mallorca Travel guide part one: the north
Mallorca has always been a place close to my heart due to having spent the first 12 years of my life here. It has a special meaning to me for that reason so I always find myself drawn back here, year after year. It doesn't matter if it's a short break or a long holiday, this place plays a big part in my life and visiting a place I used to call home is pretty perfect to me.
Usually when I visit it tends to be for a short break, a few days of sun, sea and relaxation. But not this time. This time it's 16 days of sun, exploring and discovering; and a little bit of relaxing too of course. I wanted to make this a long holidays as I wanted to show Karl, my husband, just how beautiful and amazing this place actually is. Yes it's a very touristy place but if you just step off into the wilderness a little bit, you will be sure to find something pretty spectacular.
Here are my top recommendations for the Northern part of the island-
Far de Formentor
Far de Formentor is the lighthouse situated right at the very tip of northern Mallorca. And by the very tip, I really mean it! High above sea level this lighthouse offers breath-taking views of the Mediterranean Sea. You can’t go in the lighthouse itself but the wander around it to take in the views is enough; stunning. There is a small café here too where you can sit and enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat. Keep a look out for the friendly goat though as you can guarantee he will be after your food!
Tips when visiting:
Es Colomer is a view-point on the road that you go on to get to Far de Formentor. You park in the car park and then take a 5 minute walk on a man-made walkway to the end platform where again, you get breath-taking views of the Mediterranean Sea. From here you can also see inland and get a fantastic view of the large hills and valleys surrounding the whole area and a great view of the bay you have driven past to get here. If you want to explore a little more you can go off track and have a good look round to get the best views.
Tips when visiting:
Alcúdia Old Town
Alcúdia is a small town situated just inland of Port d’Alcúdia and is surrounded by medieval walls which circle half of the well-preserved old town. Think beautiful narrow streets, small boutique shops and stunning yet simple old buildings. The streets of Alcúdia just need to be experienced to know what I mean. The town is semi-surrounded by the medieval old walls which can be walked on in parts; I would highly recommend this to get a lovely view across the town and out to the sea too. There is also a beautiful church and old Roman ruins to explore too.
My advice is just go and wander down the streets and explore, that’s exactly what we did and we loved it. It’s not a huge town so it won’t take you long to wander around the whole place. I would set aside a minimum of a couple of hours to really get into it and obviously stop for a cheeky Sangria or café con leche, whatever you like :)
Sa Portassa Restaurant.
Traditional Spanish cuisine- no fuss just real good food! We headed here for lunch and it was such a good choice! We shared Tapas- Patatas bravas, Pamboli, Russian salad (like a potato salad), mussels with aioli, meatballs, Frito Mallorquín and cod in a pepper sauce. An absolutely delicious and perfect lunch. If you find yourself in Alcúdia old Town I urge you to head to this place!
Tips when visiting:
Not far from where we are based is Pollença Town. Another beautiful and typical Spanish little town. Let yourself run wild down the narrow streets of this town and explore until your heart is content. Roman bridges, multiple museums and of course you can’t miss the open air market held here on a Sunday morning. The fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, meats and cheeses are out of this world!
Il Gaudino Restaurant.
We stumbled upon this place on our first day here and although it’s the kind of place I would generally avoid due to it being situated in the town square and marketed towards tourists, we were pretty hungry and so decided to just give it a go. And do you know what? I’m actually glad we did! As you have probably guessed by the name of the restaurant, the menu focuses heavily on Italian type dishes, although it does have plenty of other options too. I thought I would go with the flow here and ordered a Vegetable Risotto. Well, let me tell you…it was delicious! I’m not usually a risotto fan and I honestly don’t know why I ordered it but I am very glad I did! The perfect meal to fill me up on our first day.
Restaurante and Pizzeria Can’ Olesa.
After some serious Googling and research we decided on this place for a Paella. I mean, we couldn’t come to Mallorca and not have paella at some point right?! Let me tell you it was a spot on decision to head here. Even though it’s situated in the main square, the place was an absolute dream! The waitress made our experience (well, mine) even better as when she realised I spoke some Spanish she insisted on speaking to me in Spanish the whole time. It made me realise that I do remember more than I think when I get into the flow of it!
Anyway, back to the food…
I would highly recommend this place for an evening meal. Order a bottle of wine and a mixed Paella, absolutely perfect. If you do have space for a dessert then I would highly recommend the almond cake with almond ice cream; a dessert of dreams!
