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Visiting Mallorca with Toddlers: A Guide to Our Favorites

Mallorca3KC

Mallorca: as an American, the daydream of a sunny Spanish island in the Mediterranean was really the only sell that I needed to want to visit. What could there possibly be not to like? For my husband, a German, the concept of Mallorca as a vacation destination came with way more baggage. 

For lots of Europeans, primarily Germans and Brits, Mallorca is known to be a place absolutely overrun by their own countrymen. You can’t get more basic. Everyone and their madre goes to Mallorca. It is the complete opposite of a hidden gem; an overexposed rock. With our two little kids, we were looking for family-friendly, quiet, relaxing, and maybe a little off-the-beaten-path. Is that even possible in Mallorca? 

Well, we found that it’s is popular for a very good reason. With a bit of research, we were able to bypass major crowds and tacky gift shops (well, mostly), and discover some truly beautiful spots that our whole family really loved. 

 

Where Is It?

Just over 125 miles off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea is where you’ll find this beautiful place: the largest of the Spanish Balearic Islands, the chain that includes other famous spots like Ibiza and Menorca. 

 

Why Go

Mallorca is a very popular vacation destination for mainland Europeans because of the stunning blend of mountainous landscape joining crystal clear seas, beautiful weather, and its wide variety of things to do. 

 

Does sipping on sangria while savoring fresh seafood next to the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean sound like your idea of fun? This is the place for you. More of a shopper and museum hopper? You’ll fit right in, too. Just want a calm place for your kids to splash in warm water while you lounge on a beach chair? Yup, you’ve come to the right place. 

Full of beachfront playgrounds, family-welcoming restaurants, and very calm, warm, shallow waters, you’ll find plenty to do to keep little ones entertained and their parents relaxed. Mallorca is a win for everyone.

 

How To Get There

You can find quick, direct (and often cheap) flights from most major European cities. If you’re visiting mainland Spain and traveling by car, you (and your vehicle) can arrive via ferries departing from Valencia (7hrs), Barcelona (7hrs), and Dénia (5hrs).

Speaking of cars, if you can fit it into your budget I do recommend renting one if you have plans to explore the island. Though there are taxis and buses available, a car will of course be much more convenient, especially with kids. Be advised that in Europe, manual transmission is standard, so if you need an automatic to make sure that you are choosing that option. This is, of course, more expensive. We rented through Sixt who had a nice selection of Britax toddler car seats available for rent, as well. 

 

When To Visit

Like most tourist hotspots, shoulder seasons are ideal for visiting Mallorca. In May, June, September, and October you could luck out with great weather and avoid the crowds. July and August are deep into the high season, where you’ll have guaranteed beach weather but also guaranteed hordes descending from all corners of Europe. 

 

Where To Stay

Mallorca is a touristy place – there’s not a whole lot you can do to get around that. On the island, there’s touristy ranging from tacky to luxury, and luckily a whole lot in between, which is where our family tends to hover! We are not typically mass-tourism or resort-type travelers, but it was important for us to find a base that felt low-key as well as convenient. We ended up staying in an Airbnb in the Port de Pollença area, a bit removed from the harbor, and it hit all the marks. In Pollença you’ll find lovely traditional Spanish-style buildings covered in pink and purple bougainvillea, many beachfront restaurants, cute shops, and easy access to really nice beaches.

 

When we return to Mallorca, we’ll consider staying in the northeast corner of the island, which is full of lovely, wide beaches, as well as in Palma itself, which we found to be much more beautiful than expected. Relative sleepy town Cala Sant Vinceç was also a favorite and is home to the tiny but gorgeous little beach Cala Molins.

 

If you’re looking for something completely different, we loved the feel of the mountain town of Bunyola, which is well-situated at just 20 minutes from Palma but has a traditional, quiet feel. Likewise, Artá in the northeast of the island is a close drive to spectacular beaches, but in a secluded, historic setting. 

What We Liked

Though Mallorca is a relatively small island (you can get from the farthest most Points A to Points B in around 90 minutes), there are things to do to suit every style of vacationer. If you’re into staying in one spot and truly taking it easy, you can do that. If you’re into getting out and exploring, you can do that too. We’re a bit of a mixture of both. Here were some of our favorite things:

 

    • Beach Hopping: we came for the beaches, and we loved trying out different ones each day across the island. Our requirements were sandy (some are rocky), calm, pristine blue-green water, and (not so) crowded. The ones that fit the bill: 
      • Platja de Formentor – if you get here early enough in the morning, you’ll feel like you discovered a hidden lagoon! But no, there’s a Four Seasons next door and eventually, the beach will fill up. Platja de Formentor is a Blue Flag beach with calm and unbelievably blue water, and services like umbrella and chair rentals, kayak, paddleboard, and pedal boat rentals, bathrooms, and two restaurants. 
      • Cala Agulla – this wide beach is surrounded by a natural park reserve, so there’s little development around it. Though busy, there’s plenty of parking and space, but be sure to bring snacks as there’s not much in the way of food options directly on the beach and you won’t want to leave!
      • Cala Molins – this is a small but uniquely beautiful cove beach (also designated by Blue Flag). You can take an easy walk up the hills to really get a beautiful view of the coves and turquoise waters. There are chair and umbrella rentals available, plus a small cafe for snacks. 
      • Playa de Muro – this is another Blue Flag beach and the largest in Mallorca. It’s designated by different sections, with the quietest being sections 2 and 3 which are in the middle. This is a nice, wide beach with the same crystal clear blue water and fine sand, plus a few gentle waves.  

