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Unique Things to Do & Where to Stay in Mallorca: Off Season Mallorca Guide

(Last Updated On: June 5, 2023)

Off season Mallorca will steal your heart. Discover unique things to do in Mallorca and decide which of the best places to stay in Mallorca is a fit.

Don’t you love it when you arrive at a destination you’ve never visited and right away you can’t believe your luck? Off season Mallorca was like that for us. We discovered unique things to do in Mallorca which were much more fun in the off season when we didn’t have to share them with crowds of tourists.

And, we developed our own ideas about the best places to stay in Mallorca which counter the objections many people have about the small island, a popular tourist destination which attracts tons of Northern European visitors in the high season.

off season mallorca unique things to do

“I live where I would like to live. I live in Mallorca, Spain, and I am not sure there are better places.” Rafael Nadal

Redeeming timeshare exchanges can be somewhat of a crapshoot. When a place in off season Mallorca popped up, budget plane fare sealed the deal. Our hearts were stolen by this this largest of the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean, as others have been. But we realize we were lucky enough to get an experience in a peaceful place many (and there are very many in high season!) visitors never have.

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mallorca calendar

To commemorate, we’ve recently published this handsome calendar with our favorite images of some of the best spots on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Click here for for details and purchase information.

We spent two weeks on Mallorca and found it a great place to find our way around to the best areas. It was easy and cheap to rent a car. Driving on the right cancelled out the language issues and helped us avoid public transportation.

(Hint: even though native Mallorcans speak a Catalán dialect as their first language, your high school Spanish will do just fine.)

We tried to get to opposite sides of the island during our stay and succeeded. Mallorca is divided into regional districts called camarques, with each camarca having a town or village seat, much like counties do in the U.S. Moreover, if you’re looking to rent a villa in Mallorca, there are plenty of stunning options available that will make for an unforgettable vacation.

off season mallorca is better
Camarca districts, Mallorca. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Unique Things to Do in Mallorca

During our off season Mallorca stay, we chose smaller towns and villages, quieter roads, and leisurely outings to beautiful beaches. These turned out to be what we think is a more authentic experience. Even so, there is a great variety of unique things to do in Mallorca. Some of the best tours in Mallorca will incorporate many of our recommendations, so where appropriate, we’ll insert links for your perusal.

Wander virtually alone in off season Mallorca down backroads and byways leading to Roman ruins and prehistoric megaliths.

Mallorca is an island built with stone. Stone walls line narrow country roads. They divide fields, orchards, and olive groves, and they terrace mountainsides. You’ll be humbled, as we were, by the realization that everything you see was gathered, cut and placed by hand.

Horseback Riding – A tour hour mountain riding experience with a qualified guide. Helmets provided, petting zoo experience included.  Click here for more information and pricing.

off season Mallorca is better
Old dry-stacked stone on a narrow lane

“With the time the stone, specially the part exposed on the sea side, has acquired a pretty shining golden-yellow colour which gives a delightful glow to the whole building; particularly when it is illuminated by the sun a charming hot and light shadow is lit that can only be given to the stone by the weather and the south.”  Arxiduc Lluís Salvador

Remnants of previous civilizations are wondrously accessible as modern life goes on around them. The taliots of Capocorb Vell, dating from the Iron Age, were steps away from our favorite little roadside restaurant in rural Llucmajor camarca.

off season mallorca is better
Bronze age community surrounded by almond orchards. Photo Credit: Capocorb Vell Archaeological Site
off season mallorca is better
Talaiot” by Lothar Velling, Disenyador gràfic, Espanya – SuCapitanidad on de.wikipedia – Originally from de.wikipedia; description page is (was) here01:01, 3. Mai 2004 SuCapitanidad 1024 x 768 (137.334 Byte) (Talaiot – neolithische Siedlung auf Mallorca ). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Talaiot.jpg#/media/File:Talaiot.jpg

Pollentia is the most significant archaeological site on Mallorca from Roman times. The site, while still under partial excavation, is ideal for visitors, with a looping path to the various parts of the former city. When we visited, there were less than half a dozen others on the site.

