After countless holidays in Mallorca, you have decided that it’s enough with the flights, enough with staying in a hotel, and finally, enough to just staying a few weeks at a time. You have decided to say goodbye to holidaying in Mallorca, and hello to relocating to the largest of the Balearic Islands.
Moving to Mallorca is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. You’re on the path to moving to one of the most beautiful places in the Mediterranean, with tropical beaches a short drive away, incredible international schools and a multicultural community awaiting your arrival. There is a whole expat community before you who dared to make the move when it was less simple. Nowadays, Mallorca’s great infrastructure and multilingual business sector make it much easier to settle into. Editor Dr Helen Cummins moved to the island in 1999 and recalls seeing a huge shift. From famous party island and magnet for cheap package holidays, Mallorca is now enjoyed as a place for tranquil, Mediterranean slow living.
The reasons behind Mallorca’s appeal ranges from the sunny weather, booming tourism sector and beautiful outdoors. And while it is tempting to think past things like choosing a real estate agent and getting a mortgage in Mallorca, it is an important part of the relocation process. Our tips will help you settle in and really enjoy what life in Mallorca has to offer.
1. Why live in Mallorca?
The reasons for why you’d want to live in Mallorca are not hard to imagine. It is unlikely in the announcement of your relocation, that your family and friends are going to be bewildered by your decision. Mallorca is one of the most beautiful places to live in the Mediterranean, boasting breath-taking scenery and fine sandy beaches. The landscape alone is enough to convince anyone to relocate, and then you’ve got the endless sunshine, amazing international schools and beautiful Mallorcan properties to cement your decision.
For those of you moving from outside Spain, Mallorca is an easy place to move to. It is multicultural, made up of residents from all over the world. You’ll have no problem speaking English (if Spanish is not your mother tongue) and you’ll be hard pushed to find an island of similar size with such a high concentration of international businesses and services.
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2. Moving to Mallorca
Relocating to a new country is an exciting chapter in your life, but before you move to Mallorca it is worth doing your research. Holidaying in Mallorca is quite different from living here as a resident, so it pays to chat to a fellow expat. There are social media groups created by foreigners which are a good place to start for insider information. The ‘I have a question’ Facebook group is successfully run, and there are branches of these groups set up for specific places on the island. The key is to find out what it’s like to live in Mallorca before you arrive. This will avoid any unexpected surprises and give you a clearer idea of what to prepare for before your feet land in Palma.
For further insight into Mallorca, you can also subscribe to the hc/ newsletter where editor Dr Helen Cummins gives her top island recommendations. Since making the move 20 years ago and setting up her business abcMallorca Digital Media, Helen is a good point of contact for any doubts related to property, starting a business or networking.
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3. Where to live in Mallorca
Once you’ve decided that Mallorca is to be your new place of residence, you’ll want to look at the different places to live in. It would be advantageous at this point to push any images of Mallorca as a clubbing/party island to the back of your mind. While the island relies heavily on tourism and has its fair share of hotel complexes, there are many, many beautiful places unconsumed by tourism. It is the ideal place to relocate to if you’re looking to slow down and spend your days surrounded by nature and sea.
In your search for the best place to live in Mallorca, you’ll find that the island is made up of 6 unique regions. The island never fails to surprise, as people from all over the world are drawn to its tiny mountain villages, ports and country farms. To get an idea of what life in each place is like, it would be worth narrowing your search to 2 or 3 places (say, Santa Maria, Bendinat and Sóller) and stay in each one for a couple of weeks. During this time, you can speak to some of the locals and get a feel for what life is like in the area.
If you’re moving with children, it would also be advisable to book a visit to some of the international schools as this is likely to have a big impact on your decision.
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4. Finding a property in Mallorca
Now you’ve decided on an area that you’ve fallen in love with, you’ll want to start looking at property in Mallorca. Depending on which area you’ve chosen, it’s important to have a look at several types of homes to get an idea of what is on offer.
In some areas like Formentor and Deiá, properties rarely come onto the market so if you’ve got a specific style of home in mind, it would be worth assessing your time frame. While for some areas, you’ll need to be patient for the right property to come up, in others you might get what you’re looking for within a few days.
If you’re looking to build a property in Mallorca, then be prepared for the process to take longer and involve a fair few hoops to jump through. It would be advisable to get the help of a trusted local architect, who can help you understand the local laws and assist in getting your planning permission. Spanish bureaucracy is infamous for being slow and in Mallorca unfortunately the situation is no different. Any paperwork that has to go through the local government will take time.
