If you’re choosing to live on Mallorca, the chances are you’ve visited before on holiday and fallen in love. The story goes that once your feet land in Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca’s magnetic pull starts to set in. From the centre of the capital and its boutique shops in the Old Town, world-class golf in Son Vida and evening cocktails in Santa Catalina, it seems like there’s nowhere else on Mallorca you’d rather put down your roots. However, calling the island home often comes with a pre-requisite, to either a) live in the Sierra de Tramuntana or b) live near the sea. It is, after all, why thousands of us (like editor Helen Cummins did in 1999) leave behind our native countries and choose to live in the Mediterranean. We all want to take our time, slow down and live well.
Living by the sea is where most of us want to be. Ports and sea-towns in the southwest are some of the most exclusive, with Bendinat, Portals Nous, Port Andratx and Camp de Mar, reigning for some of the highest property prices on the island.
Authentic and traditional will lead you more towards the northwest, to the likes of Deià, Sóller and Valldemossa where celebrities flock to the Sierra Tramuntana for their holidays every year. Otherwise, following in the footsteps of local aristocracy and owning a second home in high-end Puerto Pollensa, Alcúdia or Formentor promises beautiful sea-view living.
Rural life inhabits the island centre in villages like Alaró and Santa Mariá, or further northeast to the town of Artá. In these smaller communities, tourism is not so wide-spread, meaning that with a large country finca, you can really find peace and quiet.
As part of the journey in choosing the right place to settle in Mallorca, take a look at our place guides below! Only 30 of the best places in Mallorca have been selected by hc/ and her editorial team to keep your search succinct. Each guide covers everything you need to know about your place of interest and the surrounding area. Jump to sections like Good to Know, Events, Restaurants, Property and Business and Work, and get an impartial overview of where to live on Mallorca. You’ll also find some local tips from Helen herself that’ll help you get to grips with what to expect.
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca is not only regarded within Mallorca as a sought-after place of residence, but across wider Spain too. It is known on a national level for its beauty, architecture and vibrant cultural scene. The city is enigmatic, which a walk around the La Seu Cathedral and its Old Town will confirm. It is a city of multiple faces made-up of distinct neighbourhoods, all of which promise the desired healthy Mediterranean lifestyle.
Son Vida is the most exclusive area, securing the highest for property prices in the city and the best position for views over Palma Bay. It is home to Palma’s three prestigious golf courses which complement the area with well-kept lawns and lakes. Helen Cummins, husband Georg and daughter Eva reside in Son Vida and join the area’s long list of successful business people and their families who have made it their home.
Santa Catalina is the liveliest part of Palma, where international cuisine, clubbing and a buzzing market all congress. Its close proximity to Paseo Maritímo and the harbour mean that it’s very popular with the yachting community. People from all over the world meet in Santa Catalina at places like Hostal Cuba and its surrounding bars. It’s a year-round place to live, which unlike other areas in Mallorca, maintains its pace even in the winter months. Portixol on the other hand is quieter given its position right next to the sea. This area of Palma guarantees luxury apartments with sea-views and a popular local restaurant scene on your doorstep. A short 15-min cycle ride will take you straight into the city centre.
Palma is full of surprises. Find out everything you need to know about living in Mallorca’s capital, from shopping to property and restaurants.
Facing the sea
Portixol and its El Molinar neighbourhood have evolved from their fishing heritage into one of the most buzzing and desirable seaside spots on Mallorca.
Santa Catalina has it all. Find out everything you need to know about living in Palma’s buzziest neighbourhood in this definitive area guide.
In the mountains
Only in Son Vida will you find Mallorca’s best golf courses and most exclusive villas. Find out more in hc/’s definitive area guide!
When asked where the most luxury properties are in Mallorca, Helen Cummins doesn’t hesitate. “The southwest is where you’ll find property gold.” Places like Portals Nous, Bendinat, and Port Andratx are where homes with sea-views will sell like those in Son Vida, reaching millions. The real estate sector in the southwest sees the highest peak for sales (quoted in the property report by Engel and Völkers) and with it, the highest in interest from oversea buyers. Investing in this part of the island, promises glorious beaches close-by, some fo the best international schools such as Agora Portals International School and a thriving cosmopolitan community. Portals Nous, Illetas and Santa Ponsa all have strands of British, German and Scandinavian influence, which has filtered into the cuisine, architecture and social scene. Therefore, moving to the southwest can bring some level of familiarity for internationals, where English and German are spoken widely. It is also one of the most glamourous areas, with the likes of Port Andratx and Puerto Portals pinned for their designer boutiques and high-end gastronomy. The events calendar never ends either, with the marina at Port Adriano famed for its music, art, theatre and classic cars.
