Alexandra Heard of lifestyle brand Alex and Trahanas spent a European summer in Mallorca and shares what's happening on the beautiful Balearic Island.
There are many unique and wonderful parts to Mallorca ranging from the hustle of the capital Palma de Mallorca through to the breathtaking natural wilderness of treks through the UNESCO-listed Serra de Tramuntana. With a focus on the west and south-western parts of the island visitors will get a taste of what is a unique, culturally rich, and breathtakingly scenic (culturally and naturally) part of the Mediterranean. Having a car is a must, especially to visit beaches in the east. Visiting in the shoulder seasons is highly recommended for tranquil weather and less-crowded roads, beaches, and restaurants.
There are countless fantastic accommodation options that will exceed the dreams of Spanish interior design lovers. If not opting for an Airbnb of which are there are beautiful homes to stay (gorgeous Casa Blandra can also be hired through Airbnb), there are many Finca’s (restored farmhouses). Finca son ru (near Deià) and Son Viscos (in Valldemossa) are both truly heavenly locations where the hospitality takes on a home-away-from-home feel. Each peaceful property has 5 bedrooms and are surrounded by lush gardens, picturesque pools and beautiful views of either the sparkling sea and/or staggering mountains. Bright comfortable rooms, beautifully furnished and close proximity to some of my favourite villages and about 30 minutes to Palma.
Newly opened Hotel Corazón is the 15-bedroom project by talented artists British photographer Kate Bellm and her husband Edgar Lopez from Mexico. Located between Deià and Valldemossa the 15-bedroom hotel, housed in a historic finca building, has been designed to draw your attention to the heavenly natural surroundings and local artisans that have contributed to the design and design details. Set to be a favourite with the local creative scene, there is also a 50-seat restaurant with a view of the mountains and a delicious menu by Grace Berrow (former Pataki in Port de Sóller) who is lovingly known on the island for her use of fresh local produce.
Bar La Sang is a cool and casual wine bar with food and run by a team of expert wine lovers from Sweden are serious about their selection of local and international natural wines, Bar La Sang is also backed up by an equally delicious bar menu. Set menu lunches feature during the week, but the evening is when it really comes alive. You can’t go past the sourdough toast with stracciatella di burrata with Cantabrian anchovies, lemon peels, black pepper, and local olive oil - wash it down with a crisp Italian white.
While now highly documented, the seaside restaurant Ca’s Patro March is very much worth the visit, especially in the shoulder-seasons. Positioned cliffside in Cala Deià, get in early for a table or go for a dip in the crystal-clear blue waters beside the restaurant or bask in the sun on the boat ramp while you wait. Enjoy fresh fish cooked simply by the staggering blue water lapping at the cliffs below your table, it’s these Mediterranean memories that stay with you long after you leave. If you can’t get a table, the more low-key restaurant next door (there are only two) will tick the box for simple fresh seafood by the sea.
De monio cafe is tucked in off the main street of charming Deià. With chic cosy interiors, stop here for homemade ginger and lemon water, coffee, natural wine, and house-made baked treats. Perched on the shelves is a beautiful curation of locally made blown glassware, handmade ceramics, jewels, and natural wines.
Bar Bodega Biniaraix is home of hand-harvested, olive leaf drinking potions @dosalquemistas and a boutique café set in the beautiful, cobbled streets of Biniaraix, a lovely 30 minute walk or short drive from Sóller. A joyous locals café, specialising in local artisan wines, vermouths, and whiskies with a concise, regularly changing menu embracing seasonal local organic produce. There is always something fun and delicious happening with frequent collaborations with local and international chefs passing through.
For a truly rustic and authentic Mallorcan food experience in a no-frills setting, a trip to Es Verger located in the centre of the island and on the southern slopes of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains is a must. Grab a coffee in charming Aalaro on the way and make your way up the windy roads to experience melt-in-your-mouth lamb shoulder that has been slow-cooked in a large woodfire oven. They make their own olive oil and wine and offer a delicious hearty menu showcasing classic Mallorcan dishes. If sitting outside you’ll likely have sheep passing by your table as you gaze into the staggering mountains or inside, the elderly owner will likely be greeting guests, often locals, as they arrive.
