / CALA FORNELLS

small boats bob in Cala Fornells

The two-in-one resort combo of Cala Fornells and Peguera (also spelt Paguera) is the first of a number of picturesque beach resorts within striking distance of the capital. Cala Fornells is an old fishing area, with handsome tiled houses sitting atop cliffs. It blends seamlessly into the main resort of Peguera – a German favourite – with its three large crescents of sand linked by a promenade. Peguera is large and well-kept,  great shopping, and an international community. It’s a great all-rounder resort with plenty of activities available.

This part of the coast is heavily wooded and has lots of lovely little coves and vibrant turquoise waters.

Transfer time: 30 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY THERE

The two best options in town are right next to each other, in a stunning location overlooking Cala Fornells:

In Peguera, the Villa Columbus Hotel has good value rooms in a landscaped setting. And Hostal Don Carlos is a friendly traditional B&B.

CAMP DE MAR

Camp de Mar is surely a contender for Mallorca’s prettiest beach resort. It attracts an upmarket crowd – including celebs and golfers, as well as beach bums and families who love the excellent sandy beach and genteel atmosphere. It’s USP is the small island which houses a restaurant and is connected to the mainland by a wooden bridge.

Camp de Mar is small and quiet – entertainment and activities are fairly limited, but the scenery is wonderful and there are some excellent walking and cycling trails in the area. And the golf, of course.

Transfer time: 30 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CAMP DE MAR

Most of the accommodation in Camp de Mar is in big hotel complexes near the beach. For adults-only the Grupotel Playa Camp de Mar has a prime location, and the ROC Gran Camp de Mar welcomes families.

Golf aficionados should head straight for the Steigenberger Golf & Spa Resort Camp de Mar.

Camp de Mar Apartments are modern and well-equipped.

PORT D’ANDRATX

Thanks to the development of a large marina, Port d’Andratx has gone from coastal fishing village to ritzy designer town. There’s plenty to keep shopaholics entertained here, as well as high-end activities like golf, sailing, and spas. Expensive villas dot the surrounding hills in one of Mallorca’s prettiest settings. The hill town of Andratx is 5km inland, and the nearest beach is 3km away at beautiful Camp de Mar or Sant Elm.

Transfer time: 30 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN PORT D’ANDRATX

Hotel Villa Italia has classy rooms in a sumptuous setting overlooking the harbour.

For resort-style facilities try the family-run 4-star Mon Port Hotel & Spa.

The Sea Views Villa is at the top of the town with a private pool and terrace with excellent views.

The Hostal Residencia Catalina Vera has simple charming rooms in a rural setting.

SANT ELM

Sant Elm is a small and beautiful beach resort hidden away in the north-west corner of the island. There’s just a handful of hotels and restaurants so best suited to those looking to escape the crowds and to enjoy the natural landscape (and incredible sunsets). It’s a fishing village so you can expect quality seafood in the restaurants, and has a little bit of a yachtie vibe but nothing too ostentatious.

Boats run from Sant Elm to the Sa Dragonera Natural Park directly opposite the village.

Transfer time: 35 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN SANT ELM

As is par for the course on Mallorca, there are a few big hotels right on the beach – the Universal Aquamarin & Aquavil Hotel and the Universal Aparthotel Don Camilo.

If you just want a basic room try the Hostal Dragonera.

PORT SOLLER

Orange train in Port Soller

As is common with the towns along Mallorca’s mountainous north coast, Soller has a historic town high up in the hills and a sister port/beach town 4km away down by the sea. Nestled into the foothills of the Serra Tramuntana mountains, the dual-natured Soller is one of the highlights of Mallorca and the lush landscape here is jaw-dropping. The area is famed for its citrus groves and winter almond blossoms and is a year-round destination.

The beautiful old town is linked to coastal Port Soller by its iconic orange tram, or you can walk in around 45 minutes. Soller town is also linked to Palma by the Ferrocarril de Soller, a vintage wooden train. The station doubles up as an art gallery.

Port de Soller is a lively yet relaxed resort with a long promenade alongside its beach and historic villas that once belonged to wealthy merchants.

