Mallorca offers many lifestyle benefits to those who decide to relocate. There are countless things to see and do, from shopping, dining out and partying, to a host of outdoor and sports activities.
Mallorca boasts a Mediterranean climate and a cosmopolitan environment, which attract a lot of expats from all over the world, many settling in the southwest municipality of Calvià. For expats open to the possibility, living on Mallorca can broaden their social and cultural horizons.
Increasingly, young couples and families are moving to Mallorca for a better quality of life, and a different upbringing for their children. The lifestyle in Mallorca is more relaxed and healthier than in many northern European countries: Mallorcans generally work to live, rather than live to work, and everything seems to revolve around family. The Mediterranean climate also makes it possible to spend more time outdoors.
There are plenty of opportunities to make new friends through various clubs, which can help expats settle in. Networking groups, such as the English Speaking Residents’ Association (ESRA), and international organisations such as the Lions, Rotary Club and Toastmasters are represented on the island.
Shopping in Mallorca
For serious shopping – fashion and accessories, in particular – Palma is a solid contender. The heart of the city has everything from small traditional family-run shops to the large department store chain El Corte Inglés. As well as small independent boutiques, Mallorca hosts designer stores, including Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Cartier, Loewe and Carolina Herrera. The best-known shopping streets are Borne and Jaime III.
Festival Park, also known as Mallorca Fashion Outlet, near Marratxí, is a shopping centre with eateries, a multiplex cinema and other leisure amenities, but it doesn’t offer the discounted high-end brands found at some better-known European outlet centres.
There are several large trading estates around Palma and Polígono Son Bugadellas in Santa Ponsa has numerous retail units selling quality home and garden products. For DIY requirements, visit Leroy Merlin in the Palma area or Brico Depôt. Furniture is manufactured widely in Mallorca’s second city, Manacor. Swedish giant Ikea also has a large store on the outskirts of Palma.
In towns and villages, expats can enjoy old-fashioned personal service from traditional local bakers, butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers – surviving, so far, despite the increasing number of supermarkets.
The Eroski, Mercadona, and Lidl chains are widely represented. Palma has out-of-town Carrefour and Alcampo supermarkets on its main site near the airport. In both the north and southwest of Mallorca, independent minimarts sell international brands of foods, toiletries and household products – although many of these items are also now available in local supermarket chains.
The inland village of Consell has a large Sunday morning flea/collectors’ market, where shoppers can find pretty much everything under the sun – from books to unwanted antiques and curios.
Outside the resorts, many shops maintain the Spanish tradition of closing for a few hours at lunchtime, although the number staying open all day in Palma de Mallorca is gradually increasing. Most shops close from Saturday lunchtime until Monday morning.
Eating out in Mallorca
From hearty affordable menus to restaurants serving Michelin-starred cuisine, expats are sure to have their taste (and budget) met. While some restaurants cater mainly for holidaymakers and close for a few months in the winter, quality local places are open throughout the year. Additionally, tipping isn’t generally expected but is appreciated.
Many local restaurants offer a menú del día – a three-course set lunch (often with a choice of dishes for each course) at a very reasonable price. Even in Palma, it’s possible to eat a decent three-course lunch.
Mallorcans are keen on out-of-town roadside establishments – usually large, brightly lit, vibrant places. These serve traditional country fare, such as roast suckling pig, frito mallorquin (a fry-up of vegetables, potatoes and meat or fish), and sopa mallorquina (a soup dish containing thin slices of rustic bread).
No dining experience on Mallorca is complete without one of the island’s many excellent wines. There are some 60 bodegas, producing around 300 different wines.
Nightlife in Mallorca
It's not necessary to be a holidaymaker to enjoy Mallorca’s renowned nightlife – the best of which is centred in Palma de Mallorca and, particularly, along the Paseo Marítimo. Party in Palma’s numerous bars, pubs and clubs, take in views of the harbour full of glitzy boats from rooftop venues, and dance until 6am. Expats can also head for the smart Casino de Mallorca in Palma’s Porto Pi Centre; it has a restaurant, cafe and cocktail bar.
Magaluf, Ca’n Pastilla and Arenal are also popular resorts among partygoers and holidaymakers, with nightlife geared to British and German tastes. With renowned nightclubs and music venues, expats can enjoy international bands, singers and DJs perform live during the summer months.
►Check out Sport and Fitness in Mallorca for more on the range of outdoor and sporting activities on offer
►Read about the different transport options on the island in Getting Around Mallorca
"We live between the town of Soller and its port and whatever time of year the place is teeming with life, fiestas and cultural events. I love the food, the imposing Tramuntana mountain range, the glistening sea, the orchards swollen with citrus fruits and olive trees and above all I love the people: the Sollerics."
For more insights into the lifestyle in Mallorca, read our interview with Anna Nicholas.
Are you an expat living in Mallorca?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Mallorca. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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