In the central north of Mallorca lies Ca Na Toneta, a unique dining experience that brings a feminine creative twist to Mallorcan-Mediterranean food. Within the tranquil dining room and courtyard, tables are set with crisp white tablecloths with food served on handmade ceramics also available to purchase at the adjacent shop along with other charming locally made pieces. Settle in for their six-course degustation which is constantly changing using strictly 0km local seasonal produce and thoughtful natural wines. Ca Na Toneta is run by sisters Maria (front of house) and Teresa (leads the kitchen) Solivellas. A family affair, where touch points are evident on the menu, with ‘olive oil from Uncle Pep’ and ‘my mother’s olives’. Highly regarded by the local food and wine industry, Ca Na Toneta is great for an elegant special occasion.
If visiting Port de Sóller, Patiki restaurant is the stand-out option. Located on the south side of the Port’s horseshoe, Patiki is another great example of fresh, local produce driven, farm-to-table dining, only it is toes-in-the-sand beach front.
Finding a good coffee in Mallorca is not easy! We’ve the set the bar unbelievably high in Australia so having your coffee needs met is an ongoing quest. One of the best places in Mallorca is Mama Carmen’s, I’d go there twice in a day when in Palma. Located in trendy Santa Catalina, they also serve up delicious vegan fare. Other Palma cafes with good coffee include La Molienda and Café Riutort, the latter being the perfect example of effortless and contemporary Spanish interiors and menu.
Top a suite at the newly opened Hotel Corazón (above). Farmhouse-style guesthouse Finca Son Ru (below).
Exquisite hand-blown glass that has been made in Mallorca since 1719. Gordiola's Palma based store is filled with beautiful vessels that will bring an artisanal piece of the island to your table at home.
If time allows the Gordiola workshop in Algaida can be visited and is housed in an impressive castle where the glassware range is more extensive, and you can watch the pieces being made by the talented artisans.
The patterned Spanish textiles of Textil Bujosa instantly emanate that effortless Mediterranean feel and are one of the leading artisans in Mallorca that hand-loom-weave beautiful textiles for soft furnishings and table linens.
Wondering the cobbled streets of old town Palma you will peer through grand steel gates to see numerous courtyard entrances that are so enchantingly beautiful. Arquinesia is an all-natural fragrance brand that sources all ingredients from the Balearic Islands. From the street you are lead you through a series of beautifully styled rooms that take you on a sensory journey of each fragrance, ending in a room with grand old apocothary cabinets and large French doors overlooking one of these same heavenly leafy courtyards. With only 6 scents total, notes of sea breeze, fig, and orange you can be transported back to your Mallorcan holiday after you leave.
Ca na Toneta restaurant run by sisters Maria and Teresa Solivellas (above). Fresh summer plate from Patiki (below).
For a truly inspiring foray into the world of late multi-faceted artist Joan Miro, the Sert Studio within The Fundacio Miro is worth a visit. Located in Cala Major just outside of Palma, the Sert studio is where he worked and lived for almost 30 years was designed by his friend and architect Josep Lluís Sert. You get a feel for his work though his creative space and the studio is as if he has just stepped out for lunch. Also, if in Sóller, there is permanent smaller exhibition of Miro’s work beneath the train station where you can also find 50 of Picasso’s ceramic pieces too!
Mallorca is well known for incredible hikes both along the coast and into the Tramuntana mountains. The GR221 trail which runs along the west coast has many shorter walks within it ranging from 30 minutes through to many days! My favourites are hikes along the coast, especially around Deià including the trek from Esplores to Banyalbufar ending with a swim at Cala Banyalbufa. There are so many dazzling, crystal clear beaches in Mallorca that make your heart sing. A car (in general) is a must and as always, the shoulder seasons are the best time to visit them. Here are just a few of the best beaches; Cala Illetes, Cala Pi, Cala Llombards, Cala Sa Nau.
A locals tip is to hire a boat using Click&Boat app which is the Airbnb for boat hire in Europe and take a boat to Deià followed by hike and a cliffside lunch cooked over the coals in the open kitchen Sa Fortdada, although you are really here for the views. If you are staying in the area, Mirador de Sa Foradada in Deià has a casual outdoor bar with incredible panoramic views to watch the sun go down.
There are many wonderful and inspiring villages in Mallorca with hundreds and hundreds of years of culture and history on show. Wander through the charming villages of Fornalaux and Sóller (stopping at delicious bakeries for treats like Forn de Barri & La Confiança– try the ensaimada, sweet potato rolls and empanadas). Valldemossa is also a beautiful and scenic village to visit. Also Santa Catalina near Palma (not so much a cultural village) is great for a night out with many trendy restaurants, bars and a few boutiques. Visit the local markets that are taking place every day in various parts of the island for delicious olives, cheeses, meats, fish, fresh produce or on other days/locations antiques and local crafts.
CREDITS Finca Son Ru courtesy of venue, all other images Instagram.