The beach itself doesn’t hold a candle to the golden sands further along the coast at Pollensa and Alcudia, but Soller has plenty to keep culture lovers, foodies, and active travellers satisfied. It’s an ideal base for exploring the mountain region.

Transfer time: 40 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN SOLLER

By the beach:

The 5-star Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa is one of the most luxurious places to stay on Mallorca, with impeccable infinity pool and spa credentials. It’s located around the coast from the main bay, as is Bikini Island & Mountain – a stylish and fun 4-star resort aimed squarely at the Instagram generation.

There are several appealing hotels around the main bay:

Up in town:  Gran Hotel Soller is a classic 5-star with an indoor pool handy for low season, though it feels a tad institutional compared to some of the excellent boutique hotels and fincas in the area. There’s even more choice if you widen your search to include nearby Fornalutx village.

Eco guesthouse Ecocirer has a focus on the homegrown and upcycled.

On a budget? The Hostel Soller has dorms and private rooms for flashpackers. The Hiker’s Townhouse.

CALA SAN VINCENTE

Cala San Vicente is a small resort village in an isolated spot which is all part of its appeal. But it has undergone something of a boom and is no longer quite the undiscovered gem that it once was (it’s only a 10-minute drive from Pollensa after all) – with a few eyesore hotels present. 

However, it’s still in a very pretty location and has retained a traditional fishing-village atmosphere. The village has a devoted following who return year after year. The area is home to some fantastic hiking, birdwatching, and four narrow cala-style beaches. Space is at a premium in July and August – visit outside the main summer season if you can. 

Transfer time: 30 minutes from Palma Airport

STAY IN CALA SAN VICENTE

La Moraleja is a small 5-star adults-only with a wellness centre.

For something small and traditional, the family-run Cala Sant Vincenc Hotel and the beachfront Hoposa Niu are two popular 4-stars.

PORT DE POLLENCA

Tamarells beach at Port de Pollenca

With one of the most photogenic settings on Mallorca, Port de Pollenca (or Pollensa) is one of the top spots on the island for families. It has become increasingly popular over the past few decades, particularly with Brits and cyclists, although development hasn’t been at the expense of its soul.

There are two beaches here, with altogether around 3km of golden sand and shallow waters just made for paddling. The beach is backed by the cafe-clad Pine Walk promenade and leads to a buzzing marina.

Pollensa is the gateway to the Cap de Formentor – its dramatic coastal scenery makes it one of the most beautiful natural areas in Mallorca. A trip around the peninsula by boat or car is a highlight of staying in Pollensa.

A few kilometres uphill is the town of Pollensa, with its beautiful historic streets, shady squares, and magnificent views.

Transfer time: 50 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN POLLENCA

If you’ve got cash to splash then a stay at the Royal Hideaway Formentor is retro glamour.

The Hotel Illa’dOr which also has a seafront location, a spa, and trips available on the hotel’s boat.

Adults-only La Goleta Hotel de Mar has cool rooms in white and blue and the beach is just over the road.

Traditional guesthouse Hostal Borras has a central location and simple airy rooms with balconies. Cat lovers and vegetarians will enjoy Pension Bellavista.

Unsuprisingly, there are some lovely boutique hotels in the town and rural fincas in the wider area. Try Son Brull, Hotel Son Sant Jordi, and L’Hostal

PORT D’ALCUDIA

White sandy beach at Alcudia

Alcudia is the name given to a handsome old town, its attached beach resort (one of the biggest and best on Mallorca), and the surrounding bay and peninsula.

The walled old town sports some fine medieval features, good markets, and atmospheric streets. It’s an ideal base for those who don’t mind being away from the beach and intend to explore by car or on foot.

But most stay in the beach resort area – known as Port d’Alcudia – with its enormous crescent of fine sand. It’s the main resort on the north coast, and a transport hub for the north so a good option for the car-less. There are also boat trips aplenty, and ferries that run over to neighbouring island Menorca.

Port d’Alcudia is just as popular with families as it is with couples and young groups. Whilst not as rowdy as Magaluf, there’s no shortage of bars and clubs for the evening hours. You’ll find every watersport that you can name, plus a vast array of excursions and activities.

