An archipelago off the east coast of Spain, the Balearics are known for their sunny beaches, beautiful natural surroundings and some of the liveliest nights out in Spain.
Whether you are a party animal, nature lover or an aspiring artist you’ll be able to find a Balearic island that suits your way of life.
Which Balearic is for you? The four main islands each have their own distinct character; Ibiza, the party island with a deep history and hidden gems to the north; Menorca, peaceful, rustic and largely unspoiled; Mallorca, one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations and an inspiration for artists; Formentera, the smallest and most southerly island that still retains its rural charms.
Explore a little closer however and you’ll find your preconceptions quickly crumble. For example, in Ibiza, long considered the club capital of Europe, it is still possible to enjoy a relaxed pace of life away from the action of San Antonio. Head inland and you’ll find a patchwork of olive groves and rugged, wooded hills dotted with pretty towns and villages.
If you’ve visited the Balearics in the summer, you’ll know just how busy they can get. This unstoppable tide of humanity hasn’t spoiled the islands’ natural beauty however, and you don’t have to look far to find some of Spain’s richest landscapes, including UNESCO World Heritage sites like the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana in Mallorca and Ibiza’s necropolis of Puig des Molins.
The Balearics have long been a beacon for artists, writers and musicians. Beyond the electronic pulse of Ibiza there are cultural riches to be discovered, most famously in Mallorca’s literary Mecca, Deià. You’ll find a thriving cosmopolitan community in Palma, the largest city in the Balearics and a truly international centre voted ‘the best place to live’ by the Sunday times.
The expat population on the islands has reduced a little in recent years, but there are still substantial numbers of foreign residents, including British, German, Moroccan and Italian. In 2017, of the 1.1 million population, foreign inhabitants made up 16.7% of the total. Whatever your background you’re sure to feel at home.
The busiest of the Balearics, there is much to discover in Majorca. Beautiful beaches, breath-taking natural surroundings and enough culture and history to last a lifetime.
From stylish resorts to a cosmopolitan capital city, you’ll enjoy a stimulating lifestyle, unique culture and amazing seafood on this perennially popular island.
Spain’s biggest island, Majorca is the most popular destination in the Balearic Islands, with 28 million people passing through its busy airport every year. It is also one of the region’s most beautiful and diverse places, often described not as an island, but as a miniature continent all of its own. You will be amazed by the variety of its landscape beyond the dramatic coastline, from the fertile plains of the centre, to the alpine peaks of the Tramuntana.
Palma – the island’s capital – will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. This city of 400,000 inhabitants has a cultural richness and history which you’ll find in the opulent churches, grand public buildings and stunning private mansions of the old town. Discover Byzantine ruins, Arabic arches, medieval gothic churches and 20th century modernism – Palma is a museum of the very best of Spanish architectural styles.
As you explore the coastline, you’ll discover an equal richness. The main resorts on the east coast each have their own identity. Try Cala Figuera in the southern corner, which still has an old-fashioned feel with fisherman’s boat houses linked by walkways to the very best seafood restaurants the region has to offer.
Heading to the northwest coast, stone walled villages nestle in the shadow of the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Follow the dramatic coastline and you will find delightful villages amongst the orange and lemon groves. Soller, with its eccentric transport including an old-fashioned Orange tram and links to the capital by a narrow-gauge railway running a little wooden train.
If you’re looking for artistic inspiration, you won’t be the first. Writers, musicians and artists including Chopin, Robert Graves and Joan Miró all made homes on the island. Many still make the pilgrimage to Deià, once home to a thriving artist’s colony, which writer Gertrude Stein called ‘paradise, if you can stand it.’ Now chic, expensive and very popular, there are certainly fewer struggling artists, but you will certainly be inspired!
Featured cities on Mallorca:
Palma De Majorca
All the benefits of beautiful Majorca, combined with the cosmopolitan feel of a major European city, Palma is the urban jewel of the Balearics.
The de facto centre of life on Majorca, Palma is perhaps the biggest surprise awaiting visitors to the islands. While the lure of the beaches is strong, many will choose to stay in the friendly, cosmopolitan capital on the southwest of the island.
Palma is packed with architectural delights, such as the remarkable La Seu, the cathedral that rises out of the rose-coloured rock. Explore the labyrinthine medieval streets of the old town or the intoxicating buzz of La Lonja where you can spend days or nights sitting outside bars, drinking the outstanding local wines or snacking on delicious ensaimada, a pastry spiral, dusted with icing sugar.
Unlike much of the rest of the Balearics, Palma remains vibrant throughout the winter months too – as does the weather, rarely dipping below 16 degrees. With just over 400,000 permanent residents Palma has the infrastructure and amenities you need, yet thanks to a relaxed way of life it rarely feels hectic. This is a city that gets under your skin
The twelfth largest urban area in Spain, you’ll find almost half of Majorca’s population living in Palma, with around 60,000 non-Spanish residents. The town hosts a friendly concoction of people from all over Europe, helping to create the town’s famous buzzy atmosphere.
There is so much more to choose from in Palma than the usual seaside city. From convenient modern urban apartments to period properties cast in honey coloured stone in the old town. Seek out the exciting bohemian neighbourhood of Santa Catalina and you’ll reap the rewards of its amazing restaurants or enjoy the sea views in the popular harbour location of Paseo Marítimo.
Palma de Majorca is the island’s centre for healthcare with a choice of private and public hospitals including several A&E units. In addition, there are a selection of private specialist doctors and complementary medical services to choose from.
In the city centre you’ll find plentiful family run shops alongside departments stores and fashionable boutiques and designer stores. On the outskirts are garden centres and DIY stores. Furniture making is still an important part of Majorca’s identity, although you could always just visit the local IKEA.
