A summer island in winter!
While Mallorca is a sought-after destinations to spend summers drenched in sun and sea, winter too has its own charm here. Exploring the quiet city streets and taking in the beauty of nature is wildly easier without thousands of teeming fellow travellers no?
In the beginning of January, the gloomy winter skies in Paris and the post-festivities blues, were enough to make me not want to get out of the house. Paris I love you but I cannot with the terrible weather!
Luckily, thanks to family who live in Mallorca, I ended up spending a week there in the middle of January. It was a much-needed respite from all the cold and grey of Paris.
I could have honestly stayed in the island throughout the whole winter (Adding this to retirement goals, for now). Sigh!
While Mallorca is already one of the hottest destinations in Europe for summer, here are my reasons as to why you should or should not visit Mallorca in winter. And what to do here if you decide to travel here off-season.
What’s so special about Mallorca?
Mallorca (Majorca) is one of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean and is universally know for its beaches, parties and resorts. It is especially popular with German and English summer vacationers, and the island has a flourishing expat community from the two nations as well.
Beyond wild parties and famous resort towns, what is less know about Mallorca, is that it also has much to offer in terms of both culture and nature: from its numerous beaches with crystal clear waters, to lush mountains with magnificent orange orchards; from picturesque villages which have formed the setting for artists communities, to architecture which bears the imprint of its interesting history.
The ideal weather and solitude of winter make it an apt occasion to discover this island beyond its beaches. Winter temperature in Mallorca shifts between 10°C during night-time while in the daytime it goes up to about a glorious 18°C.
Best things to do in Mallorca in winter
Besides soaking in plenty of sun, eating good food, and relaxing by the clear blue waters, here’s all I did in Mallorca.
Explore Palma’s old town in tranquility
Palma, the capital city of Mallorca, forms the heart of Mallorca’s culture and commerce. It has a rich history and is the ideal starting ground to explore the island.
Being a popular summer destination, the warmer seasons see this city bustling with life, from cafes and bars that open onto the wee hours of the night, to nightclubs where you can dance the night away.
If you are not the partying kind, and would love to leisurely explore the history and architecture of the city, winter is the ideal time. Peak summers can get as hot as 35ºC in the city, making city exploration in the blazing sun quiet an ordeal.
Some places not to miss in Palma include,
- The magnificent Cathedral of Mallorca
- Royal palace of La Alamudina
- Castell de Bellver, which offers the best bird’s eye view of the city, and is also one of the few circular castles in Europe. There are also lush woods that surround the castle which is ideal for a walk
- Parc de la Mer, which offers a splendid setting to watch the sunset with a view of the sea and the cathedral.
Nature trails and sunny hikes
The main winter activity in Mallorca, are exploring nature trails, hiking and cycling. Considering the fact that Mallorca is chockablock with beaches, lagoons, cliffs, hills, mountains, lakes and nature reserves, there is no end to the routes you can pick. This is a true nature-lover paradise!
As I said before, temperatures in summer can soar, making it uncomfortable to be out doing activities in the open for long stretches of time. So winter is the perfect time to enjoy exploring the landscape Mallorca has to offer.
If you fancy taking a dip, water temperatures are around room-temperature in the afternoon when the sun is the strongest. So going for a swim is not impossible unless you absolutely detest cold water.
Get on a boat and explore
Even if you end up not swimming in winter in Mallorca, you can always hire a boat and go out and explore the island. Boats are the way to go if you want to access some of the exclusive beaches and coves in Mallorca which cannot be accessed by roads.
Do a road-trip and explore charming Mallorcan villages
If you visit Mallorca for a long-ish period of time and would like to explore way more than the touristy bits of the island, I would highly recommend you to rent a car. The island is very well-connected by buses, so in a pinch, you can always use public transport.
However, renting a car offers you a lot of flexibility. Mallorca becomes very slow and sleepy in the off-season i.e. winter, so having a car lets you set your own pace.
Mallorca is home to some of the most beautiful and culturally significant villages in Spain. I would be making a future posts about the must-visit villages in Mallorca which include Valdemossa, Fornalutx and Deia.
All of them have been made famous by the poets and artists who lived and work there, being inspired by the beauty that surrounded them, while in turn, inspiring generations of artists after them to visit these places.
Fill your evenings with tapas and wine
If you choose to stay in the city of Palma, there would be no dearth of eating and drinking options but if you are stay somewhere much smaller, your options might be limited but still manageable.
Needless to say, gorge on the local delicacies, such as sobresada, tumbet and coca de trampó. In winter, the clubs and hip bars are all shut but you can find local bars and restaurants where Mallorcans hang out, as well as a number of cool spots that cater to expats who live in Mallorca through the winter, most definitely to avoid the cold weather back in their home country.
Do not travel to Mallorca in the winter if……….
While I have said enough about why you should visit Mallorca in the winter, it is equally important to know the reasons why a winter vacation even on a Mediterranean paradise like Mallorca might just not be for you. And there are some pretty strong reasons against it.
A lot of people in Mallorca do not actually live there full-time. Due to the enormous tourism industry in the island, a lot of residents are employed in the travel and tourism sector. This implies that in the off-season, when there are no tourists, a lot of people in the hospitality industry leave the island as well.
You will also not be able to swim or do any water sports even though there will be plenty of occasion to sunbathe.
Many restaurants remain closed and surprisingly, this also include fast-food places like McDonald’s in some locations. Party destinations such as Magaluf are absolutely dead in winter with not a single soul visible on the streets.
So, if you want to have a party-filled, highly-serviced, city-break sort of a holiday, winter in Mallorca is definitely not for you.
Come to Mallorca in the winter if you love the slow life, if you love nature and if you want to get away from the hustle, bustle and noise of the world, or if you want to spend some time with yourself or your loved one with sun and solitude.