The Blue Flag Playa d’Alcudia morphs into the Playa de Muro, and together they make up the longest stretch of beach on Mallorca at 10km. Keep going past the end of Playa Muro and you’ll find the S’Albufera Nature Park, a protected wetlands zone with trails for walking and cycling available. And there are hiking trails on the Alcudia Peninsula.

Transfer time: 50 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY THERE

There is a huge selection of big resort hotels in Alcudia. Best for families is the 5-star Zafiro Palace Alcudia. If you’d prefer adults-only, there’s the Hotel Astoria Playa and Caprice Alcudia Port.

Mar Salada has airy sea-view studios right on the beach, and parking space available.

Alcudia old town is a hotspot for classy design-led boutique hotels – check out Can Pere, Nou Hotelet, FORUM, and Can Mostatxins for starters.

CAN PICAFORT

empty beach at Can Picafort

Relaxed Can Picafort is all about the beach – 3km long and sandy with shallow turquoise waters, sitting in a big bay with views across to Alcudia. Some sections of the beach are wider than others. The resort itself is small and relaxed, ideal for families looking for long lazy days in the sun – although it has something for everyone. There’s a pedestrian promenade running along the beach and the sidestreets hum with souvenir shops, international cuisine, and cafes. The east of Mallorca (including Can Picafort) is very popular with German visitors as well as Brits.

Activities to keep kids (and grownups) entertained include watersports, play areas, go-karts, and golf. There’s a bus that runs north to Playa de Muro and Alcudia. 

Transfer time: 55 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CAN PICAFORT

Can Picafort is dominated by big family-friendly resort hotels such as the Zafiro Can Picafort (which has a pirate ship). Plenty of package deals can be booked through tour operators like TUI, Loveholidays and Jet2. Can Picafort

CALA MESQUIDA

dazzling blue seas at Cala Mesquida

Cala Mesquida is a beautiful sandy beach tucked away behind a protected zone of sand dunes and pines, crisscrossed by wooden walkways. There’s a small resort here, with a few hotels and holiday homes. It’s breezy and quiet and mainly popular with older couples looking for tranquillity.

Wind and waves can pick up here so there’s lifeguard presence over the summer. It’s organised and attracts families and daytrippers, but has a wild natural feel thanks to the lack of watersports and bars.

Transfer time: 1hr 5 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CALA MESQUIDA

Accommodation is uphill on the headland overlooking the beach. Vanity Hotel Suites & Spa (adults only) is the pick of the big hotels, although VIVA Cala Mesquida Resort & Spa is nearer to the beach. There are plenty of apartments up on the hill too.

CALA RATJADA

pretty beach at Cala Gat

Cala Ratjada is a pleasant and buzzy little resort town that has sprung up around a fishing village on the northeast coast. It sits in a rocky and picturesque part of the coastline, on the south side of a small peninsula which also includes some pretty scenery and beaches (such as Cala Gat, pictured above) which are accessible by walks through woods.

The nearest main beach is to the south of the town at Cala Moll, and most of the large resort hotels are located here. And on the north side of the peninsula is Cala Agulla, a 2km long beach with spectacular pale sand which gets very busy in the summer.

It’s ideal for those who want to stay somewhere with good food, and a spot of culture, and who are happy to explore nearby beaches on foot. You can also pop over to neighbouring island Menorca by boat.

Transfer time: 1hr 5 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CALA RATJADA

Plenty of lovely hotels geared towards couples, such as the adults-only Son Moll Sentits Spa which is right by the beach. 

If big resort hotels aren’t your style, the family-run Sea Club Hotel is a small and charming guesthouse not far from the beach.

There’s a good selection of apartments on Airbnb, though most of the larger villas are inland at the village of Capdepera along with a trio of luxury boutique hotels – Cases de Son Barbassa, Hotel Son Jaumell, and Hotel Creu du Tau.

South of Cala Moll, the Fisherhouse holiday cottage has 4 beds, beach views and coastal decor.

CANYAMEL

Quiet resort in a bay with a sandy Blue Flag beach, surrounded by pine forests, mountains, and a wetlands area. Lots of villas in the area and a few large beachfront hotels popular with German package tourists. Playa de Canyamel is suited to families looking for somewhere relaxed with a good beach. This is not a resort where you’ll find endless entertainment, think pedalos, scenic walks, golf, and trips to the nearby town of Arta. It’s a small resort so the beach can get crowded in the school holidays. 