The main transport hub for the island, Palma is served by its own airport, where you will be one of 28 million people who pass through every year. A more picturesque way to arrive on the island is by ferry which arrives in the nearby city port. Head over to the Plaça d’Espanya for buses and trains.
Although property is a little cheaper, you’ll find yourself paying a little more for your daily pan and cerveza than elsewhere on Majorca. But plentiful shops mean a good opportunity to shop around and avoid the pricier tourist hotspots.
In a sheltered cove on the south-west of Majorca lies Santa Ponsa, a popular seaside destination of over thirty years, with easy access to the capital and stunning mountainous scenery.
Perfect if you’re looking for a classy spot on Majorca’s south west tip with easy access to some of the best golf, sailing and nightlife the Balearic Islands have to offer.
One of the most popular family resorts in Majorca, Santa Ponsa is a resort town, beloved of holiday makers and its thriving community of mainly British and Irish expats. Less than half an hour from the capital and closer still to its buzzing neighbour Magaluf, Santa Ponsa has its own distinct charms, not least the sweeping sandy beach and thriving sea front crammed with restaurants and cafes with an international flavour.
If you prefer to take to the water amid a little luxury or simply want to admire the beautiful boats, the town is also home to a jaw dropping yacht club and a little further down the coast, you’ll find Port Adriano, the Philippe Starck designed port for super yachts. But you don’t have to be super rich to live here, the city attracts all sorts, from families and retired people who want to enjoy the sea and excellent golf, to fun seekers looking for a more relaxed alternative to the bright lights of the neighbouring resorts.
You’ll find a warm welcome in this cosmopolitan community. Depending on your budget and interests it’s worth investigating the different areas; some of the outlying developments will suit the boat and golf enthusiasts, while areas on the north side are the stomping ground of the younger crowd.
Your options range from affordable studio apartments and houses in the main town, to upscale luxury along the big beach, Port Adriano and in outlying areas such as Nova Santa Ponsa where you’ll find luxurious detached villas with pools.
Santa Ponsa has many of the attractions that people are looking for when they relocate to Majorca. You’ll find three golf courses, two excellent beaches, a marina, tennis club and an array of shops, boutiques and a street market every Saturday.
There is easy motorway access to neighbouring towns and the city of Palma, with the island’s airport a 30-minute drive away. If you’re without a car there’s a a reliable, regular bus service running hourly to the capital.
Several Spanish public schools serve all ages in town. But if you’re looking for an English language education, the Baleares International College is a short drive away on the road to Magaluf.
Cost of Living
Prices range according to where and how you want to live. Specialised grocery shops selling popular British products could cost you an arm and a leg but check out the Spanish supermarkets and Saturday market for a more reasonable grocery bill.
Nestled among the lush green Serra de Tramuntana mountains, the working fishing port of Port d’Andratx mixes Hollywood glamour with old world charm.
While away blissful days in this exclusive port location, where a life of laid-back luxury is framed by breathtaking scenery.
This beautiful fishing village is tucked away in Majorca’s southwestern tip is one of the most stylish destinations on the island. Located around 5 kilometers from the beautiful town of Andratx, the village is known for its luxury yachts, glamourous villas and its popularity with film stars and celebrities. Port d’Andratx is a working fishing port, which means you can enjoy some fabulous seafood in the many cafes and bars that line the harbour.
Overlooking the Balearic sea, whose azure waters shimmer beneath the lush green mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana, you could easily spend your days sat in the harbour just drinking in the views. However, there’s so much to see and do in the area that you’re likely to be drawn away by a nearby luxury retreat, nature park, beach, museum or historical site.
For example, the surreal brain-shaped Liedtke Museum which sits perched on a nearby cliff edge – aims to unlock the creativity of its visitors and features a mixture of thought-provoking works spanning art and science.
Venture inland past fragrant orange and almond groves to the town of Andratx, whose colourfully painted facades and flaxen Majorcan stone provide a charming backdrop for visitors in search of delicious local produce from the town’s weekly markets.
Port d’Andratx is a popular area which has attracted an international community and is known to be a favourite among the rich and famous. The area remains a working fishing port and is therefore also home to those dependant on the the fishing industry.
You’ll find a good variety of property from rustic fincas, modern villas and terraced houses, to apartments, duplexes and penthouses. This is a very desirable location, and properties tend to be luxurious and finished to a very high standard: deep pockets are essential!
From chic designer boutiques, interior design stores to organic food and wine shops, Port D’andratx offers everything you could need for a luxury lifestyle. For essentials, there are several supermarkets and convenience stores.
There are also plenty of leisure facilities, from golf courses, beach clubs, yacht charters and watersports clubs. For dining you are spoilt for choice, with a number of excellent seafood restaurants and several fine dining options offering international cuisine. There is also a selection of bars, lounges and clubs on the waterfront, so you can watch the sun go down, cocktail in hand.
There is an hourly bus which connects you to the main town of Andratx plus Camp de Mar, Peguera and Santa Ponsa, but the best way to get around here is by car. You’re just over 30 minutes away from Palma airport, which offers international flights.
There are a number of international doctors in the area, including the Clinica Port d’Andratx. There is a private hospital in nearby Santa Ponsa and several state hospitals in Palma, which is just over 30 minutes away by car.
Cost of Living
This is a very sought after and exclusive location which offers excellent quality of life, so the cost of living here is higher than other parts of Majorca and mainland Spain.
On the South Western tip of Majorca, in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains is Andratx, an authentically Spanish town set among some of the island’s most beautiful scenery.
If you love this part of the island but are looking for somewhere a little more low key than the glitzy coast, Andratx is a town that offers the simple Majorcan life.
Andratx is a pretty rural location that offers visitors a taste of the real Majorca. Narrow, cobbled streets twist and turn up to the church of Santa Maria at its peak where you will be greeted by picture postcard views of the coast. Andratx’s obvious attractions have for many years inspired artists and writers to make this their home and it is even hosting one of the island’s best art galleries. You are just minutes away from some of Majorca’s most famous beaches, including Sant Elm, Port d’Andratx and Camp de Mar.