Founded in the first century B.C., Pollentia was the island capital until the 5th century Vandal invasion. You’ll see the remains of housing, public buildings including a temple, and a small amphitheater which was later used as a cemetery.

off season mallorca is better
Roman ruins at Pollentia. Note the modern roadway in the background, still following an ancient route.
off season mallorca is better
Amphitheater at Pollentia

Imagine Barbary pirates, invaders and smugglers. Strategically located, Mallorca has been invaded over the centuries by Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Moors, Normans, and Bourbons, to name just a few. Built for protection and communication, Mallorca’s medieval watch towers remain scattered all over the island.

Mallorcans could defend and broadcast warnings using smoke or fire from coastal towers. These were strategically placed using sophisticated calculations designed by mathematician Joan Baptista Binimelis in the 16th century.

Tip: Arrange a Boat Tour – Boat trips can be booked from various parts of the island, including beach resorts. Enjoy an exciting day at sea in a stylish sports boat or catamaran, past private, picturesque bays where you can swim and snorkel in shallow waters off white sandy beaches. Most include Mediterranean lunch with local wines and beer.

 

off season mallorca is better
Torre Cala Pí on the south coast, a very short walk from the small resort town by the same name with more than one great restaurant

Individual landholders also built towers which are now mimicked as elements in modern architecture.

off season mallorca is better
A tower in town

Pirates and smugglers throughout the centuries have used Mallorca’s calas (coves) along the coastline as places to cache their loot and evade capture. It’s hard to imagine prettier hideouts. Famous artists, writers and composers often escaped to the warmer Mediterranean climate, which made it a popular place in winter. It’s easy to see how inspiring the surroundings might be to a creative, as well as the perfect place to provide the privacy that many craved.

“It is one of those views that completely overwhelm one, for it leaves nothing to be desired and nothing to the imagination. All that a poet or a painter might dream of, Nature has created here.” – George Sand, who spent a winter here with her lover, Frederic Chopin, in the 19th century.

off season mallorca is better
Cala Pí sea views
things to do in mallorca in the off season
See the new and the old tower?

Sample Hierbas de Mallorca. This is a delicious herbal liqueur, unique to the island. At the close of our first meal on Mallorca, the bill was presented on a tray with two snifters containing a bright green liqueur. “What is this?” we wondered. “To your health!” was the reply. Outstanding was our verdict.

Tunel, the most common brand, dates from the 1890’s, but the liqueur has been around since the 13th century when distillation methods were improved. The predominant note is anise, but other aromatic plants such as lemon verbena, rosemary, camomile, and fennel are also used and sometimes appear in the bottle.

off season in mallorca
Sorry, I was a little blurry after a couple of these! If there is homemade liqueur on the premises, don’t hesitate!

Don’t worry about running into lots of American tourists. Particularly Americans: they’re few and far between. More than 10 million tourists come to Mallorca each year, the vast majority of them in the summer. Americans don’t even number in the top ten countries from which tourists come.

Germany takes first place with 3.7 million German tourists per year. The UK comes in next with 2.1 million. Most of the tourists we encountered were German and Italian. Don’t get us wrong, we love our countrymen! But sometimes it’s nice to be the only ones, too. Off-season Mallorca is better without having to fight a crowd.

Half-Day Tour to the Caves of Hams – Start from the south of Mallorca to the Caves of Hams, first opened to the public in 1910. See the underground “Sea of Venice” with illuminated stalactites and stalagmites. Includes a stop at the Pearl Exhibition. Includes transportation in air-conditioned bus. Click here for more information and pricing.

Caves of Drach and Mallorca’s East Full-Day Tour – Includes a stop in Manacor at the famous Pearl Shop for browsing. Your visit to the famous Caves of Drach on the east coast includes a leisurely walk underground and a magical concert by the lake. Half or full day options available. Full day includes lunch and leisure in Porto Cristo. Transportation by coach and insurance included. Click here for more information and pricing.

Half-Day Catamaran Tour with Buffet Meal – Sail out of the Bay of Palma to serene Cala Vella for swimming and snorkeling, then enjoy a delicious buffet of local favorites. Click here for more information and pricing.

off season mallorca is better
Spotted: a lone American on a deserted cala with turquoise waters

Best Things to Do in Mallorca for Foodies and Wine Lovers

Indulge in world-class cuisine and fine wines served in very unexpected places. We really didn’t know what to expect when it came to food and wine on Mallorca, but we should have told ourselves, “It’s Spain, the food and wine will be amazing.” And it is.