Transfer time: 1 hr from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CANYAMEL

For beach luxe have a look at the Hotel Melbeach & Spa (Adults only), the Cap Vermell Beach Hotel, and the Castell Royal.

For simpler accommodation try Canyamel Beach. There are villas and apartments to suit all budgets on HomeAway.

There are some upscale hotels outside town – the 5-stars Park Hyatt Mallorca and Pleta de Mar (Adults only), and Can Simoneta Finca Hotel (Adults only), and the Golf Canyamel Resort are all nearby.

CALA MILLOR & CALA BONA

sandy beach at Cala Millor

Cala Millor is the main beach resort on the east of the island, and one of the most popular resorts on the island. This busy town attracts sun-lovers and water babies from around Europe, and also has a year-round ex-pat population thanks to its excellent facilities. It has the widest range of activities and entertainment on the east coast and is particularly suitable for families. Nightlife is lively (though not as party-centric as Alcudia or Magaluf) and it attracts visitors from neighbouring resorts.

Its popularity in no small part due to its 6km expanse of white sand beach and shallow turquoise seas. The family-friendly beach is Blue Flag, with organised sections and backed by a promenade and seafront hotels. There’s a wide range of watersports.

If you prefer a slightly quieter feel, the north of Cala Millor merges into the smaller resort of Cala Bona which is built around a fishing harbour and has easy access to a few small beaches. A promenade (and a tourist train) links the two resorts – it’s a 15 minute walk. It’s popular with mature travellers who appreciate the relaxed vibe and good restaurants.

Transfer time: 55 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CALA MILLOR

There’s a wide range of resort hotels and apartment blocks in Cala Millor.

Hipotels have a number of hotels in Cala Millor but the Hipocampo Palace is the highest rated (5 star) and has a beachfront location, family facilities, and a separate adults-only section with spa.

Prefer to go self-catered? Apartamentos Alborada has modern studios with sea views.

In Cala Bona, the adults-only Catalonia del Mar has spacious airy rooms and a spa. And a short walk inland is the rustic gem Son Floriana.

SA COMA

Sa Coma sunloungers at sunrise

Sa Coma’s main draw is its wide crescent of Blue Flag beach and shallow waters, perfect for little ones. This busy purpose-built resort is perfectly pitched at families looking for an easy holiday. There’s a pedestrianised promenade shaded by palms, plenty of activities and food specifically for the kids, and a tourist train which trundles along to Cala Millor and Cala Bona. As with many of the resorts on this section of coastline, there is a heavy German presence.

Transfer time: 1 hr from Palma Airport.

STAY IN SA COMA

Sa Coma is dominated by large family resort-style hotels in Sa Coma – Hipotels Mediterraneo Club is right on the beach. It has an adjoining adults-only complex next door.

You can find package deals to Sa Coma with TUI.

PORTO CRISTO

sandy beach at Portocristo, Mallorca

Once a thriving port and then one of Mallorca’s earliest resorts, Porto Cristo has calmed and has quiet, traditional feel, best suited to older returners to the island. It’s a medium-sized beach town with a Blue Flag town beach and new marina, which attracts a few holidaymakers, ex-pats, and Spanish families.

Most tourists head to neighbouring Cala Millor instead, leaving Porto Cristo to do its own thing. It still has a working fishing fleet and is known for its great seafood restaurants. Porto Cristo’s main claim to fame is its proximity to the impressive Caves of Drach.

Transfer time: 50 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN PORTO CRISTO

Hotels in Portocristo are looking a bit dated – chic historic conversion Hotel Son Mas is the undeniable standout but the location is inland towards Manacor.

Adults-only THB Philip is one alternative, with seafront rooms that have had a recent makeover.

PORTOCOLOM

Portocolom's colourful fishing houses

The resort town of Portocolom has a particularly pretty seafront. It’s an old fishing town – one of several along the south coast – set in a scenic bay and has a working town atmosphere. It’s quiet and something of a hidden gem – attracting a mature crowd, Germans, artists, and ex-pats who enjoy its unspoilt nature and proximity to one of Mallorca’s wine regions. There are a few good restaurants and bars near the marina. Public transport here is limited so a car is recommended.