This is a town with a distinctly rural flavour, albeit one that is welcoming to its growing international population. Among the 7,600 permanent residents, you will meet people from Britain, Germany, France and beyond.
Homes are a little more affordable in Andratx than in some other locations in this part of Majorca. The best value is to be found in the centre but if you’re looking for mountain views head for the outskirts of town where you’ll find everything from ruins to modernist villas.
You will find all the basics you need to live the good life in Andratx, from shops to cafes, bars to banks. Wednesday is market day and should not be missed if you want to pick up fantastic local produce.
Andratx is around 40 minutes’ drive from Palma and the airport. If you are without your own transport there are regular bus services taking you to the capital, the coast and many other nearby towns and villages.
The town has its own public health centre and pharmacy. If you need emergency or hospital care the closest major hospital is a 30 minute drive away in Palma.
Cost of Living
This part of Majorca isn’t the cheapest on the island but Andratx is certainly a more reasonable place to live than the resorts on the coast. With careful planning and visits to the local markets you should be able to keep costs down.
In the North West corner of Majorca, tucked away in a fertile valley of orange groves, Soller is one of the island’s most unique and beautiful locations.
Soller has sea, mountains and a surprisingly modernist look for a town built on oranges. One of the island’s most desirable destinations, it’s impossible not to fall for its considerable charms.
Separated from the rest of the island by the Tramuntana mountains, Soller became independently rich through its astounding oranges before finally opening up in style thanks to a jaw dropping train ride through this Valley of Gold. Today you will find it rich in architectural delights, incredible locally produced cuisine and an atmosphere that is all its own.
Once you’ve drank in its charms (and some orange juice) in the Plaza Constitucion, take a walk through the luscious valley or board the old tram down to the coast and experience the sparkling Mediterranean waters of Port de Soller.
With around 14,000 mostly Spanish residents, Soller has somehow managed to avoid being overrun by the tourist trade, retaining a sophisticated and slightly Bohemian feel.
Strict building regulations have prevented the overdevelopment of this beautiful area. As a result, housing stock is limited and expensive but also highly sought after. You’ll find Art Nouveau townhouses, modern apartments and rustic farmhouses on the outskirts.
Although not a shopping mecca, there are plenty of independent boutiques and food shops along with a buzzing Saturday market. Most importantly you’ll find many, many ice cream parlours and juice bars!
Getting in and out of Soller is always interesting, whether you are taking the historic railway to Palma, the famous tram in the direction of Port de Soller, or driving through the mountain tunnel – a 40 minute journey to the capital and its airport.
You’ll find a public healthcare clinic in Soller along with a range of private and alternative practitioners. The nearest hospitals can be found Palma and offer some of the most up to date facilities in Europe.
Cost of Living
Majorca tends to be a little more expensive than the rest of Spain; Soller is pricey even by the island’s standards. It is possible to keep prices down by shopping for food at the weekly market.
On the north east coast of Mallorca, several miles from the sea, Pollenca is an ancient settlement popular with tourists that has retained a traditional way of life.
If you want to experience Mallorcan culture as the locals do, try Pollenca. Lovers of nature will be in their element whether walking, golfing or swimming at the local beach.
With its maze of narrow streets and ochre coloured buildings, this is somewhere you’ll feel close to the rich history of the island. Enjoy a coffee in the buzzing central square in the morning and listen to the chatter of the locals before climbing the 365 steps to the chapel on the hilltop to look out over this magical island. With the wide curve of the port and beaches one way and the green peaks of Serra de Tramuntana the other, in Pollenca you will find the Majorca of your imagination.
Hugely popular with tourists, Pollenca has managed to hold on to its distinct character with many fascinating festivals and cultural events taking place throughout the year. Whether you are perusing the many galleries and arty shops around the centre, investigating the deep history that stretches back long before even the Romans or hiking through the mountains and coastal routes, you will be walking in the footsteps of the many writers, artists and lovers of beauty who have chosen to make Pollenca their home.
The permanent population of 8,000 is mainly made up of islanders but like the many Brits who have chosen to settle here, you will receive a warm welcome in Pollenca, making it easy to become part of the town’s social scene.
This is a popular area and like much of Mallorca it attracts affluent buyers. You will find a range of characterful refurbished townhouses, contemporary modernist villas and farmhouses with stunning views of the mountains and the sea.
Alongside the many tourist shops your practical needs are also well served in Pollenca, with several supermarkets, clothes shops, bakeries and banks. On Sundays, get out among the local bargain hunters at the morning market which brings the central square to vivid life.
It might be on the other side of the island but Pollenca is an easy 40 minute drive from Palma airport on the MA-13 motorway. If you’re without your own transport there is a good bus service to the capital and local towns and villages including Pollenca Port.
Pollenca has a pharmacy and its own public health centre which is open weekdays only. At weekends you can visit the doctor in Pollenca Port or drive to the hospital 15 minutes away at Alcudia.
Cost of Living
Prices tend to be a little higher on Majorca compared to mainland Spain and you’ll be paying more for things like internet access. However a good range of shops means you should be able to keep grocery prices reasonable.
Port de Pollenca
Port de Pollenca is an old fishing village turned tourist town on a white sandy bay in the craggy Northern shores of Majorca.
From old school glamour to modern luxury and from families to professional athletes, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone in Port de Pollenca.
Port de Pollenca has a magnetic quality that attracted movie stars, authors and world leaders in the early 20th century. The Hotel Formentor saw the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Winston Churchill grace its doors. Agatha Christie’s short story Problem at Pollens Bay was inspired by her stay. Grace Kelly took her honeymoon there. Those seeking a little old-school glamour can visit the hotel and experience the savoir-faire of the restaurant, overlooking the shoreline in the nook of the bay.
