May is right around the corner and we still have few vacation days to use before its end. What a hard life! No problem at all as we scheduled an extended weekend to spend four days somewhere in Europe. Usually, Skyscanner is our ally when it comes to finding a random destination. Just like we’ve done in the past, we pick one of the cheapest flights: it will be … … Majorca ! Time flies on this island full of great villages to visit, and you can struggle to decide what to do. Sounds familiar? Have look at this guide to visit Mallorca in 3 days.
DAY 1: FLIGHT PARIS – PALMA and WALK ALONG THE MARINA
Few years ago, we would have taken the 6 AM flight from Paris Orly, we would have arrived over there completely exhausted and we would have said for the umpteenth time: « Next time, we will take a flight later in the day . » Now that we are old, we immediately chose the flight leaving from Paris Orly at 1.10 PM with Vueling. Let’s go to Palma de Mallorca!
Once in Mallorca, transportation from the airport is quite easy: bus # 1 brings you directly to& nbsp; the city center for 5€/person. There is a bus every 10-15 minutes. Further information on transport in Palma can be found on the website EMT .
For the accommodation, we chose an Airbnb apartment that we highly recommend! The apartment is great, Miguel is super friendly and even though we arrived with a delay of 30 minutes, he welcomed us as soon as we got there.
We unpack a few things and we decide to get a first pulse of Palma. Better for you to know: the south of the marina is not really sexy . We thought we could go to the end of the pier for a nice view on Palma, but this area is reserved to cargo vessels only, and its access is prohibited. The only thing to highlight is an old stone tower that used to designate the entrance to the city. We quickly decide to head back to the North.
Early evening, we have a couple of options: have a drink in the old city or buy groceries and enjoy having a great kitchen available. We choose option 2. It’s the happy hour at “home”, the Spanish chorizo is ours!
DAY 2: PALMA DE MALLORCA
Here is our tour program for this second day in Palma de Mallorca:
- Old Town
- Bellver Castle
Note: Feel free to not respect the circuit below. There is plenty to see in the old town and we certainly did not do everything :)
Or the ‘Palma Lodge ». Back in the 15th century, the building was used as Shipping Exchange by merchants and has been of various uses since then. Still today, you find beautiful columns inside. Admission is free and it only takes few minutes to visit but explanations about the different lifes of the building is worth the cultural break.
The Cathedral of Mallorca
A short walk away from the Llotja is the imposing Cathedral of Mallorca: this is today the second largest religious building in Spain! Admission is 7€ and includes a visit of the Cathedral and the adjoining museum. The Cathedral is magnificent in some ways, and … a quite odd in some others. Stained glass windows are impressive, and the light coming through it is sublime. However, the chancel and one specific side chapel will definitely provoke reactions. We are just not sure about which one just yet. Long story short: Gaudi has been there as he was in charge of the Cathedral restoration! You probably know him as the architect of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Now you will also know him as the artist who worked on « the canopy of Gaudi » overhanging the altar (middle photo below). This doesn’t resonate with us, but maybe it will with you.
The Old Town
TL;DR: we loved walking around the old town of Palma and its narrow streets. There is very few tourists at this time of year, the streets are super clean, it’s easy to get lost (and to love it) and we feel like we are evolving in Assassin’s Creed (a Ubisoft video game for those who do not know) thanks to the roofs! What more can we ask for? We have the answer: A few years ago, the municipality asked homeowners to replace their concealing portals by gates allowing people to get a look at the many patios in town, one of the best treats ever considering the beauty of some properties. Plan 2 hours to browse the enchanting streets, discover the buildings along this walk and have an improvised picnic lunch thanks to the various take-away options you have in the city.
It takes about an hour from the Old Town to reach the heights of Palma and The Bellver Castle. Built in the 14th century, it was used as a royal residence before being used as a prison later on. It is one of the few castles in the world to be circular! We particularly like castles and it’s true that we do not remember have ever seen one similar during any of our many royal visits.
What time is the best to visit the castle? We can’t really say as our experience was random (useful, right?). When we arrived, nobody was there, and suddenly three buses full of seniors arrived, and then it’s a disaster. The castle is really not big. You will find two floors plus the « rooftop« , and a few rooms with exhibits and explanations about the origin of the building. Nothing exciting, but just being in a circular castle is worth experiencing for 7€ (and the moat is large, and that’s cool!).
Note: You will not find any tourist info about the castle where you will purchase your ticket. The information center is located … on the 1st floor of the castle. In summary, you will have to buy the tickets near the car park, go up to the entrance of the castle, take the stairs up to the first floor and find the tiny information center to get a map and some information. Not really convenient!
