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    IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

The beauty and charm of Mallorca

January 10, 2023

Sustainable, Year-Round Tourism

 

Sustainability is fundamental to the Mallorca Tourism Foundation's Strategic Plan for Tourism in Mallorca 2020-2023. The creation of Mallorca's STO in 2021 was seen as key to the smart, sustainable and inclusive management of the destination, incorporating new technologies and bringing together all aspects affecting, and affected by, the island's tourism sector. The Observatory is aligned with the World Tourism Organisation's principles and aims to increase sustainability, competitiveness and productivity via:

 

  • data gathering on the economic, social and environmental impact of tourism in Mallorca to inform decision-making throughout the chain

  • generating new information sources and analyses

  • encouraging collaboration and cooperative learning between public and private sectors

  • facilitating the creation of policies and strategies to promote sustainable development, while leveraging technological advances and conserving socio-cultural heritage

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

The Observatory is now part of the International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO). This means it must monitor 21 different values that, between them, cover all aspects of sustainable tourism. They include tourist seasonality, waste management, climate action, sustainable production and consumption, biodiversity, cultural heritage and sports tourism. A committee of experts oversees and develops the Tourism Intelligence System (SIT), and a Youth Observatory has also been created.

 

Economic sustainability is an important factor in any destination, as is ensuring that tourists are encouraged to explore widely and visit throughout the year. This minimises the potentially damaging impacts of tourism and helps destinations and attractions remain economically viable throughout the year.

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Your Arrival in Mallorca

 

Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI), also known as Son Sant Joan International Airport, is one of the best-connected airports in Europe, offering direct flights to over 50 destinations. Regular shuttle buses run to Palma's city centre and the main tourist destinations of the island. However, to reduce your carbon emissions, travel via bus or train to a mainland port and catch a ferry.

 

Mallorca has two ports for passenger ferries. The Port of Palma receives ferries from the mainland (Barcelona, Valencia and Denia,  6-9 hr journey times), and other Balearic Islands. Mahón (Menorca) is about 5.5 hours away, Ibiza, 2-4 hours depending on the vessel, and Formentera, 4 hrs. You can take a bus from the Port to the city centre, but it's only 4 km, so walking is an option (preferably without any suitcases!). The northern Port of Alcúdia is 3 km from Alcúdia's town centre. Ferries run between here and Ciutadella in Menorca (1-4 hrs, depending on the vessel), and in high season, from Toulon in the south of France, taking around 12 hours.

 

 

 

 

Travelling Around the Island

 

Mallorca is a compact island, just 100 km in length, with a comprehensive public transport service and over 80 km of cycle paths. More and more cities and towns are offering bicycle rental, and bike stands are common near cafés and attractions. In Palma, you can use the City Council's BiciPalma, a public bicycle system with around 300 bikes. However, if you're going to rent a car, there's an increasing number of electric vehicles for rent in preparation for the upcoming 2030 regulation that will ensure all rentals are electric on the Balearic Islands. Mallorca has over 500 charging points, and Palma City Council is planning 2,000 new points for the city, of which a fifth will be fast charging. Make sure you download the MELIB app, specific to the Balearic Islands, as many points are on this network.

 

Palma's intermodal station at Plaça d'Espanya is the departure point for all main transport services.

 

Trains

 

Two lines run from the link (Inca) station:  Palma-Inca-sa Pobla and Palma-Inca-Manacor, while the Scenic Train line runs from the Sóller train station. You can buy combined train and bus tickets for towns near Inca and Manacor without a train station. The Sóller Station, also at Plaça d'Espanya, is the place to catch the Palma-Sóller Scenic Train.

 

Buses

 

Bus services run to nearly every village and town in Mallorca, and for those places not on a regular route, an on-demand bus service is available. The Balearic Islands public transport service (TIB) currently has 216 buses that run on alternative fuels to diesel, of which 198 run on compressed natural gas, nine are hybrid-electric, and nine are fully electric.