At the southern end of the strip is Port de Pollenca beach, which is the more commercial area, with a scattering of cafes, deckchairs and watersports. However, travel north and you will reach Pine Walk, a narrower stretch of sand enclaved by a paved walkway planted with pine trees that lean toward the Mediterranean. Here you can discover traditional Majorcan chalets (snapped up by wealthy families looking for a coastal retreat). Towards Llenaire you’ll find another family-friendly beach and the urbanisations of Llenaire, Pinaret and Gotmar, which typically house the permanent residents in the town. You’ll need a little determination to reach Cala en Feliu, Cala Murta, and Cala en Goss Alba as the paths are pretty rocky but it’s worth it if you want to get away from the high-season visitors.
Hiking is very popular here, as is cycling. The Sky Team famously base their pre-season camp in the town. Both professionals and enthusiasts gather for its relatively traffic free roads, the paths through the Tramuntana Mountains and the fair weather. Birdwatchers might spot a rare bird of prey in the Boquer Valley or watch waders in the Albufera Nature Reserve. La Gola Ornithological Tourism Centre is located within the town and is a good starting place for budding bird enthusiasts. Golfers can get a round in at the 18 holes of Golf Pollensa, a 15 minute drive inland.
British expatriates like the town, because it’s safe and comfortable and it’s particularly popular with families.
There isn’t much difference between house prices in Port de Pollenca and the rest of northern Europe. However, there is an increasing interest in the less expensive rural, inland properties.
Boquer offers plenty of modern penthouses; Bellresguard is made up exclusively high-spec designer modern homes with private gardens. Pine Walk is the top of the list for desirable holiday homes.
The facilities in town are top notch: there’s a bank, post office, gym, and pharmacists, all with English speaking staff. The main squares containing shops, bars and restaurants are all in the central area and the main square – Plaça Miquel Capllonch – hosts a weekly Wednesday market.
The only airport in Mallorca is in Palma at about about an hour’s drive from Port de Pollenca. There are public bus services both connecting parts of the town and connecting the town to other cities and popular tourist destinations. The main bus stop is in Carrer Roger de Flor, behind the Plaça Miquel Capllonch.
The Consulta Medica Dr Caro Puerto Pollensa is in town and open daily. There is a 24-hour emergency service at the weekend in the inland town of Pollenca Centre de Salut Pollença and a hospital in Inca Hospital Comarcal d’Inca and several more in Palma.
Cost of Living
Eating out and groceries are slightly lower than northern Europe but not enough to really keep the cost of living down. Housing and lifestyle costs are on par with northern Europe’s prices.
On a peninsula between two shimmering bays, Alcudia is a medieval walled city. Long one of Majorca’s leading tourist attractions it has lost none of its ancient charm.
If you love Majorca but prefer to avoid the tourist resorts, or appreciate the culture of the capital Palma but want something on a smaller scale, Alcudia is a perfect solution.
This beautifully restored medieval city is one of the biggest draws in the north of Majorca. With its maze of winding lanes, plazas lined with cafes and Roman remains to discover there is plenty to attract you. Situated slightly inland, on a peninsula to the north east you will be within easy access of the fine sandy beaches of the nearby Puerto d’Alcudia. Nature lovers will find an enchanting world to explore whether walking out into the sublime Albufera natural park or along the trails of the Tramuntana mountains
Alcudia is at the opposite end of the island to popular resorts like Magaluf and offers an entirely different experience. Often described as ‘little Palma’, this is a town full of charm where you can soak up the traditional Majorcan atmosphere in cafés or fill up in restaurants serving local stews, rice and fresh fish. Walk the streets and you will discover warm stone-built houses and a host of architectural delights connecting you with the town’s ancient history.
Together with the adjoining Puerto d’Alcudia, the town has nearly 20,000 habitants with around 35% of those moving to the area from outside Spain. You’ll find that locals and expats co-exist happily here, particularly at fiesta time when the town comes together to celebrate in the streets.
Thanks to its history and fantastic location near mountains and sea, Alcudia is one of the most sought-after places in Majorca. Property ranges from upscale apartments, luxury villas to more modest family residences and townhouses, some with distinctive Renaissance windows. In the surrounding area you’ll also find beach properties and country estates.
The town is small but well equipped with supermarkets, boutiques and bakeries. A twice weekly market next to the ancient city walls is where you can buy locally produced food, clothes and crafts. Book lovers will want to visit the excellent library at Casa Torro, one of the most important on the Balearic Islands.
Despite being on the opposite side of the island to Palma and its airport, Alcudia is well connected by a speedy motorway, a journey which takes around 40 minutes. Bus services are also good, taking you to the beach and the capital as well as many of the nearby towns and villages.
You will find a public health centre in town, as well as pharmacies, private clinics and dental surgeries. The main hospital is in Palma – around a 40-minute drive away.
Cost of Living
Prices on the island tend to be a little higher than mainland Spain, and as a highly desirable destination, it is true of Alcudia.
On the south west coast of Majorca is Portal Nous, a classy coastal resort nestled between mountains and the sea.
This perfectly positioned hideaway offers a charming selection of fine beaches while being close to both the capital and lively resorts such as Magaluf.
Portals Nous is a rarity in western Majorca; a beautiful coastal location that is not overrun by tourists or revellers. People come here for its relaxed atmosphere, upscale marina and selection of delicious restaurants serving freshly caught seafood. The beaches too offer something for every mood; be seen with the jet set at Cala Portals Nous with its yachts and water sports; or keep it exclusive in the secluded waters of Cala Bendinat. Complete relaxation will be within your grasp.
Although awash with many second homeowners, Portals Nous has a healthy year-round population of approximately 2500, with a sizable international contingent drawn largely from Britain, Germany and Sweden.
