Exploring Mallorca with kids

Mallorca has been a favourite holiday destination of many Brits for years. Whether it’s the party crowd heading to Magaluf or families heading to numerous family friendly beaches and resorts around the island. Never one to follow the mainstream holiday crowd we had never been to Mallorca until this year. Now we know why it is so popular and what we have been missing – a stunningly beautiful island! We spent a week staying in a lovely villa in the north of the island. Here is the Mini Travel Tribe guide to exploring Mallorca with kids.

Pollença

We stayed in a villa just outside the old town of Pollença. This is a beautiful old town just a few miles inland from the coastal Port de Pollença. The town is full of lovely winding streets and small Plaças with nice restaurants to enjoy. Just don’t drive into the centre of the old town like we accidentally did one day! That trip ended in a local calling the police to come and remove a car.  It was parked where it shouldn’t have been in a narrow street meaning we couldn’t get through the gap! Luckily (for him really!) the car owner arrived before the police did and unapologetically moved his car so we could get through. Nobody batted an eyelid so it seemed like it is probably quite a common occurrence.

Children looking at view of Pollenca in Mallorca
Stunning view of Pollenca and the surrounding countryside from the top of the Calvari steps

Tips for Pollença with kids:

  • Have a meal in the main square (Plaça Major). There are some lovely restaurants and it is so atmospheric. The lovely thing is that the children can play while you eat/drink, making it a much more relaxed experience.
  • Climb the Calvari steps. There are 365 steps, one for each day of the year, leaving from Plaça Seglars to el Calvari chapel. Although it is a lot of steps, they are not steep and so even B’s little legs (aged 2 at the time) managed them. At the top you can have a look in the lovely chapel. Our girls loved this, although not sure if that was mostly because it was nice and cool after the hot climb up the steps. If you go towards your right when you get to the top of the steps there is also a lookout over the valley. It is a spectacular view. You will also find a small cafe next door to the chapel. We managed to get one of the few outdoor tables where the kids enjoyed an ice lolly and us adults had freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Children walking down the Calvari steps in Pollenca, Mallorca.
Walking back down the Calvari steps

Beaches: Mallorca is blessed with an abundance of beaches perfect for children. The closest ones to Pollença are Cala Sant Vincenç and Port de Pollença but you wouldn’t have to go much further to discover many more.

Children looking out to sea at Cala Sant Vicenc beach in Mallorca.

The gorgeous outlook at Cala Sant Vicenc

  • Cala Sant Vicenç is a couple of small coves with beautiful sand and some small beach bars/ cafes near by. There were quite big waves when we were there so it wasn’t ideal swimming for little ones. They did enjoy playing in the waves though and the sand was perfect for sand castles.
  • Port de Pollença beach is a narrow bay and is much more sheltered so calmer water for little ones to play in. There are plenty of shops and restaurants here and a couple of small play areas dotted along the beach too.

Alcudia

Around 12km south east of Pollença is the prime holiday spot of Alcudia. This is made up of the port and beach area (which is where most of the hotels are) and the old town which is slightly inland. We didn’t visit the port area (although I have heard great things about some of the beaches here) but went into the old town of Alcudia early one evening for a stroll and dinner.

Like Pollença it is a beautiful old town, also brimming with winding streets which transport you to atmospheric Plaças. Pavement cafes and restaurants are plentiful and we enjoyed super tasty paella while the girls got their fill of mussels (their favourite holiday food).

Before dinner we had a quick look in the beautiful Church of Sant Jaume d’Alcudia. We then climbed up the medieval ramparts, which gave a great view of the town from above and out to the bay of Pollença. I believe that sometimes you can walk all the way around the walls but part of it was closed when we were there so we just walked a small section. For the girls this was probably long enough for them to enjoy the view without getting bored. The toddler was asleep in his pushchair being minded by Grandma and Grandad while we were up there. We were grateful for this as the fences weren’t particularly substantial and it would have been a much less relaxing experience if we had been constantly worrying about him throwing himself over the side!

