Read Time 15 mins
By vida villas | 11 January 2023 | pollensa
The town of Pollensa is known for being a favoured spot for visitors to Mallorca. Ideally located with both the coast and the mountains only a short distance away, there’s plenty to see and do whether you’re staying in the town for your holiday or just visiting as part of a day trip.
To help inspire your plans for your trip to Pollensa, here are our recommendations for the 11 best things to do in the town.
The weekly market in Pollensa is one of the most popular on the island. People travel from far and wide around Mallorca to visit the town on a Sunday morning.
Fruit and vegetables are sold in the Plaça Major and the market is a vibrant mix of colours, sounds and smells. Local men sit reading their papers in the cafe bars, whilst the women jostle around the busy square in the shade of the impressive church that is overlooked by Puig de Maria mountain (Puig Catalan for mountain or large hill).
Moving from the square around the church, you’ll find stalls with jewellery, arts and crafts, many handmade items and unusual artefacts. The streets are narrow and you have to be patient to move along the stalls.
It is best to tackle the market in bursts of 30 to 60 minutes at a time, taking in one section at a time and having breaks at one of the many cafe bars in between. One favourite is Il Giardino, which also owns a patisserie around the corner from the restaurant where you can buy cakes and pastries and enjoy them with a coffee at the restaurant.
Another recommendation is Numero 8 brasserie, where you can enjoy a range of breakfast specials from toasted sandwiches to pancakes; not local delicacies but delicious nonetheless. If you are looking to sample something a little more authentic from Mallorca, you can always grab an ensaimada from a local bakery. Vegans and vegetarians be warned; as light and inoffensive as these pastries appear, they are loaded with animal fat in line with the frugal local’s traditions of making sure that no part of the animal is wasted.
Heading off the Plaça Major and along the side of Club Pollença, you’ll discover sellers with kaftans, knitwear and leather goods. On the corner is the puzzle stall, a favourite for many children selling a range of handmade puzzles with varying difficulties from very easy to downright impossible.
Turning left and continuing past the Policia Local Station, you will arrive at the Plaça Munnares, a new square that is often mistaken for the Plaça Major by tourists, who depart Pollensa disappointed and wondering what all the fuss is about. At the Plaça Munnares is a range of hardware, shoes and clothing goods that are aimed more at the local community rather than the tourist trade.
By the time you have negotiated yourself around the whole market, you will be ready for some refuelling. We recommend eating somewhere away from the main square, as once the clock strikes 1pm there is a melee of white vans packing away the stalls and commencing a cleanup operation which lasts several hours.
Head along to the Trencadora, 100m off the main square, stand facing the church and then turn right and walk off the square past Café Plaça and the Birrieria. After 100m or so you will arrive at the Trencadora on the left, set in a lovely garden with a great selection of reasonably priced food and drink and often very busy.
For those looking for some authentic Mallorcan cooking, try the Bar Nou or the slightly more upmarket La Fonda, which can both be found on the street behind the olive sellers on the main square. Stand facing the church again, but this time turn left and then immediately left again to find the Bar Nou. A little further along you will find La Fonda on the right.
If you are visiting Pollensa in winter then you will find a much smaller version of the summer market with fewer bars and restaurants open. It’s still worth a visit though, particularly if the weather is good.
One of the famous landmarks of Pollensa is the 365 Calvario Steps (one for each day of the year) that climb to the hillside to the Calvario Mount which was formerly known as the Templars Mount, in honour of the first owners of the hillside the Knights Templars. The Templars were given large areas of land in the north of Mallorca by King Jaime I in recognition of the support they gave the King in expelling the Moors from the island in the 13th century.
In the feudal system that prevailed, the Templars used the Calvario mount for executions and built gallows there. During this time the Calvario was known as “Puig de Les Forques” which in English translates to Mount of the Gallows.
The steps are the location of the local Good Friday Easter Parade that commemorates when Jesus was removed from the cross. The solemn ceremony is recorded each year by the local TV channel and is performed in complete silence by torchlight in darkness. If you descend along the road at the rear of the steps you will pass the fourteen 3m high crosses that represent the torture and torment that Jesus Christ suffered on route to his crucifixion.