 

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Explore Mallorca's Magnificent Landscapes and Culture

 

Mallorca has it all: mountains, monasteries, cliffs, caves, forests, fields, beaches, underwater vistas, and traditional villages just waiting to be discovered. Here are some of our suggestions:

 

Serra de Tramuntana

 

Serra de Tramuntana is the island's largest protected area, encompassing around 62,000 ha of land and 1,000 ha of sea. This 90-km-long mountain range on the west coast is amazingly diverse: you'll find oak and pine forests, olive and citrus groves, and numerous plant and animal species, including the Mallorcan Midwife Toad! The wealth of natural beauty on display has attracted the attention of ecotourists and trekking enthusiasts from all over the world, who have long been enchanted by the extraordinary biodiversity and lush ecosystems. The coastline has beautiful and abundant coral and Posidonia oceanica prairies. The natural landscape is enhanced by traditional dry stone constructions, including roads, kilns, watchtowers, icehouses, terraces, walls, and water pipelines. These features contributed to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape Site in 2011.

 

Serra de Tramuntana is dotted with scenic villages and towns, many of them retaining remnants of Arabic influences on their history. The Scenic Train to Sóller is a good way to start exploring, but there's also a bus service linking Palma with Sóller and two other must-see places: Valldemossa and Deia.

 

 

IMAGE: dorianm

Sóller

 

Sóller, trendy among wealthy tourists but still very Spanish, sits amongst fragrant orange, lemon and almond groves. To see some of the island's most magnificent scenery, travel there on the 27 km Scenic Railway in the mahogany carriages of its antique train.

 

Sóller's attractions start right at the train station building, where there's a free exhibition of Picasso's ceramic works and engravings by his friend Joan Miró, whose grandfather was born in Sóller. You can then choose to explore Sóller or take the connecting vintage tram to Port de Sóller  (the Palma-Sóller bus route runs to the Port too). Just 5 km from the town, it offers boats trips, scuba diving and one of the few sandy beaches on the west coast.

 

In Sóller's central square, the Plaza Constitución, you'll find attractive buildings, including the gothic Sant Bartolomé Church, and tapas bars, cafés, pastry shops and ice-cream parlours aplenty. Explore the narrow, cobbled streets nearby and the pedestrianised Carrer de Sa Lluna shopping street. Here, you can buy a local, traditional gift and visit the Modernist Museum of Can Prunera. The street is also the start of a scenic 20-minute walk to the hamlet of Biniaraix, and onwards, if you want, up to the Barranc de Biniaraix. This cobbled ravine-side pathway is an Asset of Cultural Interest.

 

Don't miss the Botanical Gardens on the town's outskirts. They're a beautiful place for a stroll, and home to The Museum of Natural Sciences, which details the natural history of the Balearic Isles.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Bozena Pisarska

Valldemossa

 

Valldemossa dates back to the Arabic occupation and it's the birthplace of Santa Catalina Thomas, Mallorca's patron saint: her image is everywhere. This quiet, charming town, set among orchards and woodlands, has an abundance of cafés, galleries, and picturesque honey-coloured houses. It's a wonderful place to relax with a warm pastry and hot drink in winter, or tapas and wine in summer. Be sure to try the Valldesmossa speciality, 'coca de patata' (potato cake) from a traditional café or bakery. It's a sweet sponge-textured bun made from boiled potatoes, usually eaten with a coffee or hot chocolate.

 

To understand the town's somewhat quirky history, take a guided tour or visit Centre Cultural Costa Nord, the headquarters for the Foundation for Sustainable Development of the Balearic Islands. Here, you can watch a 15-minute film about Valldemossa's history, narrated by Hollywood actor and 'local', Michael Douglas.

 

Explore the monastery founded here in 1229 by local philosopher Ramon Llull, which became home to one of Europe's earliest printing presses in 1485. There's also a 13th-century royal-residence-turned-Carthusian-monastery, Real Cartuja de Valldemossa, where composer Chopin and rented a former monk's cell in the winter of 1838-9. The monastery now houses themed mini-museums; see a recreated monk's library, admire Chopin's piano and see works by Picasso, Miro and Juli Ramis in the modern art museum.

 

 

IMAGE: mistervlad

Deia

 

Deia is another pretty village of green-shuttered houses, galleries and gift shops, but the draw here for many is its association with Robert Graves. The village already had a reputation for attracting foreign artists and writers when Graves arrived, eventually attracting a community of muses and friends. Graves' house, Ca N'Alluny, is now a museum of his life, and his grave is in the nearby cemetery.

 

The village has stayed small and retained its authentic charm, but unlike Sóller, it's been both haunt and home of the rich and famous. That may be why some of Mallorca's best restaurants are here. There's also an Archaeological Museum, Es Clot, located in an old mill, with finds from key local sites such as the Son Mullet.

 

At nearby Cala Deià , there's a small shingle beach, but be warned: local artists continue the Graves tradition of naked swimming!

