Mallorca's Mediterranean climate makes it a pleasant destination at any time of year. Most people visit between April and September. Jan/Feb sees beautiful almond blossom. Spring and autumn are ideal for cycling, walking, mountain climbing or golf. July and August are the hottest and driest months. Rain is most likely between October and March, when everything becomes greener and wild flowers are abundant, but it can also get quite cold (though still warmer than Northern Europe). Some hotels close between November and February; those open, offer discounts.
As well as many local festivals, the following are taken as public holidays in Mallorca:
New Year's Day: January 1
Epiphany: January 6
San Sebastian, patron saint of Palma: January 20
Balearics Day: March 1
St Joseph's Day: March 19
Good Friday/Easter Monday
Labour Day: May 1
Corpus Christi: June - early or mid
Assumption Day: August 15
Discovery of America Day: October 12
All Saints: November 1
Constitution Day: December 6
Immaculate Conception: December 8
Christmas Day: December 25
Note: flight, boat, train and bus timetables change constantly, and airlines come and go, so please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning. Check with relevant companies, or a flight search engine like Skyscanner, first.
Flying times are 2 hours 30 minutes from London and 45-60 minutes from Spain.
From the UK:
There are numerous scheduled and charter flights from most regional and London airports. The most expensive times to fly are during the school holidays and at weekends.
easyJet flies direct from Bristol, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh and Liverpool.
Iberia flies from Gatwick and Heathrow via mainland Spain. Ryanair flies from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Dublin, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.
Vueling will begin direct flights from Heathrow in March 2013.
Avro, the charter specialist, markets seats on several carriers, including Monarch. Departure airports include Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Cardiff, East Midlands, Glasgow and Manchester. Flights are mostly in the summer, are more likely to be at unsociable hours and are often require a stay of 7 or 14 nights.
Flights to Palma are frequent and inexpensive. Iberia and Air Europa fly frequently from most mainland airports. British Airways flies from Madrid.
From elsewhere in Europe:
easyJet flies from several cities around Europe, including Basel, Berlin, Dortmund, Geneva, Milan, Paris and Rome.
From North America:
There are no direct flights. Your best option is to fly with Iberia via Spain. Alternatively, look for any transatlantic flight to Madrid or Barcelona, from where you can take an Iberia domestic flight to Palma.
From Australia and New Zealand:
There are no direct flights to any part of Spain from here. You may want to try getting a flight to London and then a separate flight to Palma.
From the Airport:
Mallorca's huge Son Sant Joan airport is 11km east of Palma. If you're not hiring a car, take a taxi - there's a rank just in front of the arrivals terminal and the journey time to the centre of Palma is 20 minutes.
Ferries go from Barcelona and Valencia, taking about 8 hours, as do hydrofoils, which take 4-5 hours. Trasmediterranea operates a high-speed car ferry between the Balearics and Spanish mainland, taking 3 hours from Valencia to Palma and 2 hours from Ibiza to Palma. See Trasmediterranea
Mallorca must be one of the cheapest places in the world to hire a car - see our car rental recommendations. Driving is on the right hand side. The speed limit on the motorway is 120km/h, on main roads 100km/h and in urban areas 60km/h. There are severe penalties for drink driving. In town centres parking lots marked in blue can only be used with a pay and display ticket; green means residents only. Petrol stations are often closed on Sundays and public holidays.
An efficient and inexpensive bus system links Palma to all the main towns. You pay as you enter the bus. The main station is in Palma's Placa d'Esanya.
There are two railway lines in Mallorca, connecting Palma to Inca and Soller. Palma's two stations are close together beside Placa d'Espanya. Fast trains to Inca take 35 minutes and leave at least hourly throughout the day (first train 6am), stopping at Marratxi, Santa Maria de Cami, Consell, Binissalem, Alaro and Lloseta. The journey to across the mountains to Soller in an old wooden train takes 1 hour and is great fun. Five trains leave Palma daily, the first at 8am.
Easy to hail in Palma; smaller towns usually have taxi ranks.
Citizens of EU countries, USA, Canada and New Zealand who hold valid passports do not require a visa to visit Spain for periods of less than 90 days. Australians can stay up to 30 days without a visa.
No vaccinations are required. There are English-speaking doctors and dentists in the main resorts. EU citizens are entitled to reciprocal medical care in Spain, but adequate medical insurance is highly recommended. In summer, take mosquito repellent and use strong suntan cream. Avoid the midday sun in July and August and drink plenty of water. Water is generally safe but if not fed by a natural spring, is heavily chlorinated. Cheap bottled mineral water is widely available.
In restaurants, service charge is usually included in the price but people often leave tips as well. 10- 15% is about average. Tax or IVA is 7% which will be included in the bill. 10% is the norm for taxis.
Spaniards love children so you are likely to receive a warm welcome. The locals invariably take their babies and children with them to dine in the evenings. Traditional Mallorquin restaurants are usually very accommodating. Not all hotels and restaurants have sufficient high chairs, so if you own the screw-on type, take it with you.
You shouldn't have a problem with fussy eaters as you'll find plenty familiar foods in the restaurants and supermarkets (pizza, pasta, yoghurts, simple grilled fish, chicken and meat with chips are readily available).
Nappies, baby food and formula milk can be bought in Mallorca but if you have a preferred brand take a supply. If you require a child seat for the car, pre-book with the hire company.
There is an English-run nanny agency called Cosytoes, which can provide fully qualified nannies for babysitting (available by the night, day or week). They also rent out baby equipment including buggies, strollers, highchairs etc and will even deliver nappies!