Take time at the top to visit the small cafe for a drink or ice cream. If you go to the right you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the town and further towards Cala Sant Vicente and the bay of Port de Pollenca. During the summer, you will often find a local musician busking here with their guitar.
The main Mare Deu Dels Angels church dominates the Plaza Major in Pollensa. The parish church was originally founded in the 13th century and was handed over to Knights Templars 4 years after completion in 1241.
The building that currently stands on the site was built in the 18th century and completed in 1790. The original bell tower dates back to 1470, when it was constructed and formed part of the network of watchtowers in the surrounding area. It took another 450 years to reach its current height that can be seen today and was finally completed in 1921.
The church is built in the Baroque style and is embellished with Greek and Roman
ornamentation. Aside from the impressive size, highlights include the artworks that were added in the early 1900’s by the Artists Joaquin Tudela (Spain) Eugene Massgraber (Germany) and Atilio Boveri (Argentina), which depict the Way of the Cross. The Baroque style altar is also an impressive sight, which was relocated to the church from the neighbouring Mont Sion building in 1767 following the national expulsion of the Jesuits by King Carlos III.
The door that you enter the church from the main square was originally the side of the church, as the original front faces onto Plaza Vell which was the old main square. The Plaza Major was built much later to accommodate the expansion of the town.
It’s well worth a visit to this church just to appreciate how impressive it is from the inside as well as the outside. It’s the centre of the community and plays a role in many of the fiestas and events and is also the focal point for the famous Sunday market.
The Puig de Maria (Mountain of Maria) is a small mountain that overlooks Pollensa from the south and is easily recognisable by its shape, which resembles a Christmas
Pudding. It’s sometimes also referred to as the Puig de Pollensa.
At the summit, you’ll find a monastery that was originally built in 1348 when the plague was raging through Europe and had killed 20% of the island’s population. It was built as a place to plead to the Virgin Mary to protect them from the disease.
The ascent to the top follows a tarmac road through an oak forest that offers some welcome shade from what can be intense sun if you are attempting this during the summer. The ascent is reasonably steep, so if you prefer a more gentle approach you can take the walk in stages and rest on several wooden benches. If you don’t stop, the walk should take about 40 minutes.
The final section of the path is made up of traditional cobblestones. At the summit, you will be met by a Gothic-style building that has seen several changes over the centuries.
The building saw a change of style during the late 17th century and took on what was then a fashionable Baroque style. This was later reverted by the Gothic Revival purists of the 19th century.
At 330m high, the views from the Puig de Maria are spectacular and allow you to see far and wide along the Tramuntana mountain range, past the Puig Tomir and to the Puig Mayor in Soller. On the other side, you can see along the east coast towards Arta, Can Picafort and beyond.
Inside the monastery building, you’ll find an impressive refectory with an image of the Virgin Mary above the altar from the 14th century.
Nowadays the building acts as a refugi; twelve simple twin bedrooms can be reserved for overnight stays. The small cafe is open Tuesday to Sunday and serves basic local cuisine and Paella. Phoning ahead (+34 971 18 41 32) is recommended should you want to reserve lunch or dinner.
An obvious choice on any list of the best things to do would not be complete without a suggestion to try local food. In Pollensa, you really are spoilt for choice, as there is so much to choose from.
Let’s start with local ingredients. As you can imagine, fish and seafood will always feature prominently on menus in local restaurants along with olives, pork and also lamb dishes. Other local dishes include tumbet which is a favourite for vegans and vegetarians and features fresh aubergines, courgettes, peppers, and potatoes with oregano, basil and thyme.
The best places to sample some of these local delights in Pollenca can be found around the Plaza Mayor. Bar Nou can be found on Carrer d’Antoni alongside the Plaza Mayor close to the church, where the Torres family have been serving Mallorquin and Mediterranean dishes since 1977 in a very friendly traditional-style restaurant with friendly service.
