Hiking Mallorca – Our Guide to Walking Mallorca’s Mountain Tracks and Coastal Trails
Hiking Mallorca – or Majorca as English speakers call Spain’s largest Balearic Island in the Mediterranean, south of Barcelona – probably isn’t what most travellers have in mind when they plan a holiday to an island best known for its hidden coves of aquamarine water and white-sand beaches.
Yet hiking Mallorca is one of the best ways to skip the Spanish island’s crowded beaches in summer – although of course if you’re prepared to go off the beaten track, there are plenty of quieter beaches with empty stretches of sand waiting for you to spread out your towel. These are the best Mallorca beaches.
For active travellers who prefer invigorating walks, inhaling fresh mountain air, and enjoying the wind in their hair over roasting on a scorching beach, Mallorca is blessed with beautiful seaside promenades, mountain trails and quiet country tracks where you can find yourself quite alone for much of the year.
While water-based activities are still alluring to those of you who can’t bring yourself to stray far from the sand for long in summer, take your swimwear and a towel, and choose a walking route that runs close to the coast.
Hiking Mallorca – Our Guide to Walking Mallorca’s Mountain Tracks and Coastal Trails
When to Go Hiking Mallorca
Hiking Mallorca is possible year round thanks to the temperate Mediterranean climate and moderate temperatures in spring, autumn and winter. Right now, the island’s spring days are seeing an average of 20-something degrees Celsius, which means you can still wear shorts and t-shirts – unlike some parts of Europe where people still haven’t packed away their winter coats.
In summer – which admittedly can be scorching – you can still do short walks early in the morning and late afternoon and in the middle of the day reward yourself with swims, long lunches, and naps. Make sure you’re prepared: slap on the sunscreen, cover up with loose light cotton shirts, wear a big hat, take plenty of water, and plan your days well.
But of course spring, autumn and winter are much more pleasant seasons for hiking Mallorca and in late spring and early autumn (fall to our North American friends) you can still work on your tan in between working up an appetite for your next meal on a beachside walk or more strenuous mountain hike.
Spring is also the best season for birdwatching on Mallorca and in spring you have the added bonus of glorious wildflowers sprouting from green pastures, whereas in summer parts of the island are parched.
Where to Stay for Hiking Mallorca
As there are waterfront walks, country tracks and mountain trails all over the island, where to stay on Mallorca really depends upon what kind of walking or hiking you want to do and where you’re going to do it. Atmospheric boutique hotels are peppered across the island, some handily located near hiking trails.
Located in Puigpunyent in the southern Tramuntana foothills, Son Net is a restored 17th century finca with antique-filled rooms with four-poster beds, a spa, enormous pool, and one of the finest restaurants in the area. High on a hilltop between Soller and Deia, in a remodelled stone farmhouse set amongst olive groves, Ca’s Xorc has charming rooms, breathtaking mountain and sea views, a library with wall-to-wall books, a restaurant in a former olive press with an open kitchen, and a beautiful pool.
Sprawled across two 16th and 17th century stone manor houses overlooking the hilltop village of Deià, Belmond La Residencia has two big swimming pools set within lush gardens, and a superb restaurant. At the northern end of the Tramuntana mountain range, in the countryside near Pollença, Son Brull is a beautiful boutique hotel in a former monastery that melds traditional stone architecture with sleek contemporary design. Expect lovely light-filled rooms, a stunning pool with plenty of sun beds, and a brilliant restaurant.
Click through for more recommendations for where to stay on Mallorca. Note that there are also simple refuges at the start/end of each stage of the Dry Stone Route (see below), most of which are in stone heritage buildings. Accommodation is basic, but they have hot showers, offer a hot meal and local wine at the end of the day and a hearty breakfast to kickstart your morning. You can book refuges through the Consell de Mallorca.
Hiking Mallorca – The Best Short Mallorca Walks
There are great walks and hikes to be had all over Mallorca, from casual seafront strolls around scenic bays – most beaches are lined with concrete footpaths or wider promenades – to more taxing hiking excursions and serious trekking expeditions that can last anything from one to several days. You could easily do a weeklong walking holiday on Mallorca.
It’s important to do some research and select your walks carefully so that if you’re of average fitness you need to choose relatively easy walking routes for beginners. If you’re super-fit and looking for a challenge, then there are some tough hiking trails that will take you up to mountain summits of over 1000 metres.
The best Mallorca hiking destinations are the mountains ranges of the Serra de Tramuntana in the island’s west – which is also one of our favourite road trip routes – and the more manageable Serra de Llevant on Mallorca’s east.
Pollença to Puig de Maria
From Pollença in the island’s north, an easy 45-minute huff and puff walk of just over 2km will take you up to the historic sanctuary of Santuari de la Mare de Déu del Puig where you can enjoy a simple country-style lunch and sip a glass of wine as you savour sweeping views before returning to town.
Old Postman’s Route
From Esporles, the Old Postman’s Route through olive groves and vineyards to the village of Banyalbufar, with its ancient Moorish terraces, is one of Mallorca’s most-loved walks for its picturesque Mediterranean scenery and gob-smacking sea vistas. This is another easy walk of 2-3 hours along a cobbled track for much of the route.
Alcúdia to La Victòria Hermitage
A slightly harder hike of some 7km from Alcúdia, also in northern Mallorca, up to the 14th-century chapel of La Victòria Hermitage offers heavenly views of the Bay of Pollença and the dramatic Formentor Peninsula. The Hermitage has boutique accommodation if you want to stay and you can stop for swims in tranquil coves along the way.
Ermita de Betlem to Can Picafort
The coastal walk from the Ermita de Betlem, near lovely Artà to Can Picafort in eastern Mallorca is another moderate level hike that takes you by the ruins of Santa Margalida, which date to 500-10BC. You can do the whole hike in 3-4 hours, stopping for swims or to stroll villages en route, or you can simply turn back when you’ve had enough.
Puig de Randa
A harder-going 6km hike from the village of Randa in Llucmajor up to the monastery atop Puig de Randa passes three monasteries along the way but you can stop at the Puig de Randa monastery for refreshments before completing the hike a little further up the hill.
The Archduke’s Trail
The toughest hike on this list begins in Valldemossa in western Mallorca. It’s named the Archduke’s Trail after Archduke Luis Salvador who carved out the circular track that takes hikers 17kms up to the 1,000 metre-high peak for jaw-dropping mountain views.
Hiking Mallorca – The Best National Park Walks
If hiking Mallorca to you means a one-hour ramble or a huff-and-puff hike up a hill to savour a spectacular sea view, then consider some of Mallorca’s National Parks, which offer fairly easy walks – as well as some challenging paths too – through protected areas with opportunities to take in flora and fauna.
Mondragó Natural Park
This 785-hectare national park near Santanyí has some of Mallorca’s easiest walks, which can take anything from 30 minutes to an hour, one passing by old waterwheels one including a stop at a bird observatory. One track takes you up to a coastal cliff with fantastic sea vistas, while another leads you through a ravine to a lookout.
Sa Dragonera Natural Park
Pirate lovers will relish learning about the history of Sa Dragonera, an island from where pirates used to attack the coast of Mallorca. The rocky terrain is ruggedly beautiful. From Cala Lledo, there are three walking tracks of between 3km to 3.5km to Llebeig lighthouse and Vell lighthouse, and an even shorter path to Tramuntana lighthouse.
Cabrera Natural Park
Lying 10kms off the southeast of Mallorca the Cabrera Islands are part of the protected Maritime-Terrestrial Natural Park. The main island has a 14km coastline with hidden coves and inlets and the highest point is just 172ms. There are a few walking tracks that take in a lighthouse, castle ruins and some caves. Get permission from park rangers in advance on the national park website. Access is from one of the authorised boats that depart from Colonia de Sant Jordi daily in high season.
Llevant Natural Park
For slightly more challenging hikes, the Serra de Llevant in the north east of Mallorca is home to some walking trails near Cala Ratjada and Artà offering breathtaking views, which take you to beautiful beaches lapped by turquoise waters. There are eight routes of varying lengths, some of which meet up, and finish at the beach. The highest peaks here are around 500m. There are several hostels where you can stay overnight, as well as a camping area.