Portocolom has 3 town beaches, the busiest of which is the Blue Flag Cala Marcal. There are also some beautiful cliffs in the area.

Transfer time: 50 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN PORTOCOLOM

Accommodation is geared toward independent travellers.

The 2-bedroom Mar 5 Portocolom has airy white rooms and views over the harbour.

Orange Colom has a seaview pool and modern studio apartments, as well as particularly great facilities for cyclists (repair shop and massage room!).

For hotel facilities, Hotel Vistamar is a 4-star with spa and indoor pool.

CALA D’OR

popular Cala D'Or beach

The resort of Cala D’Or snakes around a coastline that includes five or so gorgeous coves (2 of them with Blue Flag beaches). Once a fishing village, Cala d’Or has developed into a medium-sized purpose-built tourist resort. Thankfully it has escaped some of the excesses of development that you see on the west coast. Buildings are designed in a generic tourist Spanish style but are at least whitewashed and low-rise, and tucked amongst pines.

The sea here is a stunning shade of turquoise and the rocky coast provides ample opportunity for snorkelling and boat trips. The beaches, whilst sandy and beautiful, are small given the number of hotels so expect to jostle for a place in high summer.

Cala D’Or (named after one of the coves) has a slightly upmarket feel, a popular marina, and a good range of restaurants. The resort is a good choice for couples and families with older children looking for a balance of nature and activity, and there are plenty of villas with pools available. 

Gorgeous protected marine zone Mondrago Nature Reserve is nearby, as is Santueri Castle. Also there are many golf courses in this part of Mallorca, which is flatter. A tourist train links the coves of Cala d’Or with Portopetro and Mondrago Park.

Transfer time: 50 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN CALA D’OR

Many of the hotels in Cala d’Or are traditional resort hotels booked up by tour operators.

For family-friendly luxury, the 5-star Hotel Melia Cala d’Or has a children’s pool as well as sumptuous gardens and a spa.

Some of the best resort hotels in the area are all adults-only: Aluasoul Mallorca Resort has chic white rooms and is right next to Cala Egos beach. Inturotel Cala Esmeralda has a great cliffside setting with amazing views.

Budget-seekers check out adults-only Hotel Rupit which is small and friendly. And Hotel d’Or is a great-value 3-star.

PORTOPETRO

boats in Portopetro marina

Portopetro is the next town west along the coast from Cala d’Or, but it’s harbour town origins give it a slightly different feel. These days it has a small marina, a handful of restaurants, bars and shops – just enough to service the many villas in the area. It’s quiet but still cosmopolitan, and for walkers and hikers this is one of the most beautiful parts of Mallorca.

It takes around 1 hour to walk (or 10 minutes to drive) to the main part of Cala d’Or from here. 

Transfer time: 45 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY IN PORTOPENTRO

Blau Privilege PortoPetro Beach Resort & Spa is an extensive 5-star luxury resort with family facilities. Families looking for AI might also want to check out the Iberostar Club Cala Barca.

The adults-only boutique hotel Som Suret has a seafront location and cool white rooms.

But there are also plenty of good-value apartments and studios overlooking the harbour such as Lieblings or Francesca’s.

Check Booking.com, James Villas, or Homeaway for apartments and villas in the Portopetro area. 

CALA FIGUERAsmall boat in Cala Figuera harbour

To the south of the Mondrago Natural Park is the pretty fishing village of Cala Figuera, one of the highlights of the south coast. Although popular with daytrippers (and Germans), there is still a working fishing fleet here and development has been sympathetic. The uniform green doors and woodwork of the whitewashed houses add to its appeal.

The nearest beach is at Cala Santanyi.

STAY IN CALA FIGUERA

For a good selection of rooms and studios in Cala Figuera see Airbnb.

Marblau Guesthouse is popular for simple budget studios.

CALA SANTANYI AND CALA LLOMBARDS

Cala Santanyi beach

Santanyi is the name given to the wider area, as well as an inland town and its nearest beach. The town of Santanyi will appeal to history-lovers – the village held a key strategic position protecting the coast from pirates. Unspoilt Santanyi is perfect if you’re looking for a hidden gem – arty, friendly, with beautiful stone buildings. 