The higher up you get in Portals Nous, the more expensive the property; many exclusive homes enjoy astonishing views over the sea and towards Palma in the east. There are also renovated villas to be found in the outlying areas along with apartment complexes and smaller townhouses.
Head for the high street for a good range of shops including boutiques, supermarkets, a hardware shop and an independent bookshop with a great community atmosphere. Luxury shopping can be found in the marina shopping complex Puerto Portals, which also hosts a weekly farmers’ market.
You are 10 km from Palma and 16 km from its airport in Portals Nous. If you don’t have your own transport, buses do run around the local area but are fairly infrequent so you would need to plan any journeys carefully.
Visit Centro Medico Portals Nous – a public health clinic – for emergencies and general medicine, with some doctors speaking English. If you are in need of a hospital, the closest is to be found in Palma, around a 15 minute drive.
Cost of Living
Portals Nous is situated in one of the wealthiest parts of Majorca, so expect to be paying a little more when you move here.
Bendinat is a coastal enclave in the municipality of Calvia situated among the south westerly resorts of Majorca within easy reach of Palma.
Although it sits on the busy south west coastline of Majorca — home to Palma, Palmanova and Magaluf — Bendinat has a very different atmosphere and is also very close to the exclusive Puerto Portals.
Once a farm visited by King James of Aragon in 1229 (after a battle with the Moors), Bendinat is now a private, luxurious and spacious resort.
There is a privately owned, nineteenth-century gothic style castle with a 2800-acre estate but the rest of the idyll was conceived and constructed in the 1980s by the famous French architect and town planner François Spoerry. The beach, Cala Bendinat, is just 50m long but is sheltered from onlookers by palm groves. There are numerous other beaches nearby.
To the north is the UNESCO protected Tramuntana Mountain range. Hiking, cycling and sailing are popular pursuits, but the real draw for sports lovers is the exceptional Real Golf de Bendinat: an 18-hole golf course offering spectacular views and a high-spec clubhouse. The honorary president of the club is King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Bendinat has a mostly international community who, although wealthy, prefer a quiet, peaceful locale over the hustle and bustle of the prestigious Puerto Portals.
There is a large selection of secluded, luxury villas and golf-side, airy apartments.
There are a handful of restaurants, a few big hotels and little else in the residential area of Bendinat. There is a greater choice in Puerto Portals, which has exclusive fashion retailers, boutiques and high-end restaurants as well as a marina for super-yachts. It’s just a 20-minute journey into Majorca’s capital city, Palma.
The whole area of Puerto Nous (including Puerto Portals and Bendinat) is connected by Consorci Transports Mallorca (www.tib.org) buses. Palma de Mallorca Airport is just 20 minutes drive from the resort.
There is a wide variety of private clinics and the Hospital General de Mallorca is only a 15-minute drive away.
Cost of living
House prices are consistently high due to high demand. Bendinat is not cheap, but you can certainly live well for less than you would in a capital city in northern Europe.
Nestled in the plains below the Puig de Randa (Randa Hill), this rural town is known for its authentically Mallorcan character.
Escape the crowds and enjoy the relaxed pace of life in this beautiful historic town with an artisan heritage and rural feel.
Llucmajor is a beautiful historic town located in inland southern Mallorca. Nestled in the plains below the Puig de Randa (Randa Hill), this rural town is known for its authentically Mallorcan character. Take a stroll through its golden streets to discover evidence of its artisanal past written in stone, iron and wood – the materials favoured by the Mallorcan craftsmen who once called the town home. These crafts, along with shoemaking, brought prosperity to the town, which became one of Mallorca’s industrial centres in the 20th century.
Unspoilt by tourism, Llucmajor has retained its history and rural feel. Farmland surrounds the town and apricots and almonds grow plentifully here. History is waiting to be discovered around every corner with Mallorca’s oldest archaeological site here – the Talayotic site of Capocorb Vell. You could lose many an afternoon following the past through the various sites of historical interest, from the Town Hall in Placa d’Espanya, the 18th century Church of San Miguel in Placa Santa Catalina Tomas, to the Baroque convent of St Bonaventure.
If you are looking for an authentically Mallorcan rural retreat, Llucmajor could be the place for you.
You can thank the majority Mallorcan population for Llucmajor’s authentic feel, as they have kept many of the town’s traditions including shoe-making alive.
There is a fantastic mix of property on offer, from modern apartments and townhouses, to rustic villas and fincas. You could even get creative with a land purchase and build your own or realise that dream of running your own business by buying a commercial property.
All the essentials you need for daily living including plenty of shops are within walking distance. There is a weekly Sunday market and if you are looking to do a big shop, the city of Palma is just 30 minutes away.
Llucmajor puts you within easy reach of a wide range of different locations. The capital of Palma is just 30 minutes away and can be reached by bus or by car. The popular resort of S’Arenal is just a short 20 minute drive away and the rustic towns of Algaida, Campos, Porreres and Randa are all under 30 minutes away.
There are several small medical centres (private and public), dentists, opticians, veterinarians and one small emergency centre in the town. There are also a large number of public hospitals in Palma, around 30 minutes away by car.
Cost of Living
As Llucmajor is not a popular tourist destination cost of living is considerably cheaper than other parts of Mallorca.
To the east of Majorca lies the island’s second most populous city, Manacor, home of olive wood furniture, pearls and a coast of caves and coves.
An alternative to fashionable Palma, Manacor is a down-to-earth working city with a historic heart and easy access to the island’s gorgeous east coast.
It’s perhaps not what most people have in mind when they think of Majorca, but the industrious second city has a distinctive and friendly atmosphere that makes its residents and visitors feel at home.
Manacor is one of Spain’s oldest inhabited settlements with an historic old town of narrow streets leading to the great Gothic church which dominates the low-rise houses and buildings that surround it.