4-Hour Private Wine Tour with Tasting and Tapas – Visit a Mallorquin vineyard to learn about winemaking and aging, then taste a variety of wines with tapas. Click here for more information and pricing.

On the Trail of the Wine – An 8 hour excursion by air-conditioned mini bus to the La Raixa estate farm in the center of Mallorca to Santa Maria to learn viticulture from a quality producer. Taste regional specialties and try different wines, enjoy a guided cellar tour and a picnic in an idyllic village square. Go on to discover another winery in a beautiful valley for more tasting and gastronomy pairings. Click here for more information and pricing.

From the most out of the way location you might imagine (try literally on the side of a mountain) to restaurants in a former bank, theatre or even almond press, the culinary scene in Mallorca is superb. And inexpensive! Feast your eyes here and check individual restaurant information at the end of this post for details.

best things to do in mallorca for foodies
Paella at Bistro 1909, Old Town Alcúdia
best things to do in mallorca
Lighter fare at Bistro 1909, Old Town Alcúdia
off season in mallorca
Restaurant Escorca is literally built into the side of a mountain.
Former bank, now Café Colón, Llucmajor, Photo Credit: majorholidaycheck.de
Former bank, now Café Colón, Llucmajor, Photo Credit: majorholidaycheck.de
best things to do in off season mallorca for foodies
Artful chicken at Año 1849, Santanyí
off season mallorca is better
Spring starter at Ca’s Busso, Llucmajor

Best Things to Do in Mallorca for Foodies

One of of the best things to do in Mallorca in the off season is to enjoy the undivided attention of a good chef and his staff in one of the many outstanding restaurants on the island. Not having to vie for reservations or preferred seatings is one of the great pleasures in life.

But, discovering wonderful restaurants is only part of what draws foodies to Mallorca. There are many guided experiences which will introduce or re-acquaint you with the Spanish, Catalan and Basque influences that comprise the gastronomic scene here.

Whether it’s tapas or their Basque cousins, the pinchos (or pintxos in Catalan), Iberian ham, or regional specialties such as roasted goat or flavorful paella, you’re sure to return home satiated.

The following are our recommendations for the best food tours on Mallorca:

 

Discover Spectacular Scenery on Mallorca

Go up and down the mountains. Many summer tourists never leave the beachside cities. They may arrive by cruise ship and have a shore excursion in Palma or go north from the airport to Alcúdia’s glamorous hotel strip. Others ensconce in smaller resorts along the many calas (coves) to sunbathe and relax. We recommend you head for the hills.

Full Day Tour of Mallorca – Drive along the magnificent and dramatic cliffs of the coastal Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, exploring the Pareis Gorge and La Calobra, ride the 1912 vintage train and sail along the west coast by boat. Lunch in La Calobra or Puerto Soller. Includes all transport, guide, and insurance. Click here for more information and pricing.

The serpentine road to Sa Calobra in the Escorca camarca is a breathtaking climb with a 270 degree loop under itself (called “the knotted tie”) at its highest point. Then you make your way down again through the Torrent de Pareis gorge, sometimes called Mallorca’s Grand Canyon. Drive it yourself as we did (well, Pete did the driving and I did the gasping), or take a bus tour. We passed many intrepid cyclists on this road and thought they were insane.

Tip: The best tours in Mallorca offer convenient pickup and return, comfortable transportation, English speaking guides and time to soak in the experience.

off season mallorca is better
Narrow tunnel on the Torrent de Pareis
off season mallorca is better
The road through Torrent de Pareis. Notice the rock on the north side of the island is greyish in color. Photo Credit: velodenz (flickr)

Make the climb to the Santuari de Sant Salvador on the highest point of the Serra de Llevant in the Felanitx camarca. You can do this on foot if you’re a hardy pilgrim, as there are beautiful tile stations of the cross to mark your way. If you’re a cyclist, you’ll get a different workout and an exhilarating ride back down. Needless to say, we drove. The reward? Beautiful religious monuments, views to forever, a former monastery turned hotel, and a lovely restaurant.

off season mallorca is better
Sant Salvador in the morning mist
off season mallorca is better
Crucifix at Sant Salvador
off season mallorca is better
The former monastery at Sant Salvador

Take the historic train, Ferrocarril de Sóller, from Palma to Sóller. From the train station, you can take a tram to Port de Sóller on the water. Sóller boasts a beautiful church designed by Gaudí in the center of town. On your way back, make time to enjoy the free art exhibitions in the train station. It’s an unexpected way to get a dose of Miró and Picasso. This train has been in operation since 1912.

