There is so much more to Mallorca than drunk Germans and endless parties in the hedonistic resorts of El Arenal and Magaluf – at least, that’s what I’d been told. Nevertheless, this Spanish island in the Mediterranean was never a top priority on my list of holiday destinations, but after I got the chance to spend a short trip there recently I quickly realized what a treasure I’d been missing. Truth be told, I’d hop on a plane there again in a heartbeat; from my base in Berlin, daily direct flights with Air Berlin make the trip a piece of cake.

Crystal clear water, quaint villages, friendly inhabitants and the best fish you can imagine – these are just a few of the things which make this Balearic island such a hot holiday destination. Are you considering a trip to Mallorca? I would heartily recommend it! Here are the five things you should definitely not miss out on:

There is more to Mallorcathan partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

1. Rent a finca

I’ll never understand how people can go straight from the airport to check into a hideous concrete block for a week-long all-inclusive resort holiday – with no intention of ever seeing anything of the island itself. There are thousands of beautiful fincas everywhere, with little farmhouses and cottages available alongside luxurious mansions, and a little gem is waiting for every budget somewhere on the island. If you want to holiday like authentic Spaniards, the customary procedure is to rent a big finca together with friends or family; the idea is more space + more people = more fun! Websites like fincallorca provide a great overview and offer top notch service.

There is more to Mallorcathan partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

We rented a finca near Son Servera in the eastern part of the island, surrounded by fig trees and flocks of sheep. We could see the ocean from our terrace and watch the starlit sky at night; such a wonderfully romantic setting provided us with a rich array of unforgettable moments.

There is more to Mallorcathan partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

2. Go on a sailing trip

This was not only my first time in Mallorca but also my first time on a sailing trip. I’d never really considered boats as a mode of exploration, but my eyes have been opened! You can always find the sweetest spots of any island from the water – especially those unspoiled, unpopulated places that aren’t reachable by car. Although our captain Pedro didn’t understand a word of English and we didn’t speak Spanish, we managed to communicate using the universal language of gestures, and we had one of the most enjoyable days I’ve ever experienced.

There are various private boat owners offering day trips around the island; we started our tour at Club Nautico Colonia Sant Pere and sailed towards the National Park Cap Farrutx. We anchored in several beautiful bays for swimming or snorkeling and basked in the pristine turquoise water. A word of warning though: the tiny fish in the shallows love to pinch your toes if you stand still for too long; although if this doesn’t bother you, it’s the perfect chance to get a free pedicure…

There is more to Mallorcathan partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island! There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

3. Go on a road trip

Renting a car is the best way to access your Finca, especially if it’s in a secluded location; you can find car rental companies like Sixt directly at the airport, making the trip to your accommodation conveniently smooth. However, the real value of having a car it is the ability to explore the island without limitations! The heart of Mallorca is dotted with romantic villages which are well worth a day trip.

There is more toMallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

My recommendation is Valldemossa in the north-western part of the island. Besides the ancient architecture, delightful narrow alleys, sprawling salmon-coloured townhouses with brightly painted shutters and a mosaic of terracotta roofs, there is an old monastery open for visitors. You can also see the Chopin Museum, devoted entirely to the Polish composer who lived here briefly in the 19th century. Fun fact: The arts center in Valldemossa was founded on the initiative of Hollywood star Michael Douglas who owns a snow-white mansion on the coast. If you’re lucky you might spot him swimming from one of the hills…

There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island! There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

If shopping is your thing, you might want to check out Artà in the north-eastern quarter of the island. Small cafés and artisanal shops open out onto a pleasant pedestrian area; we instantly fell in love with the interiors shop of German event manager and owner Iris Reichle, which can be found in the Carrer Gran V. de la Constitució. This little Aladdin’s cave is full of surprises, a world away from the usual kitsch souvenirs; most products have a regional background and a story which Iris is always happy to tell.

There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

Each day there is a market in one of the small villages providing regional specialities and hand-made items. You have to be an early bird in order get the best deals, since around noon the choicest products are already gone – but it’s certainly worth it! However if you miss the market altogether, generally these little villages are charming enough to warrant a visit anyway, at any time of day.

4. Visit Palma

To be honest with you, I was pleasantly surprised to have my expectations of Palma as a noisy, crowded, hectic place proven entirely wrong. We were pleased to discover that vibe of the city is wonderfully relaxed and calm – of course, there are more people than in other parts of the island, but it’s nowhere near as touristy as one might assume. The obvious eye-catcher is the beautiful Catalan Gothic cathedral La Seu in the south of the historic city center; opposite stands an equally arresting edifice, the Royal Palace of La Almudaina.

There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island! There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

Heading down the Passeig del Born you can find high street retailers and luxury boutiques. To the left and right you will find little alleys with even more small shops; one can easily lose a whole day browsing through them. Since there are a lot of steps and stairs in the city there is almost no traffic, which makes ambling through the streets even more relaxing. A must in Palma is to eat gelato at Amorino. The store is located at Placa de Weyler; their signature flourish involves arranging the ice cream like petals into a cone so that it resembles a rose. And don’t miss taking a stroll along the harbour during sunset – watching the boats bobbing on the waves in the warm golden evening light really gives you that holiday feeling.

There is more to Mallorca than partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

5. Have fish for dinner or lunch

Being on an island without eating fish is like visiting mountains without hiking. As if Serrano ham and Manchego cheese weren’t enough, the real star of Balearic cuisine is the seafood! Everywhere on the island you can get great quality – ideally order the most basic dish (usually with lots of garlic and herbs), because that’s how the locals do it. Then add a side dish of aioli and rosemary potatoes, and you’re good to go!

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A particularly good lunch spot is Ca’s Patró March in Cala Deià, which is in the north-western quarter of the island, located directly on a bay which looks out over the shimmering water. You can order a variety of fish, mussels, prawns and lobster as well as hand-cut fries and some great tapas. I would recommend booking a table in advance, since it’s always busy. Guests are seated at rustic wooden tables on a terrace over the water with a stunning view of the sea and the village. The best part about this place aside from the food? You can go for a dip in the sea right after lunch!

There is more to Mallorcathan partying in El Arenal. We encourage you to leave the all-inclusive resort behind and do these five things on the Spanish island!

And just like that I fell in love with Mallorca – and hope I’ve inspired you to check out this great little island for yourself!

 

*Guest post written by Sonja Köllinger. Check out her Lifestyle Blog Glowbus.de!