Manacor is also home to the Balearics only Via Verde, a 29-kilometre walking trail of huge natural variety. You are also near to the pretty port town of Porto Cristo, the superb beaches of Cala Millor and the dazzling underground caves of Drach.
Although predominantly a Spanish town of around 30,000 inhabitants, Manacor does have a sizable international community, most of who are to be found in the more rural surrounding areas.
Manacor has been developed over many centuries and you will find a great choice of properties here, with townhouses and apartments in the city. Head to the surrounding countryside if you are looking for larger villas or fincas (farmhouses).
You’ll find all the usual supermarkets, shops and day to day amenities here, many of which are to be found in the city’s pedestrianised area along with a weekly market. There are also excellent sporting facilities including the Rafael Nadal Tennis Centre, founded by the city’s most famous resident.
Manacor is connected to Palma and its airport by a speedy motorway, a journey of less than an hour. The city has many bus links and a train station with an hourly service taking you to and from the capital.
Residents in Manacor are served by a public hospital and there are several health centres and pharmacies, many with English speaking staff and doctors.
Cost of Living
On what can be quite a costly island, Manacor offers a slightly cheaper alternative to the resorts and the costlier capital city.
Cala d’Or is a charming and relaxed resort with several coved beaches, a marina, and a wealth of chic bars, restaurants, boutiques, and shops. A lovely place for family holidays.
The east coast resort of Cala D’Or is one of the prettiest on the island of Majorca. Located in the district of Santanyi, Cala D’Or is about 65km (about 40 miles) from Palma International Airport.
Like many of Majorca’s resorts, Cala d’Or has evolved from a small fishing village into a popular tourist resort, packed with bars, restaurants and shops, yet retains it’s picturesque qualities and authentic Mallorca charm.
Cala d’Or has an upmarket, stylish feel, with a stunning marina in the centre, surrounded by cobbled streets, whitewashed low-rise buildings and villas. Set along seven sandy coves (calas) providing picture-postcard perfect beaches of soft, golden sand, the resort has a relaxed, sophisticated vibe that attracts the rich and famous.
The stunning marina is set in the largest of Cala d’Or’s coves, Cala Llonga. The remainder of the resort stretches out in both directions along the coast, around the other coves and their beaches, including Cala Gran, Cala Ferrera, Cala Esmeralda, Cala Mondrago, Cala Egos and Cala d’Or, from which the town takes its name. You can walk the full length of the resort, or take a ride on the tourist road train which will take you to all of the nearby coves.
All of the beaches in Cala d’Or are quite small, but perfectly formed, edged with pines trees, and offering stunning views. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming and family fun, the sheltered coves are real suntraps, and have warm clear water, but be aware that they can all become quite crowded in peak season. Cala Gran and Cala Llonga are the largest beaches and have facilities for hiring sun loungers and parasols, as well as sailing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and scuba-diving. You can also hire bikes, go horse riding, take trips on glass-bottomed boats or hire a luxury yacht for the day.
Cala d’Or has a pedestrian zone around the Cala Gran area, where you will find an array of bars, restaurants and shops selling all kinds of souvenirs, crafts, clothing and holiday accessories, inflatables etc., plus designer boutiques for the more discerning shoppers. Evening entertainment in Cala d’Or is low-key – mainly hotel based, but you will find a good selection of livelier bars and a couple of discos around the pedestrian zone. Cala d’Or is not a party resort though, so may be best suited to families and those seeking peace and quiet.
There is a good selection of play areas for children, including amusements, mini go-karts, trampolines, and inflatables, plus play areas with swings and slides. Most are open well into the evening for family nights out.
For eating out, you will find plenty of choice: from traditional Spanish dining and high class seafood restaurants, to international cuisine, pizzas, fast food and pub grub, every taste is catered for. On the whole, the quality of restaurants in Cala d’Or is good, with plenty of high-quality eateries. Dine under the stars in one of the open-air fish restaurants around Cala Gran for a memorable experience. .
You’ll find plenty of hotels and holiday accommodation in Cala d’Or, with a few luxuries five-star hotels in the resort, plus many villas and apartments. None of the hotels are high-rise, so the resort does not feel crowded or built-up.
From Cala d’Or you can visit markets at Felanitx (Sundays) and Santanyi (Wednesdays and Saturdays). It is possible to catch buses to other east coast resorts, although the timetables are unreliable. There is also a large market at Inca on Saturday mornings. There is also a bus to the city of Palma.
Also within easy reach are the Caves of Drach and the nudist beach at Es Trenc.
In summary, Cala d’Or is a sophisticated and stylish resort, with a friendly and relaxed atmosphere: picturesque and charming, a place to relax and unwind, take in the views, and enjoy the warm sunny days. Ideal for families.
Cala Vinyes is one of Majorca’s smaller resorts catering more towards families and the older generation.
Located in the municipality of Calvia and only a few kilometres from Majorca’s busy resorts of Magaluf and Palma Nova, Cala Vinyes offers an ideal retreat for those seeking a quieter holiday, whilst being within taxi distance of its two larger neighbours in the event that you may want a big night out.
In the resort you’ll find a few bars and restaurants (Chinese, Italian, etc). A car rental business also operates from a unit on the main road.
There is a small rock outcrop which can be accessed by going down the steps next to the Hotel Cala Vinyes.
This area is ideal for fishing, but swimming is not recommended as getting back on dry land would prove difficult and quite dangerous.
There is however, a natural small pool formed in the rocks, about 2 to 3 meters back from the sea, which is constantly fed with fresh sea water by a channel carved into the rock.
If it’s a sand beach with Palm trees you’re looking for, head towards the centre of Cala Vinyes bay.
The beach here is well catered for with regards food, drink and other facilities; however, access to the beach from the main road adjacent to the resorts main hotel (Hotel Cala Vinyes) involves a walk down a slope of around 100 steps and may prove difficult for those with walking difficulties.