Of course the defining character for the southwest, and the reason behind its high-end status is the role of its harbours. Its nautical industry is huge, and brings hundreds of luxury superyachts to Mallorca’s shores every year. Therefore, yacht-owners in search of a second home will find it makes sense in the southwest, and with it the fulfilment too, of meeting like-minded people in the industry.
Low-key rustic living will lead you north of the region to Banyalbufar and Esporles. Villages like these are set deeper into the mountain range, promising a much greener side to luxury living (but no less high-end). An accompanying vineyard or plot of land is much more viable around these parts.
Facing the sea
With its abundance of luxury villas, world-class golfing and air of serenity, the neighbourhood of Bendinat stands out as one of Mallorca’s most exclusive.
Portals Nous is home to a friendly cosmopolitan community, whose town is livened up by the summer swell and luxury yacht marina on their doorstep.
Glamorous, opulent & elegant, the prestigious Puerto Portals in beautiful bay of Palma, just a 10-minute drive from the city, is one of Mallorca’s most luxurious marina complexes.
According to local residents, Santa Ponsa has the best weather on the island. Find out why people choose to move to this part of Mallorca.
Part of the dreamy appeal of living in Camp de Mar is the white sandy beach and its luxury properties situated on the hillside.
From its low-key resorts to exclusive hilltop community, this lively coastal region benefits from proximity to Palma as well as a beautiful coastline.
As well as being home to one of Europe’s most modern marinas, Port Adriano offers an outdoor lifestyle, cultural events and great dining on your doorstep.
In the mountains
Thanks to its UNESCO protection, living in Banyalbufar is like living in a time warp. A small but quaint Mallorcan village surrounded by mountains and sea.
Those with a passion for wine and olive production love living in Esporles, given it has some of the best terrain the island has to offer.
Photos of celebrities on holiday in Mallorca will almost always be taken in the northwest and for good reason. This is where you’ll find the heart of the Sierra de Tramuntana, and arguably, Mallorca’s prettiest region. This is where the unspoiled Mediterranean stretches across thick woodland, pebbly coves and traditional fincas – the perfect place to retreat from the limelight.
If you’re an artist, then you will find sanctuary in villages like Deià, Fornalutx and Valldemossa, which are only accessible by narrow, windy roads. The mountains are at their most dramatic in the northwest, and provide the perfect location for hiking, cycling and rock-climbing in Mallorca.
Though more rustic and traditional, the area hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rich and famous wanting their slice of authentic Mediterranean living. This has increased buying interest and tipped its real estate into the luxury market. Exclusive villas and grand country estates on the outskirts of small villages like Esporles and Banyalbufar are where you’ll enjoy the space to grow vineyards and olive groves.
In some areas of the coast, namely Sóller and Port de Sóller you’ll find a well-trodden tourist trail that sees a spike in visitors in the summer months. However, the tourism that the northwest attracts is largely in health, wellness and sport. An influx in crowds for the Sóller tram is expected, but visitors are rarely concentrated and spend much of their time surrounded by nature. Therefore, despite its strong tourist appeal, the northwest has retained its tranquillity and to this day, remains unspoiled.
Facing the sea
Curious about seaside living in Mallorca’s Golden Valley? Our guide uncovers Port Sóller’s many charms, from hotels and restaurants to property.
In the mountains
Sóller has an abundance of good things. Discover them all; from hotels and restaurants to the event calendar, and what it’s like living there.
Set in a particularly pretty corner of the Tramuntana mountains, the traditional village of Deiá combines picture postcard images with high-society connections.
Discover Valldemossa, Mallorca’s most enchanting mountain town; it’s rich heritage and preservation of local culture makes it a truly inspiring place to live.
Fornalutx, known as Mallorca’s prettiest village, lies in a declivity amongst the highest mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range in Mallorca.
The northeast is a strong place to move to for lots of reasons, but for outdoorsy types it’s the cycling and hiking routes that confirm the decision. The Sierra de Tramuntana stretches across the tip of this region and therefore, plays a huge role in how residents spend their time at the weekends. Sports are high on the agenda in the northeast, particularly in Alcúdia and Port Alcúdia which have become symbolic of cycling in Mallorca. The Ironman and 321 Mallorca both feature here, and it has become a famous training ground for international cyclists and professional teams.
The British have a particular fondness for this region of Mallorca, which although apparent for years, saw interest soar after the release of the BBC drama ‘The Night Manager.’ Therefore, in areas like Puerto Pollensa you’ll find that the restaurant and social scene caters well for British tourism. However, there are two sides to the northeast. While the number of visitors increase in the summer and second-homes fill up, there is a welcoming all-year community that never changes. Many people choose the northeast to invest in for its attractive front-line villas and traditional town life. Alcúdia and Pollensa both have attractive squares that hold local festivities, which bring together a vibrant international community.