Children on ramparts of Alcudia old town in Mallorca

Enjoying the views from the ramparts of the old town Alcudia

Tops Tips:

  • If you are driving like we were, there is a large free car park just south of the old town.
  • There are steep steps to get up on the ramparts, not suitable for a pushchair so if you have a baby or toddler it would be worth having a carrier. As mentioned above the fencing isn’t particularly toddler proof so they will need to be kept close if not carried.

Palma

We had a great day exploring Palma. There is a beautiful old town capped by the jaw-dropping cathedral. We also loved the aquarium. Read all about what we got up to in Palma in our separate post here.

Serra de Tramuntana – taking the scenic route from Pollença to Sóller.

The edge of these mountains can be seen looming to the north west of Pollença. They are a UNESCO world heritage site (my husband’s motivation to explore them!) and are stunningly beautiful. The mountains stretch right along the north west coast and are a magnet for cyclists and walkers. Having young children with us we didn’t attempt any hikes and instead opted for a scenic drive with stop offs for photos along the way. 

Views of Serra de Tramuntana to sea.

Views to the sea from Serra de Tramuntana

The scenic drive from Pollença to Sóller was a 55km journey but probably took us about 1 hour 20 minutes of actual driving. We took the motorway back at the end of the day which was much quicker! It was quite a lot of driving for the children but we managed to keep them entertained and stopped along the way. The Ma-10 road passes Lluc monastery, which could be a really interesting stop (we didn’t have time). I was slightly concerned about what the road would be like as our hire car was more like a mini bus and the fiasco of driving through Pollença old town was still haunting me!

The road is winding and quite narrow but it is a main road so there are no single track parts. You do have to concentrate, which was a shame as it meant not being able to take in the stunning views so well. And the views really are stunning! In my opinion the first part of the drive was the most beautiful, although there was a gorgeous view point just before the final descent into Sóller.

Views of the Mallorcan mountains

Views of the Mallorcan mountains.

Sóller

Sóller is a lovely town in the valley between the mountains and the sea in north west Mallorca. Lots of people arrive here by the vintage train from Palma. I had heard lots of good reviews about this trip but since we weren’t staying in Palma we decided to drive there instead. We had a lovely lunch in the main square, Plaça Constitució and then got the vintage tram to the coastal Port de Sóller.

Tram driving past a church in the main square of Soller

The trams drive past the church in the main square of Soller.

The tram ride was probably B’s favourite part of the whole holiday! If you are in Mallorca with kids, I’m sure they will love it too. It takes around 30 minutes each way winding slowly through orange groves until you reach the port. We had to forcibly remove the toddler from the tram on both journeys as he was enjoying it so much!

Child on tram driving past orange groves

Enjoying the tram and its views.

Once at the Port there is a nice small beach and restaurants around a pretty harbour. The children enjoyed looking at the fish in the harbour- there were lots swimming around by the jetty.

Beach and mountains at Port de Soller

Port de Soller

Tips for Sóller with kids

  • Enjoy lunch in the main square. It is a beautiful square full of pavement cafes and the trams come through every half hour. This was very exciting for the children and built the anticipation for having our own ride on it.
  • The tram leaves from next to the train station, just a 2 minute walk from the main square.
  • The tram is cash only so make sure you have money with you. You can’t buy tickets in advance- just pay when you are on the tram. You can find more information about the tram and train from Palma here
  • There are lots of other tram stops but it tended to fill up at the station. I would advise getting on here as it could be tricky to squeeze on further down the line.

There are plenty of things that we didn’t get around to doing while we were in Mallorca. We will definitely be back at some point to explore some more of this beautiful island. One of the things we didn’t have time for was a trip on the Cap de Formentor. It was on my “to do” list so I definitely want to make it there next time! What else did we miss? Do you have any other top tips for Mallorca with kids?

A Day in Palma de Mallorca with kids

It was the first day of our family holiday in Mallorca and the weather forecast was rain and cloud all day. Instead of letting the weather dampen our holiday we instead decided to use the day to explore Palma, the capital of Mallorca. I had fancied visiting this city anyway having heard good reports of how nice it was so this was the perfect opportunity. Here is the Mini Travel Tribe guide to the top 3 family friendly things to do in Palma de Mallorca.