Area guide – Ibiza
Ibiza is a small island located 60 miles off the coast of Spain.
Renowned for its breath-taking sunsets, scenery and balmy climate, Ibiza is not only a music Mecca for international party pilgrims but a serene stamping ground for savvy wayfarers.
In 1976, the year after Spain’s long-ruling dictator Franco died, a young philosopher turned an old aristocratic villa into a discotheque, christening it ‘Amnesia’ and offered the island’s bohemian and artistically minded somewhere to ‘forget’ their troubles. Now considered the birthplace of Balearic house music, Ibiza attracts world-famous entertainers to both DJ and party, as well as over 7 million tourists every summer.
Popular with international jet-setters who swarm to the expensive glass villas, infinity pools, chic beach clubs and fashionable restaurants from their private jets and super yachts, it’s also family friendly and has a growing population of year-round visitors making their homes in the laid back, craggy, pine coated lowlands.
The highlands of the North are less populated, but a growing wellness industry has sprung retreats around the rural villages of the valleys. The Denia crossing takes four hours on a ferry. Major European airlines serve the island’s airport year-round. Ibiza is well connected with good internet, making it easy for many digital nomads – coined ‘Londz’ – who work between homes in London and Ibiza. There is a big English-speaking community so the language barrier can be overcome, although jobs are hard to come by outside of the tourism industry. There is one international school and it’s expensive.
You can hike to the tallest point in Ibiza, called Sa Talaia, in Sant Josep or climb the ramparts of Ibiza Town’s World Heritage listed Dalt Vila. For the adventurous, there’s cliff diving and cave exploring plus hippie markets and yoga on the beach for more relaxed vibes. Visit the mysterious Es Vedra, home to the Phoenician goddess of fertility, one of the settings in Homer’s Odyssey and considered part of the lost city of Atlantis.
Featured cities on Ibiza:
Known to locals as Eivissa, situated on the small island’s south coast, Ibiza Town is the much sought-after capital of the most exciting of the Balearics.
If you want colour, excitement and youthful exuberance, Ibiza Town is for you. Beyond the famous night life, this is a place with an incredible history and rich contemporary culture.
While Eivissa’s reputation for being fabulous is well earned, you’ll find it a city successfully balancing energetic mass tourism with the need to preserve what made it important in the first place. Its diversity is its defining feature. You can explore the warren of streets in the ancient walled fortress of Dalt Vila, bar hop along the waterfront then move on to some of the world’s most famous nightclubs by night (or day). This vibrant city lives up to all expectations and welcomes all comers.
A beacon for artists for many years, this cosmopolitan city is still alive with colorful people, from fashionistas to foodies, hippies to musicians, all drawing on Ibiza Town’s unique energy. And with a perfect year-round Mediterranean climate you’ll be able to make the most of the many attractions and distractions well into the winter months, when it takes on a more personal atmosphere.
Although the population of 50,000 swells dramatically in the long summer season (from May to October), Eivissa is more than just a resort town, it’s a lively year-round city. With a largely youthful Spanish population, this perhaps isn’t the place for a quiet retirement – although it is the perfect destination for the young at heart.
Its status as one of the world’s most fashionable cities means that Ibiza Town isn’t the easiest place to find a bargain, particularly if you have your heart set on a minimalist luxury villa in exclusive Marina Botafoch or glimmering Platja de Talamanca. There are however more affordable apartments to be found in the centre or if you want something a little quieter, try the seaside suburb of Figueretes.
Boutiques, bookshops, artisan galleries and locally produced foods can be all be found here. Eivissa is also an excellent place to be if you love water sports, and if not, there is a strong emphasis on walking and cycling to keep fit.
Ibiza is a small island; it doesn’t take long to get around by car or using the excellent bus service with links to the major towns and airport. You’ll also be situated in the island’s main port, with ferries to the mainland, Majorca and Formentera.
As well as two hospitals and numerous clinics, Ibiza town is a well known destination for health tourism. From minor surgery to yoga retreats, the town will help you find whatever you are searching for.
Cost of Living
Prices tend to be a little higher in Ibiza Town than the Spanish national average, particularly in the summer months, so make sure you factor these costs in when planning a move
Sant Josep de sa Talaia
Only 15 kilometres from Ibiza’s capital, Sant Josep de sa Talaia – known locally as Sant Josep, is a beautiful inland village on the west of the island with stunning natural surroundings and views to die for.
For a taste of traditional Balearic village life, Sant Josep is hard to beat. A vibrant social scene, superb shops and fabulous restaurants make this a great alternative to the coastal towns.
There is another Ibiza, one you will find away from the island’s busy beaches and nightclubs, a place where life goes on much as it has for the past several 100 years. One such place is Sant Josep de sa Talaia, also known as San Josep. An inland village in the shadows of Ibiza’s tallest mountain, with stupendous views across three sides of the most magical of the Balearic Islands.
Sant Josep might not have many of the distractions that the island is famous for but it more than makes up for that with charm and atmosphere. Wake to the sound of bells pealing from the 18th century church, then take a leisurely stroll past whitewashed houses to sit among the old men drinking their daily brandy and putting the world to rights. In the summer months you can visit one of the numerous bars and listen to live music late into the night. Truly, life here moves to a different beat.
The village has around 2,500 inhabitants although you will find many more in the properties in the surrounding hills and countryside. Sant Josep has a largely Spanish population but attracts many expats who love it precisely for that reason.
This is a much sought-after location and the prices reflect that fact. In the village you will find a mixture of townhouses and apartments, many with beautiful views. The surrounding countryside is where you will find larger properties, from traditional rural farmhouses to modern luxury villas.
Along with a couple of supermarkets there are a variety of interesting shops and boutiques selling clothes, ceramics, toys and assorted lovely things. If you want your food fresh, visit the fishmonger, butcher or one of the village patisseries. Saturday is market day and your chance to buy local, organic food alongside arts and crafts by local producers.
