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I’ve been visiting Majorca now for 4 years, graduating from package tours to organising it all myself. For 3 years we stayed on the eastern coast, at a resort called S’Illiot, half way between Porto Cristo to the south and Cala Millor to the north. During these 3 years we also relied on public transport

However this year, we decided a change was in order, so decided to take a 10 day stay in Puerto Pollensa, in the far north east of the island. We also hired a car for the first time, so we could see more of the island this time.

I’ll start with some details of the companies we used, and then go into detail about the resort and places we visited.

Car Hire

We hired the car through carjet (www.carjet.com), overall I would recommend them, got a car upgrade from a 3 door 1.4 Clio, to a 5 door 1.4 diesel Ford Fusion, however there was a 25 euro supplement for a diesel vehicle. We also rented a booster seat for my daughter, which cost 20 euro for the duration of the holiday, I would recommend you take your own, as most airlines allow them as Limited Allowance luggage now. The included insurance covered all but underside of the car and wheels and tyres. There is optional insurance offered for this when you collect the car for 20 euro, I took this due to it covering punctures, as I guess this would be the most common problem with a hire car. They also charge for a full tank of fuel up front. I did over 400km in 10 days and still came back with ¼ tank of fuel. So a basic 187 euro (with booster seat) hire cost 297 euro (£242) in the end. But you have no worries about paying for fuel unless you wanna do full circuits of the island for fun!

Regarding speed limits, unless indicated, its 120km/h on motorway, 90km/h on major roads, 70km/h in towns. Police do not look for speeders, neither are there speed cameras, but you will be expected to pay a cash fine on the spot if you do get caught, and from what I have been told, its not cheap. Driving on “the wrong side of the road” takes about 2 minutes to get used to, but be careful of drifting, as you are on the other side of the car, and it takes a while to develop a natural road position.

Accommodation

We stayed at the Montelin Apartments (book via www.hoposa.es direct or via www.alpharooms.com for a cheaper rate). We paid £491 (thank god it was booked in sterling at the start of the year) for a studio apartment. It was relatively spacious, clean, with kitchenette. Compared to the apartment from the last few years, it was smaller for the same price, but given that Puerto Pollensa is a mid priced resort for accommodation, food and drink, and the fact it came with TV and microwave (invaluable for a 5 year old when chilling before going out at night), I think I paid a fair price. The hotel is about 10 minutes walk from the town centre, and has bars, cafes and supermarkets within 5 minutes. It also share facilities with its brother across road, the Villa Concha. It has its own pool, but is small, instead use the pools across the road where there is a shallow, deep and baby pool. It also has a bar if you want a drink while the children are playing.

Puerto Pollensa

The resort, in my opinion is an ideal base for a holiday, a lot of good restaurants, nice bars and a nice beach about 2km long, and about 50-100m wide in all for the sandy section to the south of the resort. Along the front is the usual combination of bars, tourist shops, supermarkets and restaurants. The main heart of the town is based in the main square when the majority of the best restaurants are based, but little bars can be found on may of the back streets.

For those who hanker for home based treats there is an English area about 1.5km south of centre (street opposite the only bar restaurant on beach), and most supermarkets stock English basics such as Heinz products and English tea. There are a couple of English bars near the town centre, as well as the usual selection of O’irish bars, of which there are 3 in the main square area.

If you come in the middle of July, you will catch the fiesta in the town, this mainly takes place in the market square with a week long market, musical or childrens activities each night. It ends with the fire parade along the front, culminating with the excellent fireworks display on the beach. You can walk along with the parade either behind of in front, but beware if you walk in front of the firework jugglers, the devils with the tridents have no aversion to getting within a couple of foot of your trousers with some rather large fireworks on the ends of the forks, more than one person has had some major holes in clothing after this.  In my opinion, may this carry on, its refreshing to escape the health and safety culture of this country.

The resort has excellent transport links to Palma Airport via Pollensa (50 minutes) or Alcudia (40 minutes). Easy access to the mountains via Lluc to the east (1hr, mainly due to twist nature of the roads), and to the east coast towns via the Alcudia – Arta road. It is also well served via buses to all neighbouring and not so neighbouring towns. No trains run this far east on the island, with the rail network being limited to the south east and south west corners of the island.