DAY 3: SOLLER – FORNALUTX – CAPE FORMENTOR – ALCUDIA
For the third day, you should rent a car (~40/50€ a day) and explore hinterland areas. Lots of things to see, including but not limited to: cute little villages, caves, and beaches. It makes it easy to plan your trip based on your preferences but bare in mind that you won’t be able to explore the entire island in only one day.
For our part, we chose to explore villages on our way to the Northern coast:
- Soller and its port
- Cape Formentor
Soller and its port
From Palma, there are two options to reach Soller by car: the tunnel going through the mountain in less than 5 minutes (fee: 4.95 €) , or the pass that « extends » the drive by thirty minutes. You can imagine that these additional thirty minutes are a great opportunity to discover the hinterland and we are of course more than willing to do so. As bonus, we are saving 5€, so why even think about it? So yes, the road is meandering, but the view on top of the pass is pretty nice, it looks like this is the playground for local cyclists, and we find lots of abandoned houses for sale on our way down. This is confirmed: it’s worth the additional time on the road.
Tip: Do not try to park in the city center of Soller, it is clearly impossible. Instead, follow the parking signs that will bring you where it is super easy – and free – to park. You will be on the road around Soller and from there, you have about ten minutes walk to reach the city center.
Soller is a small village where the atmosphere is charming even if you can feel it’s highly touristic with lots of buses coming over for few hours. You will discover the Plaça Constitucio, the Sant Bartomeu church and Soller’s cute train station where you can admire the wooden train that do roundtrips from Palma. Note that there is also a free exhibition of Miro and Picasso in this same station.
Tip: Buy a sandwich in Soller before heading to the port and sitting in the Marina for a picnic. This is what we did and it’s quite nice, especially as you move away from the hoards of Soller at the same time.
At 5km Northeast of Soller is located our favorite place of this trip: Fornalutx. It is a small medieval village (also considered by many as the most beautiful of the island) where almost all the streets are pedestrian – in any case, given the width of the streets, most of the cars won’t pass. Everywhere, streets are flowery, there are cats (and this is important!) and you get easily lost in this labyrinth of stairs.
Tip: At the North end of the village (where you should arrive when coming from Soller), you will find a free parking for ~50 cars.
After Fornalutx, let’s go to Cape Formentor. Several options are available: either the mountains (looks like the drive is quite long) or going back via the tunnel of Soller (4.95€) and then heading North. Having the rental car for the day only, we chose the second option as it will save us some valuable time.
Warning: If you are looking for Cape Formentor from Fornalutx on Google Maps, it will indicate something like 1h20 drive. In fact, this itenary is calculated to the first view point on the way to the Cape Formentor. The real destination, at the actual Cape, requires a 2h15 drive, without including stops you will do at various view points.
The first stop already gives a good overview of what to expect . The winding road meanders the cliff, between the cliffside and the hillside. Beware of bikes: plenty of them are taking this road when it’s sunny out there! After thirty minutes, we reach the end of Cape of Formentor and its lighthouse, the perfect opportunity for me to pilot my drone!
Warning: The bar uses its « remote location » as a good excuse to apply outrageous prices while not displaying any of these: 3€ the bottle of water (50cl)!
When coming back to the first view point, you will see a winding road on your left. Take it! It leads to Talaia d’Albercutx, a watchtower visible from the road. The 360 view is breathtaking from up there. This view is definitely the best of all, and the spot is not crowded with people which allows to appreciate the moment even more. If you want to avoid spoiling the delight of other stops, we advise you to keep this one for your way back, as your last stop, and to enjoy every bits of it once up there.
The day was quite busy already, and we ran out of time to visit Alcudia as much as we wanted to unfortunately. But just by driving and walking around the ramparts, we can tell you that it’s super cute! You should definitely save some time to spend there. Alcudia is the oldest city of the Balearic Islands and the city center is in the heart of the old fortifications. If you go there, take the time to go to the Roman Theater, which is just outside of town (check the schedules, it closes early during the winter).
DAY 4: BACK TO BELLVER AND THE CATHEDRAL
We only have a half day left before flying back to France. We decided to get up early to go back to the Bellver Castle. Our goal is to take some pictures and videos with the drone the opening of the site. Seen from above, it looks pretty cool!
We then return the car to the rental company before following the marina and enjoying the sunlight playing on the Cathedral facade .
Here you go! We hope this handbook will help you plan a few days in Mallorca. As for us, we are looking forward to spending more time on this beautiful island during a roadtrip with a van!
You already spent some time on the island? Feel free to share your tips to visit Mallorca in 3 days (or more) in comments!