Family holidays in Mallorca

The largest island in the Balearic archipelago, Mallorca is as interesting as it is beachy and sunny. A good choice for active family holidays, it does adventure of all sorts from the Serra de Tramuntana to rugged Cap de Formentor. The capital, Palma, can hold its own against any other city in Spain. Resorts range from party-rich Magaluf to the elegance of Puerto Pollensa. And historic villages and towns are tucked into every available pocket of an astonishingly varied landscape. In short, it’s not difficult to understand why families love Mallorca and holiday here, year after year.


Why go on holiday in Mallorca

  • Direct flights from the UK to Mallorca, year round, take just over two hours.

  • Mallorca has 300 days of sunshine a year, with summer highs of 30˚ and mild winter weather.

  • The Serra de Tramuntana range in northern Mallorca is a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape.

  • Mallorca has ten protected nature reserves and natural parks including Mondrago Marine Reserve and the Llevant Peninsula.

  • Mallorca has ten protected nature reserves and natural parks including Mondrago Marine Reserve and the Llevant Peninsula.

  • The Superyacht Cup Palma, hosted each June in Mallorca, is Europe’s longest established superyacht regatta.

  • Mallorca has over 260 beaches and 31 of them have Blue Flags.



Where to go

North Mallorca

Defined by its dramatic coastline and discrete celebrity, Mallorca’s northern region is more elegant resorts and historic mountain villages than waterparks and 24/7 party. It’s also the best area for active holidays and nowhere else does as many sports as well or as energetically: Sky Team cyclists have a training camp here.

  • Pollensa is often called the prettiest town in the Balearics. A few kilometres away on the coast, Puerto Pollensa is its high-end seaside counterpart for historic hotels, smart restaurants and outdoor adventuring around Cap de Formentor.
  • Very busy in summer, Port d’Alcudia is still a good choice with older kids and teens. There’s lots to do on and off the beach, the atmosphere’s lively and there are plenty of peaceful places nearby to escape the crowds.
  • Alcudia’s 40 minutes by car from Palma and there’s a direct train service too: easy way to see Mallorca’s interior.

West Mallorca

If west Mallorca conjures up sleazy tabloid headlines, you’re probably thinking of Magaluf. But the resort which almost got young Brits banned from the Balearics is a tiny blip on a beautiful coast where you’ll also find Palma and Valldemossa, Port d’Andratx and refreshing seaside towns like Santa Ponsa, El Toro and Peguera.

  • Described as Europe’s loveliest island capital, Palma has a gorgeous historic district, superb restaurants and great shops. Urban beaches packed with water sports vie for attention with museums, galleries, festivals and events.
  • Magaluf is Mallorca’s giant for waterparks, theme parks, value all-inclusive hotels and cheap restaurants. It’s not authentic or charming, but dipping in now and again with older kids and teens is fun.
  • Stay on the coast with kids but make at least one day trip to Valldemossa. It’s one of the island’s most historic towns, an eco-icon and a perfect, gentle introduction to the remarkable Serra da Tramuntana.

South Mallorca

Almost all the best beaches are found on Mallorca’s gorgeously sunny south coast. Long stretches of golden sand are the norm and the area has dozens of resorts and seaside towns to take advantage of them. Palma is less than an hour’s drive away, but there’s plenty to keep kids occupied right here.

  • Can Pastilla is Palma’s nearest southern neighbour and one of the island’s most popular family resorts.
  • El Arenal, Es Tranc and Sa Rapita are all beachy legends with some of Mallorca’s best water sports and incredible surfing.
  • Cala Pi has one of the loveliest beaches on the south coast and is surprisingly undiscovered. Good choice for gentle seaside holidays with younger kids.
  • Cala d’Or could probably be called Mallorca’s original tourist resort and it has just about everything you could want in a beachy break; right down to a cute tourist train, famously good markets and endless activities for kids.

East Mallorca

Calm and peaceful eastern Mallorca is as undiscovered as the west and south coasts are crowded. There are fewer beaches and the coastline isn’t cluttered with water sports and activities. But, if you’re in the market for pretty fishing villages, historic towns and more than a little scenic grandeur, you’ll find all that here.

  • Visit Artá, tucked into a deep valley about 10 minutes from the coast it’s home to Santuari de Sant Salvador, one of the island’s most impressive sanctuaries.
  • 14th century Capdapera is another heritage giant and just a short drive from several of the east coast’s loveliest beaches.
  • Cala Millor is the best known east coast family resort and famous for its long, blue-flag beach.
  • Cala Aguilla is good for snorkelling, swimming and diving; Canyamel has great water sports and a luxury resort vibe; pretty Porto Cristo is easy going fun with kids and has a few of the east coast’s best restaurants.

