Pollensa – also known as Pollença – in the north of the island is an ancient town of attractive narrow streets and an impressive main square, lined with cafés, restaurants and bars, and is just a few kilometres from Port de Pollensa.
Having been conquered time and time again through the centuries, the town bears signs of a rich history. More recently, in the early part of the last century a colony of artists, writers and musicians discovered the inspiring beauty of the area, settling in, and Pollensa has been a major draw for tasteful visitors ever since.
The town has several places of interest to visit, including the Roman bridge, signposted ‘Pont Roma’, which is still in use, and the Puig de Pollensa – a small mountain topped by a monastery, just outside the town. Here we provide all the information you want to know to make the most of this relaxed yet culturally satisfying inland town.
History & Culture
The most ancient marks left on the local landscape are from the Talaiots, who arrived here more than 3,000 years ago. The best known ones were left by the Romans in 123 and can be found on the outskirts of the small town, which has around 16,000 inhabitants today. The old Roman bridge – El Pont Romà – crosses the Torrent de Sant Jordi which was built by the inventive Romans to provide the town with water. Peace reigned until 440 when the Vandals attacked, wreaking destruction, and causing the surviving inhabitants to flee inland.
Pollensa’s formative history is eternally tied to the legendary order of the Knights Templar, though the town’s foundations were laid by the Arabs, who constructed irrigation systems, enabling agriculture to flourish. They were ousted in 1229 by King Jaime I, supported by hundreds of knights. Previously, the order had been assigned the role of protecting and mentoring the orphan boy king, until he was ready to lead and had learned the art of kingship.
Following the successful invasion, the island was divided up and shared, and the knights were given Pollensa. Under their rule, the town prospered, and an austere church built, overlooking the square, the Nostra Senyora de Angels. The church was rebuilt in the baroque style in the 18th century. The palace of the Templars still remains, beside the Font des Galles, or cock fountain. Look out for the carving of a Knight by the door of the La Taverna del Temple bar, to the left of the main plaça.
The introduction of the Christian world and the Catalan culture are embedded in the town’s historic, mainly ecclesiastical buildings. It was not until the 14th century that the knights vanished from the island, following a conspiracy led by the King of France.
After the Templars, the Jesuits arrived, constructing Pollensa’s Church of Monti Sion in 1697, but not before the a turbulent period in the 15th and 16th centuries. Pirate raids were a regular event in this part of Mallorca, and the most famous was the Moorish invasion in 1550. Local man Joan Mas led a small band of fellow citizens into battle against the invaders and, despite being armed with only sticks, they defeated the enemy. The event is commemorated every August 2nd in a noisy battle re-enactment, with townsfolk dressed as either Christians or Moors, as part of Pollensa’s Mare de Déu dels Àngels fiesta.
Find out what makes the Mallorcan town of Port de Pollensa so special with the abc-Mallorca guide to the very best restaurants, hotels, activities and insider info. […] Port de Pollensa
The Plaça Mayor, which is dominated by a Parroquial church dating back to the 18th century, is the scene of one of Mallorca’s best Sunday market, attracting many nationalities. The square offers several good cafes where you can enjoy a ‘café con leche’ and watch the world go by. Don’t miss a walk through the lanes to discover the artistic tradition and important sights of the town. If you like arts and crafts, you will find yourself in paradise.
A visit to Monti-sion, the former monastery and college, guides you to 365 steps leading to the El Calvari. This straight flight of stairs ends at a church from the 18th century. Tradition holds that the 14th century statue found inside of the crucified Christ was discovered by fishermen at Cala Sant Vicenç.
The walk up is framed by cypresses and here and there you get a glimpse of small gardens and charming houses. The stairs can be tiring, and it’s worth taking a bottle of water with you – particularly in hot weather. Your reward at the top is magnificent view of the area surrounding Pollensa. There is a small café adjoining the church run by a Swedish-Spanish couple, where refreshing drinks and ice-creams may be purchased.
A beautiful secluded resort village with a splendid beach offering a good variety of hotels, apartments, and medium sized holiday villas. […] Cala San Vicente
Things to do in Pollensa
The Puig (mountain) is 330 metres high and can be climbed within an hour. We recommend parking on the outskirts of the town, where it’s easier to find space. To find the Puig, walk away from the town and turn into the narrow tarred road at km 52 (driving from Palma to Pollensa). The mighty holm oaks provide some shade on the way up. The Puig de Pollensa has a long history: in the 14th century the black pest was raging, devastating the local population. This was when the Bishop ordered a chapel to be built on the Puig de Maria.
