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Where Mountains Meet the Sea: The Quieter Side of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

Mallorca sunset Tramuntana Formentor sunset Happier Place

The Mediterranean island Mallorca is one of those magical places where the mountains meet the sea, where wildlife mingles with historic buildings, and the weather is as lovely as the food.

Mallorca (aka Majorca) is the largest of the Balearic Islands just off the Spanish mainland in the Mediterranean Sea. It can be reached by plane from most European airports or via a 7:30-hour ferry ride from Barcelona (distance about 200 km / 125 miles).

Popular Mallorca

With all its perks of warm and dry climate, rugged mountains, sand beaches, mediterranean food, Catalan culture, and proximity to mainland Spain, it’s no wonder it’s been a popular destination for European tourists and expats. Being also a very affordable place, it’s been a magnet especially for young people looking to party hard and for expats who are done with the grey skies of Northern Europe. If you just head to the popular beaches of south-east Mallorca, you’ll mostly hear German, Dutch and English spoken – or sung drunkenly.

But this is far from all that Mallorca is about. If you turn your back on the beaches in the south-east, you’ll discover a completely different island. Because of Mallorca’s beautiful landscape of mountains and the sea and its rich history (mainly Moorish and Spanish) there are so many amazing and quieter places to discover. Here are just a few ideas of where to escape the crowded beaches, take in some nature, or explore a bit of history.

The city of Palma sits between the mountains and the sea and is home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (aka La Seu)
The city of Palma sits between the mountains and the sea and is home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria (aka La Seu)

Serra de Tramuntana

The Serra de Tramuntana (Tramuntana Mountain Range) stretch along the north-west to south-west coast of Mallorca – making up about a third of the island. From Palma de Mallorca, the island’s capital, the Tramuntanas can be reached in less than an hour. The mountain region invites you to spend hours or days sipping wine, hiking, cycling, eating olives, swimming, fishing or whatever you do that makes you happier.

We highly recommend a Tramuntana Road Trip – for the views from the road alone. Even UNESCO declared the Sierra de Tramontana (Spanish spelling) a World Heritage Site because of its natural and cultural significance. If you were to drive from the town of Calvià (about 45 minutes west of Palma de Mallorca) via Valdemossa to Cap de Formentor along the scenic mountain roads, the entire drive (without stops) would take you about 4 hours. Here are a few glimpses from those roads…

Road lined with rustic walls on Mallorca
Driving through the Tramuntana Mountain on a road lined by rustic walls
Winding road with rock overhang in the Driving through the Tramuntana Mountain on a road lined by rustic walls
Winding road through the Tramuntana Mountains.
Fallen wall, gate and tree: rustic old farm charm along the road on Mallorca.
Rustic old farm charm along the road on Mallorca.
Ancient watchtower of Talaia d'Albertcutx seen from the road below in Mallorca, Spain.
Ancient watchtower of Talaia d’Albertcutx seen from the road below.
Views of cliffs, rock islands lots of plands from the road up to Cap de Formentor on Mallorca.
Views of cliffs, rock islands, and lots of plants from along the road up to Cap de Formentor on Mallorca.

Calvià

Stop in Vila Calvià (a 45-minute drive from Palma) for a little bit of history and as a jumping off point into the Serra Tramuntana to the west or to visit coves and beaches to the south.

Neo-classical church of Sant Joan Baptista in Calvia, Mallorca, Spain.
The neo-classical church of Sant Joan Baptista in Calvia was built in the 1800s on the remains of the original church built in the 13th century.
Ceramic tiles on the side of a building show the history of the Calvià region through the centuries.
Ceramic tiles on the side of a building show the history of the Calvià region through the centuries.

Valldemossa

Valldemossa is a picturesque village in a valley of the Tramuntana Mountains. It’s worth a visit because of it’s lovely natural setting and charming cobble stone streets and rustic architecture. But the town is probably best known for the Valldemossa Charterhouse or Cartoixa de Valldemossa (Carthusian Monastery of Valldemossa) – a palace and former monastery established in the 15th century. During the winter of 1838-39, the composer Frédéric Chopin and the writer George Sand stayed and created at the Charterhouse.

The Charterhouse Monastery of Valldemossa on a green hill on Mallorca.
The famous Charterhouse (Carthusian Monastery) of Valldemossa.
Historic buildings, churches and cobble stone streets in Valldemossa on the island Mallorca.
Historic buildings and cobble stone streets in Valldemossa.
Cat resting on a wall in front of the Valldemossa monastery tower.
Nothing says quiet and relaxing quite like a cat with its eyes closed – here with the Valldemossa monastery in the background. Clearly, the quieter side of Mallorca.

Port de Valldemossa

Down a windy mountain road from Valldemossa, you will discover the small seaside village Port de Valldemossa. A perfect place to cool off, watch a sunset, meet some cats, and dream of living in a seaside mountain village with your own little boat.

