Off-season getaway to Mallorca

March

Striking natural beauty, quaint hill towns, plenty of sunshine, and first rate tapas

Duration: 5 Days
In need of mid-March sun, a friend and I wanted to find a long-weekend getaway with minimal hassle, maximum relaxation, and delicious food and wine. Mallorca fit the bill perfectly and offered much more than we expected. We made the beautiful hilltown of Sóller our primary base before spending a night in Palma, and enjoyed offseason rates at design hotels in both places
  • Sight Seeing 80% 80%
  • Food 90% 90%
  • Ease of Transportation 60% 60%
  • Activities 70% 70%
The Mallorcan landscape is strikingly beautiful with sharp craggy mountain peaks rising up alongside a stunning, rocky coastline. There are winding roads that harken to Highway 1 near Big Sur, and beautiful towns with stone buildings and citrus groves. The sea is turqoise, and cathedrals punctuate the skyline in every town. You should absolutely rent a car (the smaller the better to navigate tiny town lanes), and head for the hills. We spent the majority of our time in Sóller which was well situated to explore some of the other surrounding towns like Deià, and Valdemossa. We stayed at the gorgeous 1902 Townhouse where we watched the sun illuminate the mountains from our bedroom window. The seated three course breakfast was an indulgent start to the day, the pool has mountain views, and the British proprietors will have you dreaming about setting up shop as a hotelier in a beautiful Mediterranean village. We loved the fact that there are a few great restaurants just a block away, the lively town square and cathedral are worth exploring, and there’s an old tram to take you down to the port if you need something a bit livelier and don’t want to drive. The tram station also has an unbelievable collection of Picasso pottery on display so be sure not to miss this. In Palma we stayed at the Nakar Hotel. The instagram-bait rooftop pool is the big draw here, and we spent two days sun worshipping with an unparalleled view of the Basílica de Santa María, and the sea beyond. We ate a few great meals in Palma, but were glad to have spent the majority of our time in Mallorca exploring the natural beauty and smaller towns.

Best Food & Drink

We came for tapas and were not disappointed. Jamon and queso is ubiquitous, but delicious. The quality of the produce, bread, cheese, and local wines is so good that one of our most memorable meals was a picnic assembled from the local grocery store. Breakfast, particularly at the hotels where we stayed, was an indulgent all out affair. Make sure to try fresh juice as the citrus here is sublime, and a gin cocktail even if you aren’t typically a gin drinker. Gin and tonics are elevated to spa water concoctions with locally made gin, fresh herbs and cucumber, and balanced, less bitter tonics, served in globe-like glassware. 

1. Ca’n Pinxto

This super popular local restaurant has pinxtos lined up in the window but the real draw are the beautifully composed small tapas, and the steak for two served with potatoes and vegetables. We opted for a few pinxtos to stave off hunger, including grilled octopus, and the best tapas dish on the menu: the Rockefeller with pork tenderloin, goat cheese, carmelized onion, and pistachio. By the time we saw the expertly sliced heaping plate of steak go by with a pile of crispy potatoes, we had ordered too much so we’ll have to come back. There are plenty of Mallorcan wines to sample, and the free sweet wine at the end of the meal is a nice touch. The staff are lovely as well.  

2. La Rosa Vermutería & Colmado

This tapas and vermouth bar has a great menu filled with classic tapas and gourmet canned fish, the prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is lively and cool. We shared fantastic grilled octopus, rich, garlicky patates bravas, expertly presented canned tuna over vegetable puree, pan con tomate, and gazpacho with a glass of Mallorcan rosé. 

3. Casa Alvaro

Another great little tapas bar in Sóller, right next to C’an Pinxto. The food is delicious, the plates are beautifully composed, and the atmosphere is unpretentious and relaxed. We had amazing bacalao (salt cod), and artichoke hearts cooked with feta. The pork cheeks looked amazing, and they also have a selection of paellas, and fideuas if you want a larger meal.  

4. Villa Luisa, Port de Sóller

This is a prime spot to enjoy the view, people watch, soak up the sun, and have a G&T and a snack between meals. The outdoor tables get busy but we were able to get a spot in the sun where we ordered from their elaborate list of gin and tonics with ingredients like hibiscus petals, cherry tomatoes, and rosemary. For a snack, we had olives and garlic prawns, which ended up being one of the best seafood dishes we tried in all our tapas sampling on the island. The enormous prawns were shelled (rare to find), and served in a delicious garlic sauce that warranted an order of bread for dipping. 

5. La Bodeguilla

This popular Palma restaurant has gained mentions in the NY Times 36 Hours and seems to be popular with locals and tourists alike. Reserve to make sure you get a seat. We happened to arrive a bit early for dinner and got the only non-reserved seat available by the door, where we watched group after group arrive only to be turned away. The food was fantastic, and the elegant, modern wine cellar vibe felt a bit fancier than some of the other meals we had. Don’t be alarmed by the prices, these tapas were larger in size than other restaurants and felt closer to a main dish than a small bite. A particular standout was the grilled Iberian pork shoulder that came out tender, and thinly sliced to perfection over a bed of leeks with crumbles of pistachio on top. 

Still want to try: 

  1. Restaurant Ca’n Boqueta  – the most upscale option in Sóller with a reasonable prix fixe menu that is supposed to be delicious
  2. Restaurante Dalt des Coll – off the beaten path en route to Deià, teh food looks amazing, as does the open air seating with views of the mountains
  3. Cafe Sa Font Fresca – in Deià
  4. Xelini – Deià rec from a friend
  5. Cafè Sa Fonda – as the photos on the wall can attest, this is where the party’s at for drinks in the evening, particularly in the summer season when celebs flock to Deià, as mentioned in this solid article of Mallorcan recs by fashion types
  6. Forn de San Juan – came highly recommended as the favorite restaurant of a Spanish friend who lives outside Palma
  7. Bar Dia – super fun, local scene in Palma (allegedly)
  8. Restaurante Casa Julio – a friend who spends a lot of time in Palma recommended their reasonably priced 2-course lunch
  9. Bar España – supposedly a super local scene with great pinxtos
  10. Quina Creu Tapas – another spot in Palma recommended for pinxtos, electic and cool ambience
  11. Tast Club – popped up on a bunch of lists and was highly recommended by a Spanish friend living in Palma

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