Tramontana Tour with Historic Railway Ride – Ride the historic railway from Palma to Sóller, and the tram in the historic Port. A picturesque ride through orange groves and almond fields to Bunyola. Includes ice cream sample, 3-course meal, artists’ colony visit, and additional refreshments at La Residencia, which contains a world-renowned art collection featuring works of Miro and Picasso. In Valdemossa, wander through the museum and see the cloister where Chopin lived and worked. Click here for more information and pricing.

off season mallorca is better
Photo Credit: trandesoller.com
off season mallorca is better
Port de Sóller from the Torrent de Pareis

Hang out in a vintage village. Probably the most popular is the Old Town of Alcúdia, a 14th century walled village with towers at each corner. Old Town is literally across the street from the Roman ruins of Pollentia, so it’s a good place to make a wonderful day of it, as we did.

From Port d’Alcudia: Sailing Tour Options – Sail with a small group on a yacht out of northern Mallorca, with sightseeing, food and custom options. Click here for more information and pricing.

off season mallorca is better
Hanging out in Old Town Alcúdia – no waiting for a table!

Sleepy little villages like Santanyí on the southeast side of the island don’t get many visitors in the off season.

off season mallorca is better
Watching the world go by in Santanyí

Our favorite day of the two weeks we spent on Mallorca occurred in the perhaps-overlooked town of Llucmajor, located in the south central island camarca of the same name. Like most villages, life centers around the central plaza here.

On the day we visited Llucmajor, what appeared to be a fundraising event turned into an impromptu street dance. A traditional Mallorquí xeremier band (a xeremia is similar to the bagpipes, and the flabiol they play is like an ocarina or recorder) got things going.

off season mallorca is better
Costumed dancers in the Llucmajor town plaza. Onlookers brought their own castanets!

The dance troupe and musicians encouraged all to participate.

 

I kept thinking of 5th grade in the U.S., when we were forced to square dance. How everyone hated it! But everybody – all ages! – in Llucmajor seemingly loved the traditional dancing. What a sense of community!

off season mallorca is better
Not as easy as it looks, especially in that outfit!

Best Places to Stay in Mallorca

Unlike most visitors, we didn’t spend much time in the main city of Palma at all. Nor did we care to visit the popular resort area with luxury hotels and restaurant strip along the North Shore in new Alcúdia. We could see how those areas could easily get crowded and emit a different kind of energy than we prefer, particularly in the high season.

But the best places to stay in Palma de Mallorca will have a different vibe in off season Mallorca, so don’t rule them out. You may want to visit our post, Mallorca Calas: Our Favorites, to see whether a smaller community might resonate.

Some of the best places to stay in Mallorca, particularly in the off season when the crowds have gone home, are located in the capital city of Palma de Mallorca and surrounding area. This is where you’ll fly in, and some people would just prefer to hang out close by with easy access, particularly if they haven’t rented a car.

Many of the best hotels in Mallorca will arrange shuttles or other transportation for guests who want to sightsee, go to the Playa de Palma beach, or go out for the evening.

Use our interactive map to see where to stay in Mallorca and book your accommodations:

Things to do in Palma de Mallorca

Among the best things to do in Palma de Mallorca is a city tour. Worthy of note:

  • One of the first things you might notice in Palma is the enormous 13th century Cathedral of Santa Maria which overlooks the bay.
  • Right next door is the Almudaina,which was built in the Moorish style by Arab conquerors to serve as a fort, and claimed by the Spanish royal family as their residence in the early 14th century.
  • Bellver Castle, also built in the Gothic style was built in the 1300s. Its imposing presence overlooks the city from a western hilltop.
  • The Plaza Mayor is the historic city square in Palma. It hosts a pre-eminent craft market and is home to shops and restaurants.
  • The 15th century Lonja de Mallorca is a civic building rendered in the Gothic style.
  • The 13th century convent and Basilica of Sant Francesc has a cloister built in the Gothic style and baroque embellishments.
  • Notable museums: The Museo de Mallorca traces culture and history. Fundacio Miro holds the artist’s workshop and studio. Museu Fundacion Juan Marche holds a 20th century collection of art and sculpture.
  • Banos Aribes are the remains of traditional Arabian public baths
  • Concerts and the occasional bullfight are held in the Plaza de Toros (built in 1929), which seats 10,000.

