Majorca’s Most Alluring Mountain Retreats
Drive inland from Palma Airport to discover some of the island’s most beguiling places to stay.
Sometimes, you have to look beyond the beach for the perfect hideaway—even on an island famous for its coastal resorts.
Drive your hire car a little inland from Palma Airport and you’ll be rewarded with stylish, tucked-away boutique escapes, with some dramatically beautiful scenery to enjoy en route.
Head for the hills or, rather, the mountains, to seek out some of Majorca’s most luxurious retreats.
A monastery with rooms
Stretched along the north coast of Majorca, the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
That’s partly because it offers one of the world’s prettiest irrigation systems. The stacked mountainside terraces were designed under Moorish rule, between the 10th and 13th centuries, as a way of allowing the steep hillsides to be farmed.
Now, these giant steps are planted with olive and almond trees, tomatoes, and wine grapes.
Lluc Sanctuary, a former monastery and pilgrimage site, stands grandly on a hill surrounded by the mountains. You can potter about the pilgrims’ quarters, rookery and botanical garden, see design features by Antoni Gaudí, and even stay over in one of the ‘cells’, converted into en-suite rooms with antique wooden furniture, terracotta tiled floors, and luxurious fabrics.
How to get there: From Palma, head north on the Ma-13 and Ma2130.
Mountain of millionaires
The mountain hideaway of Deià has long been popular with millionaires (and billionaires—Richard Branson is among its many fans), celebrities and arty types. Novelist and poet Robert Graves lived here, and his home Ca n’Alluny (‘the far house’) is now a museum, a steep five-minute walk from the village.
All this has given Deià a glamorous sheen and an exclusive feel. Yet it’s still accessible; you don’t have to be on telly or own a superyacht to feel welcomed and wrapped in its luxurious yet laid-back vibe.
The setting should be enough of a draw; honey-hued houses with pea-green window shutters ramble up the hillsides, linked by zigzagging lanes that gaze out to sea or down into the verdant valleys.
But many people come simply for the food. Particularly Michelin-starred Es Raco d’es Teix, which serves a tasting menu inspired by and sourced from its surrounds. You’ll be dreaming about the lobster ravioli for weeks.
Belmond Hotel La Residencia provides a sleep befitting the area’s upscale reputation. They even have resident donkeys, which can be packed with the wherewithal for a picnic on the mountain terraces. The tranquil pool is surrounded by palm trees and loungers for gazing up at the green mountains.
How to get there: You’ll find Deià on the west coast of the island, around 50-minutes’ drive from Palma Airport, via the Ma-1110 and Ma-10.
At the foot of the Tramuntana Mountains and close to the winding lanes of charming Pollença, Son Brull has sleek, modern rooms, an outdoor pool, and terraces overlooking olive groves.
The food is given just as much attention to detail, from the tapas and cocktails served inside 18th-century olive press mills to dishes crafted using kitchen-garden ingredients at Restaurant 3/65.
For a lunch to remember, take a drive on vertiginous mountain roads to reach nearby Es Guix. Hidden by oak trees, its terraces are stacked into the hillside above a rock pool. It feels even more like a delicious secret when you taste traditional dishes like arròs brut, a rice dish with rabbit, chicken and sobrasada, a Majorcan pork sausage.
How to get there: Pollença and its pretty port are less than 1-hour’s drive from Palma Airport, across the middle of the island on the Ma-13.
A green getaway
Imagine the antithesis to the often-overcrowded beaches and resorts of Magaluf. It probably looks something like Villa Vegana, a chic vegan hotel tucked within a nature reserve.
This Majorcan retreat feels like utopia. Sheep, pigs, horses and donkeys graze between olive and citrus trees, while dogs, cats and a duck named Leonor roam (or waddle around) the Mediterranean gardens.
The brick villa houses rooms with exposed brick and wooden beams, and private terraces surrounded by roses and fragrant shrubs.
Everything is 100 percent vegan, from the food to the toiletries and fabrics in the rooms (you won’t find wool, silk or leather). But we guarantee that even confirmed carnivores won’t have any complaints.
Breakfast includes scrambled tofu, fresh fruit and homemade croissants—who knew they could taste so good without an entire packet of butter layered within the pastry? The dinner menu changes daily, but is always a treat.
Refreshingly, nothing about this place feels strict or prescriptive. Instead, it gently nudges you to tuck away any stress or worries and be lulled by the serene surroundings. Of course, a pool always helps, especially one surrounded by fat-bottomed date palms and views of the Majorcan mountains.
How to get there: Located between Selva and Inca, follow the Ma-13 out of Palma for the 45-minute scenic drive deep into the Majorca countryside.