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5. Choosing a real estate agent in Mallorca
Choosing the right real estate in Mallorca is going to be key to getting the property you want. Most agencies will work island-wide, but it pays to choose a local real estate agent based in the area you’d like to relocate to. You’ll want to talk to an agent who knows the area well and, ideally lives there themselves. They will then be able to advise you on local planning laws, schools and everyday living. A good real estate agent in Mallorca will be able to help not just find a home, but help establish a life for you too. You’ll want to know everything there is about the area and any insider tips that will help confirm your decision.
Be sure to ask questions when you meet your agent and not be afraid to query them on the downsides of living in the area as well. While Mallorca is mostly sunshine and turquoise sea, it’s good to assess the positives and the negatives. For example, some properties are very damp in the Serra de Tramuntana, parking in Palma de Mallorca is seldom found and many houses in Mallorca do not have air conditioning or central heating. These are the sorts of things you’ll want your real estate agent to be honest with you about.
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6. Buying a property in Mallorca
It’s a moment of joy when you’ve chosen your dream property in Mallorca. Now you have a place to call home. However, like all big investments there is a lot of paperwork that comes with buying a home and it’s important you entrust in the right property lawyer to help you through it.
While many real estate agents in Mallorca provide you their own in-house lawyers, we’d recommend choosing an independent real estate lawyer. That way, you can be sure that your needs are put before the interests of the agency.
By choosing a specialised lawyer, you’ll get the right advice before signing any paperwork and understand much better how to buy a property a Spain. Buyers from other countries are often surprised by how different the legal system is here, so it pays to hire a lawyer who can explain why. If you are not a cash buyer, you will also want to look at getting a mortgage in Mallorca. A real estate lawyer can recommend the best mortgage rates available and help you decide which Spanish bank loan best suits you.
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7. Renovating your new home in Mallorca
Once all the paperwork has gone through and you’ve moved into your new Mediterranean home, you may feel that some interior improvements could be made. It’s not unusual for houses in Mallorca to be stuck in a time-warp, which although beautiful in their own right, might mean that you’re living without central heating or air-conditioning.
Therefore, you’ll want to call in the help of a Mallorca interior designer to help modify these things for you as well as bring your tastes and preferences into your new space. Or if you’re looking to do an extensive makeover, then calling in the help of a local construction company will be needed. Most expats who move to Mallorca will undertake some kind of reformation project. By relocating from one country to another, it is natural that you’ll want to bring some home comforts with you. Therefore, it also pays to visit the island’s furniture stores and explore the various interior styles on offer.
We’re lucky in Mallorca to have interior designers from all over the world based here. In fact, there are no limits to what furniture can be shipped to the island. Most designers work with suppliers across the globe, stocking their stores with everything from Asian wooden tables to British crockery.
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8. Starting a business in Mallorca
For some of us, relocating to Mallorca is to start a new business venture. With a booming foreign market, the island offers a solid foundation to build an enterprise. As with all new businesses though, the key is to do some thorough market research and understand your target market. If you’re reliant on tourism for trade, you’ll need to be aware of when the island fluctuates in numbers. Most businesses will close for the winter season (November to March) to sustain themselves for the entire year. Unless of course you are based in Palma, in which case the market remains relatively unchanged.
Networking on Mallorca will be key to understanding how the market operates. There are different ways you can network on the island, either online or at events. The abcMallorca Business Lunch is successfully run and is a great way to not only to meet other businesses, but to speak with the abcMallorca account managers. If you’re in need of help marketing your business on Mallorca, take a look at the abcMallorca Digital Media marketing packages available. Each package is designed to help grow your business and help you reach your target market.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for help setting up a new business from scratch and are unsure of where to start, you can book a one-to-one session with editor Helen Cummins (Doctor of Business Administration). At the hc/ Business Academy, Helen helps give small business owners the confidence they need to follow through with their ideas and start the project they’ve always wanted.
9. Learning Spanish in Mallorca
As one of the top destinations in Europe for holiday-makers, Mallorca caters well for the foreign market. This means that many businesses and services operate in English, with some in German, French and Swedish as well. If you are new to Mallorca with little to no knowledge of Spanish, it is safe to say that in most places you will be able to get by. The more popular the area is with tourists, the easier you will find it to live day-to-day in another language.
