Mallorca without a bike

Mallorca has become a mecca for cyclists. The island’s mild winters, and pleasant temperatures are a short flight from London. My very first proper cycling holiday was in Mallorca, the next year followed with my first cycling sportive, the Mallorca 167.  A year later I returned to the east of the island for a week of yoga, but could not resist hiring a bike to ride around the coast, in between crows and downward-facing-dogs (yoga positions).

My mother informs me that my first holiday was also in Mallorca, but I don’t  recall this. There is photographic evidence of a 3yr old podgy me,  in a rather fetching polka dot swimsuit, heart shaped sunglasses, and a prized handbag, which I reportedly kept sachets of sugar in, expropriated from the hotel breakfast buffet.

Last week the Mechanic and a ‘no-refined sugar’ me returned to the island.  Mr M and I are are always  a little nervous of a non-activity beach holiday, knowing that after a couple of days the novelty of doing nothing, lying in the sun is likely to wain. Having  said that we both craved some sunshine, Mr M. wanted to nurture his razor sharp tan lines, and I hoped to blur mine. We booked four nights in Palma and made no plans.

Every guide book on Palma, will undoubtedly direct you to the magnificent cathedral, and probably suggest the very cute historic train that goes to Soller.  However it’s lovely to wander and make your own discoveries. Here are a few of our favourite finds.

Hotel –

H M Balanguera   

A stylish hotel, situated about 10-15 mins walk from the old town. The interior combines lots of white with contemporary Mallorcan decor.  The room rate includes a buffet breakfast, simple continental style, pastries, fresh fruit, cheese, cold meats and eggs. In addition there is a lovely roof terrace with a  small plunge pool, perfect for a post sight-seeing / pre-dinner chillax.

Restaurants – 


A charming restaurant located in the centre of Palma’s old quarter. It feels like you are entering  a nineteenth century manor house, where the staff treat you as guests, serving superb Mallorcan cuisine. Try the delicious Mallorcan Cocas, a traditional recipe of the island.

Incidentally earlier this year I read in one of the Sunday newspapers that the terrace of the restaurant was used as a location in The Night Manager ( the scene was  actually set in Madrid). I liked the idea of Tom Hiddleston joining us for dinner!


Our hotel recommended the Santa Catalina area for a good choice of restaurants, that’s where we discovered Amaya. Delicious Spanish cuisine, with a distinctly modern twist. Similarly with the interior decor which also featured unusual  contemporary details such as a ceiling covered in colourful window shutters.

Patron Lunares  

This place is  decorated like a really hip fishing boat. We initially perched ourselves at the bar for a G&T, however watching the food come out, we couldn’t resist dining too. We ordered tapas, including make your own guacamole, all the ingredients arrived in a mortar with pestle, to be mashed by ourselves, you couldn’t have a fresher dip!

Shopping –

Rialto Living  

Rialto Living is a fashion and lifestyle store that occupies an 18th Century Baroque style ‘Palacio’. Offering a carefully curated mix of fashion, accessories, gifts and stationery, as well as items for the home. There is also a pretty cafe, to relax in whilst you consider what purchases you can fit in your luggage to take home.


This store is top of my list to visit next time I’m in Palma. Sybilla is a talented designer, despite being  one of Spain’s most important fashion designers for 30 years, she has avoided the limelight. In 2005 she distanced herself from the fashion world and moved to Mallorca, where she got herself involved in farming. She has now returned to fashion and this week opens a shop in Palma.

From the street I was attracted to the simple fashion shapes, in a wonderful palette of vibrant colours. The shop was being merchandised ready for opening, however seeing my inquisitive face at the door, I was delighted to be beckoned in by Sybilla for a little preview.

Read more about Sybilla at W Magazine

Beaches –

Illetas Beach Club 

To escape the busy waterside in Palma its worth taking a short taxi ride (approx 15mins) along the coast to Illetas. A small sandy beach in a rocky cove with a couple of restaurants overlooking beautiful crystal clear waters. It was easy to spend  a day here attending to the tan lines.

Our hotel did offer bike hire, however on this occasion we declined, probably made easier by the fact that they featured baskets.

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