4km away on the shore you will find the areas’ calas – Cala Santanyi and Cala Llombards, picturesque cliff-flanked coves with boathouses and fishing heritage. The vibe here is chilled and it’s close to both the Mondrago and Cabrera Natural Parks.

Transfer time: 45 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY THERE

Hotel Apartamentos Cala Santanyi and Hotel Pinos Playa are both on the seafront at Cala Santanyi.

But there are also plenty of gorgeous holiday homes (popular with the German market) around such as Casa de la Playa and Villa Torre Mar.

La Casita is a small getaway up in the hills with a private infinity plunge pool and steps that lead directly down to the water.

COLONIA SANT JORDI

Colonia de Sant Jordi is a former working port which has had a glow-up for tourists. It’s pleasantly low-key, with some good eateries, and might make a good base if you’ve already seen Mallorca’s prettier bits and want to distance yourself from package tourists. It has a local vibe and is convenient for the nearby beaches, which are vast, empty and often very windswept.

This region was home to the island’s salt pans, and the coastline here is comparatively undeveloped (or desolate, depending on your point of view). Unfinished buildings, unfortunately, dot the landscape, which is a popular area for second homes.

At 4km long, Es Trenc is one of Mallorca’s best beaches, with perfect white sand – it’s 10-15 mins walk along the coast from Colonia Sant Jordi. Keep walking and you’ll reach the beaches at Ses Covetes and Sa Rapita, which are two small settlements with fine sands and a few holiday homes.

Sant Jordi is also the main jumping-off point for boats to Cabrera Marine Park. 

(There is another Sant Jordi next to the airport – don’t get them confused).

Transfer time: 40 minutes from Palma Airport.

STAY THERE

Fontsanta Hotel Thermal & Spa is a luxury 5-star adults-only complex in spacious inland grounds.

Hotel El Coto is a popular 4-star hotel with plush rooms and salt lake views.

Studios and apartments in Colonia Sant Jordi are good value – try Airbnb.

INLAND VILLAGES

pretty Valldemossa street with many plants

STAY INLAND

It’s not all about the beach on Mallorca – if you’re looking for fine hotels and villas then some of the finest are inland. Here’s a selection:

DEIA

VALLDEMOSSA:

MOSCARI: Hotel Son Ametler

ORIENT: Son Palou

PUIGPUNYENTGran Hotel Son Net

FORNALUTX: Ca’s Penelope

MONTUIRI: Finca Serena

CA’S CONCOS: Son Terrassa Hotel Rural

Read more:

10 Most Beautiful Beaches on the Balearic Islands

Where to Stay on Ibiza: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Crete: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Corfu: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Kefalonia: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Lefkada: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Zakynthos: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Skiathos: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Where to Stay on Rhodes: Ultimate Beach Resort Guide

Enjoyed this post? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Click to save to Pinterest:

Image credits:

Formentor (feature): © Balate Dorin / Shutterstock

Cala Agulla: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Cala D’or: © Erik / Adobe Stock

Formentor (sun loBy lunamarinaungers): © Balate Dorin / Shutterstock

Palma cathedral: © Allard One / Shutterstock

Palma beach: © vulcano / Shutterstock

Illetes beach: © lunamarina / Adobe Stock

Palma Nova: © David Brown / Adobe Stock

Magaluf: © tobago77 / Adobe Stock

Santa Ponsa: © vulcanus / Adobe Stock

Cala Fornells: © Margarita Borodina / Adobe Stock

Port Andratx: 

Soller: © Allard One / Shutterstock

Pollenca: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Alcudia: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Can Picafort: © kovop58 / Adobe Stock

Cala Mesquida: © lunamarina / Adobe Stock

Cala Ratjada: © Simon Dannhauer / Shutterstock

Cala Millor: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Sa Coma: © pure-life-pictures

Porto Cristo: © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Portocolom: © vulcano / Shutterstock

Cala D’Or: © Balate Dorin / Shutterstock

Portopetro: © cristianbalate / Adobe Stock

Cala Figuera: © pixelliebe / Shutterstock

Cala Llombards: © Balate Dorin / Shutterstock

Valldemossa: © Kotangens/ Adobe Stock

Share this post: