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Bored of sitting by the hotel pool? Want to get your blood pumping, see a bit more of the island and taste the excitement of a real adventure?
They are everywhere, hugely Instagramable, set in breathtakingly gorgeous seascapes and absolutely silent. It is the simplest form of activity on the sea you could imagine. Just a board and a paddle. And while it does take some practice, anyone can do it. Besides, it allows you to reach some of those tricky to get to coves round the edge of the larger beaches and it's a great workout too! Rent a board or buy one... you can even get inflatable ones that pack into a nifty packpack or hire them by the hour.
Boat charters with and without skippers allow anyone to enjoy a day out at sea, but it is the yachties and the boating crowd that know how perfect the island is for sailing; old fishing boats and state of the art super yachts bob side by side on the moorings, buoys can be rented and at the luxury marinas dotted around the island there are royal regattas and boat shows. Boat sales are up too, showing a growing interest in the island's boat market. Day charters are available in and around all the main ports and are possibly the best way of escaping both the heat and crowds on a midsummer's day.
Relaxing or exhilarating, depending on the sea, and anyone can have a go. The large bays are great for beginners while the ragged northern coastline is dotted with sea caves and fun to explore. Kayaks are available for rent at practically every large resort beach on the island and quite a few of the smaller ones too. Look at the Mallorca coastline before choosing your kayaking area as it varies quite significantly, especially on the Tramuntana side, which is sheer rock face and can be wild at sea.
Sunked cargo ships and wrecks, magnificent underwater caves, nature reserves rich in marine life and great sites for beginners and advanced divers off the Mallorca coast provide ample diving zones on the island. You can take your PADI Scuba diving course with some of the watersport outfits, or try free diving, which is where you submerge without tanks, just on your own breath. Unless you are a veteran however, you are advised to go with an experienced local guide, especially if you are planning to explore caves.
A combination of wakeboarding, snowboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding, skateboarding and sailing, and we should add, flying a kite! Because it is by harnessing the power of the wind with a huge power kite, that you are propelled across the water. Sound like fun? As extreme sports go, this is a great one for teenagers. There are courses for all levels available at the top kitesurfing spots on the island: Pollensa, Alcudia, Playa de Muro, Can Picafort and Colonia San Jordi along the eastern coast of the island.
The simplest summer activity of all has got to be swimming, in the sea. It encompasses all the benefits of being in the water and on the coast and the beauty of requiring absolutely nothing in terms of kit. And if you would like a challenge, there are sea swimming races in Mallorca too; the Bay of Pollensa open water swim crossing from Formentor to Mal Pas (7 km) takes place every year in September. Or if that seems too short, maybe you fancy swimming from Formentera to Ibiza (16km).
No mention of hiking or walking in Mallorca can be made without talking about the Serra de Tramuntana, the island's largest mountain range (there are two) and the site of some of the most beautiful walks, as well as its highest peaks and breathtaking coastal views. It is a wild wonderland worth exploring. The Regional Government has been signposting the Dry Stone Way and reconditioning mountain refuges to accomodate hikers along the route. The offical title is the GR221 and it goes from Port d'Andratx on the far southern point of the island, to Formentor in the far north.
Mallorca is a premier European rock and sports climbing destination with wonderful slabby walls, evil overhangs, juggy tuffas, roofs, and cracks, with lots of bolted limestone, mainly single-pitch, and all found within three main climbing areas; the southwest, the northwest (essentially along the Tramuntana Mountains) and the east, in the Serra de Llevant, the island's second mountain range. Sa Gubia, in the south, is the largest crag, both in terms of size and number of routes, with many multi-pitch routes.
Cycling in Mallorca practically needs no introduction. Cyclists know the island well and visit every year in the tens of thousands, spawning sport hotels, bike rental, cycling guides and bike transfers, as well as a wealth of cycling friendly eateries and cafes along the more popular routes. The big challenge on the island, and one of the reasons many cyclists come to Mallorca, is the ride to and back from Sa Calobra (9,4km) with its unbelievable hairpin bends and steep uphill climb (7,1% gradient). Other favourites are to the lighthouse at Cape Formentor, around Soller and the three monasteries.
A large past of the east and western coastline of Mallorca is mountainous, and thanks to the signposting effort of recent years, it is easy to cross the ranges along the designated routes. Some of the favourites are Formentor and Alcudia peninsula and the Lluc Monastery from Pollensa in the north of the Serra de Tramuntana, s'Arracó near Calvia in the south, and around Artá in the Serra de Llevant, the island's gentler coastal mountains. Though not as popular as road cycling, MBT is nevertheless widely practiced and well provided for.
