History, tradition, sea and mountains: Pollensa is one of the most charming towns you can find on Mallorca, and one of the best-known places on the island. It’s located in the north of Mallorca and offers the perfect combination of things to see and do during – at least – one day of your holiday. This is a small guide to Pollença town with all the essentials included, so you can lose yourself in the maze of its narrow streets and discover one of Mallorca’s most authentic spots.
Table of contents
- Pollensa or Pollença, a town filled with history
- What to see in Pollensa town
- The Calvary of Pollensa
- The Museum of Pollença
- Convent of Santo Domingo
- Joan March gardens
- The Plaça Major
- Things to do in Pollensa
- Popular festivals
- Art galleries
- Large events
- Excursion to Cape Formentor
- Strolling through Port de Pollença
Pollensa or Pollença, a town filled with history
Pollensa (or Pollença in Catalan) is one of Mallorca's oldest towns. The history surrounding this place at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains goes back to prehistoric times, and begins with its Talayotic origin. The settlement was later conquered by the Romans, who built it up as the great capital of the Balearic Islands and named it Pollentia. After them came the Arabs, who left behind some of their art and customs. They in turn gave way to the Christians.
Some remains from those times of splendour can still be seen around the area, Pollença's Roman bridge for example, and in other places nearby such as Alcudia you can visit the archaeological site of the Roman City of Pollentia, just outside the walls of Alcudia's historic old town. This Roman city was the first urban area developed on Mallorca, and it's a must-see if you're staying at Zafiro Palace Alcudia or at Zafiro Tropic, as the ruins are only four minutes away by car (20 minutes on foot).
These days the municipal area Pollensa is no longer the capital of the islands, but it’s still a cultural, economic and natural treasure on Mallorca. The area includes three of the island's most important tourist areas: Formentor, Cala Sant Vicente and the Port of Pollença, as well as the heart of the town itself, characterised by narrow streets full of charm, a shopping area and a lively atmosphere that can be experienced all year round.
What to see in Pollença town
The Calvary of Pollensa
In the old days the Calvary of Pollensa was called the Mount of the Templars – in reference to the Knights Templar – and it's a small hill, just over 100 metres high, that you access from town by means of a beautiful staircase with 365 steps (one for each day of the year). The grand staircase is adorned with cypresses on both sides and at its highest point visitors are awarded a unique gift: the best view of the entire town landscape and Pollensa Bay.
The Museum of Pollença
Pollensa has always been popular among painters, musicians and writers, many of whom decided to make this small Mallorcan town their place of residence. You can find some of their work, and the work of other great artists, at the Museum of Pollensa. This exhibition also features a mandala made by Buddhist monks in 1990, when the Dalai Lama visited the town.
Convent of Santo Domingo
This is one of the most beautiful architectural buildings in Pollensa, dating back from the 16th century and the work of Dominican Friars. The building work was finished in 1616. After careful restoration, the space is now the setting for the town’s main cultural and artistic events. This is, in fact, one of the most active communities on the island.
Joan March Gardens
In these inviting gardens you can discover one of the largest collections of plants and trees typical to Mallorca. They are a haven of peace in the town, and also contain a beautiful Gothic tower and remains of stately homes such as that of the Marquis of Desbrull.
The Plaça Mayor
The town square is the perfect meeting point as it’s located right in the heart of Pollença, and one of the most charming parts of it. The buildings surrounding the square are true gems from history, such as the church dedicated to the town’s patron saint: Our Lady of the Angels.
Things to do in Pollença
This town suffered numerous conquests throughout its history, which means it has a rich culture that features – among other things – a great legacy when it comes to gastronomy. Pollensa is the perfect place to go if you want to sample some of the most authentic dishes of traditional Mallorcan cuisine: pork with cabbage, Mallorcan sopas, arroz brut, tumbet... In the centre of town there are plenty of restaurants offering local fare where you can enjoy these delicious dishes as well as typical desserts.
Pollença town is a place of pilgrimage for many Mallorcan residents because of its famous, and crowded, traditional festivals. Worth mentioning are the Sant Antoni, celebrated on January 17, and the dance of the Cossiers, which takes place every August 2. Both are held at the square Plaza Vella. On the same day, August 2, the popular festival Moors and Christians is celebrated in Almoina, one of the most amazing things to experience on Mallorca in August.
The town’s historical connection with the intellectual and artistic world has made Pollença one of the most outstanding places on Mallorca when it comes to art galleries and museums. Enjoy strolling around its streets, visiting small art spaces, surprising collections and special events throughout the year. It's definitely worth it!
With a cultural calendar worthy of a capital city, Pollença makes its mark as one of the most active towns on Mallorca in terms of larger events. Among them it's worth mentioning the International Music Festival of Pollença, held every year in the Cloister of the Convent of Santo Domingo. It was founded by the great violinist Philip Newman in the early 1960s.
Excursion to Cape Formentor
This is one of the great classics for everyone who comes to Mallorca – come and enjoy the breath-taking landscapes that the northern end of the Serra de Tramuntana presents in the shape of Cape Formentor. Another must-see is the viewpoint Mirador de Es Colomer. It’s important, however, to bear in mind that there are access restrictions in place for both these locations during high season.
Strolling through Port de Pollença
The Port of Pollensa and its beautiful seafront is absolutely stunning, especially at night. Take a quiet walk along the sea, stopping for dinner at one of the lovely terraces you find along the way – this is practically a ritual that every visitor should experience at least once in a lifetime.
We hope this little guide on what to see and do in Pollença town has given you enough reasons to start planning a getaway that lets you discover these wonderful parts of the island. Make sure you visit our section with hotel offers on Mallorca. If you book with us directly, you’ll be able to enjoy exclusive advantages to make your stay on the island truly unique.