Consider the following tours and excursions in Palma for an immersive experience:

off season mallorca is better
Timeless beauty

Pinnable Images:

off season Mallorca
35 things off season Mallorca
discover offseason Mallorca

Practicalities, Tips and Information:

We arrived in mid-April, just after the almond trees had finished flowering. Many guides suggest booking your stay during the month of March for the bloom. Others recommend the fall.

We encountered many cyclists on the roads. It’s a popular time for them to come ahead of the tourist traffic and before the summer weather turns hot, so be warned. Swimming pools and sea water are cold (by our standards, at least), although brave European kids of all ages were in the water.

Capocorb Vell Archaeological Site, located off Highway Ma6014, Kilometer 23, Llucmajor. Admission fee: around €5

Museu Monográfic de Pollèntia I Zona Arqueològica, Major, 9 – 07400, Alcúdia. Tel. 971 89 71 02 Downloadable guide. Admission fee: €7

Restaurant Escorca, Ma10 Highway, Escorca. Tel. 971 517 09

Año 1849 Restaurant,  Plaça Major, 22, Santanyí, Tel. 971 653 823

Bistro 1909, Facebook Page, two locations on Plaça de Constitution, Old Town, Alcúdia. Tel. 971 54 95 88

Restaurante Ca’s Busso, Carretera Cap Blanc (Ma6014), Km 24, 07609 Llucmajor. Tel. 971 12 30 02

Café Colón, Plaza España No. 17, 07620, Llucmajor. Tel. 971 660 002

Tips for Trip Success

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by using Kayak, a favorite of ours because it regularly returns less expensive flight options from a variety of airlines.

Book Your Hotel or Special Accommodation
We are big fans of Booking.com. We like their review system and photos. If we want to see more reviews and additional booking options, we go to Expedia.

You Need Travel Insurance!
Good travel insurance means having total peace of mind. Travel insurance protects you when your medical insurance often will not and better than what you get from your credit card. It will provide comprehensive coverage should you need medical treatment or return to the United States, compensation for trip interruption, baggage loss, and other situations.Find the Perfect Insurance Plan for Your Tripimage 9133145 14418597

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Mallorca Calas: Our Favorites - Passing Thru

Monday 20th of July 2015

[…] carousing that many associate with the more crowded areas of the Balearic Islands. We spent two weeks in Mallorca and fell in love with the “cala vibe.” Even though you may choose a popular Mallorca community from which to […]

alison abbott

Sunday 28th of June 2015

I'm a firm believer in off season travel (or maybe shoulder season depending on the weather). I was so envious when I saw your first photos right before TBEX. It looks wonderful, and I was thrilled we were able to visit Costa Brava before everyone arrived as well. Great weather, restaurants open and happy to see the first visitors, uncrowded hotels. Yes, you've reinforced with me it's the way to go.

Betsy Wuebker

Monday 29th of June 2015

Hi Alison - Everything you mentioned is a reason. I've no doubt our mutual experience in Costa Brava would have been far different as well.

Sand In My Suitcase

Sunday 28th of June 2015

So glad you enjoyed Majorca! We visited in early October, and happened to hit gorgeous sunny hot weather! We particularly loved the tiny artists' village of Deia on the north coast (and swimming at the little beach there). And how can you beat hiking past orange trees and olive groves from Soller to Fornalutx (said to be Spain's prettiest town)? Your post brings back very fond memories...

Betsy Wuebker

Monday 29th of June 2015

Hi Janice - We'd go back any old time. Deia would definitely be on the list, as we've seen quite a few references to it. Fornalutx is a new name for us, though. We'll keep it in mind!

Sue Reddel

Friday 26th of June 2015

mallorca looks like a wonderful place to visit. I would like to try the herb of Mallorca sounds delicious. As always, your photos are beautiful and entice me to visit.

Jo

Wednesday 24th of June 2015

Oh I would love to hang out in the Old Town across the street from the Roman ruins of Pollentia, And I would love to chill in ancient surroundings and eat such delicious food. Most of all I would like to bump in Rafael please ;)!!

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