Thursday, October 12, 2023

Exploring the Allure of Mallorca: From Charming Villages to Breathtaking Beaches

The Balearic Islands are a British tourist favourite. To discover why, we set out to explore Mallorca Island discovering magical villages, impressive cliffs, clear turquoise waters, and stunning sandy beaches.

Formentor cliff
Formentor cliff

The island of Mallorca offers a variety of attractions, including the city of Palma de Mallorca, the cliffs of Formentor, a stalactite cave, an ancient train, and several charming villages in the mountains or by the sea. These attractions, combined with the island's beautiful beaches and recreational facilities, make it a great destination for a longer vacation. During our visit, we sampled some of what the island has to offer, including the city of Palma de Mallorca, the cliffs of Formentor, and the towns of Alcúdia and Valldemossa.

Our journey began in the captivating city of Palma de Mallorca. Situated along the seashore, the old city is undeniably charming. Dedicating at least one day to the city is advisable.  More time is recommended if you also want to tour the sites and museums. The renovated and pleasant old center combines the huge cathedral and the king's palace surrounded by the city wall, on the one hand, and narrow roads and alleys on the other.

Palma's historic Old Town is compact and ideal for exploring on foot, offering a wealth of intriguing attractions. Foremost among them is the awe-inspiring La Seu Cathedral overlooking the bay. This Gothic masterpiece, constructed between 1301 and 1601, underwent a partial renovation in the early 20th century, overseen by a renowned Spanish architect. Adjacent to the cathedral, you'll discover the majestic King's Palace, known as the Almudaina Palace, dating back to the 13th century. For over two centuries, it served as the residence of Mallorca's monarchs until 1715. Notably, this palace has earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open for guided tours, subject to an admission fee.

Palma Cathedral
Palma Cathedral

The palace gardens seamlessly blend with the adjacent boulevard that ascends from the bay, and visiting them is an enjoyable and free experience. It has seen significant development, transforming the space around the ancient walls and buildings into a vibrant landscape adorned with fountains and statues. One of the most renowned statues, created by Juan Miró, stands as a testament to the artistic heritage of the region. As you wander through the winding alleys that lead up to the city square, you'll encounter neo-modernist houses that bear a striking resemblance to the architectural style famously associated with Antoni Gaudí. It's worth noting, however, that Gaudí himself wasn't directly involved in their construction. Instead, these buildings were crafted by other architects who drew inspiration from his distinctive aesthetic.

The Plaza Mayor area is very popular for its restaurants and cafes and also includes famous chains such as Starbucks. Walking northward, you'll come across fashion boutiques showcasing popular Spanish brands like Zara and Bershka. And then there is the indoor market where you can stock up on local products, cheeses and sausages for those who want to take a little Spain home, or eat something light at the stalls.

In addition to the above attractions, visitors can discover a variety of outstanding museums, Bellver Castle, the vibrant port with its expansive marina, and the nearby beaches for bathing.

Outside the city of Palma, in the northeast of the island of Mallorca, two towns beckon exploration: Valldemossa and Alcúdia. Valldemosa is popular for its picturesque streets and peaceful mountainous landscape, as well as its association with the famous composer Chopin. He lived there for several months, got inspired, and wrote some of his most famous works, including the Preludes, Op. 28. I recommend to thoroughly enjoying Valldemossa by strolling through its charming alleys and making the most of the enticingly designed souvenir shops.

Our next stop was Alcúdia, a charming coastal town with a well-preserved old town surrounded by a wall. Visitors can climb the wall (take the stairs, there is no elevator) for a free and delightful short tour. The heart of the old town is a picturesque pedestrian street lined with cafes and small shops, perfect for a lunch break. I have heard that the Alcúdia beach is very beautiful; unfortunately, the heavy rain on that day kept us away.

One of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Mallorca, in my opinion, is the Formentor cliffs. Situated at the northernmost tip of Mallorca, this elongated, steep terrain extends out into the sea. At its extremity stands a picturesque lighthouse, and numerous viewpoints dot the area. Among them, an observation balcony that offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surroundings.


Mallorca is a small island with an excellent public transportation system in Palma, making it easy to stay outside of the city and enjoy better beach access. The Leonardo Royal Palmanova Bay Hotel is ideally located just a half-hour's drive from the vibrant city of Palma de Mallorca, offering the perfect balance of relaxation and exploration.

The Israeli hotel chain Leonardo has expanded substantially, now offering accommodations throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. In Palmanova Bay, the chain operates three adjacent hotels, including the Leonardo Royal Palmanova Bay, which is perched on the cliffs and offers magnificent sea views.

Leonardo Palmanova bay
Leonardo Palmanova bay

The Leonardo Royal Palmanova Bay has 170 fully renovated rooms decorated with a touch of pastel blues. Each room has a spacious bathroom featuring a shower, satellite TV, and a secure safe. Notably, the rooms are actually suites, complete with a well-appointed kitchenette, making them particularly well-suited for families. We stayed in a one bedroom suite, which was especially convenient since we were two adults and each of us had his own privacy.

Upon returning from our island trips, we enjoyed a drink on the charming Leonardo Royal Palmanova Bay hotel terrace, which offers breathtaking views of the bay.  The hotel features a swimming pool, a kiddies' splash pool, and a kids club. It offers an animation program with shows, games, and a variety of activities such as kayaking, which I enjoyed tremendously. While the beach is a short walk away, it's worth noting that the direct path to the beach does involve some hills. However, we used the elevator at the adjacent Leonardo Royal hotel for easy access.

We enjoyed our meals in the tranquil hotel dining room, which offered diverse and plentiful culinary offerings. The buffet featured a wide variety of vegetables, cheeses, cold cuts, soups, pizza, pasta dishes, and local and international cuisine, as well as children's options. Every evening, the chef prepared a different themed dinner, such as Spanish, Italian, or Mexican. I particularly enjoyed the Spanish evening, with its delightful assortment of local specialties, such as tortilla and paella.

The Palmanova bay surrounding Leonardo is a haven for those seeking a relaxed beachy vibe, with numerous charming cafés and hotels lining the picturesque shoreline. Just a stone's throw away, in the adjacent streets of Magaluf, vibrant discos and bars throbbing with excitement, although we only passed by them in the evenings.

In conclusion, embarking on the journey to the Balearic Islands is undoubtedly worthwhile, and I've now added the islands of Ibiza, Menorca, and Formentera to my list of desired destinations.

For more information about the Leonardo hotels see

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