At the very tip of the North of Mallorca, Alcúdia effortlessly combines antique beauty with Mediterranean coastal paradise. Steeped in history, Alcúdia’s Old Town seems to hold all the secrets of the north within its walls- yet fifteen minutes away a cosmopolitan hubbub of bars, restaurants and nightlife can be found, framing the golden shores of Alcúdia Bay.
Planting itself firmly on the map, as one of Mallorca’s top tourist destinations, Alcúdia found fame in the early 1970’s; although unlike flares and flowery wallpaper, it’s not gone out of fashion. Host to some of the island’s most prestigious fiestas, including Roman street parties and Medieval food festivals, Alcúdia is a haven you can’t afford to miss.
These days, Alcúdia has a reputation for hosting the ‘classic British break abroad’ consisting of sun, sea and sangria while laying sedentary by the pool. While Alcúdia promises to deliver on this aspect, there is a lot more that meets the eye with this secretive section of the island. Forget your towering, all-inclusive hotel blocks. Instead open your mind to rocky coves of crystal waters and an abundance of marine life.
In 123 BC the Romans had the foresight to come ashore to the golden beaches of Alcúdia Bay, and it was from here that they captured the island of Mallorca. Under their reign, the settlement was first named Pollentia, and remnants of the original city can be found on many street signs and restaurants as you meander through the centre. After a catastrophic attack the Romans aborted their beloved Pollentia, and it became desolate and derelict for many years to come. In 1229 the city received some much-needed restoration, and the blueprint for these constructions still stands today.
Alcúdia Old Town – The Main Attraction #
Tucked away from the bustle of holiday makers, lies the sleepy center of Alcúdia. About an hour drive from Palma, you'll feel like you are on another island.
Inhabited since early 2000 B.C., Alcúdia presents itself in a beautiful array of tiny streets and buildings, cascading the colors of the rainbow onto the narrow cobbled paths below. The center of the old town is a vast contrast to what lies just fifteen minutes away.
The modern port is full to the brim of bars, restaurants and hotels which line the promenade in an almost uniformed fashion. As you trundle along your ears are awakened to the hum of music, laughter and a wealth of different languages and cultures coming together as one.
It is important to understand that Alcúdia Old Town and Port d’Alcúdia provide two very different feelings in close proximity. As with other pueblos and their port villages, both are geared up for families, couples and single people. The Pueblo Alcudia and the Port Alcudia hold varying enchantments. If you prefer a raw insight to how the locals live then Alcúdia Old Town will be tugging at your heartstrings. Those who prefer unspoiled beaches and lively nights will feel drawn to Port d’Alcúdia and all it has to offer.
Food & Drink #
Although famous with tourists for its market (every Tuesday and Sunday) the locals choose to frequent the ramshackle bars that can be found lining the labyrinths that connect one road to another. A particular favorite is Bar Maya, tucked away at the very mouth of the Market Place. You’d be hard pushed to find a better spot for lunch. For little under twenty euros you can expect to sample some of the most exquisite local meats and cheeses, all sourced and produced locally, perfect for sharing with your loved ones on those lazy Saturday afternoons.
The sleepy center has the ability to transport you back in time, to the age of the Romans. However, if you prefer a strawberry daiquiri with an ocean view, or to sample a range of local and fusion cuisine- then head no further than Port d’Alcúdia. The clear, shallow waters and bright white sands are perfect for swimmers, bobbers and bathers alike. With 14km of soft white sands, Alcúdia Bay could challenge many a Caribbean resort. As darkness falls, the Port comes alive with the bustle of bars and restaurants spilling out onto the promenade. However, if you prefer to mingle with the locals then you are guaranteed to find them just a few roads away.
Nestled under a canopy of vines, this well-established restaurant prides itself on serving the finest cuts of meat. Locals can be found dining until the early hours of the morning. Their menu includes a selection of fantastic meats, fishes and homemade desserts.
Contact: 971 89 13 19
If it’s paella you’re after then look no further. One of the oldest family establishments in the north of the island, S’Amfora is renowned for its Mallorquín cuisine, and exceptional service. As well as the famous paellas, expect to find a selection of tapas dishes and vegetarian options.
Contact: 971 89 17 26
White Sapphire – for a special occasion
If you’re a fan of fusion cuisine, White Sapphire is the one for you. Combining Mediterranean and Asian flavours, this experience will tantalise the taste buds! A popular restaurant to celebrate special occasions, expect the unexpected with this extravagant menu!
