The largest island of the beautiful Balearics, Mallorca is an ideal holiday destination for families. Only a short flight away from the UK, there's no need to worry about entertaining the kids on the plane – you'll be there before you know it. Whether you're after beach days to catch some rays, or adventure tours to explore the great outdoors, this idyllic island has got your holiday needs well and truly covered. Teeming with tried and tested ways to keep the kids happy, you'll soon see why Mallorca family holidays are such a hit with all ages!
Many families prefer the seclusion of their own private villa while holidaying in Mallorca. If there's fussy eaters travelling, having your own kitchen to whip up family favourites is always a life saver. And then there's the pool of course… no getting up at silly o'clock to reserve a sunlounger. You make all the rules, and your little ones have plenty of freedom to frolic and splash until their heart's content.
Our villas can be found mostly in the north or south of the island, and as luck would have it, that's where you'll find the best beaches too! Pollensa and nearby Alcudia are some of the most popular areas for families. Long white sandy beaches stretch out for miles, with shallow waters and plenty of watersports for thrill-seeking teens. In the south west, the capital of Palma is a history lesson come to life! There's also a handful of waterparks just a stone's throw away – perfect for adrenaline junkies and water babies alike.
The stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range stretches for miles like a spine along the northern coastline of Mallorca. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it invites adventure with a huge choice of hiking and cycling trails. There's leisurely walks, challenging hikes and even dare-devil climbs depending on your family's level of skill. Three family-friendly trails meander through Alaró, Deià and Selva, and each one can be conquered in a day.
Alaró is a traditional town found in a peaceful valley on the southern slopes of the mountain range. The rugged countryside is home to a handful of well-known trails. Deià is a small coastal village and one of the prettiest on the island. It oozes a laid-back atmosphere and boasts blissful surroundings. Selva is a picturesque town at the base of the Tramuntana mountain range, and offers wonderful wanders for the more relaxed walker. No matter what route you take you'll be spoilt with oak forests, valleys and pathways littered with boulders. All the while enjoying vantage points over spectacular coastlines and countryside.
For those who are keen to get outdoors but don't quite trust their own navigational abilities – there's a huge amount of guided walking tours, guidebooks and maps available. (Psst! If all that seems like too much hard work – why not rent a car and enjoy the views on a road trip?)
A guaranteed hit for all ages, visit the awe-inspiring caves of Mallorca. The natural marvels are almost a 1000ft deep in places, and adorned with thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. The colossal cave system of Cuevas del Drach is home to Europe's largest underground lake – Lake Martel – which you'll explore by boat as part of the tour. Other highlights include adventuring through limestone formations and the Baths of Diana – whose waters are a startling hue of turquoise. The experience is ethereal and otherworldly to say the least!
Another popular site can be found at the Cuevas d'Arta, found in the north east of the island. This fascinating network of underground caverns is less busy than Drach and is ideal for anyone who prefers quieter experiences. The lack of crowds adds to the natural splendour of the subterranean scenes that unfold before you. Special lighting effects are used to emphasise the dramatic formations hanging from the high arched roof. One of the chambers is as large as the nave of Palma Cathedral, and one of the most famous stalagmites – the Queen of Pillars – stands at a whopping 22m tall!
There's plenty more caves where those came from, with the impressive Cuevas dels Hams at Porto Cristo and Coves de Campanet in the north west. An underground adventure is the perfect remedy on an overcast day, or if you're simply looking to escape to cooler climes for an afternoon.
Kids and waterparks go together like summer and sunshine, and as luck would have it there are fantastic options in the north and south of the island! First up is Alcudia's Hidropark. A mammoth complex covering 40,000 square metres, there are 19 wonderful waterslides, as well as a super mini golf course, bouncy castles and trampolines. Plenty of cafés will keep those little mouths fed too, including a barbecue – whose smell will undoubtedly entice hungry family members over for a bite or two. Over in the south, Aqualand boasts one of the world's largest water funfairs, with enough thrills and spills to keep the clan happy all day. Outside of the wave pools and waterslides, there's a mini zoo, chidlren's farm and parrot shows.
Mallorca is blessed with blissful beaches, from rugged and hard-to-reach to Blue Flag beauties with wide open sandy stretches. Cala Millor is a purpose built resort and the longest beach on the eastern coast. With a long promenade for walking, skating and cycling as well as plenty of amenities, it's a haven for family beach days. Showers, sunloungers, lifeguards and every watersport imaginable is available on site. Not to mention the countless restaurants and shops to dive into if the sun gets a little too sizzling! Playa de Alcúdia is one of the nicest beaches on the entire island. With all the usual facilities, it even boasts WiFi. A godsend for parents of crabby teens who can't go a day without full use of their smart phone.
Palma Aquarium invites families to learn about life under the sea, organising unique experiences that teach both parents and children alike about respecting the marine world. Children as young as three are able to snorkel in the shallows with stingrays during the summer months, or ride across the 'big blue' tank while admiring the 11 sharks that live there. The boat has a glass bottom so forget about a birds-eye-view, it's all about the sharks-eye-view now! Watch in awe as the ferocious fish swim around elegantly below. For those extra brave thrill seekers, you can dive into the deepest shark tank in all of Europe and come face to face with the amazing marine creatures.
A visit to Palma's Old Town is always a hit with the whole family! Wander through the winding medieval streets and discover hidden gems and architectural treasures. Stop by a local bakery or pavement café and pick the troops up a traditional Ensaimada (sweet pastry) to get those mouths watering and feet marching. First stop, La Seu Cathedral. One of the highest gothic cathedrals in the world, it's a magnificent mountain of a building. The impressive glass stained window creates a kaleidoscope of colour as light pours in courtesy of the morning sun. Once you've watched the light dance long enough, head back to the narrow streets and enjoy the peaceful courtyards and pretty squares.
Clamber up to Bellver Castle, a striking royal residence that's perfectly preserved 3km west of Palma – complete with a moat and drawbridge, defence towers and a free-standing keep. If you're on the lookout for adventure and exploration to spark those little imaginations then you've found it! Saving the best until last, don't miss a trip to the summit. A 360° panorama awaits with unbelievable views overlooking the city, the bay of Palma and even the jaw-dropping Tramuntana mountain range.
If you're around in the evening, tuck into some traditional tapas. With something for every palette and budget you can't go wrong! Finish with a relaxing waterside walk along the seafront. The promenade will lead you by impressive marinas full of locals' bobbing boats and millionaires' super-yachts.
On the north of the island, pretty Pollensa is another ancient town made up of narrow streets and impressive squares. For something a little different, soak up the smells and atmosphere at a Sunday market.