We loved the place so much that we went back for pizza on our last night. And that was also delicious of course :)
La Font del Gall.
This place was recommended to us by a friend and although I found the whole experience a little rushed and the place a little more touristy I did still enjoy the food. I went for lamb shoulder with grilled veggies, dauphinoise potatoes and an orange glaze. When I had the first mouthful I was a unsure of the orange and lamb flavour combination but once I had got passed that it was actually pretty delicious. The lamb just fell apart and was cooked to absolute perfection! It’s been YEARS since I’ve had lamb and probably will be years until I have it again but I am glad I went for it.
The only thing I will say is don’t go for a pasta dish. My husband had a tagliatelle dish and it wasn’t all that flavoursome, quite bland actually.
Onze is a place that we put off for quite a few days as we thought it would be both expensive and also the usual touristy kind of spot, which it was to a certain extent but, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good place. We went here one night when we were starving and just wanted to head into the first place that we found because we were THAT hungry! The place was busy but we were seated and served very quickly which was absolutely perfect! I went for the fillet steak with veggies and dauphinoise potatoes. Everything was cooked to absolute perfection and it really was delicious food. A great little place for a lovely dinner and a glass of wine.
I would suggest maybe booking a table here as I think we were quite lucky to have been seated as most tables were reserved. 7.30 until 9pm is a very popular time!
Tips when visiting:
Port de Pollença
The beaches here are beautiful and although it is a little on the touristy side I would still recommend visiting. It’s more on the chilled out end of the scale so there are no people wandering along the streets trying to sell you sunglasses and hats, so you can relax on the beach in peace!
I would highly recommend hiring a boat from here and heading out to sea! We used a company called North Mallorca Charters and it cost us €110 for a 4 person boat for 4 hours. From here you can head around the bay to a smaller bay called Es Caló where you will find crystal clear waters and a small beach that has barely any people on it, my kind of beach! It’s also only accessible by boat so it’s a win win situation if you want to chill out with almost nobody around. You can also take the boat around to Formentor beach but this a lot busier so I wouldn’t recommend stopping here. You can then sail around the small island of Formentor and even drop anchor in this area and dive in to explore the ocean; this was the best bit for me!
They do a range of snacks and main meals and also cater for us healthier bunch with omelettes and salads. We had lunch here a couple of times and went for the Pamboli which is a traditional Mallorquín dish made up of traditional farmers bread rubbed with tomato and sprinkled with sea salt and served with jamón and cheese, an omelette and nachos on both occasions. The nachos were by far my favourite but that’s because there’s nothing better than nachos and guac!
Bellaverde is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant in Port de Pollença. We headed here for lunch one day and ordered salads. I know what you’re thinking, really?! A salad?! Hear me out- these salads aren’t just any salads, they are the mother of all salads! I went for the Bellaverde salad and it was HUGE! Piled high with leaves, tomatoes, onion, walnuts, cashews and carrot. It even came with ice cream! Yup, ice cream. Not just any ice cream, a vegan basil ice cream which was the part of dressing! I was blown away by the creativity here. Also, the outdoor seating are is just beautiful and the most instagramable place I’ve found here. Nestled down a little side street the tables all sit under huge fig trees and it’s just the most gorgeous thing ever!
Gran Café 1919.
We popped in here one morning for breakfast and had a coffee and what they call a ‘Special breakfast’- Mallorquín farmers bread rubbed with tomatoes and served with bacon and eggs. It wasn’t the most amazing breakfast I’ve ever had but it certainly hit the spot. They offer a variety of breakfast options (no avocado toast I’m afraid) but it’s a nice little spot overlooking the sea. They also offered a few different juices and smoothies but I didn’t try them. The freshly squeezed orange juice on the other hand, delicious and it came with a paper straw!!
Coves de Campanet
The Campanet caves are well, something else! They aren’t huge caves but my goodness are they pretty! Situated near the town of Campanet and only 15 minutes away from Pollença we couldn’t believe we missed these until our last day! The caves are only accessible with a guide and the cost is €15 per person for adults. I guarantee it’s worth the €15. The area where the caves are set in is beautiful too; views all round and just a lovely little experience.
Tips when visiting-
We loved staying in this part of the island and will certainly return here for another stay one day. The little town of Pollença has certainly won me over and I want to come back just for the little independent shops, the delicious food and the Sunday market!
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