Contact: 971 42 38 84
Posidonia – highly affordable
For those wanting to save a few more pennies, but not sacrifice service or meal quality, then you must ensure that you pay this restaurant a visit- maybe even more than once! Offering a spectacular Menú del Día, at only twelve euros per person, diners can expect to choose three fabulous courses inclusive of fish, meat and vegetarian options. This restaurant is the jewel in the crown when it comes to sea views, overlooking the picturesque Port d’Alcúdia bay. Booking is a must, as with prices this good, half the island is talking about it!
Contact: 971 54 52 97
Shopping and Markets #
The local market occurs every Tuesday and Sunday throughout the year promising aisle after aisle of fresh produce, accompanied by a vast array of locally made crafts, jewelry and clothing. Alongside the usual market findings (Mallorca’s best Burberry bags, and Mulberry purses) you are able to discover many local wonders such as pure salts from Es Trenc and olives harvested from the Tramuntana mountains.
The vibrant colors that exude from the expansive catalogue of exotic fruits and vegetables, light up the narrow paths between the market traders. For just a small fee you are able to restock your fridge and wardrobe at the same place. If you happen to be a resident of Mallorca, the only question on your mind will be, ‘how do I get it all home?!’
AM Tip: Although group excursions aren’t currently offered by any local tour or travel operators Alcúdia market is easily accessible via bus, taxi or even walking! From the Port d’Alcúdia expect to take a leisurely 25-30 minutes stroll, directly to the walls of the old town. Alternatively, you can hop on the TIB 351 bus, which will drop you right outside the entrance and costs a mere one euro and fifty-five cents! For those of you who don’t fancy being a sardine on the buses, then a taxi from Port d’Alcúdia will only set you back around six euros, although they can be difficult to come by on market day. Combine your trip with a leisurely lunch at Bar Maya and you won’t regret it.
Sports & Recreation #
Alcúdia is home to several secluded coves, which are a mecca for lovers of kayaking and paddle boarding. Possibly the most alluring bay is Mal Pas. Just a short twenty-minute stroll from the centre of the Old Town you will find yourselves stumbling across this area of outstanding natural beauty. Mal Pas is host to a fabulous harbor, which draws the attention of many water babies and wave riders.
For around €15/hour, you are able to hire paddle boards for solo trips. If you’re a little nervous to kayak alone (currents can be dicey), you can enter into a group class which is led by an instructor. This is a perfect outing for families.
As well as being the prime location to partake in this new sporting craze, Mal Pas also contains a vivid variety of marine life. The clarity of the water makes it the perfect location for snorkeling and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can throw yourself off of one of the many cliff-jumping points, heading straight into one of nature’s finest rock pools.
AM Tips for parents: If you have young children then the small cove is a haven for hermit crabs and barnacles, and if you’re wanting to head out a little further then expect to see schools of ‘Garfish’ swimming right before your eyes.
Fiestas & Annual Highlights #
Fiestas are prevalent in Alcúdia, with the local people finding many an excuse to let their hair down and party! Some of the most popular events include the Fiesta Romana (Around the 22nd July). This celebration of the Roman discovery of the Pollentian city sees the town come together in an army of white robes and togas, lining the streets as modern-day Spartans.
With live musicians and DJs performing songs from across the decades, this street party caters for the young and the old. Food stalls surround the dance floor, saving those little ones who feel the pang of late-night hunger, and supporting those older ones who maybe had to one too many sangrias!
This fabulous fiesta beings at midnight and continues at 6am, where (if you’ve lasted that long) you can watch the sunrise of the ancient ruins of the city, a sight not to be missed.
Later on in October we see the Fira d’Alcúdia, the towns take on a typical ‘fair’. Although lots of similarities can be spotted, such as fairground rides, cuddly animals and hot dog stalls, Alcúdia really outdoes itself with its exquisite Medieval Market. The market stalls are scattered throughout every inch of the Old Town, allowing you to sample meats, cheeses, wines, beers and breads inspired by the Medieval era. During this particular celebration it is heartwarming to see how many of the stalls are monitored by local families, schools and business, you really do feel the presence of the community spirit here in Alcúdia. As with all Mallorquin celebrations we like to see them off with a bang, so be sure to witness another fantastic street party (although not quite so raucous) topped off with some fabulous fireworks!
Charm factor #
The town of Alcúdia appears to have maintained its Roman regality, yet at the same time it still discloses its humble charm. The intricate buildings, neatly paved cobbled paths, and vivacious locals ensure that you want to lose yourself in these streets time and time again.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
By Zoé Holmes
24 October, 2018