How to Live Like a Local in Mallorca, Spain

How to Live Like a Local in Mallorca, Spain

This is your guide to living like a local in Mallorca, Spain, from a previous resident.

I lived in Mallorca, Spain from 2018 to 2021. During my time in Barcelona, my Lizzie McGuire movie moment happened—I fell in love with a Spaniard from Mallorca. With almost six years of living in Spain, I was fortunate enough to live in three distinct regions—Andalucía, Catalunya, and the Balearic Islands. I fell in love with each of these regions for various reasons, but the largest Balearic island, Mallorca, will forever hold a special place in my heart. While living in Mallorca, Spain, I immersed myself in local culture by seeing this pristine island through the eyes of a resident—something I’ll forever be grateful for.

While I left island life to pursue a career that required me to be physically elsewhere, I believe Mallorca, Spain to be the perfect place for expats—as long as you respect mallorquíns and their culture. From food to language to ways of being, the mallorquín culture is similar to the culture of the Balearic Islands as a whole, yet maintains its own uniqueness. Keep reading to discover how to get to Mallorca, where to stay, where to eat, and how to stroll around the city in true mallorquín fashion. 

How to Get to Mallorca

The best way to travel to Mallorca, Spain is by flying into PMI, the Palma de Mallorca Airport. You can also take a boat from Barcelona; day and overnight boats are available, but expect a travel time of 6-8 hours while flight time is approximately 50 minutes. I don’t have a fear of flying, so you can guess which one I opted for. But if you do happen to have a fear of flying, no worries. The best way to find a boat or ferry to the Balearic Islands is through Balearia. Also, as a resident of the Balearic Islands, I received a 75% discount on all flights between the Balearic Islands and the Spanish part of the Iberian Peninsula. 

Once you’re in Mallorca, I highly recommend renting a car at the airport. A bus system runs throughout Mallorca and can connect you to most major points on the island. For the bus schedule and more information about buying tickets, you can visit the Transports De Les Ils Baleares website. For the most part, it’s fairly easy to park a car while visiting local restaurants, beaches, or other nature spots. However, this can vary during peak tourist season, which usually runs from June to September. 

The Best Places to Stay in Mallorca, Spain

Besides the capital of Palma de Mallorca, some other popular places for tourists in Mallorca, Spain are El Arenal, Magaluf, Sóller, Deià, and Valldemossa. Considering the main industry in the Balearic Islands is tourism, the average resident in Mallorca, Spain will typically work in a local business such as a restaurant, store etc., or work for a large hospitality or travel company. Mallorca, Spain, is also a popular place for British and German residents to purchase vacation homes that are more affordable than what’s available in their home country. And Spain has a better climate than most other European countries.

Germans tend to favor El Arenal—even restaurant menus may be first in German and second in Spanish—while Magaluf has become a top party destination for British travelers. For those looking for a vacation of R&R, I do not recommend staying in El Arenal or Magaluf. If you’re looking for parties and social beaches, those destinations fit the bill. For a relaxing getaway in Mallorca, Spain, the major towns in the mountain range such as Sóller, Deià, and Valldemossa do not disappoint.

During my first date with my previous partner, he drove me up to Valldemossa—a town located on the northwest coast of Mallorca, Spain. One-lane winding roads lead you upwards from Palma de Mallorca to these popular destinations between the mountains and the sea. In Spanish I would say, “qué romántico“—and trust me when I say, you will feel romance in the northwest coastal pueblos in Mallorca, Spain. But driving through the Mallorcan mountain range is not an easy feat. My advice: Drive slow and watch out for bikers. Mallorca is a major biking destination and you’d hate to get off on the wrong foot with a local by running them off the road. 

Where to Live in Mallorca, Spain

Choosing the perfect place to stay in Mallorca, Spain is largely dependent on whether you plan to drive either a moto or a car while staying on the island. Some smaller cities may provide the ability for you to get to necessities such as a supermarket, pharmacy, or restaurant. But without direct access to Palma and the Palma de Mallorca Airport, you may find it difficult to make plans to leave the island.

I lived both in the center of the city in Palma de Mallorca, as well as in a tiny pueblo called Son Sardina—the city of Sardines. (I always loved that name.) These different areas to live in Mallorca have their individual pros and cons. Neither was better or worse. While living in Palma de Mallorca, I had a small apartment with one bedroom that I shared with my partner. We were able to walk freely around the city and access most major spots without a car.

Finding an apartment in Mallorca is fairly easy, depending on where you want to live. In the heart of the island in Palma de Mallorca, you should find lots of available accommodations to choose from. My favorite, and the most popular, Spanish website for finding long-term places to stay—from single rooms to full apartments and homes—is Idealista

The Perks of Palma and Son Sardina

What I love about living in Palma is that unlike other major Spanish cities, the major beach that runs parallel to the center of the city—Can Pere Antoni—is well-kept and clean. It can also vary between being social and peaceful depending on where you decide to lay your towel down. But noise can be a problem when living in city centers. If you’re a light sleeper, this might be something to consider.

Although I could only access the city-like aspects of Mallorca via car while living in Son Sardina, living in a pueblo had its own perks. Mallorca is known for its beautiful nature. Hiking, biking, and eco-friendly ways of living are common activities among those that live outside of the major city of Palma in Mallorca. When living outside of Palma, outdoor activities become more readily available. The day-to-day culture of locals in Mallorca can also largely depend on where they reside. 

What Life Is Like in Mallorca

Mallorquins are fairly intentional with their ways of being and living. Family is important to them. They keep as many products locally sourced as possible. People who are from Mallorca tend to love the island, and even if they leave to try living somewhere else, they usually return. Life in Mallorca is slow, relaxing, and enjoyable. With a mix of tourists and locals, the center of Palma can have a fairly busy atmosphere that doesn’t overwhelm. Even during what would be hustle-and-bustle weekday hours, Mallorca holds a laissez-faire essence that expats may find enjoyable.