Quieter Mallorca also exists in this region, when you travel further east to Artá and Canyamel where you’ll find predominantly German tourists and residents. In difference to the tip of the region at Formentor for example, which draws visitors from all the over world to its viewpoint and lighthouse.
Facing the sea
A family-friendly resort for many years, Puerto Pollensa has also attracted a growing population of ex-pats to its stunning shores.
Port d’Alcúdia offers an active lifestyle for cycling and hiking types, providing the ideal location for families to move to and enjoy Mallorca.
Step inside Alcúdia’s medieval walls and you’ll find a vibrant place to live with its huge cycling scene and buzzing restaurant life.
Pollensa is one of Mallorca’s prettiest towns where its residents enjoy a tranquil life, hiking up Puig de Maria at weekends and taking in beautiful views.
In the mountains
Artà is full of surprises; naturally reflecting its seamless blend of nature, heritage, tradition and modernity, it really is a uniquely special corner of Mallorca.
The southeast is Mallorca’s laid-back region defined by unspoiled farmland and country villas. While it is home to Cala d’Or, a family-friendly beach resort, it’s peppered by unspoiled little coves and a beautiful natural park, Mondragó. Prospective buyers looking for investment will do well to buy property for rental in this part of the island, given the Rafa Nadal Academy just outside Manacor attracts students and their families from all over the world.
Santanyí is an appealing option for up-market, all year-round living, with a buoyant weekly food market, a good base of interior stores, boutique shops and cafés. There are some beautiful stone fincas on the outskirts here, which occasionally throw-up exciting opportunities for renovation. In recent years, the town has become a hit with German and Scandinavian residents, which has trickled into the business sector. Real estate and interior design in particular are both well-rooted within the wealth German community.
As you head to the coast, you’ll find some sheltered beaches and quaint ports such as Portocolom. It is common for locals in the southeast to own holiday homes here, which make the port a luxury hotspot in the warmer months. The number of visitors rarely reaches anything like what you’ll see in places like Sóller, Alcudia or Puerto Pollensa, meaning that slow and relaxed Mediterranean living can also be found in the southeast (even in summer).
Facing the sea
Cala d’Or aces the average resort. Find out what’s good with our guide to hotels, restaurants and the property scene.
Find out all you need to know about Santanyí in Mallorca. From living in the area to the town’s best hotels, restaurants and local events.
As you head away from the coastline and towards the centre, the landscape starts to change and with it, the culture too. In the middle of Mallorca, the villages are smaller, communities are tighter and there isn’t such an influx of international residents. If there are, they are normally on the outskirts, owning luxury fincas (country estates) with large plots of land and very few neighbours. This is the region on Mallorca for rustic, country living and guaranteed privacy.
Much of the land is characterised by the Sierra de Tramuntana and the mountain ranges surrounding it. Alaró is the island’s classic mountain village, characterised by a small, quiet centre and some very hilly roads. Your typical Mallorcan townhouse with garden green shutters and flagstone flooring is found here, as is a luxury country estate with large pool and outbuildings. If you’re looking to keep livestock, this area has some of the strongest ties with Mallorca’s agricultural sector. Local knowledge in farming the land is trusted here, thanks to generations of Mallorcan families who have always lived in the area.
Other towns include Santa María, which in recent years has seen an influx in international residents, and is one of the centre’s most up-beat places to live. Their weekly Sunday market is renowned for being one of the best for fresh fruit and vegetables on the island, and is a good place to connect with the community. Its close proximity to Palma also makes it a recommended option for those who want country living with the city in easy reach for work. However, much of the centre comes with a pre-warning for its quiet pace, particularly in the winter months. If it is of surprise that places like Puerto Pollensa and Port Andratx slow-down in winter, the centre of Mallorca in comparison comes to a standstill. In the centre, it really is slow living.
In the mountains
Find out all you need to know about Alaró in Mallorca. From living in the area to the town’s best hotels, restaurants and local events.
Your guide to Santa Maria in Mallorca. We cover all the highlights of living in this small town giving you insider tips from a locals perspective.
Our aim at hc/ Slow Living Mallorca is that you will soon be able to call one of these places home. Getting to grips with where to live in the Mallorca isn’t always easy without the assistance of some local knowledge. Helen Cummins and her editorial team bring together over twenty years of living on the island and from this, have selected the best places to live on Mallorca.
The Slow Luxury Living ethos is rooted in Slow, Local, Organic and made With love, meaning that each place has been chosen with this as its basis. You will be able to slow down and appreciate the local as well as the luxury on Mallorca. Whether it’s living a glamorous superyacht life in the southwest, or a life more rustic in the northeast, your new Mallorca address is right here.