 

Nature Parks

 

  • Península de Llevant: Sitting on the northeast coast of Mallorca, this mountainous park is wonderfully wild and rugged. Its coastal cliff nature reserves,  Cap de Ferrutx and Cap des Freu, are part of the European Natura 2000 Network, both as a Special Protection Zone for Birds and a Site of Community Interest. Explore its extensive olive, almond, fig and carob groves and large reed beds. You'll also find caves, chasms and a diverse array of flora and fauna. Look out for voles, peregrine falcons, grouse, Mediterranean turtles and many more! The remains of various buildings can be seen too, including a prison camp from the Civil War.

  • S'Albufera: This ancient Wetland Area of International Importance (the largest in the Balearics) is protected by the Ramsar Convention, and in the Natura 2000 Network as a Special Protection Area for Birds and Site of Community Importance. Sited near Alcúdia, it's home to more than 400 different species of flora, and birds including  Eleonora's Falcon and the Balearic (Marmora's) Warbler.

  • S'Albufereta: This is a coastal wetland on the Bay of Pollença, part of the Natura 2000 Network and designated as a Conservation Area of Environmental Relevance (LECO).

  • Mondragó: This park combines white sand beaches with a wonderful green landscape and nature reserve.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Beaches

 

Mallorca has 300 beaches of rock, white sand or golden sand, and over 30 are Blue Flag certified for their facilities, water quality and cleanliness. Head to Palma, Calvià and Alcúdia if you want amenities such as sunshades, sunbeds, beach bars, pedal boats and numerous watersports. For a quieter experience, try the coves of Calas de Mallorca near Manacor, or Formentor. Naturists will find plenty of accommodating beaches, including Es Trenc (Campos) and la Playa del Mago (Portals Vells).

 

It's not just a summer thing, either. Mallorca's mild winter weather means the island's plentiful beaches provide the perfect backdrop for those long winter walks and an excellent setting for practising outdoor sports and activities.

 

IMAGE: dorianm

Mallorca's Magical Caves

 

Caves remain at a constant temperature, making them the ideal all-year-round attraction. Five of Mallorca's 200 caves are open to the public.

 

  • The Cave of Campanet, with its thin, long 'macaroni' stalactites and stalagmites, is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It's of great scientific interest, mainly due to its fossils of the extinct Myotragus balearicus. Visit the family-run restaurant for a delicious, sustainable meal made from produce grown or reared on their organic farm. There's also a gothic church nearby and the famous Fonts Ufanes, where water surges dramatically down through the forest from a surging spring.

  • The Caves del Drach (Dragon Caves) are arguably Mallorca's most famous caves. The underground lakes in this large cave system include one thought to be Europe's largest, with stunning reflections of the stalactites above. A visit here includes a boat trip and a lakeside classical music show by performers in illuminated boats.

  • The Caves of Artà in Capdapera have particularly spectacular and ancient stalactites. Light and sound shows enhance the experience.

  • The Genoa Cave galleries provide a walking tour of almost 1 km. They're unusually humid due to their freshwater supply.

  • Cuevas dels Hams feature an underground lake and are known for their odd hook-like formations.

 

 

 

 

Palma

 

Cosmopolitan Palma has a charming old town with narrow streets and beautiful buildings, and a city centre with a host of art galleries, theatres, and shops selling traditional local goods.

 

Some of the must-see places include:

 

La Seu Cathedral: an absolutely stunning, huge, predominantly gothic sandstone cathedral facing out to sea, with wrought-iron candelabras designed by Gaudi and wonderful stained glass.

 

Es Baluard: a contemporary art gallery built unto the remaining Renaissance sea walls of the city. Exhibits include a permanent collection of works by Miró, Barceló and Picasso.

 

Basilica de Sant Francesc: a Gothic-style church with beautiful cloisters. It houses the tomb of Catalan philosopher Ramon Llull.

 

Palau de l'Almudaina: once an Islamic fort, it was converted into a royal palace, and is still used as a royal residence today.

 

Castell de Bellver: a 14th-century royal fortress with a museum and great views over the city and the bay.

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Activities

 

Besides watersports, Mallorca offers a host of outdoor activities, including horse-riding, golf (there are 24 courses!) and adventure golf. There are also plenty of courts and fields for sports. Tennis is particularly popular; superstar Rafael Nadal is originally from Manacor and has founded a sports centre here.

