Holidays in Mallorca with a baby – are they do-able? Damn, right! I was anxious about the Island’s reputation, but I’d go as far to say that Mallorca was one of our best family holidays ever. As this was our first time abroad with a baby, I’ve put together some helpful tips if you’re thinking of going to Mallorca with a baby.
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Holidays in Mallorca with a baby
“Good girls stay at home, Bad girls go to Magaluf!” scream the bosoms of one T-shirt, “What happens in Magaluf stays in Magaluf” squeals the chest of another. I’m squirming in my sandals as we wait for take off with our 8-month old baby. It’s 5 in the morning and next to us, a woman in her sixties is knocking back rosé. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a bit of breakfast boozing, but it was our first holiday abroad to Mallorca with a baby and this crowd are making me wonder if we’re headed in a baby-friendly right direction. It doesn’t take long for all that to fall by the wayside. On landing, the riotous crowd transfer to Magaluf, the Brit-tastic party hub of Mallorca, while we and our Balearic-bliss-seeking co-passengers peel off to the pretty market towns of the north. Because there, far away from lads on benders and the lobster-toned, shot-downing hoardes, is the baby-friendly Puerto Pollensa where we lay our scene.
If you’re looking for some family travel inspiration or have already booked a stay on the island, below are some handy tips for a holiday in northern Mallorca with a baby in tow.
1. Holiday in northern Mallorca
Mallorca has a split personality – the south has a beer-swilling party reputation, while the north is totally charming, sprinkled with pretty Mediterranean market towns framed by the Serra Tramuntana mountains. Pretty Puerto Pollensa is perfect – here you’ll find restaurant-laden shores with families lapping up the sunshine and crystalline seas, a cobbled promenade, pretty marina and a bay with two beaches, all just an hour away from the airport in Palma.
The north coast of the island is dotted with stunning beaches, dramatic mountain backdrops, calm, shimmering waters and activities for families. I’d definitely recommend bringing a small tent or inflatable paddling pool with cover for shade for baby.
Pollensa Beach, south of the marina, is a large expanse of sand with (payable) sun-loungers and rustic parasols, but if you’re happy to set up camp on the sand, you can normally eek out some late afternoon shade from a nearby tree.
Albercutx Beach, a narrower strip – a sort of collection of beaches – in Puerto Pollensa which runs from the marina, alongside the pine walk, with shady trees and shallow water. Pedalos with slides can be hired for a mooch out to sea at certain points with a bubba on board (we didn’t have a life jacket for our daughter, but she wasn’t too wriggly at 9 months so we just held her). Come evening, the strip in Puerto Pollensa buzzes, with people creating sand art and folk heading out for evening drinks and dinner. The restaurants were really welcoming with our baby and the waiters and waitresses cooed over her all evening. If you grab a spot overlooking the sea, you have a beach as extra baby sensory entertainment!
Making snorkelling sexy since 2015
If you’re feeling energetic you can walk from Puerto Pollensa to Cala Barques, San Vincente. It takes around an hour and is about 5km – my parents did it! We chose to drive round and meet them there as didn’t have anything for carrying the baby in, plus thought it might be a bit hot for her, but they said it was beautiful. The beach at Cala Barques is pretty, with gleaming turquoise water and a restaurant right next to the beach (Restaurant Cala Barques) that serves up a tasty Paella and an ice cold beer for when you get peckish.
Image – Cala Barques, Mallorca
A short drive away from Puerto Pollensa is Formentor beach – a pretty spot with a hint of the Caribbean about it thanks to its impossibly blue waters and green hills jutting out straight out of the sea- it’s also the drop-off point for the Glass Bottom Boat Trip. You can park at the car park here and there’s also a lovely restaurant under the pine trees (where my daughter ate her first ever meal – gnocchi – at 10-months old having refused to consume anything previously), sun-loungers and pedalo boats on the shoreline which can be rented and taken for a spin. The water at Formentor Beach is beautiful – clear, warm and shallow – perfect for bubbas. There are showers and toilets on site as well.
The beach is divided into three areas and each has their own prices for lounge chairs and umbrellas, which can be quite pricey in summer, we just found our own little spot and stuck up a parasol.
Image – Formentor Beach
2. Explore the markets and historic towns of northern Mallorca
Pollensa and Alcudia are within easy driving distance of Puerto Pollensa. Wander the old towns to sample yummy local produce before refuelling with an al fresco tapas lunch and a spot of people-watching:
For an injection of Mallorcan culture, head to the beautiful old Mallorcan town of Pollensa, about 6km from Puerto Pollensa. Exploring the enchanting honey-coloured stone streets and soaking up the town’s strong cafe culture makes a lovely day trip. It’s also home to the famous Calvari steps (all 365 of them!), so you can visit the buzzing market on a Sunday morning, tuck into some yummy lunch overlooking the impressive rose window of 18th century Mare de Deu dels Angels church, in main market square Plaça Major, then burn it off by climbing to the chapel at the top of the Calvari steps – best leave buggies behind for this one though!