However, this is not to say that no effort should be made to learning Spanish or even the local language, Mallorquín. If you are looking to invest your future in Mallorca and are interested in integrating with the locals, then learning Spanish comes highly recommended. If you’ve bought a property in one of the smaller villages or towns, then knowledge of Spanish is even more important. In a tight-knit village community for instance, it is unlikely at your local butcher or grocery store that English or German will be welcomed.
The best place to learn Spanish and Mallorquín is unsurprisingly in Palma. It is here that you will find the highest concentration of language schools, exchange meet-ups and classes. The capital’s vibrant international community also makes it easy to learn other languages. You’ll have no problem finding classes in languages such as Chinese, Italian and French.
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10. Choosing an international school in Mallorca
There is no denying that Mallorca is the perfect place to bring up children. With so much of life orientated outdoors, family weekends are typically spent hiking in the mountains, going for a swim or playing on the beach. Therefore, choosing an international school that matches in quality of life will be of high importance in your move to Mallorca.
Luckily, there are lots of very good international schools in Mallorca to choose from with a variety of curriculums on offer. Most schools will often have waiting lists, so planning your move in time with the start of term is recommended. Some schools will have far few places available than others, so be prepared that a place at your preferred school is not necessarily guaranteed.
Make sure that you leave plenty of time to go on a few open days and to ask lots of questions. Each school will have its advantages and disadvantages, it’s only a matter of working out which school is best for your child. Do note though, that most of the international schools in Mallorca are based around Palma. Therefore, it’s worth considering the driving time, especially if you commute from outside the city.
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11. Making friends in Mallorca
Making friends in Mallorca can be challenging in a new country especially if you don’t have children. The island is notorious for being difficult to network in, but most of the time, this is down to a lack of information about what clubs and events are running. The best way to access this information is to join a social media group. Most towns and villages in Mallorca will have their own community forum and Facebook page.
However, one of the best ways we’d suggest making friends in Mallorca is by volunteering. There are plenty of beach cleans happening all over the island and people of all ages are welcome. ‘Dos Manos’ by Save the Med Foundation is one of the biggest and they’re doing some great work in making the Balearic Islands plastic free.
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12. Healthy living in Mallorca
It’ll be no surprise to you that living in Mallorca comes with a huge range of health benefits. The sunshine, sea and Mediterranean diet is known to cure ailments alone. However, it’s best to get registered with a local medical centre as soon as you relocate. Then at least you can relax knowing you’re covered in the event of an emergency.
There are many excellent private and public health facilities available in Mallorca, and if you don’t know Spanish, feel rest assured that you can be attended in your own language. The Spanish state health system is very good but the waiting time can be long. Therefore, most expats buy their own health insurance and opt for private healthcare in Mallorca. Be sure to do your research before choosing your health insurance to see which option suits you best. Or if you have existing private health cover in your country of origin it might even be transferable.
Over the last decade, the health and wellness sector in Mallorca has grown massively, and with it, its services in alternative medicine. If you prefer not to go down the traditional route of Western medicine, you will find plenty of businesses in Mallorca offering services in yoga, raw foods, herbal remedies, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine.
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13. Enjoying your new home
Now you’ve settled into your new life in Mallorca all that’s left is to enjoy it! The island offers you plenty of opportunities to make positive changes to your lifestyle. The sunny weather helps and is a great basis for helping you think positively. You can put any memory of grey skies and raining weather behind you and start living the Mediterranean lifestyle you’ve spent the past months (or even years) mulling over and dreaming of.
We recommend hiring a car within the first few months of living in Mallorca and to spend a great deal of time exploring. Mallorca has some great secluded beaches where not a single footprint is to be seen, while further in-land are some fab local food markets selling island grown produce.
Despite being small in size, the island is diverse and from one corner to the next, you will be surprised by how different the coastlines and landscapes are. Your new home is a patchwork of different sights, tastes, smells and colours – now is the time to explore, and above all, enjoy it!
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Relocating from one country to another is no easy 1, 2, 3 step by step process. It takes time to plan and research and moving to Mallorca is no different. It can be easy to assume that because the island is full of relaxing beaches and sunny balconies that life in Spain is uncomplicated. While this is true in part, we still recommend taking your time to choose where to live, find the right school and settle in well. Feeling at home in Mallorca can take time.
If you’re looking to build your own home in Mallorca, then you’ll need to find the right local architect and construction company. At first, it can feel like a minefield trying to figure out who to trust, which is why at helencummins.com we’ve selected only the best companies to work with. From interior designers and furniture stores, to real estate agents and mortgage providers, Helen Cummins and her team of local journalists have hand-picked the companies that stand out for their dedication to good quality work.
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