When it comes to beaches, the Spanish island of Mallorca has it all: wide, narrow, hidden, accessible, rocky, sandy and the list goes on. But with more than 200 of them, and limited vacation time, where do you go?
My family and I just arrived back from our first trip to Mallorca, where we stayed for two weeks. The relaxed, kid-friendly vibe of the island, coupled with its stunning scenery, dramatic coastline, secret coves and shallow, clear water, make Mallorca the perfect Mediterranean haven for families. The best piece of advice I can give from our trip? Rent a car. You want to be able to see and experience as much of this island as you can with the time you have. Mallorca is about exploring, and in particular, finding the best beach spots for kids to expend all of that energy: swimming, running along the shore and collecting shells in the morning; and kicking back with sand castles, tapas and a beautiful sunset in the late afternoon.
Below, we’ve narrowed it down to our top five family-friendly beaches on the island. Each one is unique, but they are all guaranteed to be family-pleasers.
Without a doubt, this was our favorite beach on Mallorca. Why? It delivers a stunning mountainous coastline with the perfect width and length of white sand for kids. The water is calm and shallow, and all types of water sports are offered in the horseshoe-shaped bay. Unlike other beaches to the south (Can Picafort, for example) that boast a singles or couples vibe, Port de Pollensa Beach is popular with families with young children. It is classy without being pretentious, and has all of the facilities that families need without being too commercialized or crowded. A playground and two or three open-air eateries sit right on the beach. Just across the street, the small town of Port de Pollensa offers a number of cafes and shops.
The harbor at Port de Pollensa beach also sets it apart from other beaches in the area. From the harbor, you can book a guided boat tour, rent a boat and take it out for the day, or just walk along the docks to admire the daily catch. Stay Restaurant, located over the water at the harbor, is a wonderful spot for afternoon tapas.
We visited Port de Pollensa beach at least six times during our stay, both in the morning and in the late afternoon. It never disappointed and I would go back a million more times. Sand castles, snorkeling and sangria in a relaxed, uncrowded atmosphere with a beautiful backdrop — you just can’t beat it.
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To the northeast of Port de Pollensa is an extremely special beach called Playa de Formentor. Visitors can access Formentor via ferry from Port de Pollensa beach during the summer months, or drive across the Tramuntana mountain range and follow it as it winds into the ocean (literally) to Playa de Formentor. Long but narrow, the beach provides ample shade under the pine trees to set up camp for the day.
The real call, though, comes from the beautiful turquoise water of the bay. Rent a paddle boat for 15 euro from Hotel Formentor, one of Mallorca’s most luxurious hotels and the only accommodations on this stretch of beach, and take in the dramatic mountainous coastline from the bay. The whole experience is truly spectacular.
Playa de Formentor has a feeling of seclusion and exclusivity unlike any other beach on the island, and because it is located where the mountain range melds into the sea, the forested pine tree landscape makes it unique. The 6-mile drive along and across the mountains from Port de Pollensa to Playa de Formentor is breathtaking. Cliffs 1,300 feet high drop into the ocean in dramatic fashion. As you make your way along the windy route, you will encounter professional cyclists, mountain goats and impressive viewpoints. The drive to Playa de Formentor is just as memorable as the beach, so don’t miss out!
TIP: Located past Playa de Formentor is Cap Formentor, Mallorca’s northernmost point. On a good day, the island of Menorca is visible from here. You can also explore the Formentor lighthouse, a fun activity for kids.
Pack up the beach buckets and head to the northwest part of Mallorca to spend a day at the low-key seaside resort of Port de Soller. The drive goes directly through the Tramuntana mountain range via tunnel, which is a super-cool introduction to this part of the island for young travelers. After exiting the tunnel and driving a few minutes more, you’ll land at the gorgeous Soller Bay and Port de Soller. With plenty of private luxury yachts resting on the pristine blue-green water, the bay has a Cannes-esque feel to it. Add to that the landscape of steep mountains in the backdrop, and it’s a beach setting on Mallorca like none other.
Port de Soller has two beaches side by side. While neither is especially wide, the water is magnificently beautiful. Hire paddle boats equipped with slides from the main beach, which promises a lot of fun for the whole family. For parents with older children who are up for more adventure, hire a boat in the bay to visit the beautiful, unspoiled beaches of Cala Tuent and Sa Calobra up the coast.
The beaches in Port Soller are flanked by restaurants, cafes and seaside shops. Of particular interest to kids is the vintage wooden tram that runs from Port de Soller to the small, elegant town of Soller, less than 5 kilometers away. With picturesque, narrow cobbled streets and an arty flair, Soller is a great place to enjoy gelato in the afternoon.
Playa de Muro is a wide 6-kilometer swath of fine golden sand with shallow water on Mallorca’s east coast. Kids can frolic far into the sea before it becomes deep, so Muro is a good option for families with young children. All kinds of water sports are offered here, including water-skiing, jet skiing, scuba diving and paragliding. There is also an option to take a ride on a glass-bottom boat.
Our family enjoyed collecting shells, wading out on to the sandbars and watching the paragliders on Muro. My husband and I also felt right at home, as there is a solid showing of mom and dad bods on this beach — evidence that this is, indeed, a family spot.
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Much of Muro is built up with hotels, resorts and apartments, and the beach can get crowded in these areas. There are beach chairs for hire in front of many of the resorts. If you walk far down far enough, the facilities began to disappear, replaced with a more natural beach setting flanked by dunes and juniper trees. This section of the beach is known as Es Comu.
TIP: You may encounter peddlers selling items (hair braiding, massages, bracelets) on Muro due to the large number of people who visit the beach. If this is not your thing, head farther north to Port de Pollensa beach, Formentor or Cala Molins.
Mallorca rewards those who go off the beaten path. In the northeast, there is a set of three beaches known as Cala Sant Vicenc, all magnificent with dramatic views and far fewer tourists than other beaches on the island. Tucked into the Tramuntana Mountains, the beaches of Cala Sant Vicenc are surrounded by impressive rocky cliffs and boast crystal-clear water with underwater rock formations.
Of the three beaches at Cala Sant Vicenc, we recommend the main beach, Cala Molins. Although the beach is not long, it does have enough space for sprawling out on towels with gear, and during peak season you can find sunbeds and shades for hire. Molins is an excellent beach for swimming and snorkeling. Older children can rent kayaks to explore the cliffs. There are also local scuba diving companies that take regular dives to this area during the summer season.
While Cala Molins isn’t teeming with facilities (which is the way we prefer it), there is a restaurant right on the beach that offers a great lunch menu. There is also a cafe toward the back of the beach, near the parking area.
The beauty of the beach at Cala Molins is unparalleled, but be aware that during bad weather, the unsheltered bay can be hit by huge waves. During the high season, there is a lifeguard on duty who closely monitors sea conditions and flies green or red flags depending on the conditions.
The northeast side of the island, near the towns of Pollensa, Port de Pollensa and Alcudia, is a great place for families. In addition to having a number of family-friendly beaches, there is a relaxed vibe and stunning scenery where the mountains drop off to the ocean. Hotel Llenaire, located only a mile from Port de Pollensa beach, is a great option for families looking for a mix of luxury, location and an excellent level of customer service.
Get full details about why we love this Mallorca hotel with kids >
Editor’s Note: Photos by Loren Braunohler.
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