For those of you who like the beach front walks, it has the pine walk along the front, which can be 2.5km each way if you push it to its extreme. If you want something with a bit more of an effort you can do walks direct from the town centre to Cala Boquer via the rocky and beautiful Boquer Valley (6km return, 85m ascent each way), or to the excellent beach at Cala San Vicente (6km return, 100m ascent each way). If you travel a bit further a field, you are only ½ hour by car from the foot hills of the mountain range which runs up the north west coast of the island, where there are several 800m peaks to ascend, or an hour from Lluc which is a good base for walks up to the 1200m – 1400m peaks. I didn’t do any of these higher walks due to the heat and this being family holiday, but I did do the Boquer valley, and can well recommend it. Major walks are detailed on the AA Maps (Island Map 1) or North and Mountains Tour and Trail Guide (ISBN 1-899554-88-2), or one of several good walking guide books. The book I took was the Walking in Majorca guide by June Parker (ISBN 1-85284-250-4). The first map I mentioned is a great one for general navigation around the island as well.

There are a great selection of restaurants with all kinds of food, from fancy dining, majorcan cuisine, and tex mex to the usual burger / bagette / omelette / chips with everything places you get everywhere. There is also three indian restaurants. There are also the obligatory chinese buffet restaurants, of which there are also 3. There was no way I could get round all those in 10 days so I’ll list some my favourites in the resort later in this article.

Typical prices range from 40 euro to 70 euro, this is for 2 adults mains, 1 childs meal, 1 pudding or starter, 1l sangria, 3 beers and a couple of fruit juices. We paid 40 euro at an “english bar” for a meal, typical tex-mex or majorcan cuisine will set you back 50-60 euro, and a fancier restaurant will be 70 euro. No service charge is generally added to bills, so tips are at your own discretion, generally this is 10%, but I varied between nothing and 15% depending upon service and quality of food.

A pint of local beer will cost 3-3.50 euro, 1l sangria 9-12 euro, magners bottle 4.50-5.50 euro, spirit and mixer 5-6.50 euro, bottle of house wine 9-14 euro.

A note here, and that is medicines are only available from pharmacies and thus are very expensive (2-3x UK price), so anything you think you need, take with you, or be willing to pay through the nose for it. This goes for all of the island, and not just this area.

Now, some recommendations, I’ve put copies of the business card, for the phone numbers and locations (click on the images for a larger version)


Served up an excellent curry, good value, main course is 15-18 euro and comes with mixed starter and pilau rice, great location on the main square as well.

The 15.90 euro fixed menu is great value, nice light starters, followed by half a farm (partner got 3 butterflied chicken breasts, I got 2 large pork chops), good quality pudding as well, again great location on main square

This is one of the more expensive restaurants, and you pay for the quality, excellent food, emphasis on quality not quantity. Better presentation and subtler flavours. The chocolate pudding with mint ice cream just has to be tried, best pudding all holiday. Located just off main front, about ½km down from town.
Our favourite restaurant, great food, good beers, excellent service. A very modern style of food and decor, keeping the majorcan feel. The majorcan pork was my favourite dish of the holiday, so much so, I had it twice, the thai style stir frys were excellent as well. Located just off main square.

We also ate at the Villa Concha opposite the apartments and the White Lion in the english area of the resort, both meals were decent enough, but not enough to go away from town centre for. We also had a couple of meals along the front on the south side of the resort, but they were a bit hit and miss.Other restaurants of note were Dakota’s, they have 2 branches, one off main square, one on front to the north of the resort. Nice food, we tried the chicken tacos and burritos and both were well cooked, and the childrens meals were good as well. Other restaurants we tried to get into but were always busy (a good sign), were Mojitos and Nicos in the main square area, Mojitos had a great meat selection, and Nicos looked like they did some great tex-mex food.

Mountains behind resort at sunset Main square Mountains behind resort By night Harbour View from South View from South (2) Harbour (2)

Places to Visit

Arta

About an hours drive from the resort is the inland town of Arta, most famous for the church and castle on the hill above the city. The town itself is a nice town to visit for a day trip, with plenty of small shops, good cafes and restaurants, and chilled pottering to keep you happy.The monastery is half way up the hill, a good looking building with some interesting architecture, if you are interested you can go inside for 4 euro each, but we went for the scenery. Its another 150 steps to the castle at the top which afford great views of the surrounding area. At the top is a cafe, which sells cakes, ice creams and drinks, and on a hot day in July you will certainly need them.You can drive right up to the top if you want and park at the castle, but I don’t see the point of doing Arta and missing the steps. I would advise if you want to make a long day in this area, then double up this with Cala Rajata.

Arta Town Hall Arta Catherdral Steps to the Castle View of Catherdral and Town from Castle Monument below Castle

Cala Rajata

About 25km east of Arta is Cala Rajata, the eastern most point resort of the island. I forewarn you now, if you have a thing against germans, then you are not going enjoy here. The resort is geared 90% towards them, even down to the primary language in some shops being german. However if come for the place itself, then you are rewarded with a nice front, and good beaches each side of the resort.The town itself is quite big, with the main commercial areas being around the town square near the front, and the harbour area. Restaurants and bars dominate the sea front walk, and it does have a childrens play park in the main square as well as a shaded area to sit. Further back you get the party bars, and there are a few of them as this is very much a party resort at night, however a lot of these are not open during the day, and thus has a very relaxed feel to the resort during daytime.About 4km before you get into the resort on the Arta road there is a castle you visit, which would give great views over the area, however the road up to the castle is very tight, so parking at the bottom and walking up would be recommended!AlcudiaAlcudia is the part of the town housed within the old city walls, not to be confused with the modern port across the peninsula or the resort running down the coast south of the peninsula. A charming little town which is well worth a half day trip (perhaps combine with Can Picafort or some walking on the Alcudian peninsula for a full day trip). It is full of small side streets which are easy to get lost in, but then that’s half the fun.Some sections of the wall can be walked on, but beware with small children on here, the barriers won’t stop them for long. There is about 200-300m of walk with walking available, other wise on the southern and eastern side of the town is the main street where most shops and restaurants are located, either on the street or just off on one of the nearby side streets. As well as that there is a large shade open square, with plenty of space to chill, and has the usual accompany of bars and cafes. When we went they were getting ready for the fiesta, and the street were decorated with the white bunting you see everywhere for festivals, and mobiles on a nautical theme, which made for a very pleasant stroll around town.It is also worth a walk around the town walls themselves, as there is some interesting sculptures and archaeological features on the outside of the wall. The port of Alcudia is not far to walk if you are interested, and is the modern working town within the area.

Alcudia Town Walls Walking along the town walls Streets of Alcudia Eastern Gates Fiesta Decorations Cathedral

Can Picafort

If you like sea front walks then you’ll love this place, it just goes on and on, about 3km by my estimate, this resort is a fairly lively resort, although not as lively as its neighbour, the resort in Alcudia. There are long, good quality beaches to the north, and along the front intermittently. As per most resorts, the front is mainly restaurants, bars, supermarkets and shops. However the prices here are probably 20% less than Puerto Pollensa, so an option for a cheaper day if needed.The main shopping area of the resort is on the road just back from the front, which runs the whole length of the resort, and there is a good selection of shops apart from the usual tourist tat.LlucThis is an 60-90 minute drive from Puerto Pollensa, up a good, if steep and tight road. The journey up is worth it alone for the views of the mountains, however there are very view stopping places to take photos. You get great views to left of the mountains above Pollensa, as well as the coastal range to your right. As you gain the height towards the end of the drive, you get fantastic views of the Puig Major and the other 1000m+ mountains in the area.Once you get to Lluc there is a picnic area with a lot of big boulders for children or the child in you to mess about on, a cafe bar near the car park, and of course the main reason for coming up here the monastery. At the monastery there are two cafes and a gift shop. Entry to the monastery is free. There is also a museum you can visit at an extra cost of 4 euro.You enter a passage into the central courtyard, which various statues on route, once here, the church is on your right, When you step into the building itself, it takes your breath away, it is a stunning sight, with the stained glass dome providing the perfect light for the full height altar at the front, and in the multiple alcoves each side of the church, many more smaller altars. The walls and ceiling are covered in amazing paintings, you have to see it to believe it. If you want to take photos in here, bring a tripod and use long exposure. A flash won’t reach most areas unless up close, and its too dim for handheld exposures.There are also a couple of chapels behind the main church to visit as well, which a worth a wander through.Lluc is also the base for a lot of the higher level walks around this area, I’ve mentioned some books and maps earlier in the article if you want to explore further.

Surrounding Mountains Gates of Monestary Rocky Picnic Area Surrounding Mountains Rooms at Monestary Statue of cardinal in first courtyard Statue of cardinal in main courtyard

Cap de Formentor

This is the peninsula to the north of the Puerto Pollensa, accessible via the Formentor road leading east out of the resort. This is a tight twisty road, and would recommend you get couple of days practice driving before you go up there, as some of the drops at the side of an unrailed road can be unnerving at times. The first port of call is the view point about 4-5km up the road, there are 2 obvious car parks each side of the road. There is a stone pathway leading up to some amazing sheer drop views over the side of the walls, and even if you go no further you get great views of the peninsula as a whole. Also from this car park there is a walk / drive to the top of the hill to the right, it is a 40 minute walk up or a very tight drive.If you keeping heading on the road, you will get to the beach. DON’T BOTHER. The only place I paid to park the car all holiday, it cost 5 euros. The beach is overcrowded, smelly, all shingle. The only good thing about this beach is that there is plenty of material for rock balancing.s you drive further on, you get a long 3-4km of straight road, then you hit the very twisty bit, including a tunnel section (with steps going on the outside of the rock face above a 150m drop, I’m fairly adventurous, but they look bloody perilous). Then you hit the first view point on this section, with some great views over the north eastern coast. I’d come here in the afternoon / evening if you want photos, as the low morning sun blows out a lot of photos.I’ll admit I went no further than this due to the roads, however friends have told me that the view from the lighthouse at the end are amazing, especially at sun set. The downside of this is that you drive back in the dark!.