Mountain running has become incredibly popular on the island over the last decade or so, and what was once a fairly elitist sport is now practiced by thousands. Ultra races across the Tramuntana, as well as on the neighbouring islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are signed up to in the hundreds and mountain running clubs have started up in every town and village. The Serra de Tramuntana is the playing ground for most of the best mountain running; steep, varied and extreme in parts, it is also wonderfully well comunicated, signposted (GR221) and full of tiny villages with cafes and sunny squares, and often the only access to some of the loveliest hidden coves on the island.
The Mallorca coastline is a fascinating underwater world made up of hundreds of limestone and sandstone caves, most of which, are yet to be explored. A few of the larger cave complexes above ground are open to the public: Coves del Drach, Hams, Porto Cristo... but it's the vast network of submerged caves that are most interesting to explore; full of talactites, stalagmites, spectacular rock formations, natural pools, hidden rooms and tunnels. Diving companies offer equipment and guided trips.
Coastering is basically about moving along the intertidal part of the coast, often a rocky and steep coast, and involves a fair amount of climbing, scrambling, canyoning, sea level traversing as well as rock jumping and swimming. Go coasteering on Mallorca's wild northern coastline, where you will be climbing along cliff edges, with the water, waves, rocks, gullies and caves that make up the island's marine geology, this is a high energy activity, best during the Summer and early Autumn when the sea temperatures are still high.
Sa Fosca is the mother of all torrents according to the experts, rated as the best in Europe for its rock formations, dimension and orography. It is essentially a section of the torrent of Gorg Blau, 2.500 m long and rated 5-6 on the difficulty scale, with a total blackout area 450 metres long. It has over 40 jumps across 6 Km with walls that rise up to 300 m high. Canyoning enthusiasts come to Mallorca from all over the world to test themselves in this extraordinary place.
A simple and exhilarating adventure activity, where no equipment is needed and the island's coastline, so ragged and wild in places, is ideal for the sport. Climb up onto jutted edges and plunge into the Mediterranean Sea. Best to jump feet first and check the water first, in case of shallow rocks. There are a few places where cliff or rock jumping has become very popular, mostly along the Tramuntana Mountains where the coastline is dotted with crags and overhanging rocks. If you are unsure, join an adventure company and let them show you the best spots.
There are horse riding clubs and stabbles all over the island. Some are focused entirely on tourist outings and excursions while others are primariily private riding schools. One of the most interesting places to ride is on the wild eastern coast down by Cala Mesquida where you can gallop along the long sandy beach and trek across the bare mountain side beside the sea. The breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and rough terrain is perfect for family tours on horseback. Another option is to take a three day mountain trek across the Tramuntana, staying at refuges and monasteries along the way.
For an activity that requires very little effort in return for big rewards, nothing quite beats taking a hot air balloon over land (and sea) and enjoying a bird's eye view of the landscape from the air. There are 2 balloon ports on the island; Son Parot in Manacor and Mallorca Balloons just outside Palma. Rides take approximately one hour, with an hour of preparation and though you can go up at other times, early morning and sunset are best.
The Half Ironman takes place every year in Alcudia and attracts thousands of competitors, visitors, supporters and staff, closing roads all over the island and taking Mallorca by storm. The 3 part race starts and ends on the golden sandy beach of the Bay of Alcudia with a sea swim, followed by a cycle loop into the Tramuntana Mountains and ending with a run on the beach road in town. Specialist holidays for cyclists and triathletes are offered in some of the top sport hotels as well as by cycling and triathlon training camp organisers.
There are about 20 high end golf clubs in Mallorca, mostly concentrated around Palma (Real golf Bendinat, Andratx, Son Gual) in the south of the island, but also around Artá (Pula Golf, Canyamel, Son Servera... ) on the east coast and two in the north (Pollensa Gold and Alcanada). Tee booking and green fees vary, as some of the larger golf greens are part of luxury golf hotels, but golf holidays locations, guided tours, golf club rental, tuition, transfers and all related golf services can be found here: Simply Mallorca Golf.
On the migratory routes between northern Europe and Africa, Mallorca has long been a popular bird watching destination. The island has its own two endemic species: Balearic Warbler and the Balearic Shearwater, hundreds of passing migrants like the Eleonora Falcon and the Purple Heron, and the only island breeding population of Black Vultures. Undoubtedly the best birding areas are found in the north, near Port de Pollensa, where La Gola is the main ornithological Centre and reserve, along with the exceptional marshlands of S'Albufereta, S'Albufera and protected nature reserves in the Boquer Valley, Formentor Peninsula and all over the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains.
Roller ski is a form of cross-country skiing without the snow, and new to the island... but a great way to train out of season in fine weather and on Mallorca's great road network, because if the cyclists rate the routes, then so would the rollerskiers, and increasingly, they do. Created as a summer training technique for skiers, roller ski the exercise is fairly similar to skiing but with shorted wheeled skis and poles. For more information on rollerski events, training camps and services on the island, see: Rollerski Mallorca.