Although you might feel away from the crowds here, Sant Josep it is just 15 minutes from the major centres of Ibiza Town and San Antonio, with the airport a 10-minute drive. Public transport is reliable with buses regularly taking you to the surrounding villages and coastal areas.
The village has its own public medical centre as well as a pharmacy. For anything more serious the nearest hospitals can be found in nearby Ibiza Town.
Cost of Living
Prices tend to be a little higher than the Spanish national average in Sant Josep, particularly if you are shopping locally, so make sure you factor these costs in when planning a move.
Santa Eulalia Del Rio
Santa Eulalia Del Rio is a coastal town on South East side of the Balearic Island of Ibiza. It’s Ibiza’s third largest district after San Antonio and Ibiza Town.
This family-friendly town has a great beach, a superb range of shops and restaurants and the laid-back vibe without the frantic club-fuelled evenings of its neighbours.
Santa Eulalia Del Rio is the place to come in Ibiza if you want to get away from the thumping nightclubs. It’s a quieter resort that attracts year-round relocators, rather than tourists who want to get lost in the hubbub of San Antonio. It’s considered a centre of gastronomy as it hosts many of Ibiza’s best restaurants. There are also art galleries, plenty of boutiques and craft stalls, and an up-market shopping and dining district around the Port Esportiumarina.
Santa Eulalia beach is a 300m bay shielded from the wind by the Punta Arabí headland and the hill of Puig d’en Fita which is inset with dazzling white apartments and villas. The beach has been smoke-free since 2015, meaning there’s very little litter or pollution. The gently sloping sands leading to shallow clear waters make this a favourite spot for novice swimmers, water-skiers and divers. You can hire just about any boat, from a chartered yacht to a pedalo.
Just outside of town is the Puig de Missa summit, which is dominated by a 16th-century church. From its eaves, you can see the whole of Santa Eulalia Del Rio stretching out below you.
San Antonio easily has the most British expats in Ibiza, whereas the Spanish generally favour Ibiza Town. Both are a short drive away and are open the year round. Santa Eulalia is mainly preferred by families relocating to Ibiza.
This is a place for vast air-conditioned villas and tidy, high-spec penthouse apartments offering sea views. Urbanisations such as La Siesta have more affordable apartments, duplexes and villas amongst communal gardens and pools, but these are generally set back from the shoreline.
Santa Eulalia Del Rio is built on a grid system of roads. Much of the centre is pedestrianised and lined with shops. There are plentiful practical amenities, from vets to hairdressers within the town and the original hippy market is just 8 minutes’ drive north, in the Es Caná resort.
Santa Eulalia Del Rio is only 21 kilometres away from the international airport and the marina makes it easily reachable by boat. Santa Eulàlia is on the PM-810 road. The number 13 bus goes to Ibiza Town, but it’s an easy island to get around by car.
The Centre de Salut Santa Eulària des Riu is on Carrer del Historiador Clapés and is an excellent place to get registered to see a doctor. The nearest accident and emergency hospital is Hospital Can Misses Urgencias on Calle Corona, in Ibiza Town.
Cost of Living
Summer prices are very different from the winter. A premium is added for the tourists, but there are still plenty of ways to live economically in Ibiza.
Area guide – Menorca
The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve island of Menorca forms part of the Balearic archipelago with Ibiza and Majorca. It has been left virtually untouched by the high-rise developments found on its sister islands.
Move here to escape the crowds and enjoy good food, good living, stunning surroundings and a laid-back way of life.
Take a trip to Menorca in the summer months and the first thing you will be struck by are the colours – the intense light saturation is a stunning and wondrous sight to behold. The waters, which shade from deep azure into luminescent pale turquoise, spill into powder like, fine white sands; its blue skies are the first to greet the sun in Spain each day, and its sunsets are arguably some of the finest in the world. Gaze past the bleached rocky cliffs and gaze on green and fertile land.
It’s no wonder then, that Menorca was declared a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1993. This unspoilt island, which is located off the East coast of Spain, forms part of the Balearic archipelago, but gets much less attention than its lively sisters. This is a blessing in disguise for those looking for an authentic, old world feel, as Menorca’s coastline has been left virtually untouched by the high-rises that pepper the coasts of Ibiza and Mallorca.
Inland, there is an abundance of farmland divided into pretty patchwork by dry stone walls. These farms produce a huge variety of produce, such as Mahon cheese, olive oil, apples and wine.
The enduring presence of agriculture – and the good living it produces – has imbued Menorca with a laid back, unpretentious atmosphere that is quietly attracting a new set of admirers. From bohemian, creative types, to enterprising young tech entrepreneurs, many of these new buyers are enticed by the unspoilt landscape, not to mention the abundance of romantic, shabby chic fincas begging for restoration which can be snapped up for a steal. Throw in the fact that you’re a short one-hour flight from Barcelona and it’s not hard to see why those in the know are choosing to buy here.
The Island’s bohemian credentials are further boosted by the fact that it has been discretely encouraging sustainable tourism, with walking and cycling routes across the island granting access to areas not reachable by car.
Dust off your walking shoes and head along the Cami de Cavalls, a restored medieval bridle path which circles the island along 125 miles of beautiful coast. This route will lead you to some hidden gems along the coastline, including otherwise inaccessible beaches.
All that walking is likely to build up an appetite, so head to the island’s capital, Mahon, where there is an abundance of excellent restaurants. This small but lively port city has a golden glow about it, with the Mediterranean sun reflecting its radiance off a mixture of buildings in shades of canary yellow, deep terracotta, crème anglaise and oatmeal.
A quick stroll round its pristine streets reveals an array of independent boutiques, fresh food markets and charming cafes, a perfect introduction to the sweet, laid-back way of life here.