Places to go and things to do off the bike
We love riding in Mallorca, but that's not the only reason we host cycling camps there, and we hope you'll take time to experience some of the rich history of the island. There are lots of compilations of sightseeing opportunities in Mallorca, but like everyone, we have our favorites! Below are a few of our top picks from Planetware's "Twelve Top-Rated Attractions and Things to Do in Mallorca, along with day trip suggestions and tips on the best ways of getting around.
The capital city of Palma de Mallorca is an excellent full day trip from our camp hotel or a great stop as you arrive in Palma (the city where the airport is located) or on the way home. The cathedral is stunning, and the surrounding blocks and plazas bustle with shops, restaurants, and activities.
Alcúdia's Old Town is a short 6km taxi ride from our camp hotel and a fun place to explore for dining out. They have great shops, too. There is an outdoor farmers market on Tuesdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The hilltop town and monastery of Valldemossa is a beautiful town tucked up in the mountains with a fourteenth-century Carthusian monastery at the top of it. The cafes, shops, and flower-lined streets are worth the visit.
The lovely old fishing village of Port de Sóller is tucked away behind mountains and an idyllic valley.
The port town of Pollença is a popular resort town with a gorgeous white-sand beach, an expansive shoreline, lots of cafés, and and more.
Artà is a historic town tucked into a valley that flourishes with almond, olive, and fig orchards.
Deià is a charming artist's village nestled high in the mountains with gorgeous views of the Mediterranean.
The quiet country town of Petra is filled with history and is known for its large town square filled with hungry cyclists stopping for food and drink.
Pollensa is another one of our favorites and is close to our camp hotel. This beautiful old town has the classic feel of Mallorca towns with bustling local businesses, old stone buildings, churches, and shops in a maze of narrow streets.
Favorite tourist spots
Farmers' markets! There are open air markets each day with fresh meats, cheeses, olives (like you've never seen before), fruits, crafts, clothing, flowers, and so much more; you name it, it's there. Our resort is a short taxi ride from the Old Town Alcúdia market, which is open Tuesdays and Sundays. Pollença is also a short taxi ride from the Viva Blue, and there you'll find a wonderful Sunday market with really nice arts and crafts.
Monasteries! Santuari de Lluc, Sanctuary Sant Salvador, Santuari de Cura (at the top of Puig de Randa), and Ermita de Bonany are just a few of the beautiful monasteries in the area, many of which we ride to during our camps. As a tourist, you can walk inside, hike the steps, or climb the mountain; there's so much more to see on foot!
Caves! The Caves of Campanet and the Caves of Artà are both worth visiting; we've been to both and found lots of history, bats, and an incredible view of the eastern coast at Arta, while Campanet was pretty but with lots of colored lights. Click here to see more caves to visit on the island.
Castles! There are so many spectacular castles in Mallorca, many of them included in our day trips below; you'll find a castle or monastery to explore on most hills and mountaintops. Click here to read about some of the castles of Mallorca.
Day Trip 1: Artà and Capdepera Castle
The Castell de Capdepera is a favorite of ours and well worth the trip to the eastern part of the island. This walled fortress is one of the largest castles in Mallorca. Its construction began in 310, but in the fourteenth century it was rebuilt on the remains of a Muslim village.
Take time on the way to the castle to stop in Artà, a historic town tucked into a valley that flourishes with almond, olive, and fig orchards. The Santuari de Sant Salvador monastery is a must-see Artà landmark with fantastic views and tons of history.
Be sure to stop for lunch at Porxada de Sa Torre, a gem of a restaurant we stumbled onto just south of Capdepera. Suckling pig is their featured menu item (it's amazing), and the restaurant is filled with interesting Mallorca farm and winemaking products. It even has a small castle to explore! Reservations are encouraged (call +34 971 84 13 10), as the restaurant can be busy.
Day Trip 2: Valldemossa, Deià, Sóller
The most scenic route to this lovely area is via M-10, but it will be crowded with cyclists, so traffic will be very slow. For a quicker route by car, head south from the Viva Blue on M-13 to arrive in Valldemossa in about 70 minutes. Valldemossa is a gorgeous mountain city; its vibrant downtown shopping area is filled with lovely cafes and beautiful flower-lined streets to explore. At the top of the hill is a magnificent Carthusian monastery built in the fourteenth century that was home to Frédéric Chopin and George Sands for several winters.
Deià is a lovely artsy town about twenty minutes from Valldemossa. Once there, hike up to Robert Graves's beautiful home and cemetery at the top of the mountain for an incredible view of the sea. The town itself is small, but there are several art galleries and small shops. Enjoy lunch at the Residencia, an exquisite hotel that has hosted Princess Di and many other celebrities; it's a bit expensive but not bad for lunch, and the views will take your breath away. Keep in mind that reservations may be needed, and you have to dress up a bit (shorts are not allowed).
Sóller, about 30-40 minutes from Deià, is famous for its citrus trees and crops. The town square is filled with cafes, and its famous tram runs through it. Be sure to savor some fresh gelato while looking at the beautiful Sant Bartomeu Church.
Day Trip 3: Pollensa
Pollensa is a wonderful old city with an amazing Sunday outdoor market (one of the best on the island) in the Plaça Major square, which also features a beautiful church with open doors. The El Calvari Steps are a must see; there are 365 of them, one for each day of the year, leading up to a small chapel with shops along the way.
After enjoying the town, park at the edge of it and take the one-hour hike up to the Santuari de la Mare de Déu monastery for a gorgeous view of the city.
Be sure to visit the Roman bridge (Pont Romà) tucked off M-10 on the northern outskirts of town. This ancient bridge is believed to have been built by the Romans between 123 BC and 425 AD.
Day Trip 4: Palma
Palma is the capital city of Mallorca, and all roads lead to Palma; you will see signs to Palma throughout the island. The city is an eclectic blend of old and new; the downtown shopping area includes high-end NYC-style shops, while the old churches and town buildings represent the rich history.
The Palma cathedral (Catedral de Mallorca) is a must-see destination. It is often busy and closes at 2:30 p.m., so start here and arrive early.
After the cathedral, walk to the Plaça Major, an authentic Spanish square in the heart of Palma. Surrounded by traditional yellow buildings with green shutters, it has been the center of the city life throughout the centuries. Most of the better cafes and restaurants will be down the side streets, not in the touristy sections.
After a stroll around town, drive over to the nearby Castell de Bellver, a Gothic-style castle three kilometers to the west of the center of Palma. It was built in the fourteenth century for King James II of Mallorca and is one of the few circular castles in Europe.
If you can drive a manual transmission (stick shift) car, rentals on the island are reasonably priced (automatic transmission vehicles are more expensive). You can rent a car in Palma at the airport for the entire stay and return it as you leave, or there are rental car agencies in walking distance from our hotel. Keep in mind that many smaller roads are also cycling routes, and you may be delayed behind cyclists until there is space to pass them; plan accordingly and leave extra time to get to your destinations. Choosing major roads instead of back roads can help avoid cyclists.
Viva Blue excursions
Our resort offers day excursions you can join for a reasonable fee; check at the front desk for details.
There are many group bus transports available to various areas of the island; one example is No Frills Excursions.