Just a short hop from the UK, Mallorca has long since been a place synonymous with an easy island getaway, attracting avid sun-seekers, a yacht-residing glitterati and cultural enthusiasts alike. As the largest of Spain‘s Balearic Islands, it boasts miles of intriguing coastline, from stark and imposing cliff faces to seemingly endless stretches of powder white sands. This attractive contrast, teamed with a healthy smattering of simply charming historic towns and its beautiful capital city – Palma, keeps Mallorca in the travellers’ limelight. If you make the effort to explore the islands’ varying landscapes – you won’t be disappointed with what you discover.
Situated on the south coast, Es Trenc may be the most surprising of Mallorca’s beach offerings. Its long stretch of bright sands and clear turquoise water alludes more to the Caribbean than it does to the Balearic Sea. As it’s not part of a resort, you won’t find a concrete backdrop to this secluded gem, but a protected area of sand dunes and wetlands. What the beach lacks in depth is easily made up for in width, and the shallow shore stretches out for some way to the anchored boats bobbing in the distance, making it great for children. You can access Es Trenc through Ses Covettes or through the salt flats at the south, which makes for an interesting drive. Combine an afternoon on the beach with a morning at Campos’ lively market (Thursdays and Saturdays) – it’s just a 10-minute drive away.
Cala en Basset
There’s no driving up to Cala en Basset; you need a boat or a good pair of legs to reach this secluded spot. Situated on the west coast near the popular village of Sant Elm, you’ll pass through the village and park up on Calle Poppia (where the tarmac turns to dirt-track) to continue your travels on foot. Following a series of carefully laid stone piles, the route winds you up into the pines and takes in some seriously stunning views over Dragonera Island. Take a small detour to visit the 16th-century Tower of Cala en Basset – one of Mallorca’s many defence towers (and an excellent orientation point should you find yourself off track). You should arrive after 20 minutes or so and, when you do, jumping into the clear waters from the rocky beach makes a serenely satisfying end to your dusty voyage.
Cala Deià is located on the north of the island and is just 70 metres in length and 10 metres wide (depending on the tide). This shingle, pebble and rock beach extends into the bay’s wonderfully clear waters and the surrounding cliffs make for some particularly pretty scenery. The snorkelling here is impressive, with swimmable tunnels and fish-filled caves all waiting to be discovered underwater. For a lovely view over the beach and beyond, take the path that leads up to Sa Pedrisa watchtower – one of the island’s old defences against pirate invasion. Combine an early Saturday morning at Sóller’s energetic artisanal market nearby, with some time on Cala Deià before lunch – just be sure to make a reservation at one of the two cliffside restaurants to avoid disappointment over the busier months.
This former fishing village is located within Palma’s eastern outskirts and has seen a recent rejuvenation that leaves it sprinkled with independent boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The road from Palma eventually winds around Es Portixol marina and continues along the coast. Park up early and continue to explore on foot – it’s the best way to appreciate the former fisherman’s cottages that line the waterfront. What’s more, you’ll give yourself the chance to peruse the menus of local restaurants and make a reservation for lunch. (Ca’n Punta is well worth a visit, with fresh seafood, Greek and Mediterranean dishes). The beaches here can be surprisingly quiet and, although small in depth, they extend along the coast for some way and offer plenty of shallow waters. When the winds are low, it’s a great place to try out paddle boarding, with rental facilities readily available.
This unique part pebble and part sand beach is located on Mallorca’s north east coast, at the very end of an impressively steep gorge. Don’t be fooled upon arrival, the first pebble beach you come to isn’t the main attraction here – take the path to the right and follow the (handily lit) tunnels to emerge at Sa Calobra’s rustic sands. Further ahead, you’ll find the larger, pebbled beach of Torrent de Pareis which is picturesquely flanked by the gorge’s imposing cliff faces before the water opens out into the sea. It’s best to visit this beach out of season, as it becomes extremely popular with coach-loads of tourists during the high season. It’s also worth noting that the drive here winds up and down a mountain road and takes more time to navigate than you might imagine. The beach’s seclusion does not afford it facilities – so take your own – but cafes and restaurants can be found back in Sa Calobra itself.