  1. Palma Aquarium
Awe and wonder in Palma Aquarium

We don’t often go to Aquariums but I have to say that we all thought this one was really impressive. It isn’t cheap but we had picked up a map at the airport that had a token on for €5 off each for up to 5 people. When we arrived there was a big queue to get in (everybody obviously had the same idea on a cloudy day!). Husband jumped out of the car to get in the queue while I found somewhere to park, which worked well as by the time we got to him we only had another 5 minutes before we were at the front. The Aquarium is quite close to the beach and the airport, about 10 minute drive South of the centre of Palma. Parking proved a bit tricky too! There are a couple of free car parks very close which were all completely full. We just managed to get a space in an underground car park, next door to the Aquarium- it wasn’t expensive and there was €3 discount if you showed your aquarium ticket.

Once inside there is a set route to follow with different zones including Mediterranean, tropical seas, the jungle and big blue. Most of the tanks were big and even the toddler could see into all of them without any lifting required as they were floor to ceiling or the smaller ones had steps so little legs could get some help up!

There are also a couple of cafes and play areas. The children loved the large pirate ship that was in the gardens area outside. There was a separate smaller playground for young children too and a small splash park if it’s hot. When we were there a man was doing free face painting too.

B wasn’t sure about having his face painted until he saw his big sisters have theirs done.

There is also an indoor soft play area, which we didn’t visit, we had already been in the aquarium for over 3 hours by this point and we wanted to see more of Palma. We managed to get the children past without them noticing it!

There were other options that you could pay extra to do in the Aquarium, an aqua dome and a shark vision boat. These sounded fun but we didn’t pay for them so I can’t comment on what they are like. I think our favourite section was the ‘big blue’ one. This is a huge tank which has sharks, rays and loads of different fish in it. Apparently at nearly 9m deep it is the deepest shark tank in Europe. What was great is that you could view it from all sorts of different levels and angles. This is the tank that you go over in the glass-bottomed shark vision boat.

Top Tips:

  • Pick up a map at the airport with the vouchers in. If there are more than 5 of you in your party get more than one as each voucher is for 5 people.
  • If you don’t have a voucher you can book tickets online in advance meaning that you don’t have to queue for as long to get in.
  • The cafe inside had a large queue where we were there. If we went back I would take a packed lunch instead- there is lots of seating outside next to the play areas.

2. Palma Cathedral

Inside the beautiful Palma Cathedral

Whether you like churches or not Palma cathedral is pretty impressive. You can’t miss it if you are driving past the port as it is visible from quite a distance. From the outside it is a stunning gothic building. We approached it from the water, which gave great views while we then climbed the steps to get to the cathedral. We were disappointed at first as when we arrived it was closed! However we called in later on our way back to the car after dinner to find it open and a service on. Quietly, we sat at the back for a little while to admire the fabulous building and enjoy the beautiful choral music that was part of the service. Check out those amazing stained glass windows.

Top Tips:

  • For a great view of the outside of the cathedral there is a bar called ‘the Guinness bar’ (not very Spanish sounding I know!) in the Parc de la Mar which overlooks the cathedral. The children had amazing ice cream while we had a drink there. There was also space for the children to play after they had finished their ice creams while we finished our drinks.
  • Check opening times if you are going in the afternoon, it closes earlier on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • There is a nice little playground down the first set of steps behind the cathedral that young children will enjoy to let off some steam.

3. Palma old town

The girls exploring the winding alley ways of Palma old town

If you go to the cathedral you are already at the edge of the old town. It is a beautiful, atmospheric place to wander through the narrow winding streets and get lost in. The children loved exploring all the alleyways and we stopped for dinner in one of the small Plaças that we passed. We wandered all the way to the Plaça Major (main square) but were quite disappointed with it. In my opinion many of the other smaller squares were much prettier

General Practicalities:

  • If arriving by car like we were there are many underground car parks. We managed to park in one that brought us out right in the Parc de la Mar, next to the cathedral.

If you have longer in Palma I have heard really good reports about the vintage train to Sóller. We weren’t staying particularly close to Palma so we drove to Sóller for our visit there instead- read our other blog post about exploring Mallorca with kids.exploring Mallorca with kids.

What were your highlights of Palma de Mallorca? Anything that you recommend we do next time?