Alcudia is an old medieval, Roman-influenced walled town with a golden sand beach nearby and lots of baby-friendly bars and restaurants. Walking Alcudia’s 14th century quadrangular old town ramparts is doable with a buggy – you just need to carry it up some steep narrow steps at the beginning. The fortified high walls make for a fun little stroll with views gazing over roof tops towards distant mountains and the impressive gates – Porte des Mollor Xara and Majorca gate – have national monument status.
Coincide a trip there with the market on a Tuesday or Sunday (from 8.30am-1.30pm) when joyful stalls squeeze into narrow winding streets and spill out into picturesque squares, their tabletops bedecked with olives, nuts, cold meats, jewellery and hippy-chic baby clothes.
3. Sightseeing and family-friendly activities in Mallorca
Cap de Formentor Lighthouse
If you’re after a bit of adventure, hire a car and wiggle your way along narrow, windy roads to the remote and rugged lighthouse of Cap de Formentor (210m above sea level) for stunning views. On a clear day you can see neighbouring Menorca in the distance, but be aware that this is a very popular spot, even at the end of August after the British schools have gone back, there was a traffic jam of cars waiting to get to the top of this narrow hilly road. I’ve recently read that access for private cars including rented cars, to the Cap de Formentor lighthouse is now prohibited and that the only way to get there now is by walking, cycling or hopping on a public shuttle bus from the new transit station down in Puerto Pollensa.
If you’re itching to give kitesurfing a go, there is a kitesurf (and Stand Up Paddleboarding) school in Pollensa Bay at the Hotel Club del Sol. We saw lots of people out on the water and the constant thermal winds blowing between 10 – 15 knots, plus Mallorca’s shallow water apparently make the perfect combo for learning to kitesurf.
4. Eating out in Mallorca with a baby
The food in Mallorca is really good. Waterfront bars and restaurants line the Pine Walk in Puerto Pollensa and serve exceptional Tapas, fresh seafood, traditional paellas as well as tasty pizza. There are a couple of lovely restaurants in the marina port of Puerto Pollensa with exceptionally baby-friendly staff. Purply-pink sunsets, twinkly lights and live Spanish guitar add to the magic of eating al fresco in the balmy evening heat and you can normally just walk out and choose somewhere to eat there and then, which is handy if you’re eating slightly earlier than the locals and other tourists with your baby in tow.
If you’re in need of baby food and would rather not ferry it all the way from the UK to Mallorca, the always-reliable Ella’s pouches are available at Puerto Pollensa’s Spar shop. There is also several Eroski supermarkets dotted about town, although we headed to a bigger one about 7km outside of the town for stocking up with the car as we were self-catering. Baby essentials like nappies and wipes were all readily available everywhere.
5. Drinking in Mallorca
Maybe because my eye is specially-trained to hunt out the gin, or maybe a deliciously cold G&T goes perfectly with sea and sunshine, whatever the reason, just know that there seems to be an abundance of beautiful places to drink this splendid spirit in Puerto Pollensa. Head out for an evening sundowner, or pick up a ginny refreshment from a perfectly placed gin cart on the promenade – see below – to top off your holiday. Because let’s be honest, parents need gin in their lives.
Elsewhere on the island there are treats for adults as well as babies and if I returned to Mallorca, I would definitely venture to one of the local vineyards to sample their Mallorcan wine. There is even a Wine Express Train, which takes visitors to several vineyards in one day (dangerous!), or if you prefer to travel at your own pace, a top pick would be Bodega Ribas, the oldest winery on the island, which has been producing good ol’ plonk for some 300 years (sounds like they might know their stuff).
7. Go to Mallorca with a baby at the end of summer
If you’re not restricted to school holidays, for quieter beaches and cheaper prices head to Mallorca just before or just after the schools go back. The island still smoulders in sunshine during the day in early September and you’ll still get gorgeous balmy evenings – the best!
8. Packing list for Mallorca with a baby
The following items came in super handy on our holiday. I’d recommend putting them on your packing list if travelling to Mallorca with a baby:
UV sunsuit and sun hat
Sun tent/parasol for the beach for shade
Kids 50+ sun cream
Inflatable baby swim seat 3-12 months. They can sit in the water without you having to hold them (available from Tesco/Mothercare etc).
Wrap around baby sunglasses (Baby Banz)
Baby first aid kit
Koo-di UV sunshade for buggy
9. Practice your Spanish before your Mallorca holiday
I was blown away by how much Mallorcans love little ones, everywhere we went people would make a lovely fuss over our baby. If you’re travelling with a bubba, it seems you will be immediately endeared to most waiters or passers by. We found using a little local lingo (from our very limited Spanish) was always appreciated.
10. Make the most of the baby luggage allowance on the flight to Mallorca
Easyjet offer two FREE pieces of hold luggage per baby and as most accommodation can sort out a travel cot and high chair, we took a buggy and a baby car seat. You can keep hold of your buggy until you are about to board the plane and it’s worth taking your own car seat for piece of mind.
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