A brief visit to Mallorca, Spain

June 6, 2024

Well, after two stellar weeks exploring Ibiza island people and culture, it’s clear that four days was insufficient to get much of a taste of the larger island of Mallorca—so this will be an abridged reflection on a place I hope to return to another time, with more space to explore and experience.

First off: everyone I spoke with in Mallorca extolled the virtues of the place and encourage me either to move here, make a European home base here, or otherwise spend more time—so that was a theme almost every day. Always great when people love where they live! Of course this is a matter of personal taste, but many residents in comparing the islands note that Mallorca is several times larger than Ibiza and has not only a larger and more cosmopolitan capital in Palma but also has equally wonderful beaches and more majestic and dramatic mountains and geography, and generally more of everything cultural and generally quite happily livable. With about a million people living on the island, mostly concentrated in Palma, it seems to be a pretty livable mix of city and country, people and space, culture and quiet. One thing everyone agreed on: Ibiza is magical and, overall, much more expensive than Mallorca, so that’s definitely a factor too.

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to explore much outside the immediate city environs on my one real day off, beyond a half-day trip to some beaches in the southwest and then up to Valldemossa, a gorgeous (if overly touristic) hilltown flush with its historic stone church and architecture that takes one right back in time—and also lots of cats roaming the slippery cobblestone streets. If I had more time I would have continued driving that winding mountainous road through the Serra de Tramuntana (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), through Deià and on down to the rocky coastline beyond—next time that is definitely on the list!

Beautiful beaches everywhere, even not so far (15-20 minute drive) from Palma town—though they seemed more overrun with humans than I experienced in Ibiza—although I’m not sure if that’s because there simply are more people here, or that we are creeping that much closer to peak season.

I stayed (fairly inexpensively) in the spare room of a friend of one of my kirtan program hosts just a 20 minute drive from the main city center—in the Small World Department, they had actually sung with me at one of my programs in Tiruvannamalai a few months ago, go figure. It seemed like a small historical or semi-suburban neighborhood (though not at all the modern flavor of US suburbs, to be sure), but when one evening we walked into the gloaming within five minutes we were out in the country: enjoying the sweeping mountain vistas at sunset while walking on desolate car-free roads among a few old fincas (farms) and their olive, nut or citrus groves, passing a few families on their evening dog walks. Lovely! And this was a shorter drive from the stunning main Mallorca Cathedral than it takes me to drive to a proper grocery store at home.

The two kirtan events were fairly well attended and filled with friendly, interested folks who sang well, had good energy, and invited me to return again soon—so I am already looking forward to coming back to Mallorca again with much more time. For now, I flew yesterday from Palma to Barcelona on the 35-minute flight, where I have a full weekend of four programs here in what feels like a very big city, indeed. After this week, I’ll wrap up my month in Spain and continue north to France and Germany… 

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