By vida villas | 28 February 2023 | pollensa
Mallorca has been a popular holiday destination for years now, loved by travellers all over the globe for its picturesque beaches, balmy weather, gorgeous scenery and lively party towns. If you’re planning a visit to this Spanish island, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is where you’d like to stay during your trip, which may leave you stuck deliberating between two or more destinations.
Deciding between Alcúdia or Santa Ponsa is a common choice for visitors to Mallorca, with both destinations offering a quieter atmosphere than some of the busy tourist towns and both ideally positioned for day trips to other popular areas on the island. You’re sure to have a great trip wherever you decide to stay, but each location does have its own features and highlights that might sway your decision in either direction.
In this article, we aim to help you decide between Alcúdia or Santa Ponsa by outlining what each town has to offer and which is better suited to different types of travellers.
The mediaeval town of Alcúdia is located in the north of Mallorca and is the biggest tourist hub on this side of the island. Once a Roman settlement, it’s a historic place with plenty of preserved architecture from the previous centuries, as well as plenty of local charm and a friendly atmosphere that makes it a very popular place to visit.
Not to be confused with the nearby beach resort Port d’Alcúdia, the town offers a more authentic experience of Mallorca that is slower paced than other popular tourist spots, meaning that a lot of families decide to come and stay near the area. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes in the centre, and both the beach and the countryside are only a short journey away.
The main attraction for visitors in Alcúdia is the Old Town, home to ancient city walls that you can still climb and walk around to enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding area. There’s also a market held twice a week on Tuesday and Sunday that draws tourists and visitors to the town from all over and it’s worth at least one visit during your stay.
Església de Sant Jaume d’Alcúdia is a sightseeing highlight in Alcúdia, with neo-Gothic architecture that was rebuilt in the 1800s. There are also Roman ruins just outside of the town centre, featuring the remains of a theatre and a forum.
The town is also home to a growing number of brilliant restaurants, so there are a lot of choices when it comes to deciding where to eat. Port d’Alcúdia is nearby if you want to visit the beach or take a boat trip, as is the sprawling Club de Golf Alcanada.
The size of Alcúdia means that there’s not an endless list of things to do in the centre, but its proximity to other towns and attractions means you’re well-based to explore and keep busy.
Alcúdia town itself is landlocked, but nearby Port d’Alcúdia is home to the very popular Alcúdia Beach. At several kilometres long, it’s the longest beach in Mallorca and offers plenty of space for tourists to relax on the sand and take a dip in the water when the weather is sunny.
If you’re willing to drive to find a beach near Alcúdia, Platja des Coll Baix, Platja Es Morer Vermell and Platja de Sa Font de Sant Joan are all pretty close and promise a slightly more secluded experience, although the beaches are a lot smaller. So whilst Alcúdia town itself isn’t a beach destination, there are lots of good options nearby including a large beach in the Port 'Alcudia.
Alcúdia isn’t as famous for its nightlife as other towns and cities in Mallorca, but that’s not to say that it doesn’t offer anything to visitors who want to make the most of their time when the sun has gone down. The town centre is home to a range of restaurants and bars, some of which showcase live music in the evenings and offer a lively atmosphere until closing time.
If dancing and clubbing are more your thing, nearby Port ‘Alcúdia has got you covered. There are several established nightclubs near the port, as well as the (in)famous ‘Doller Street’ that is always busy at night, especially during the tourist season.
If you like to stay out in the evening but aren’t too fussed about big nights partying, you’ll find the nightlife in Alcúdia just to your taste.
Alcúdia may be small, but it’s home to an impressive number of restaurants that come with very positive reviews. Whether you’re looking for traditional Mallorcan food or something a bit different and special, you’ll find something here.
The proximity to the coast means that seafood features regularly on the menus of restaurants in Alcúdia, as do classic tapas dishes that are best enjoyed with a beer or a glass of wine. Several local hotels have great restaurants and bars as well, and some eateries are starting to open up that offer other European cuisine too. The fantastic Maca de Castro has offered Michelin-star dining since 2012.
If you want to try local food and enjoy a decent variety of different places to dine, the restaurant and bar scene in Alcúdia is ideal.
If you want to stay right in the heart of Alcúdia, there are a good collection of hotels in the centre that cater to a range of budgets and tastes. However, with so many other great attractions and towns nearby, we recommend that you stay on the outskirts of the town in a villa and enjoy the flexibility of taking day trips and being able to visit the Old Town when you wish.
Some of our best villas near Alcúdia include:
Santa Ponsa, or Santa Ponça, is a holiday resort town located on Mallorca’s southwest coast, only a short distance away from the famous party town of Magaluf. Historically, it was the place where King James I of Aragon first landed on his journey to successfully conquer the island in around 1229, and began to rise to fame in the 1970s when it became an established location for holidaymakers.
With plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as a very popular blue flag-rated beach, travellers often pick Santa Ponsa when choosing where to stay in Mallorca. This town has also become a popular place for expats to live, which means that it’s a great destination to visit year-round, as you don’t have to worry about places closing outside of the tourist season.
The main attraction in Santa Ponsa is the beach; Platja de Santa Ponsa. This long stretch of soft sand is backed by trees and looks out over the water, getting very busy in the summer months, so you’ll need to arrive early if you want to secure a spot! If you don’t fancy having to share the sand with lots of other people, nearby Platja Pequeña is in a sheltered cove and is much smaller.
If you’re a fan of sailing then the Club Náutico de Santa Ponsa is one of Mallorca’s most beautiful yacht clubs and is well worth a visit even just to admire all the boats that are moored there. There’s also Port Adriano a short drive away, which is one of the few ports in Mallorca home to superyachts.
Santa Ponsa is ideally located to visit other nearby towns and attractions if you’re staying in the area, with the capital city of Palma and the Tramuntana mountain range both not too far away. Magaluf is also nearby if you’re looking for nightlife, whilst in the town itself there are attractions like the Puig de sa Morisca Archaeological Park, Jungle Parc adventure park and the Golf Santa Ponsa complex.
This is one of the best places to stay in Mallorca if you want a lot of things to do right on your doorstep, whether you’re looking for hiking opportunities, tourist attractions or days on the beach.
Santa Ponsa is a coastal beach resort town, and as we’ve already mentioned, its main beach is what attracts a lot of its tourists. Platja de Santa Ponsa has a Blue Flag rating and is around 1300 metres long, making it one of the biggest beaches on this part of the island. The beach is part of a bay which means that the water is protected and pretty calm, so it’s ideal for swimming.
A 15-minute walk away from the main beach in Santa Ponsa is Platja Pequeña, or ‘little beach’, which is a small strip of sand in a secluded cove that offers an alternative beach experience without all the facilities of its larger neighbour. To the north of Santa Ponsa is Platja des Castellot, which is a small and rocky beach with rock walls on either side.
The range of options for nearby beaches isn’t huge, but Santa Ponsa’s main beach should be more than enough if you want to spend a day lounging on the sand and swimming in the sea.
Thanks to its status as a resort town and its popularity amongst holidaymakers, Santa Ponsa is a great place to stay if you’re looking for exciting things to do in the evenings. Bars, live music venues and a handful of nightclubs all stay open late, giving you plenty of options if you’re planning a night on the town.
Of course, you’re also only a short drive away from Magaluf, which is known for its party-town atmosphere. You can take a taxi over to the town and then return back to Santa Ponsa to sleep off your big night out without as much disturbance from other partygoers.
Santa Ponsa is a great place to stay if you want a holiday destination with a lot of choices for places to eat and drink. It’s a town that is geared towards tourists, so as well as restaurants and cafes serving traditional Mallorcan cuisine, you also have other options from other parts of the world to cater to all tastes.
There’s plenty of choice if you decide to stay in Santa Ponsa, from beachfront hotels to family apartments and more secluded villas further out from the town centre. We recommend looking for somewhere to stay that’s on the outskirts of Santa Ponsa, as this keeps you close to all the fun but gives you the option to retire from all the hustle and bustle to your own private holiday home.
Here are some of our most popular villas to rent in Santa Ponsa:
Deciding between staying in Alcúdia or Santa Ponsa really comes down to the kind of holiday you want to have in Mallorca and the aspects of a destination that matter the most to you.
Alcúdia offers a quieter and more authentic experience of the island whilst not being so remote that tourists will feel out of place. There’s a nice selection of historic attractions and it’s easy to reach other towns if you hire a car, but you don't have a beach on your doorstep and may run out of things to do after a few days if you stay solely in the centre.
Santa Ponsa is a classic Mallorca resort town that is a great option if you want to have a good selection of facilities and attractions within walking distance. It’s also the better option of the two if you’re looking for nightlife, but will feel more ‘touristy’ and isn’t the right choice if you’re after peace and quiet whilst you’re on the island.
If you’re a solo traveller, seeking a romantic trip or prefer your holiday destinations to feel authentic, Alcúdia is the best area to stay in Mallorca. If you’re travelling as a family, want to spend a lot of time by the beach or are looking for a lot of opportunities to go out in the evening, Santa Ponsa is the better choice.
Santa Ponsa and Alcúdia are both classic destinations for a holiday to Mallorca, and as you can see, they both have a lot of things going for them which can make it hard to choose between the two. Whichever location you opt for, one of the best ways to get the most out of these places is to ensure that you’re staying in quality accommodation that gives you the freedom to explore the nearby area but the privacy to retire away from other holidaymakers and just enjoy your surroundings.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on a trip to either Alcúdia or Santa Ponsa, Vida Villas has a brilliant selection of properties in and around both towns. Take a look at all of our Mallorca villas or get in touch to talk to the team about what you’re looking for.