Almost 10 million guests visit Mallorca – the largest Balearic island with an area of 3600 square kilometers and a population of 867,000, of which abut 185,000 are visitors – every year. Mallorca has been an example of both the good and bad sides of mass tourism in the Mediterranean. Between the 1980s and early 2000s, the island was famous for its low priced “Ballermann” style offers. Since then, the area has put in a lot of work, new laws, and investment into changing and correcting the reputation away from one of being just a party island with unsavory activities. Some well known coastal towns, like S’Arenal in southern Comarca Migjorn or Magaluf in the region of Calvià in western Comarca Serra de Tramuntana, are still made up primarily of hotels and high rises, restaurants and clubs, and excessive nightlife.
However, the island center towns – such as Sencelles, Sineu, Algaida, Llubí, Maria de la Salut, Montuïri, Petra and Porres – on the central plateau Pla de Mallorca, and some towns on the hard-to-reach north and west coasts – such as Banyalbufar, Deia, Escorca, Estellencs and Fornaltux – are often places which have maintained the authentic, natural, original feel of the island. Over the last decade, almost four dozen natural protected areas have been created in order to protect parts of the island’s coastline that were threatened by overbuilding. Some areas that belong to this initiative are the bays and inlets of Cala Mesquida and Cala Agulla, the charming island Sa Dragonera, and the peninsula Punta de n’Amer, which is in the Sant Llorenç des Cardassar in the eastern Comarca Llevant.
The “torrents,” the typical Majorcan fast-flowing streams that lead directly to the sea via gorges in the mountainous landscape, are also covered by a special protection for natural sites and landmarks. The best-known torrents are the Torrent de Pareis in the Bay of Sa Calobra, the Torrent de Lluc, which is close by, and the Torrent des Gorg Blau.
In addition to the protected torrents, there are land and sea reserves and national parks of Cabrera and the five nature reservations s’Albufera de Mallorca, Mondragó, Sa Dragonera, Llevant, and Especial de s’Albufereta near Alcúdia, with the beautiful pebble beach, Platja des Coll Baix, where further construction is strictly prohibited.
The largest concentration of marinas and yacht parking areas in Mallorca are on the south coast, along the bay of Palma, the capital of the island, as well as in Andratx and the coves of Pelença and Alcúdia in the north and northeast. On the east of the island, between Cala Ratjada and Cala Figuera, there is also some sea infrastructure, but not as much as in the south and north. On the island’s west coast, there are even fewer berthing options for skippers; the natural harbor at Puerto de Sóller offers the only places to park a yacht on the western part of the island.
In and around Palma de Mallorca, there are the marinas at Muelle Pelairs on the Paseo Maritimo, the Muelle San Pedro at the Puerto de Portixol, the Club Maritim Molinar de Llevant at the Paseo de Cala Gamba, and in Ca’n Pastilla, El Arenal (Llucmajor), Palma Nova, Portals Nous (Calvià), Portals Vells, Port Adriano, Santa Ponsua and places for guests in the Puerto de Andratx. There is also parking for sailboats and motorboats further east, by the Club Nautico de Sa Rapita, in the Colonia de Sant Jordi, on the Cala Figuera, in Portopetro, Porto Colom, Porto Criston as well as in Cala Bona and Cala Rajada. In the Bay of Alcudia, mentioned above, there are marinas in Colonia San Pedro, Ca’n Picafort, in the Port of Alcudia itself, and in the nearby Bay of Pollença in the town of Puerto de Bonaire, as well as in the harbor of the city.
On the northwest coast, there are only protected places for nighttime yacht parking but there are also some nice daytime spots at Puerto de Sóller, on the Cala de sa Calobra, and the Cala Tuent. Though the Port de Mallorca in the sailing region is first and foremost known for its exciting regattas like the Copa del Rey, the Palmavela, and the Trofeo SAR Princesa Isla, private skippers can find nice anchoring places at Bendinat and the Isla de Paso, as well as by the Playa de Palmanova. On the southwest coast, the best-kept secret is to anchor at San Telmo. There, you not only will find a nice place to leave your yacht, but also restaurants with waterfront settings. The Cala Pi on the southeast coast is also very nice, but can quickly become crowded. The northeast coast, in turn, is known for anchoring spots for islands more to the west, such as Aucanada and the gorgeous beaches of Cala del Pinar by Punta Negra.
In general, the weather on the island is hot in the summer and mild in the winter, primarily with winds from the southwest and a good 300 days of sunshine per year. Summer storms are a normal occurrence, with wind strength around an eight but without dramatic losses in barometric pressure. In large bays and by the mountainous coasts, the winds often prevail as land and sea breezes and are quite nice. The strongest currents are around two knots to the NNW, towards to Channel of Menorca, but otherwise stay around one or 1.5 knots. In the springtime, the water level changes by less than 0.2 meters, but can drop up to two meters several times an hour in some ports, due to Scirocco winds.
Of course, diving enthusiasts love Mallorca’s waters just as sailors do, and a detailed list of Mallorca’s best diving spots, as well as photos from those locations, can be found at the website for diving centers on the island (Asociación de Centros de buceo de Mallorca). The website can be viewed in English, and there is an office for the association in Santa Pronça (Calvía).For fishing on Mallorca, people over the age of 14 need to get a permit. These can be obtained without taking a test and just by paying a small fee at the Balearic Chief Fisheries Office, either online or at one of their offices in Palma, Campos, Felanitx, Inca, Manacor, and Sa Pobla. The license, called, in Spanish, “Licencia de pesca maritima recreativa individual”, is valid for two years. Deep-sea fishing, coastal fishing, jigging, trolling and spinning are also offered on Mallorca.For the best surf spots on Mallorca, wave riders love Calla Millor on the east coast, Cala Ratjada and Cala Mesquida in the northeast, and a rental shop for kite surfing by Puerto de Pollensa in the Bay of Alcudia. For surfing in the south, people like heading to the Bay of Palma and El Arenal, as well as Es Trenc, Colonia de Sant Jordi and Sa Rapita in the southeast. Water ski and jet ski rental is available in the peak season at almost every bay in Mallorca. These kinds of popular water activities and machines can be used and rented also by people without any type of boating license.
There are currently over 400 yachts and boats – made up of catamarans, motorboats and sailing boats – available for hire in Mallorca through YACHTICO.com