Mallorca, the largest of the four Balearic Islands, lies off Spain’s eastern coast. Expats moving here will find few destinations more desirable or idyllic – with its azure waters, golden beaches, rugged coastline, citrus orchards, great weather and vibrant lifestyle, Mallorca is a Mediterranean paradise.
Mallorca, or Majorca, is an island steeped in history, and nowadays offers a spectrum of modern luxuries and amenities. Palma, for instance, is the island’s capital city and is home to the Gothic Roman Catholic Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca as well as the Moorish royal palace of Almudaina. While new arrivals are keen to explore this historical richness, many get to know the island’s culture by enjoying its animated nightlife and partying it up in popular resort towns such as Magaluf.
There’s no denying Mallorca is a tourist hotspot, but foreigners from all over the world view it as their home away from home. Since the fifties, the Mediterranean island has proved a magnet for tourists, and this has created a sound and safe infrastructure benefiting both visitors and residents alike, from healthcare to education. One drawback, despite the various modes of getting around, is that public transport routes are limited outside of Palma and expats may need to face the costs of driving a car.
The thriving tourism sector also means that most expat employment is linked to this sector, directly or indirectly. Prospective expats should note that finding work is not an easy feat, and asking around and networking in person is often advised for job seekers.
To add to this, property prices and the cost of living are relatively high. Mallorca’s island status has made it a destination that attracts affluent holidaymakers, celebrities, yachties and new five-star hotel developers. Luxury accommodation options are on offer, and the sunny southwest coast attracts the greatest number of expat residents; expats seeking a more authentic, rural experience choose the agricultural central Es Pla or the north and east of the island.
When relocating to Mallorca, expats who speak Castilian Spanish may settle in quicker or have an advantage when looking for work. However, the islanders speak Mallorquí, a dialect of Catalan, and given the international population, many residents understand English, German and French.
This cosmopolitan environment also eases the relocation process for expat families with children. There is a host of local and international schools to choose from, teaching in languages such as English and German with traditional and Montessori-based educational philosophies to help expat kids integrate into their new home.
A holiday is too short a stay to experience the island’s fantastic variety of landscapes: expats living on Mallorca can appreciate a range of sports and outdoor activities. From more than 260 beaches and bays known as calas, and the furrowed and imposing Tramuntana mountain range in the north – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – to the Llevant hills in the east, the scenery is both wild and gentle, with orchards and ancient stone terraces laden with olive, almond and fruit trees.
There are pros and cons to relocating to this Spanish island but, when living among such natural beauty with such a friendly population, moving to Mallorca can feel like a dream come true for many expats.
►See Lifestyle and shopping in Mallorca for information about the attractions the island has to offer
"I’m biased but for me the Sóller Valley is the most beautiful enclave of Mallorca. We live between the town of Sóller 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 on relocating to 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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