For an even more authentic experience, head for the back streets and visit either Restaurant Bar Sant Jordi at Carrer de Formentor, 73 or the Celler el Moli at Carrer Pare Vives, 72. It’s best to experience these two traditional local eateries for lunch, where you will find the always exceptional value ‘Menu del Dia’.
On the road between Pollensa and Alcudia, you will find the Can Vidalet Bodega and Wine shop which is open most days.
The Vineyard at the Can Vidalet Estate is just over 10 hectares large and the vines are
separated into 10 cultivating plots with 10 varieties of grapes grown. The vineyard produces white, rose and red wines in several different varieties, which are mostly grown using organic processes on wooden trellises and using the “Cordon de Royal” method.
The larger Mortitx vineyards are situated on the road to Lluc/Soller in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountain range. Here they produce 100,000 bottles each year with 11 different varieties of grape. You can tour the vineyard including the production area but you must book in advance.
Pollensa has several galleries and museums that are brilliant to visit if you’re looking to inject some culture into your holiday.
One of Pollensa’s most famous sons, Dionis Bennesar, has a museum dedicated to his life and work situated on Carrer Roca 14. The museum has been converted from the artist’s former residence where he spent half of his life.
The Museum of Pollensa is situated in the Cloisters of Dominicans, but is more of a gallery than a museum. Here you will find artwork from renowned artists such as Anglada Camarasa and Tito Citandi amongst others, along with a few interesting artefacts and stories from local burial sites. There is also an interesting permanent feature of a Buddhist Sand Mandala that was left by the Dalai Lama on a visit to Pollensa.
Several private art galleries can be also found around the town, including the Galleria Maior on the main plaza.
There are plenty of hiking and walking trails around Pollensa and the nearby Tramuntana mountain range. The GR221 trail that runs from Puerta Andratx through to Puerto Pollensa runs through Pollensa and offers a good 4 to 5-hour hike between Lluc and Pollensa. Take a map, catch the bus to Lluc and then walk down for a slightly easier passage.
If you are looking for something more demanding then you can take a guided walk with
Mon Aventura to the Puig Tomir, Mallorca’s 3rd highest peak. The summit is 1103m above sea level and the hike will take 7 hours from start to finish. You will cover 16km overall, but it’s not advisable to tackle these walks in the height of summer as this kind of exertion will be incredibly difficult in high temperatures.
Mallorca has many championship standard golf courses, with many situated in the south of the island near Palma. Pollensa however, has one of the most picturesque courses that you will find anywhere in Europe. Golf Pollensa is only 9 holes, but you can go around twice for 18 holes.
Situated 2 km outside the town, it has a clubhouse with a swimming pool and restaurant. Club and buggy hire are available and it is open to non-members to play with reasonable green fees.
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, then we recommend that you try caving. Mallorca is home to over 10,000 localised caves, many of which can be found in the north around the Pollensa area.
There are caves for every level of experience, including ones that feature underwater sections and require a high level of experience to navigate. Mon Aventura offers half-day caving tours of the local Ca’l Pesso cave, which is a great option if you’ve never tried caving before.
In and around the centre of Pollensa, you’ll find an array of shops that are ideal for a couple of hours of retail therapy. Whether it’s clothing, shoes or accessories, souvenirs, food, furniture or ceramics, there is something for everyone in the town.
Some of our favourites include:
La Coquette – Women’s fashion and accessories, located in the street alongside the Church.
Dada – Organic clothing, jewellery and accessories strongly influenced by Fairtrade,
sustainable and local products. On the same street as La Coquette towards the entrance of the Plaza Mayor.
Tao Decoracio – A unique gift shop at Carrer de Joan Mas, 20. It has the same owners as Dada with a similar style, but specialises in gifts and homeware.
As you can see from the list above, there’s plenty to do in Pollensa no matter where your interests lie. From active holidays to relaxing breaks revolving around fine food and wine, it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere with plenty of activities right on your doorstep.
If you’re planning a visit to Pollensa and are looking for somewhere to stay in the area, Vida Villas has a fantastic selection of accommodation to choose from. Browse our selection here, or get in touch and talk to our team about what you’re looking for.