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Welcome to Mallorca! OK, Time to Leave

  1. Idiots Abroad (the Sequel)
  2. Barcelona: Russians, Strikes, Lingerie Billboards and Man Buns

Few months ago we went to Europe in order to visit my family in Belarus. At the beginning of the trip we had a chance to spend 5 nights in Barcelona. My sister-in-law somehow managed to convince me to do a day trip to the island of Mallorca. I’m still shaking my head as to why I went along with this madness. Nevertheless, we went, we saw, we flew back to Barcelona. All in the span of one day.

The strike

I didn’t really want to deal with public transportation in order to get to the airport, so we booked a roundtrip transfer ahead of time. Unfortunately, we got a call telling us that all taxi drivers are going on strike  the day we were supposed to fly to Mallorca. Great. Our only option was taking a bus, which we did.

Waiting for our airport-bound bus. That bear got absolutely filthy by the end of the day.

This is where having a central location paid off big time or bigly, as they like to say in US these days. To add to our misery, it was raining and we had to stand in a long line of other weary travelers who I’m sure, were not flying to Mallorca for a day.

Legroom on our Vueling plane (not that great for my large husband). Thankfully, the flight was only 30 minutes long.

This was not a good way to start our little trip and by the time we landed, everyone was cranky as can be. Then we got a rental car (from Sixt) and my husband almost got in a accident. This is why we don’t usually rent cars in Europe. Anyway, we started our long, winding drive through the mountains, to the town of Soller. The weather cleared up a bit, and things were looking up, literally and figuratively.

Beautiful views, but no time to enjoy them

Mallorca is a very scenic island. It sort of reminded me of Tuscany region in Italy. You can read about Mallorca’s colorful history here

A picturesque  town that we were not able to visit because there were no parking spots available

But we did spot many goats in the countryside

We stopped and did some hiking before discovering that we were trespassing on someone’s private property. Oops!

An obligatory family photo

Town of Soller

Soller is a typical cute European town with few cafes, shops, a church and not much else. Our GPS had the worst time figuring out directions, so we ended up going down the same narrow street a few times. Once again, we couldn’t find a place to park.

This  is a scourge of most cute old European towns that were built before the invention of automobile. There was one parking area in town, period. We were fortunate, though, because a gentleman was leaving and let us have his spot that was prepaid for the next few hours. That’s all we needed, so his kindness was much appreciated. We found a place to eat because everyone was starving at that point.

Hey, there is that stuffed bear again! The look on my husband’s face pretty much sums up how I felt throughout the day.

We took a ride to the port of Soller via vintage tram from 1912, similar to trolleys they have in San Francisco (see more info on it) It was a fun way to view the sights and I do recommend it. If I remember correctly, the cost was only 10 euros roundtrip, and my son’s ticket was half price.


The train was quite crowded, though. You also have to pay cash for tickets. 

The harbor in the port of Soller

We walked around the waterfront in the rain, got some fresh orange juice and bought a few souvenirs before taking the tram back to Soller. Our flight was fast approaching and I was nervous we would be late to the airport. But we made it, barely.

Was it worth it?

Not to me, though my sister-in-law has no regrets. She said it was 100% worth it. It is a beautiful island, but Mallorca is the kind of place you go to relax, not drive like a maniac while  taking photos from your car. I really wish we had more time to hike in the mountains and wonder the old cobblestone streets.

Personally, I’m a fan of fast-paced travel, but this was a bit much even for me. If you do decide to go for just a day, I recommend you pay for a tour or arrange a taxi. While traffic wasn’t bad, it was quite  stressful for my husband to drive in this unfamiliar environment. Add all the rigamarole of getting to the airport via bus, plus all the bickering, and it just wasn’t an enjoyable day for me. I know I sound like a Debbie Downer, and when you look at the photos, it seems serene and picturesque. What’s not to like, right?

To me, that’s what travel bloggers (though no one in particular) often do. They present the pretty and the pleasant, but forget to expose the ugly underbelly of family travel. I make sure to go there, friends. The ugly underbelly, that is. Behind all the nice scenery and smiles, there is often drama, strikes, tiredness and filthy teddy bears. The juice on this day trip to Mallorca was simply not worth the squeeze (to me). But at least the airline tickets were cheap (only $50 roundtrip each).

Should you add Mallorca to your European itinerary?

Maybe, maybe not. If you are in Barcelona and have a few extra days, by all means, fly to Mallorca and stay a couple of nights.  Llike I said, tickets are cheap and lodging on the island is relatively affordable. For $150 per night (or less), you can find a decent place that will fit four. Personally, I would stay in the mountains because the beaches in Europe are nothing to write home about, especially if you’ve been to Florida.

You can search AirBnB or Booking.com (both are referral links) to get an idea on what type of options are available. Believe it or not, there is even a Hyatt in Mallorca and it looks incredible. It costs 20k points per night and I have to say, appears to be worth it. According to photos and reviews, this is no cookie-cutter property, but a true resort that incorporates local architecture and traditions.

To cover flights from Barcelona on Vueling, you can use flexible points or cards that offer travel rebate. There are a few offers that could be a good fit: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and Capital One Venture Rewards. Those bonuses  give you flat rebate against travel purchases.