View across peninsula Sheer drop cliffs at first vantage point) View across peninsula Looking down from end of cliff on second photo Hill above first vantage point View across peninsula The Cap de Formentor lighthouse in the morning

Cala San Vincente

We discovered this fantastic little town halfway through our holiday, and subsequently spent 3 afternoons there on the beach. The resort is enclosed in a rocky bay, with 2km of stunning 250m dead drop cliffs to the east (if you do the Boquer Valley walk then this is the ridge to your west).There are 3 beaches in the bay, all very small. The first beach as you come in on the main road was our favourite, however be aware that the beaches in this resort are quite rocky at waters edge and under the water, so tread carefully. There are also a lot of steps to get down to the two western beaches, although there is steep slope access. On the eastern most beach there is beach level car parking. There are plenty of supermarkets and bars (mostly attached to hotels), and some interesting walking around the periphery of the western beaches.This beach is red flagged (potentially dangerous waters) a lot more often than most resorts due to the enclosed nature of the bay, but there is an area set up for when the red flag is present to play in. Saying that, its quite impressive seeing the waves build up as they enter the bay and break against the headlands further out from the beach. When you do get the green flag its hard to beat it for swimming with the local sea life. We swam with schools of fish, but other people have reported octopuses as well at times.

View of ridge from western beach Statue in main town View from ruined house between beaches View of western beach Beautiful Clear Sea Vantage point between beaches Cages in western bay Leading down to western beach Steps from west side of town to the east
  1. Ann O'Brien says:

    Hi Thank you so much for this report, it was great. We are off on our second holiday to Majorca on Sat. We are going to Puerto Pollensa this time. Really looking forward to it and your report was very helpful. Ann

  2. Great article, really helpful for anyone visiting the area. May I quote it on Little Hotels of the Balearics (www.littlehotels-balearics.co.uk), with an appropriate acknowledgement of course.

  3. derek says:

    Just back today from our most recent trip to Puerto Pollensa but the first summer holiday there. We usually goes for Easter [once in October]. Prices are well up, beyond the effect of a falling pound against the Euro. Definite drop in quality of service – unwillingness to serve food in the deqd hours of the afternoon between peak northern european lunchtime and mediterranean early evening snacks. Very noticeable this year. By the way there are, and have been for years, three Dakota Tex Mex – one in the square, one ofn the main seafront drag and one just at teh start of the Pine Walk. Your description of the place is fair and it’s truly great for a relaxed family holiday with young kids. I know you switched from public transport to car, but we’ve always found that the buses are cheap, freaquent and comfortable – we had two days in Palma this time, with the bus both ways. By the way, did you miss the fantastic classic car collection at the hotel in the back of Cala San Vicente – you pass it when you take the 15-20 minute bus trip from PP. Someone would be very rich if these were ever auctioned.
    All in all a great holiday town

  4. sean says:

    I agree about the prices, I reckon that they are 20-30% above the prices I paid at S’Illiot / Sa Coma further down the coast last year, I put this down to the Euro rate and also is a slightly more upmarket resort, down at Can Picafort, I reckon you could save 30 euros a day on drinks and food.

    Didn’t find an issue with getting served at any time with food, and we went all over, where in particular did you find the problem?

    There is a definite markup on prices in the town square and pine walk compared to further south along the front, but I expected that really. Planning to go there gain next time, and then I think I want to visit Soller area.

    I forgot about the third Dakota, did the article a couple of weeks after the holiday, so somethings slipped out of memory.

    We hired a car this year as we found that around the Cala Millor / Sa Coma area where we were before, the buses were a bit unreliable and more often than not we ended up getting a taxi, and also being abandoned in Son Servera on market day when the last single bus was at 2pm, when they could have filled 3 buses.  The queue for the taxi was 100 deep, so we ended up walking 5km to Cala Millor in the hottest part of the day and getting a taxi from there.

  5. nickyb says:

    We were thinking of renting a villa somewhere outside Puerto Ollensa. Seaview Villas was one company recommended. Anyone have any experience of villa letting in this area??

  6. nickyb says:

    Sorry I mean to to say we are thinking of renting a villa in Puerto Pollensa…any ideas or recommendations?