People in Mallorca align more with the idea of working to live rather than living to work. It’s not to say that Mallorquins are not career-driven, but that they maintain an awareness around making sure to always prioritize life’s pleasures—something I think American culture could, at times, improve upon. Mallorca provides a great alternative lifestyle to those looking for a slower, tradition-driven, culture-rich place to live. 

What To Eat in Mallorca 

Your travel guide to food in Mallorca starts with the most widespread and well-known Spanish dish, paella. Usually enjoyed on the weekends, paella with seafood or paella with rabbit are the most common versions of this traditional dish eaten in Mallorca, Spain. The father of my partner gave me and my family a crash course in the art of cooking paella. Although I won’t spill all his family secrets, he mentioned that the way in which paella is cooked is a controversial subject throughout Spain. I’ll leave it to you to decide what your favorite version is, but mine will forever be the crispy rice at the bottom of the pan. 

Mallorca also has a variety of traditional Mallorquin dishes that can’t be enjoyed in other Spanish regions. Some popular summer dishes that I love to eat in Mallorca are tumbet—a delicious spin on ratatouille—and trempó—a satiating summer salad made with locally-sourced products consisting of garbanzo beans, tomato, onion, a green pepper that can’t be found anywhere other than the island of Mallorca, and sea salt harvested straight from the Mediterranean Sea. 

While hunting for sea salt along the Balearic Islands became one of my preferred summer activities during my time living in Mallorca, Spain, I found myself enjoying being alongside rather than swimming in some of the saltiest seas in the world. 

The Best Beaches in Mallorca

As previously mentioned, the main beach in Palma—Can Pere Antoni—is a perfectly enjoyable beach for an afternoon hang-out. I enjoyed countless birthday parties, afternoon picnics, and book-filled beach days there.

If you’re looking to get out of Palma for the day or weekend and jump into the saltiest turquoise waters, Es Trenc is my favorite beach in Mallorca. After wading through the sea, rinse the salt off your skin—or don’t—and walk on over to 5illes, one of my favorite restaurants in all of Spain. An ideal mix of traditional Spanish and Mallorquin dishes alongside a modern twist that is globally-inspired makes for a fun beachside culinary experience. At most restaurants in Mallorca, Spain, your meal will come with homemade bread and aioli—local olive oil, salt, and garlic blended together in a way that creates a whipped mixture to be spread atop your bread. It’s delicious to say the least, and the aioli at 5illes is one to be remembered. 

Why Mallorca is a Great Place for Expats

Although I was unsure if Mallorca was the right place for me long term, I wish it had been. And I loved every moment of time I got to enjoy basking in the Mallorquin culture. If you’re considering traveling to Mallorca, Spain for a period of time, it’s important you take the time to understand Mallorquin culture, while also having fun experiencing it in all its uniqueness.

No matter where you choose to explore or sleep in Mallorca, you’ll have the opportunity to be surrounded by an immense amount of natural beauty. In Mallorca, Spain, going to the supermarket can feel like a surreal experience when you step out and have a Spanish mountain range behind you and the Mediterranean Sea ahead. Mallorca is a place where mundane tasks become enjoyable moments. If you choose to spend some time in Mallorca, I hope you enjoy your time as much as I did.

With this guide to living like a local in Mallorca, Spain, I hope you leave feeling ready to dip your toes into the salty sea, taste the local flavors, and relax like a local. I can’t wait to hear about your time in Mallorca! Share your experiences or plans to travel in the comments below.

Interested in learning more about planning your next trip to Spain? Check out this guide to some must-try foods in Seville, Spain.

19 thoughts on “How to Live Like a Local in Mallorca, Spain

  1. Your guide on living like a local in Mallorca is fantastic! I love the insider tips and how you make exploring the island sound so authentic and exciting.

  2. Living in Mallorca, Spain as a local seems like such a unique experience. Your tips capture the essence of authentic island life.

  3. i would love to visit here. It’s absolutely beautiful. You are so lucky. Thanks a bunch for sharing.

  4. We are going through Spain cities and experiencing a trip around. This will be interesting to keep in mind and where to go in Mallorca. Great post!

  5. I have been to a few places in Spain, but not Mallorca – sounds like a very interesting place. Thank you for sharing all of the lovely food to find there!

  6. I’d love to visit Mallorca, Spain simply for its food. I particularly got to try Paella when I am there.

  7. It is years since I visited Mallorca, it is such a beautifuul place and somewhere I would love to return to one day

  8. As a mom planning our family trip, your tips on blending in with the culture and finding those hidden gems are invaluable. Can’t wait to explore Mallorca like a true local thanks to your insight!

  9. I’ve been to Spain a few times but never made it to Mallorca. Such a gorgeous place wow…I would love to explore it more, that would be amazing…Soon I hope..

  10. Thanks for this post about Mallorca. I’ve always wanted to visit Spain but not sure where to go and where to start. This is so helpful.

  11. I have been to Mallorca twice before. I went as a child originally and it was such a memorable holiday. I went back again with my own children. The island has so much to offer and so much beauty. It would be such a lovely place to live.

  12. Spain is my next travel destination for sure. I have been wanting to visit this beautiful country and I will check out Mallorca for sure 😉 Looks incredible!

  13. I would love to live in Mallorca: the salines of the sea, the fusion of food, and Rafael Nadal beckon!!!

  14. This looks like an amazing place to visit in Spain! Sharing this with my family for our next trip to Europe!

  15. Mallorca looks really so beautiful place to stay. I have never been to Spain. Whenever I travel to Spain will love to explore Mallorca.

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