Small boats in the seaside village Port de Valldemossa on the Balearic Island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean.
Small boats in the seaside village Port de Valldemossa on the Balearic Island of Mallorca in the Mediterranean.
Natural and man-made rock walls and steps along the Mallorca coast in Port de Valldemossa.
Natural and man-made rock walls and steps along the Mallorca coast in Port de Valldemossa.
Sunset into the sea - seen perfectly from Port de Valldemossa on Mallorca, Spain.
Sunset into the sea – seen perfectly from Port de Valldemossa on Mallorca.

Cap de Formentor

The most northern tip of the Balearic island of Mallorca is probably the best place to watch a sunset – as you can see in the featured image at the top of the post. The rugged Formentor coastline adds just the right dash of additional drama to the change in color and light of the sun setting into the sea. Of course, you also get to see the lighthouse and maybe eve some wildlife.

Rough and invigorating: the Tramuntana coastline on the way Cap de Formentor
Rough and rugged: Tramuntana coastline near Cap de Formentor.
Balearean Goat - Wild Goat on Mallorca
Balearean Goat is the wild goat found in the mountains of Mallorca. This may be a young one – since the horns are still short.
Road to the Lighthouse of Formentor and the cliffs of Serra de Tramuntana
Road to the Lighthouse of Formentor and the cliffs of Serra de Tramuntana.
The lighthouse of Formentor - the most northern point of Mallorca.
Finally: the lighthouse of Formentor (Far de Formentor) – the most northern point of Mallorca.

Your Own Secluded Beach

The island of Mallorca is about 3,640 square km big – and its most known for its beautiful sand beaches and turquoise sea. So keep going, keep looking and maybe you’ll find a little bit of beach all to yourself…

Yellow wildflowers along a beach on Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.
Yellow wildflowers along a beach on Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain.

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All photos in the post were taken by Luci – as were all these other photos of Spain. Special thank you to Bine for all the driving – and to Gilly for being Gilly.

Off the Beaten Beach: Discover the Other Mallorca - featuring Valldemossa mountain village and Cap de Formentor sunset.
#travelguide #travel #Mallorca #Spain #HappierPlace

30 thoughts on “Where Mountains Meet the Sea: The Quieter Side of Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain)

  1. Beautiful photos, makes me want to go there. History and beach, now that’s a wonderful combination.

    1. Thank you so much. Glad to inspire!

  2. I was stationed in Spain and we would often drive up to Palma de Mallorca. However, we were super young and all we did was party. I am so mad we didn’t take advantage of these places!

    1. That must have been quite amazing to be stationed there. Can totally relate to missed opportunities of exploring (especially nature) during those younger days when socializing and partying seems to be the best way of having fun. Glad we learned there is so much more that feeds our souls!

  3. Mallorca looks incredible. You capture the beauty so well in your pictures.

    1. That’s so nice of you to write. Thank you, Miss J. It is quite an incredible place!

  4. Very nice place. The mountains are so beautiful, thanks for sharing the beauty of nature.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Owen!

  5. Beautiful pictures. You have really named too capture the landscape and culture. In thinking about going for some hiking

  6. Such beautiful photos! This is completely and utterly spectacular!
    I would love to travel here so much. Thanks for sharing

  7. It definitely seems worth it to me! What a beautiful place it is! I’d love to visit someday in the future, perhaps when my children are a little older.

  8. I have never been there but all I can say is every places that you’ve shown us here are all beautiful and definitely a highly recommended destinations to visit.

  9. Our family has plans to pass through Spain on the way to Morocco, so this post is right on time. We were already looking at Madrid and Portugal, but now you’ve given us another place to consider. The area looks just spectacular!

  10. Just viewing your amazing photos gave me a calm relaxed longing to go there and never come back.

  11. It is so breathtaking! Such a beautiful place to visit. I absolutely adore that cat relaxing.

  12. the place looks absolutely beautiful! I am sure your photos try the best to capture the natural beauty! I now so want to visit it and see it with my own eyes

  13. Mallorca has long been in my bucket list. One of my friends visited last year and was quite impressed and I can see why. Loving the photos.

  14. i really loved this post, since Mallorca is one of my favourite places to go every year! My fav spot is Formentor but there are sooo many towns and hidden beaches i always find inner peace in..!

    xx
    malibluemymind

  15. Mallorca is so beautiful. Those pictures are so romantic, would definitely visit.

    https://SatinOfLux.com | Fashion Blog by Dess

  16. Thanks for bringing us to Balearic Islands, Spain through your blog! It’s now in my bucket list!

  17. Thanks for sharing the beauty of nature! I want to visit this place one day for sure!

  18. I’ve been to Canary island, would love to visit Balearic islands as well. Those are some amazing pictures of Mallorca.

  19. Stunning! The mountains at the water is beautiful. Looks like a great place to visit.

  20. These pictures are beautiful! I’d love to travel there one day!

  21. A friend of mine was telling me today she’s planning a trip to Mallorca! I’ve never been. The island is gorgeous, can’t wait to go there myself.

  22. What a beautiful island! Those cliffs and beaches look so amazing I would love to visit Palma some day!

  23. I love that you have showcased other places than Palma!
    It is so beautiful *-*

  24. I love looking at places that give you that serene feeling. So beautiful!

  25. Its history meets nature here. The pictures are absolutely beautiful.

    1. That’s such a great way of describing Mallorca, especially that area. And thank you!

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