 

Birdwatching

 

Mallorca is ideal for watching birds migrating between Europe and Africa. The Tramuntana mountain range is home to rare birds such as the Audouin's Gull and endangered species like the Osprey. Other good birdwatching areas include the S'Albufera Natural Park, La Gola and the Boquer Valley in Port de Pollença or the Artá Peninsula.

 

Hiking, Cycling and Climbing

 

Mallorca's mild climate and varied terrain make it popular with cyclists, hikers and climbers. Serra de Tramuntana is the most popular area for all three activities.

 

 

IMAGE: Tolo Balaguer

Hiking: Serra de Tramuntana has numerous hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. The Ruta de Pedra en Sec (Dry Stone Route) is the most well-known path. Over 50 km long, it runs from Andratx in the south to Pollença in the north, via  Sóller. The route is divided into stages, each ending at a pre-bookable overnight shelter. Stage 3A is a five-hour route from Valldemossa to Deià with stunning views. It takes you along old mule tracks and incorporates the Archduke's bridleway, a cobbled coastal path built by the Austrian Archduke Ludwig Salvador in the 1860s.

 

Climbing: Again, Serra de Tramuntana takes the crown. Mallorca's prime climbing area is Sa Gubia, near Bunyola in the Tramuntana foothills, with 125+ routes from grade 4 to 8). Other climbing spots in the area include Alato, Fraguel near Bunyola,  and Gorg Blau, on the high mountain road from Soller to Escorca. Outside Tramuntana, Cala Magraner on the east coast provides over 65 well-bolted climbs in a stunning location, from grade 3 upwards.

 

 

IMAGE: kopov 58

Cycling: Many of the most popular cycling trails on the island pass through Deià in Serra de Tramuntana. The mountain roads also provide a steep and twisty challenge! If you want to go mountain biking, a guide is recommended to ensure you don't wander onto private land.

 

Outside Serra de Tramuntana, Alcúdia and Pollença are the top cycling towns. It's even attracted former Tour de France champion and Olympic medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins, who has

a home near Pollença.

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Watersports

 

Mallorca offers just about every water sport you can think of, but for the widest selection, head to Port de Pollença, Port d'Alcudia, Cala d'Or, Colonia de Sant Jordi, Cala Nova, Magaluf or Santa Ponsa, to name but a few. To keep it green, opt for sports that

don't use petrol or diesel motors.

 

Over 40 World Class Marinas

 

Mallorca is one of the most sought-after destinations for luxury yachting holidays. Superyacht owners from across the world are attracted to the diversity of its shoreline and over 40 luxurious, world-class marinas spread along its treasured coastlines. From the exclusive high-end brand stores and high-level haute cuisine restaurants of Puerto Portals to the classical beauty of the ports of Andratx, Pollença and Alcúdia, each marina is truly unique, yet they all share a fundamental commitment to environmental sustainability. Boasting the first emission-neutral port in Spain, Mallorca is wasting no time in developing environmentally conscious and safe marinas.

 

Authentic Experiences at Sea with Pecasturismo

 

In 2018, web platform Pecaturismo was recognised as the Best Initiative in Responsible and Sustainable Tourism at the Sustainable and Responsible Tourism awards, organised by the InterMundial Foundation, the Hotel Technological Institute and FITUR.

 

Pecaturismo enables traditional fishermen to offer maritime, nautical, cultural and gastronomic tourism activities while carrying out their usual work. The Award jury praised the project for breaking down barriers between tourists and locals, delivering authentic experiences, having "a great educational component and respect for the environment," and providing a new income source for the fishing sector.

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Eco-Friendly Boat Trips

 

Mallorca is committed to emission-free boating. Several companies offer trips on sailboats rather than powered boats, and you can hire an eco-friendly boats made from sustainable wood and powered by electric motors. Whether you want to explore coves and caves or go dolphin-spotting, this is a wonderful and sustainable way to do it!

 

Water and Adventure Parks

 

Mallorca has plenty of water and leisure parks, with many located in the Calvià area. The largest water parks are in S'Arenal and Magaluf.

 

Aquariums, Sea Life Centres and Zoos

 

With indoor and outdoor attractions, wildlife centres and aquariums are a great choice if you're visiting off-peak. Palma Aquarium, Marineland, Safari Zoo Mallorca and Natura Parc are all dedicated to animal conservation and wildlife education.

