Extend Your Summer on This Beachy Spanish Island
But minus the summer tourists.
Every summer, literal millions (including, hello, the Love Island cast) make their way to Mallorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Found south of Barcelona and east of Valencia, it’s one of the hottest vacation destinations in the Mediterranean. That means during the peak season between June and August, the small island is brimming with tourists overflowing on the incredible beaches, packing into the well-known party scene, and jostling to try the amazing culinary offerings.
But something magical happens around the end of September in Mallorca, when summer peaces out. Come autumn, the triple-digit temperatures finally disperse, leaving cooler weather that won’t zap your energy, and fewer tourists arrive to battle for restaurant, hotel, and car rental reservations. After all, the island is in between the size of Delaware and Rhode Island, so you do the math. Plus, visitors at this time of year can still enjoy the top attractions that make the island so special while also being around for the fun fall festivals. Here’s what to do on the Spanish island this fall.
Go town hopping
You might not think it because of how small Mallorca is, but there’s a world of difference between the experiences you have on the island depending on where you are. Many towns have totally different vibes. The good news is that you can easily get around from place to place thanks to the island’s short driving distances.
If postcard-worthy villages stacked up terraced hillsides sound like your thing, then it’s off to Deià and Banyalbufar you go. Another charming mountain village is Valldemossa, famously called “the most beautiful place in the world” by piano composer Frédéric Chopin. Set in a valley, Sóller is an attractive town with a bustling plaza, and from there you can take a historic tram to the seaside Port de Sóller. Of course, seeing the island’s capital, Palma, is a must with its nightlife and shopping. Other worthwhile stops on your island tour include Pollença, Port De Pollença, and Artà. Since it only takes about an hour to drive across the island, you might just be able to get to them all.
Celebrate food all season long
Whether you’re at a restaurant or fall festival, the harvest is ready for feasting across the island. Choose fresh seafood from the counter at La Parada del Mar in Palma, like the famous Sóller red prawns cooked to order. For a more elegant dining experience in Palma, reserve a table at the adults-only, Michelin-starred DINS Santi Taura. To try typical Mallorcan cuisine, visit the massive Restaurant Es Cruce, where you’ll find loads of locals eating dishes like arroz brut (a rice dish made with vegetables and meat) and tumbet (a dish of eggplant, potatoes, and bell pepper with tomato sauce).
Look at the island’s festival schedule, and you’ll see that fall is truly the time for foodies. In October there’s the Mostra de Llampuga in Cala Ratjada dedicated to the dorado fish; the Feria de la Sobrasada in Campos, which celebrates the local raw, cured sausage; and the Feria del Pimentón in Felanitx, which is all about the red pepper. In November, you can appreciate olives at Fira de l’Oliva in Caimari, pumpkins at Fira de sa Carabassa in Muro, honey at Fira de la Mel in Llubí, and mushrooms at La Fira de l’Esclata-sang i de la Muntanya in Manacor de la Vall.
And don’t forget the wine (plus grape throwing)
Mainland Spain has Rioja, and Mallorca has its Binissalem DO region. Found near the center of the island, it’s a playground for wine lovers with plentiful tasting opportunities at top wineries including Bodegas José L. Ferrer, Bodega Biniagual, Macià Batle, and Vins Nadal.
If you come right at summer’s end, you can see La Festa des Vermar, the annual grape harvest festival in the village of Binissalem. The event’s highlight? The wildly fun mess that is the Battle of the Grapes, where it’s encouraged to play with your food as crowds throw grapes at one another. Then, in November, you can enjoy the first wine of the harvest at Santa Maria del Camí’s Fira del Vi Novell.
Spread out on Mallorca’s bounty of beaches
Hear “island,” and you probably think “beaches.” Yup, Mallorca has plenty of those, ranging from pebbly ones in rocky coves to white-sand stretches in big bays. In the peak of summer, finding a towel-sized piece of real estate to call your own can be difficult depending on where you go, but come in autumn and you’ll have more than enough space to stretch out—and crystal-blue water at a temperature that’s still lovely to dip in.
Two of the island’s most scenic beaches are Caló des Moro and Sa Calobra. Both are pieces of paradise, where a small sandy strip abuts turquoise water and jagged cliffs. Other popular spots to sunbathe and swim include Cala Torta, Cala Mesquida, and Beach S’Amarador.
Hike without sweating or waiting around
In summer’s sweltering heat, going for a hike that’ll leave you soaked in sweat probably ranks low on your list of things you want to be doing. But when things cool off in the fall, it’s a perfect time to explore the Serra de Tramuntana, a mountain range that stretches from the southwest to the northeast of the island. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you can explore it by taking the Ruta de Pedra en Sec, or Dry Stone Route.
Not down for an extended hike, but still want to appreciate the island’s natural beauty? Check out iconic viewpoints like Mirador Es Colomer, Mirador De Sa Foradada, and Son Marroig. All are pretty low-effort destinations, especially considering your reward of amazing panoramic views where land meets sea. Bonus for coming outside of the busy season: fewer hordes of tourists to elbow to snap the perfect photo.
Where to stay in Mallorca
Whether you want upscale accommodations in the island’s bustling capital or you’re looking for something quieter amidst nature, Mallorca has lots of enticing options. The thing is, planning a trip to Mallorca in the summer requires a good amount of advanced booking if you want to have your pick of said options. With autumn trips, it’s easier to find openings at some of the island’s best stays.
Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden is a 16th-century manor house turned high-end, boutique hotel that stands out as an oasis in the heart of the city of Palma. For even more luxury, there’s the ultra-private and romantic Cap Rocat, which is situated in a 19th-century fortress in the middle of a protected nature reserve. Other superb places to serve as your home base include Agroturismo Alquería Blanca in Bunyola and Predi Son Jaumell Hotel Rural in Capdepera.