If you are starting your flight in US, you’ll be happy to know that Iberia flies to Mallorca as well. You’ll have to connect in Madrid or Barcelona, but if you are using AA miles, there won’t be any additional cost to add the island to your itinerary. However, airline tickets to Europe are so cheap these days, you may be better off saving your miles.

Will I go back? I might someday, but I’m not super eager to return. I liked it, but there are other islands in Europe that are calling my name. I would love to go back to Santorini, which is probably my favorite destination in the world. I also would like to visit Madeira, a place my in-laws raved about. Mallorca is pleasant, but I’m not sure it’s worth it to go out of your way in order to visit the area. Then again, I’m not really a good judge on it since we only spent half a day on the island.

Readers, if you’ve been to Mallorca, please comment!

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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15 thoughts on “Welcome to Mallorca! OK, Time to Leave

  1. I totally agree with you! I tend to like slower travel, but fast-paced can be fun and that seemed like way too much for one day! I’m planning a trip to Barcelona and had never heard of this island, but I think I’ll go and plan a few days there 🙂 Thanks!

    • @Suz O’Brian I’m glad I was able to provide some inspiration for you! It really is a beautiful island and since you’ll be in Barcelona anyway, doing a detour to Mallorca makes a lot of sense. It’s a shame we only had a few hours there because some of those mountain towns looked quite appealing. Feel free to reach out if you need some advice on Barcelona.

  2. As you say in “Was it worth it?”, Mallorca is not really a day-trip type of place. My European friends, particularly the Germans, like to go there for a long weekend or more to enjoy the warm weather and relax (alcohol and tobacco are apparently cheaper than many places, so that’s also an appeal). Don’t know that I’d go out of my way to get there, but by most accounts it seems like a good place to chill for a few days, especially if you need some downtime during a long vacation in Europe.

    • @Erik I totally agree, this is not a day-trip type place. Having small kids with us made everything much more complicated. Add the taxi strike and less than ideal weather, and it was just too hectic for my taste.
      In retrospect, I kind of wish we split our stay in Spain and do few nights in Mallorca. But then again, it would make the trip complicated as well. Islands are by definition hard to get to, especially when you are visiting several destinations already. That’s why I am yet to go back to Santorini after all these years. It’s just not that simple.
      If we are ever in Barcelona, though, I would like to fly to Mallorca for at least two nights. You nailed it when you said it looks like a good place to chill. My thoughts exactly.

  3. I went to the island in August but stayed on the southside closer to Palma and Magaluf for 5 days. had a really good time, although Magaluf did get a bit too crazy at night. Great beaches, great food, perfect weather.

    • @DDG Sounds nice! I bet weather in August was just about perfect. Something I forgot to mention, but there were tons of Russians in Mallorca, but that seems to be the case in Spain in general.

    • @DDG Thanks for the link. Looks like you had fun! You just can’t go wrong with Southern Europe.

      Nope, we didn’t see any protests while we were there, but we visited Mallorca in early June. It wasn’t super crowded yet. I imagine the tourists drive locals crazy. The island looks like a good spot for anti-social folks to set up shop. And here you have all these people “invading” it for few months during the summer. But then again, there are tourist dollars coming in which support the infrastructure and keep many locals in business. It’s a delicate balance.

      • If I remember correctly from the article I read, 85% of the economy on the island was tourism related, but yes locals probably hate the summer.

  4. Maybe staying over it wouldn’t have felt so rushed! Maybe you all were just sour from the taxi strike & crazy small airline seats?????

    • @Mommatogo Oh absolutely! That’s the point I was trying to make in the post. I think when you travel with kids, taking it slow is imperative. We were constantly on the move and things were not working out the way I was hoping they would. But to be honest, writing this post kind of put things in perspective for me. Even though it was a crazy day, we got to see a beautiful island, albeit briefly. So I really can’t complan.

  5. I’m with you, I don’t like rushed and hectic travel when traveling with my family. It looks like a place that I would love to visit, given enough time.

    • @21flavorsofsplendor Definitely. Mallorca is a place where you go to slow down and smell the roses. I’m starting to crave that type of travel, personally.
      Though sometimes fast paced travel is fun, even with family. Next week I plan to publish a post on our 13-hour tour from Barcelona, with stops in Andorra and France. I was dreading it after going to Mallorca, but it was a pleasant surprise. I think having everything taken care of made a huge difference. Plus, we didn’t have to go on bus, plane, then car within few hours. So it depends, I guess.

  6. Sorry to hear about your rushed trip to Mallorca, and of course, the weather didn’t help. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip. I’m still hoping to get to Europe one day, and when we do, I hope to be able to not be so rushed.

    • @Stephanie You know, it wasn’t a total dud. The scenery was quite beautiful. My main regret is not staying a couple of nights, but that would be complicated as well. Breaking up Barcelona stay and lugging our junk wouldn’t be fun either. I wish we would have done a few things differently. Namely, hire a taxi driver for half a day. Hopefully, my experience will serve as a cautionary tale not to cram to much with little kids.

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