Why You Should Skip Ibiza and Honeymoon in Mallorca Instead

When it comes to the Spanish Balearic Islands, an archipelago in the Mediterranean just east of mainland Spain, Ibiza steals the spotlight every time. But just a few hours away by ferry lies the largest island in the chain, Mallorca, which blends the best of the Mediterranean’s seaside charm with Spain’s vibrant nightlife. Spend your days road tripping and basking on one of over 200 beaches as beautiful as you’d find on Ibiza—sans a crowd of backpackers—pausing to sleep in luxe boutique hotels. Where to start? With a glass of sparkling Cava, of course.

Where to Sleep:

Check into the boutique Hotel Sant Francesc, which sits in the heart of one of Palma de Mallorca’s most historic squares. The former 19th century manor is surrounded by narrow alleyways spilling out on to charming squares where you’ll come across live music both day and night. Toast to the start of your new union (and honeymoon) with cocktails on the hotel’s very own rooftop terrace, which overlooks a 13th century sandstone basilica—the first of many Instagrammable shots. The garden terrace at Quadrat restaurant is just as dreamy, but it’s worth stepping out and strolling through the capital city’s medieval streets at dusk.

Where to Eat & Shop:

You can’t visit Spain without sampling tapas, but that doesn’t mean you need to go the traditional market route. Take a seat on a stool at underground Tast, modeled after an elegant English gentleman’s club, and order a mix of fried Iberian ham croquettes, artisan cheeses, and thin tortillas (aka Spanish omelets) filled with potatoes and onions. Tucked behind a wooden door inside a former spice shop, Canela is another favorite for couples with a cozy, Parisian-inspired interior and fusion of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.

In the morning, leisurely make your way for coffee at La Molienda, an intimate café sourcing coffee from small-scale roasters across Spain. Order a cappuccino (made with Minorcan milk) and the Spanish version of avocado on toast, with fresh bread hailing from a local baker.

If there was anything you forgot to pack (or include in your wedding registry), you’ll be sure to find it at Rialto Living, a multi-room concept shop housed inside a former Baroque-style palacio. If vintage is more your speed, get lost in Viveca, a warehouse stacked with specially made ceramics and antique finds from across Mallorca (think mid-century modern tables and boho wicker chairs).

In the nearby neighborhood of Santa Catalina, you’ll come across the city’s “Design District” with showrooms as chic as you’d find in Miami or New York. Swanky shops like BConnected Living Concepts sell an array of home décor from Majorcan artists, as well as internationally known favorites like Missoni and Jonathan Adler. The village-like neighborhood is also home to Palma’s oldest food market, Mercat de Santa Catalina, which is now lined by more contemporary cafes like organic Fibonacci and juice bar Ziva.

Where to Roadtrip:

When you’re ready to trade in the city for the sea, take your pick of beaches from one of the most unspoiled on the island, the wild Es Trenc in the south, to the tiny cove of Deià in the west, a one-time favorite for writers like Anaïs Nin and Robert Graves. Hiking trails line the hills and the small, pebble-strewn playa only sports two seasonal restaurants. At cliffside Ca’s Patró March, bougainvillea surrounds the rustic eatery that serves up simple but superb seafood caught by local fishermen (think grilled squid and seabass). This spot is informal and fills up fast, so after putting your name down on the list, take a dip in the sea below and dry off while sipping a glass of rosé on the rocks.

If you want to lay out in your own private paradise, the twin manor Belmond La Residencia is just a short drive away. Olive and citrus groves line the 73-room boutique hotel that’s considered one of Mallorca’s most intimate, with suites showing off views of the jagged Tramuntana mountains from private plunge pools.

Of course this island is just as vibrant as Ibiza when it comes to beach bars and nightlife, and the infamous Nikki Beach is no exception. Just 20 minutes from Palma on Calvia Beach, the jetset hotspot has everything you need to really get into the party spirit—island style. Snag a lavish beach bed down by the sand or near the pool, where top-notch DJs spin through sunset and rosé almost seems like a requirement for the afternoon.

Where to Go for Romantic Meals:

After a day lounging in luxury at the beach (you deserve it, after all!), continue the theme with a romantic tasting menu as the sun sets.

Set near the town of Sóller in the north, half the appeal of the family run Béns d’Avall is its hidden location along a coastal dirt road leading down to the sea. The other half is the view once you reach the restaurant. The gastronomic eatery sits perched above the sea with sweeping views over the coastline, and serves up a menu of “new Balearic” cuisine that changes with the seasons.

For an intro to Majorcan fare, book a table well in advance at Santi Taura in the center of the island. There’s a reason this spot is constantly full. The small dining room features a weekly tasting menu designed to highlight the best of the island’s ingredients and recipes, from tuna steak topped with sautéed red peppers to eggplant stuffed with minced meat. Tucked in the sleepy village of Lloseta, you’d hardly know there was a fine dining restaurant hiding behind the curtain on this small side street.

See more: 10 Reasons to Honeymoon in Antigua

The food scene is one of Mallorca’s highlights, but so are the wines. Don’t leave the island without sampling some of the most gorgeous vinos both at restaurants and at the source, heading out on wine tours of the vineyards themselves.