 

 

IMAGE: Rostislav Glinsky

Dining and Shopping

 

To rake home an authentic souvenir, look out for Mallorca craftsmanship, from locally produced footwear to pottery and blown glass. Manacor is also famous for its pearls. Buy a bottle of Herbes—the name for Mallorca's various citrus, herb and aniseed liqueurs—or the island's Binissalem-Mallorca or Pla i Llevant wine. Mallorca also produces wonderful almonds, honey and olive oil.

 

Mallorca's cuisine has Arabic and Mediterranean influences. Try mallorquí casserole, a dish made with potatoes, peppers, and either fish or meat. Don't leave without trying an ensaïmada, a crisp, shiny, golden spiral of pastry (unless you're vegetarian; they're traditionally made with pork lard!). If you're a meat eater, Mallorca's cured meats and Sobrassada (traditional sausages) are recommended.

 

Mallorca has a surprisingly large number of Michelin-starred restaurants—and restaurants which hold a Green Michelin Star for sustainability. Vegetarian, organic and sustainable restaurants have sprung up all over the island, although they're more numerous in Palma and other larger or better-known places.

 

 

IMAGE: P Szabo

Responsible Accommodation Choices

 

Mallorca is home to 60% of all the accommodation that can be found on the Balearic Islands, giving you a pretty good idea of just how much choice is available. The island has no shortage of accommodation that's run on sustainable and responsible principles. From resorts, private holiday homes, extensive camping options and everything in between, there truly is something for everybody in Mallorca. Thus, those looking for luxury and distinction can discover a wide range of establishments throughout ths island where they can enjoy premium experiences par excellence. While those wishing to venture off the beaten path can enjoy a wealth of rural hotels found against the backdrop of picturesque, traditional villages and landscapes of untamed natural beauty.

 

Rural explorers and agritourists looking for a different kind of holiday will certainly not be disappointed, and getting away from the hustle and bustle has never been as easy as in Mallorca. Rural estates, old farmhouses and manor houses provide a unique agritourism experience and an invaluable insight into Mallorcan customs and way of life. Best of all, it's accessible all year round!

 

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

Meetings and Events in Mallorca

 

Mallorca isn't just a tourist location; its superior connectivity, plentiful accommodation, focus on sustainability and compact environment make it ideal for green business events and meetings. The friendly climate and wealth of experiences and attractions offer multiple options for incentive packages, team-building events and breakout activities too.

 

Mallorca hosts many major national and international events every year, such as this year's Sustainable Destinations Summit. It has the infrastructure and event experts you need to organise your event. The Mallorca Convention Bureau is a non-profit association providing advice, familiarisation tours, and recommendations for venues and service providers. Besides the many hotels here with meeting and conference facilities, Mallorca also offers a conference centre, galleries, museums, resorts, clubs, country estates and even catamarans, caves and an aquarium for events!

 

IMAGE: Fundació Mallorca Turisme

But these examples are by no means exhaustive. There are more than 300 facilities providing MICE services, and the island has no shortage of options available for anyone looking to host their next event.

 

Many are drawn to Mallorca for the international reputation it's gained for innovation in the tourism sector and strong R & D development in institutions such as the ParcBit Biotechnology and Biomedicine business park, the University of the Balearic Islands and three recognised research schools of IMEDEA, IFISIC and INAGEA.

 

But what is truly unique about the MICE experience in Mallorca is the cultural product. As a melting pot of cultures and peoples, Mallorca's rich history means it has some of the most unique characteristics of the Mediterranean basin. The local traditions and customs passed down from generation to generation have been, and still are, a huge attraction and source of inspiration for many artists. With an abundance of museums, galleries and art exhibitions on offer throughout the entire year, Mallorca has established itself as a preeminent MICE destination with a wealth of outstanding features and facilities.

 

IMAGE: Tolo Balaguer

Be Inspired, Be Relaxed, Be Enthralled: Be Mallorcan!

 

It's not hard to see why Mallorca has an enduring—and still increasing—appeal. With 300 days of sunshine and short winters, the weather alone is enough to draw visitors. But as we've hopefully proved, this island has more to offer than its sun, sea and sand. As wonderful as they are, there's also a rich heritage and amazing natural landscapes to enjoy, as well as a relaxed, friendly vibe, wonderful food, and a sustainable ethos that can make you feel good about yourself and your lifestyle.

 

So why not visit for a week or two or host your conference here—and be Mallorcan, just for a little while?

 

 

 

 

 

Discover how Mallorca has established a value chain in tourism in accordance with the guiding principles of sustainability by visiting:

 

 

 

 

 

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