A small rock in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, known and loved primarily for its climate, its friendliness and its unbelievable beaches.
It is a peculiar place, Mallorca, in that it is diverse and varied in terrain and in the people it attracts; some areas are so upmarket and glamorous you could be forgiven to thinking you are in Montecarlo or Antibes, and others so traditional they barely seem to have entered the 21st Century.
There are the party lands of the south and the sleepy resorts of the north, all coexisteing amicably on a island just over double the size of London.
One holiday is never long enough to explore them all and the distances, though short can be tricky to navigate, especially in the peak summer holiday season, when the island's roads are busier than usual and the heat makes doing even the simplest task a chore.
The best way to really enjoy your time here is to find an area and stay there, exploring the beaches and surrounding area. And next time try a different spot. But not everyone wants to stay put, some of us love to move around, find new places, see everything we can, and the beaches on this island are pretty fabulous.
Here is a list of the main, the biggest and some of the most stunning beaches on the island, from long extensions of white sand and shimmering turquoise sea, to tiny rocky coves etched into the mountain side, each unique and all worth making the trip for.
The north is Mallorca at its most family friendly and its beaches are of the same ilk, with every facility you could dream of; sunloungers and parasols, showers, walkways, water sports, beach guards, shops, cafes along the front and on the sand. Formentor is caribbean like, while Cala Sant Vicente is a set of 4 coves and some of the most aquamarine waters you will ever see.
Alcudia is a medieval town with Roman ruins, a port and a beach with a playground on the sand, a family favourite, while Playa de Muro stretches for miles, past marshlands, bird sanctuaries and swathes of protected sanddunes, nudist sections and trendy beach cafes. Can Picafort is busy, bustling and exactly what you would expect from Mallorca, and then it changes again to Son Serra de Marina, where the kite surfers go.
Cala Mesquida, Cala Torta, Cala Agulla, Cala Ratjada and Cala Millor
The east of Mallorca is home to the natural park and mountains of Llevant, the island's smaller range of hills and dunes reaching down to the water's edge. The east is the sleepiest, least developed side of the coast and has some gorgeous sandy beaches. Don't expect much in terms of beach facilities; the most you can hope for here is the odd beach shack, but if you like remote virgin beaches, this is the coast for you.
This is as close as you will get to the other Mallorca; medieval towns perched on hilltops, fishing towns with working harbours, restored and only slightly modernised, the tacky tourism Mallorca is sadly so well known for never reached the south east and the result is a pantheon of beaches, each more idyllic than the last.
Amongst the most protected parts of Mallorca, the southern tip of the island has few roads, fewer towns and vast expanses of untouched sand and sea. You will find the salt pans here and wondrous bird sighting areas, and most significantly, virgin beaches of the like you would never have imagined in Mallorca.
This is the Mallorca everyone has heard of; bustling party beaches, club land, naughytiness and revellery. Not everyone's cup of tea. Surprisingly however, the southwestern coast of Mallorca is quite varied, swaying dramatically between the Magaluf style beaches and some of the most up-market boatie areas on the island. And of course, there is Palma, the city capital, bang in the middle.
On the southern part of the Tramuntana Mountains, in west Mallorca, there are some wonderful coves and small beaches. You won't find long Caribbean like expanses here, there is no room, but these are beautiful beaches, remote, often pebblely and pristine, belonging to the island's mountain villages.
This is the most inaccessible part of Mallorca, entirely mountainous and where the only two beaches around are literally etched into the steep rock facade. These beaches feature heavily in brochures and ads and so can be fairly busy in the peak summer season. Cyclists favour the Calobra road as the island's most challenging ride, so Torrent de Pareis can be crowded out of season too.