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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?