Mallorca is well-known for its gorgeous beaches, sunny weather, and relaxed local culture. We traveled to Mallorca during chilly November to participate in a help exchange. With the weather too cold to enjoy the beaches, we were left looking for other ways to enjoy this island. This ended up being a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the amazing attractions that Mallorca has to offer aside from the beaches.
The Sunday morning market in Santa Maria del Cami is one of the biggest markets on the island. I remember the delicious smells of oil olive and cheese in the air, and the noise of locals and tourists alike haggling with merchants for the best bargain. It was a busy, bustling atmosphere that brought to mind images of what markets in this area must have looked like a hundred years ago.
It’s easy to get lost in the winding maze of stalls, where you’ll find everything from clothing and art, to fresh fruits and vegetables. On the periphery, there are also a number of good cafés with patios, which are perfect places to take a break and passively watch the market action.
Santa Maria del Cami is virtually untouched by tourism, giving it a distinctly different feeling from Mallorca’s beachside towns. This area is known for producing excellent wines and liqueurs, and the town also has a lovely historic centre, including a pretty 18th century church.
Santuari de Nostra Dona de Cura and Randa
Randa is a small village nestled at the bottom of Puig de Randa mountain, where traditional Spanish homes are built high around the rocky cliffs. From Randa, you can make your way to the top of the mountain to see Santuari de Nostra Dona de Cura. We only had the morning to explore this monastery, so we opted to drive up the steep, winding road to the peak. However, we saw many visitors hiking or biking up this road, which seemed like a fantastic way to enjoy the views while ascending the mountain.
The monastery was originally built more than 700 years ago as a site to train missionaries for projects in Asia and Africa. The old buildings and gardens of the monastery grounds are beautiful, and the view over the entire island is truly breathtaking.
During our trip to Mallorca, we were lucky enough to stay very close to the Gordiola Glassworks and Musuem. The Gordiola family has been producing glass art for over 200 years. In the upper part of the glassworks “castle”, you can visit the museum to learn more about the history of glassmaking, and see pieces of glass art, both old and new. I spent most of my time downstairs, where visitors can watch the glassmakers at work, firing and shaping molten pieces of glass.
You’ll see a lot of sightseeing buses unloading groups of tourists and corralling them into the gift shop to purchase hand-made glass souvenirs. Perhaps as a result, I found the glass art to be a little overpriced. Yet, this place is still worth a stop because of the unique opportunity to watch the craftsmen at work.
Next door to the Glassworks is another shop that also caters to tourists. The generic souvenirs aren’t anything exciting, but they do have a very large selection of liqueurs, which perhaps to take advantage of the impulsive spending of tipsy tourists, come in unlimited samples.
Free liquor aside, I can say that I barely even set foot on beach during our time here, yet I didn’t feel like I missed out at all. I didn’t realize it until after we left, but I think I fell in love with an older side of Mallorca, and with the places where traditional and culture run deep.
Have you ever visited Mallorca?