What to do

  • Marineland Mallorca, Costa d’en Blanes
    Up close encounters with dolphins, sea lions and seals along with an interesting education centre for kids and fun events every day during summer.
  • Hidropark, Alcúdia
    Full scale family water park with excellent rides and slides, enormous swimming pools, splash zones for younger kids and fantastic mountain views.
  • La Granja, Esporles
    A 17th century estate in the Serra de Tramuntana transformed into an excellent heritage park where kids can learn traditional crafts, visit a working farm and explore the historic mansion house.
  • Aqualand Waterpark, S’Arenal
    Mallorca’s biggest waterpark’s just south of Palma and the one you want for extreme white-knuckle rides, chutes and slides. Kidzworld’s fun for under eights.
  • Puerto Pollensa Discovery Cruise
    Puerto Pollensa is where the Serra de Tramuntana drop dramatically into the sea to create one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring coastlines. Spend the day snorkelling, exploring, paddle boarding and swimming here on a friendly, family cruise.
  • Soller Valley Mountain Bike Tour
    An easy introduction to mountain biking in the foothills of Mallorca’s iconic Serra de Tramuntana. Local guides make this a fun day out with kids.
  • Palma Aquarium
    Kids will love this amazing, experience filled aquarium. Feeding times are fantastic and they can watch divers swimming in The Big Blue – Europe’s deepest shark tank.
  • Katmandu Park, Magaluf
    The crazy, upside down world of Katmandu Park is a funfair like no other – when was the last time kids took a virtual reality tour of an asylum? The rides, games and experiences are wild and it’s open until midnight during summer.
  • Jungle Parc, Santa Ponsa
    Kids can travel the treetops on dozens of exhilarating rope challenges at this fun forest park. Aerialists as young as four can adventure here and routes range from green and easy to deepest black.
  • Kayaking Illa Malgrat Marine Reserve
    Illa Malgrat Marine Reserve on the west coast of Mallorca is a calm, protected environment and best viewed by kayak.


Educational value for kids

  • Take a tour of the imposing Charterhouse of Valldemossa. It was built as a royal residence in the 14th century, later became a Carthusian Monastery and is now a fascinating museum depicting centuries of sacred life. The refectory, pharmacy, gardens and library are all beautifully preserved. George Sand and Chopin were guests here in 1839.
  • Robert Graves visited Mallorca, fell in love with the island and never left. The author of I, Claudius lived in the lovely mountain village of Deià, north west Mallorca, from 1929 until his death in 1985. He’s buried beneath an immense cypress tree in the local churchyard and his village house is now a charming museum.
  • Catch the vintage wooden train from Palma to Soller in the high Serra de Tramuntana. The narrow gauge railway’s only 27km long but it’s still considered one of the most scenic rail journeys in all of Spain, and the competition’s stiff. Explore Soller town for mountainous drama, then take a 5km tram ride to the coast and spend a few hours on Port de Soller’s beaches (they’re the only truly sandy ones on Mallorca’s west coast).
  • Mallorca’s markets are a riot of noise, colour and crowds. Try Olivar Market every Monday morning in Palma for fresh, local produce. Tuesday’s market in Alcudia’s good for crafts, and Inca Market on Thursdays is the biggest on the island.
  • Visit Palma in late June for the Fiesta de Sant Joan. The evening before the festival itself is known as Nit de Foc and the city’s ablaze with firework displays, parades of garishly disguised demons, daring fire-runs and massive crowds.
  • Spend at least an afternoon exploring Palma: Sa Llotja is the historic district; Santa Catalina’s where to find cool alternatives to the designer shopping on glamorous Passeig des Born; and you can’t miss enormous La Seu, Palma’s Gothic cathedral which dominates the waterfront, and just about everything else in the island capital.
  • Palma Cathedral was actually built on the site of an ancient mosque. Discover more about the city’s Moorish heritage at nearby Palace de L’Almudaina. The stories are incredible and it’s also one of the island’s loveliest historic buildings.

 

Getting around with kids on Mallorca

Stick to the beaches round and about your resort, take the occasional day trip to Palma, and you can rely on Mallorca’s good public transport. The island has its own railway and several towns have trams too. But, if you want to explore the interior, and say you’ve done some of Europe’s most jaw-dropping mountain drives: hire a car. Apart from soaring Serra de Tramuntana roads, most of Mallorca’s easy driving, and secret coastal villages alone, make at least a few days at the wheel worth considering.

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