Served by frequent flights, and with dozens of safe sandy beaches plus amazing scenery, Mallorca can be a terrific destination for family holidays with children of all ages. Most visitors confine themselves to rowdy Malaguf, leaving the rest of the island to the more discerning traveller.
The largest of the four Balearics, Mallorca is small in size (taking less than 2 hours to drive across) but big on charm and beauty, with plenty of family-friendly modern hotels and resorts, many with separate children’s pools and entertainment programs to keep little ones amused. And as just about everywhere else in Spain, the locals are extremely friendly to children.
|Flying Time||2.25 hours|
|Carbon Footprint||1.2 tonnes CO2|
Make the beaches your first port of call, from Es Trenc in the south to Formentor in the north. If you’re averse to getting wet, glass-bottomed boats will take you out for a closer look at what’s lurking beneath the waves. There’s plenty to do by, on or above the beach, including sailing, paragliding, water-skiing, body-surfing and good old-fashioned sailing. The Bay of Palma hosts many prestigious regattas, including the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía and the Copa del Rey, which make for a great family day out.
At Puerto Pollensa (one of our favourite beaches), while away the hours watching sandcastle-building take on epic proportions as the pros come down to the sands and practise their art. Incredible castles as tall as a man, with drawbridge and turrets, crocodiles, and half-submerged cars all appear and disappear within a matter of days, or sometimes hours. It’s great fun to watch and may also get your kids' competitive streak going.
Head away from the high-rises and the beaches to explore Palma, Mallorca’s vibrant and beautiful capital with its largely pedestrianised winding lanes and alleyways. From Palma you can ride the rickety old Sóller Train to Sóller itself.
Take a trip to Rancho Grande in Son Serra – a working ranch where children (and adults) of all abilities can get in the saddle or in a wagon that follows the trek behind at an easy pace.
Book a hot-air balloon flight from a launch site near Manacor – a great way to see the island.
Enjoy some of the shows designed for tourists. Pirates offers jaw-dropping, gravity-defying gymnastic feats in a magical setting.
Head for one of the many waterparks: Western Water Park and Aqualand are two of the best. If you’re not squeamish about dolphin shows, head to Marineworld.
Browse at a market – those are Santa Maria and Pollensa are great.
Sit in a square until late into the night watching the world and the people go by – go on, it’s a holiday, and the Spanish are used to bringing their kids out late to eat with them.
Sadly, it's quite hard to find Spanish food in or near any of the resorts – what you will find is an array of British food (fish and chips, steaks, pies, and so on) along with German food and a smattering of other cuisines. Hence, feeding your children on family holidays here shouldn’t be any more of a problem than it is at home as they'll recognise everything that turns up on their plate.
If you do manage to hunt down an authentic Spanish restaurant, the food will tend to consist of rice, vegetables, seafood and tapas.By Rachelle Keyes
Mallorca can be very busy in August, so try to schedule family holidays for just outside of the high season, when everything will still be open but the crowds will be halved. The chance of decent weather between May and October is high, with the sea warmer in September and October than in May and June.
There are several flights a day from most UK airports to Palma de Mallorca: low-cost, charters and direct scheduled flights by British Airways and others. Flights from London take 2hrs.
One-week family holidays for four in Mallorca start at less than £1,000, depending on season, flights and accommodation.
Hotels, apartments and villas suitable for family holidays are in abundance on Mallorca, from intimate to bustling, from budget to luxury, with settings by the beach or in the mountains. For villas, check out our partners Meon Villas and James Villas.
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