Try Local Ensaimadas
If you ask for a traditional Mallorcan food, most probably the answer will be ensaimada, a popular pastry made with flour, water sugar, eggs, and a fermented starter known as "mother dough".
Palma de Mallorca is full of places to try these delights, with one of the favorites being Ca'n Juan De S'aigo, an old-fashioned bar serving some of the best fresh-made ensaimadas in town. For an extra treat, try ensaimadas filled with chocolate, cream, or even sobrassada, the traditional chorizo spread from the Balearic islands.
And if you pass by a bakery, you may also be seduced by the sweet smell of greixonera, a kind of pudding made with left-over ensaimadas from the day before.
Visit a Local Market
If you want to spot the catch of the day or try local oranges form Sóller, a village on the north side of the island, then check out the Mercat de l'Olivar (closed on Sundays). The best time to visit is early Saturday morning, when the tourists are still asleep and the locals are out doing their shopping.
Another market, the Mercado Gastronómico San Juan, features 17 stalls where you try everything from local seafood to an excellent tortilla made with black squid ink. In the evenings, a DJ plays tunes to accompany the meals.
Mallorca is also famous for producing good-quality gin. Ginbo Cocktail Bar, whose name translates to "good gin" in Catalan, offers more than a 100 different types of the drink to choose from. Naturally, the menu includes a number of local spirits produced on the island, such as Calaboc, Onze, and Gin Eva.
Hike Between the Sea and the Mountains
With 30% of its area covered by mountains, Mallorca is a perfect island for hiking. In the Serra de Tramuntana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you'll find the Dry Stone Route, a beautiful path lined with dry-stone terraces that follows the mountain range along the northwest side of the island.
The Dry Stone Route is in large part based on a network of ancient, restored footpaths and passes many historical sites and ruins, including water pools and fountains dating to the Muslim period in Mallorca's history.
One of the more picturesque sections of the trail leads from the town of Estellencs to Esporles, while other sections pass the highest mountain peaks on the island.
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Enjoy Design and Art
Mallorca is home to some of the most successful artists in Spain. One of them is the painter Miquel Barceló, who decorated the domed ceiling of the Room of Human Rights and the Alliance of Civilizations at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva with a colorful jumble of "stalactites".
Another famous artist, Joan Miró, although not born on the island, lived and worked in Mallorca for nearly 30 years.
The Miró Mallorca Foundation, one of the most visited museums in Palma, allows visitors to discover Miró's creative process through a collection of paintings, drawings, and prints and also see the actual studio where he worked until his death in 1983. Do not miss the stunning sculptures by the master surrealist in the museum's gardens.
Catch the Sunset
The sunset is one of the best moments of the day not only for tourists but also for the people who are lucky to live on this island. Most of the locals like to enjoy this natural phenomenon at Cap de Formentor, a lighthouse on the northern side of the island with breathtaking views. The combination of sea waves, a peaceful environment, and the lighthouse's beacon makes this a unique and romantic experience.
If you prefer to stay in the city, the Belver Castle is the best spot to enjoy a perfect sunset and admire the city's bay at the same time. Palma's seafront promenade is also a good place to watch the sunset while having a drink at one of the many bars.
Taste Wine From Mallorca
Wine from Mallorca has a unique flavor, mostly thanks to the sea breezes and the fertile soils in the foothills of the Tramuntana Mountains. Demand for local wines grew between 1861 and 1889, but then the phylloxera pest reached the island, destroying its vineyards, as it had already done on the mainland.
But from the 1960s, Mallorcan wine became popular again, and today it's often referred to as vi de la terra (wine of the land).
The island has a wine route with more than 70 wineries offering guided visits and wine tastings. This is a good way to discover first-hand about wine production in well-known areas such as Santa Maria, Binissalem, Consell and Sencelles.
Son Prim, a very small estate in Sencelles with 16 hectares of vineyards, features quality grapes such as Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet. The island's unique climate gives Son Prim's wines a special, fresh flavor.
© 2019 Jeremy East