Serra de Tramuntana
For the most rewarding hikes of all, consider the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage listed Serra de Tramuntana mountains, which stretch along the western coast of Mallorca from the south to the north of the island. Here the highest mountain is the 1,445m Puig Major. The Tramuntana can be criss-crossed on the Ruta de Pedra en Sec or Dry Stone Walk (GR 221).
Hiking Mallorca – The Best Long Distance Walk
When it comes to hiking Mallorca the Ruta de Pedra en Sec (GR 221) or Dry Stone Route through the Tramuntana mountain range is the island’s best known and best quality long distance walking route with something for everyone.
Essentially a network of ancient footpaths that have been restored by the Mallorca Government, the Dry Stone Route GR 221 consists of 168kms of signposted walking trails, of which 92kms comprises a walking route between Estellencs and Esporles, with a track that links Deià to Port de Pollença, while the other 76kms consist of ‘variants’, additional tracks that you can walk from S’Arracó to Coll de sa Gramola, Es Capdellà to Estellencs, Calvià to Puigpunyent, Tossals Verds to Orient, Raixa, Binibassí to Cala Tuent, Pas Llis and Puig de Maria.
There are eight different stages and nine variants of varying degrees of ease – or difficulty – with something for hikers of all levels and all ages. Some sections of the route take you close to the coast while others take you to the highest peaks at a lofty 1,200 metres on the Coll de ses Cases de sa Neu pass.
The route offers a wide variety of wonderful landscapes from typical low lying Mediterranean scrub to groves of shady holm oak, and there are refuges at the end of each of the longer stages where you can stay overnight.
There is an excellent downloadable PDF of the guidebook to the Ruta de Pedra en Sec GR221 published by the Consell de Mallorca, which details starting and finishing points, grades, time require, lengths, ascents and descents. It’s essential if you’re hiking independently. Also check this Map of Majorca’s hiking paths.
Hiking Mallorca – Nordic Walking on Mallorca
We have the Northern Europeans to thank for many of Mallorca’s well-marked and regularly maintained walking trails. Mallorca has actually been an increasingly popular Nordic walking destination. I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of the sport until I spotted my first Nordic walkers in the Italian Alps one summer and wondered what the heck they were doing skiing on grass.
As an Australian who grew doing bush walks with the family on Outback tracks and through eucalyptus forests – where sticks are carried to delicately remove snakes from gravelly paths or, better yet, pound that stick on the ground to alert our scaled friends we’re coming so they’d be so kind as to get out of our way – it was odd seeing hikers propelling themselves forward with poles without a snow flake in sight.
But unbeknownst to us, Nordic walking had long been a thing in Europe, originating in the 1930s in Finland as a means for skiers to keep fit during warmer months. It became massively popular in the Scandinavian countries in the 1990s and is currently experiencing a renaissance a new generation has realised that you can burn 30 percent more calories using poles when you walk.
Nordic walkers use special purpose poles made from carbon, fibreglass or aluminium and wear special cushioned shoes to help them take longer strides, so they can move themselves forward with greater impulse, mimicking the movements of skiers. The result is a better workout for the legs, buttocks, back muscles, and torso than you would otherwise get on a normal walk or mountain hike.
Mallorca was already a popular hiking destination before the Nordic walkers discovered the island, due to its abundance of hills and mountains, well-marked trails and marvellous scenery, but the Balearic tourism people were quick to catch on to the trend and develop dedicated Nordic walking trails.
In Alcudia, they went as far as to open a Nordic Walking Park with three routes, the Barcares, La Victoria, and Coll Baix, each with varying gradients and different levels of difficulty, and all with spectacular panoramic vistas.
The Ruta des Barcares begins in Es Barcares skirting the coastline for almost 6km to Punta de Manresa; Ruta de La Victoria is a circular trail running for nearly 6km through Mediterranean woods; and Ruta Coll Baix, the most challenging, follows paths flanked by traditional stonewalls for around 14km.
Hiking Mallorca – Going Alone or Doing a Tour
Hiking Mallorca can be done independently with some planning, although of course it’s always best to hike in pairs or small groups for safety reasons. If you prefer not to have to deal with logistics and just want to enjoy the walk and wonderful scenery, then consider a walking tour with an expert local guide.