 

  • Water activities: the Mediterranean is so beautiful, so of course you’re going to want to spend a lot of time on it. There are many options for water sport ranging from things that require some skill, like SCUBA diving and kite-surfing, to activities that little kids can participate in, like pedal boats and kayaking. I was initially against the idea of renting a pedal boat, thinking it was a bit too cheesy, but it was a ton of fun and my kids loved it. You can even get one equipped with a slide, which this mom couldn’t get enough of! If you’d like to keep things even more laidback, you can of course take short cruises, or even rent boats with or without a license. If you’re interested in renting a boat during the high season, definitely book in advance. We were unfortunately too late to book one ourselves, but we found North Mallorca Charters to be really helpful.

 

  • The views: Mallorca is a really incredible meeting of mountains and sea, with soaring cliffs giving way to breathtaking views. One of the best places to get a huge, million-dollar view for very little effort is from Mirador es Colomer. This is an observation deck that you can drive (or take a bus) to, and after a short walk up some steps (not stroller-friendly) you’ll be rewarded with sweeping, unobstructed views of gorgeous cliffs jutting from the bluest blues of the Mediterranean. If you’ve got a car, taking a scenic route through the Serra de Tramuntana mountains also offers views as stunning as the ones you’ll see in the National Parks of Utah…but then throw in the ocean. 

 

  • City breaks: If beaching all day, every day isn’t your thing there are plenty of ways to break up the bumming. We loved exploring the beautiful capital city of Palma, which is so charming. Definitely check out the magnificent Gothic Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca (commonly referred to as La Seu), stroll down the historic Passeig del Born (kind of the Fifth Avenue of Mallorca), and get lost wandering the picturesque streets and plaças full of lovely shops and cafés. You’ll want to pop into Horno Santo Cristo (various locations) for Mallorca’s most famous pastry, the ensaïmada, which is a delicately sweet roll that goes perfectly with a cafe con leche.

 

Port de Sóller is another beautiful town to explore. With its marina and buildings built into the hillsides, you’ll feel like you’re in a miniature Cinque Terre. Here you’ll find great shopping, restaurants, and a historic tram running from Port de Sóller to the inland town of Sóller that will definitely delight any kids in a train phase. Our whole family loved the naranja (orange) gelato from Io Gelats Artesans made from Sóller oranges, and I went a bit crazy buying beautiful linens (ikat has a long tradition in Mallorca), summery dresses, traditional woven beach baskets, and espadrilles at shops like Viktoria and Sa Posada de L’artesa.

 

  • Palma Aquarium: our kids love aquariums, and this is a great one. Home to the largest collection of live corals in Europe, the aquarium hosts an impressive collection of plant and animal life, including sharks! In addition, a large section of the aquarium is outdoors, which includes a play area with a giant pirate ship and water play element. Bring a bathing suit or change of clothes!  

Where To Eat

My husband and I love good food, but with two and four year old dining companions, our priorities are less about hot spots these days and more focused on survival. When we realized that there are lots of restaurants directly on the beach, and several directly in front of playgrounds, our strategy quickly became: go to those. Look, a lot of these restaurants are totally decent, but they are the type that has their menu translated into three languages. It doesn’t matter, though, because you can enjoy a little bit of peace while your kids play in the sand or on a playground right in front of you. Everywhere is totally family-friendly and typically equipped with high chairs and kids’ menus. Here were a few that we liked:

Ca’n Pescador (Passeig Vora Mar 1, Port de Pollença) – we were grateful for their kid-friendly service (they were happy to make special little kid-sized versions of their massive ice cream sundaes), delicious sangria and paella, not to mention the excellent spot directly on the beach.

La Nonna Pizzeria (Passeig Saralegui 84, Port de Pollença) – we enjoyed our wine and tapas at a table directly on the beach while our kids played at the adjacent Parque Ninos and ran back and forth every now and then for bites of pizza.

Hotel Bahia Restaurant (Passeig Vora Mar 29, Port de Pollença) – this is a pretty little spot directly on the beach great for a casual breakfast, which they serve until noon. 

El Rincón del Patio (Avinguda Cala Agulla 116, Cala Ratjada) – we loved the welcoming service, delicious food, and the fact that it was, yes, next to a playground. Our waiter even brought out an octopus they had just received for our son to look at, and when he tripped and fell on the playground they were quick with a first aid kit.

Born 8 (Passeig del Born 8, Palma) – this is a stylish spot right on the famous Passeig del Born, excellent for a relaxed tapas session, and in a prime pedestrian-only setting perfect for letting the little ones wander around. We got to enjoy our meal while the kids chased gigantic bubbles being created by a nearby street performer.

 

Things to Know

  • The largest grocery stores are a chain called Eroski in which you’ll find many local Spanish and international brands like Pampers, for example. You will also find Lidl (which isn’t prevalent in the U.S. but are similar to Aldi). As far as convenience stores, you’ll find Spars located in many of the resort towns. 
  • If you are in need of medication or more specific baby products (including pacifiers, diaper cream, etc.), look for a farmacia, which is designated by a green cross. The pharmacists (like in most of Europe) will be able to advise you on medications and even consult you on minor illnesses or injuries. 
  • I recommend a visit to German chain Müller (there are several on the island) for stocking up on forgotten toiletries, baby products, and kid snacks to have on hand. They have a wide selection of organic products, including a great kid brand called Freche Freunde which makes baby food, fruit and veg purée pouches, bars, veggie puffs, cookies, and all sorts of the things that are good to have in your beach bag (and on the plane for your return home). 
  • Mallorca is body positive! It is very common for women of all sizes and ages, with kids and without, to be topless on the beaches. You should be encouraged to feel comfortable in your skin, and also of course breastfeed anywhere you’d like. 

 

We created wonderful memories and had a fantastic holiday in Mallorca and hope to return someday! If you have any additional tips or favorites on the island, please let us know in the comments below. If you’re planning a trip to Mallorca yourself, feel free to ask any questions!

 

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