More than just sightseeing in Mallorca
Mallorca, an island steeped in natural beauty, has long been considered one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. Although much of the country has been developed for tourism, as can be seen by the number of resorts, hotels and restaurants springing up all over the island, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much of the island's natural beauty has been preserved.
There is a wide range of landscapes on the Mediterranean island, sandy beaches with turquoise waters and rugged cliffs where the waves crash, over snow-capped mountains, lush Mediterranean forests and tranquil wetlands full of wildlife.
Nature parks on the coast of Mallorca
Mallorca's nature parks all have their own distinctive attractions - from extraordinary bird assemblages to rare lizard species and endemic flora and fauna. Mondrago Nature Park is a wonderful coastal nature reserve on the south-east coast. Not only does the park offer picturesque sandy beaches and turquoise waters, but it is also home to various wetlands, "Fonts de n'Alis", as well as a variety of migratory birds.
On the north coast of Mallorca, near the bays of Pollença and Alcúdia, there are other numerous wetlands that are home to various species of birds. Perhaps the best known are S'Albufera, possibly the largest and most bird-rich of all the nature reserves on the Mediterranean islands, and S'Albufereta, which boasts an impressive variety of landscapes. The Eleonora's falcon, the osprey and the purple heron are among the most famous birds you can see here.
Uninhabited islands around Mallorca
The islands around Mallorca are particularly prized for their natural beauty. Sa Dragonera is a small island off the west coast of Mallorca that has become a landmark of special interest in recent years. It is again home to more than 350 species of plants, but is also widely known for its population of wall lizards, an endemic subspecies found nowhere else in the world. Being uninhabited, birds also like to make this island their home, making it considered a birdwatcher's paradise. Covering an area of less than 3 square kilometres, you can also visit lighthouses from the early 20th century here, from which you can enjoy magnificent views over the Mallorcan coastline.
Off the east coast, the Cabrera archipelago is a maritime land national park. Known for its aquamarine waters and pristine beaches, it's no surprise that snorkelling is a popular activity here. Covering an area of just 15 square kilometres, Hannibal, the Punic military commander, is said to have been born here. Although uninhabited today, it was used for centuries by pirates as a base for attacks on Mallorca. As a result, a castle was built at its port in the 14th century. Today it is a national park, home to rare flora and famous for its maritime biodiversity thanks to the neptune grass meadows that surround its coast. Endangered animals are protected by the park and fishing is prohibited in its waters.
Imposing mountains in Mallorca
There are two groups of famous mountain ranges on Mallorca. The Serra de Tramuntana is the largest and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the "Cultural Landscape" category in 2011. The current landscape has been shaped by man over the centuries and blends in with the natural fauna and flora of the land. The paths, terraces, walls and traditional constructions of dry-stone masonry undeniably complement the natural landscape.
Discovered by cyclists as one of the best training spots in Europe thanks to its challenging climbs, Tramuntana is also the perfect setting for hikes of all levels. Perhaps the most famous trail here is the 135km GR221 dry stone route, which will appeal to even the most experienced hikers. This 8-day hike runs from Port d'Andratx to Pollença along old paved paths. If you prefer the comfort of a car, you can also just drive around and discover the endless, breathtaking views of the sea and the mountains after every hairpin bend.
To the north, the Llevant is a smaller mountain range famous for its remote, unspoilt beaches as well as its colonies of Mediterranean turtles. Whichever mountain range you choose to visit, we guarantee you will be more than satisfied with the magnificent scenery you will encounter. In fact, these mountains appeal to a whole range of hikers, cyclists and birdwatchers who visit the island all year round.
Impressive caves as a tourist attraction
Mallorca has some of the most extraordinary cave formations in Europe, which have become one of the island's biggest tourist attractions. The Arta Caves comprise huge chambers of stalactites and stalagmites in the rock face on the north-east coast. Further down the coast are the Cuevas del Drach, four caves with a large underground lake considered one of the largest in the world. Although these sites are more on the touristy side, the actual formations are untouched and the colours are amazing, you will be truly enchanted once you enter them.
Natural Springs & Waterfalls
Es Salt des Frau is a natural waterfall between Bunyola and Alaro in a beautiful forest of holm oaks, pines and olive trees. It is a great place for swimming, paddling or canyoning. However, summer is probably not the best time to visit as the waterfall can sometimes dry up due to the lack of rain. After some heavy rains, which are of course quite rare on the island, it is worth visiting a grove in Campanet to see the natural spring of Ses Fonts Ufanes - a hydrological wonder that only occurs after a downpour. A small river appears as if from nowhere, due to a natural underground system that catches the overflows of the main river flowing through the forest and makes for an easy walk.
Secluded beaches in Mallorca
Last but not least, Mallorca's beaches are known for being among the most beautiful in Europe. The island has more than 200 beaches in total, many of which have undergone tourist development. However, some are still unspoilt and their natural beauty is breathtaking. Sa Calobra is a postcard-worthy natural beach located at the end of a gorge formed by the Torrent de Pareis. Set between two high cliffs, the small beach has neither sun loungers nor water sports facilities, but it does have a restaurant nearby, perfect for lunch if you want to enjoy the beach for a long day.