Only twenty years later the history of the cloister began, when three nuns rested next to the chapel and had the epiphany of Maria. To protect the town from pirates a defence tower was built in the same century. A century later the church and the refectory were built. The panoramic views from the top are stunning, and the peace and tranquility very soothing (unless you happen to visit during spring fair, when you’ll find a fun, family-friendly fiesta taking place, infused with the delicious cooking smells of a giant pans of paella).
The oldest monastery in Mallorca, the Sancturi del Puig de Maria was abandoned in 1576, when the nuns were instructed to move to Palma. Today, the hermitage offers modest refuge accommodation in the former nuns’ cells, and there is a small restaurant with simple Mallorcan dishes on the menu.
Pollensa’s streets reveal some interesting small shops and boutiques where you’ll find local crafts, jewellery, fashions, and leather goods.
Foodies will be in gourmet heaven at the excellent family-run delicatessen Ensenyat. Give your hair and skin a treat with a visit to the Think Cosmetic shop, selling covetable beauty and wellbeing products made in Pollensa from Mediterranean ingredients; they produce toiletries for luxury hotels such as Son Brull.
Just around the corner from Hotel Son Sant Jordi, on Carrer de la Mar, is delightful bakery Ca’n Xim. Ever popular with locals, this little shop sells traditional Mallorcan delicacies, the best ensaimadas, and freshly-made sandwiches, all prepared by mother and son bakers.
Located on the outskirts of town, across from LF91 Architects on the roundabout in the direction of the port, Paco Mobles is the perfect space to browse furniture and gorgeous decorative items to dress your home.
You will notice the famous ‘cloth of tongues’, or ‘llengües’ fabric pattern everywhere in Mallorca. The bright craft and textile store and workshop Teixits Vicens, located at Can Berenguer,at the crossroads between Pollensa and Port de Pollensa, is one of three Mallorcan companies continuing the tradition of producing this distinctive cloth.
Uniquely Mallorcan and still made by traditional artisan methods, the island’s famous ‘cloth of tongues’ encapsulates the spirit of the Mediterranean. […] Traditional Mallorcan Fabric
The Vicenç family have been running their highly successful business in Pollensa for more than 160 years, and welcome visitors to their workshop before three o’clock on weekdays.
The place to source high-quality Mallorcan leather shoes direct from the factory is Expo-pell, situated at Carrer Temple, 5 in the centre of Pollensa town.
Sample the freshest, fruitiest, most flavour-packed wine selection at Bodegas Ca’n Vidalet, 4km out of town just off the Pollensa to Alcúdia road. This modern, welcoming vineyard is a fine place to wind down and taste chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, moscatel, merlot and syrah wines. Read about Ca’n Vidalet in our special guide to The 101 Best Wines of Mallorca 2015.
If you appreciate good wine then you are going to love this magazine about the 101 best wines of Mallorca as carefully tested and selected by our wine connoisseur. Enjoy the best of Mallorca. […] The 101 Best Wines of Mallorca
Soak up Pollensa’s special atmosphere at the regular Sunday morning market, when the Plaça Major and surrounding streets are awash with colour.
Born and bred in Pollensa to a family of farmers and justifiably proud of his roots, artist Dionís Bennàssar’s paintings of Mallorca are full of joy and vivacity. View a large collection of his works in the former home of the artist, Casa Museo Dionís Bennàssar, on Carrer Roca.
Witness the elegant architectural features of the evocative Convent of Santo Domingo de Pollensa, beautifully rendered in sandstone. Erected in the early seventeenth century, the Santo Domingo convent is free to visit, and contains currently holds the Museum of Pollensa, as well as various artist exhibits within its hushed, ancient walls.
Restaurants in Pollensa
Pollensa’s main square is lined with eateries and bars, with outdoor tables where you can take in the town’s relaxed ambience. Restaurants of note around the town include La Braseria, Can Costa, Clivia, Cantonet, and La Font del Gall. Out of town, restaurant 365 at the Son Brull Hotel & Spa uses organic produce grown on the estate.
Maximizing flavour and taste through specialized charcoal grilling at La Braseria. Come breakfast, lunch & dinner, perfect for families, friends & groups. […] Restaurante La Braseria Pollensa
Simple dish descriptions on the menu give little hint of the skills involved in this healthy and creative cuisine that’s rooted in tradition. […] 365 Son Brull Restaurant in Pollensa
The historic town of Pollensa is a worthwhile stop on your gastronomic tour of the island. Check out these top restaurants. […] Restaurants in Pollensa
Hotels in Pollensa
Ancient townhouse Hotel Son Sant Jordi offers exquisitely furnished rooms, and a warm, friendly family-run ambiance. Its large courtyard garden, full of fruit trees and complete with a swimming pool, is a real gem of a surprise, offering a delightful escape from the crowds of the main square, a mere few minutes’ stroll away.
Just outside of the town, at the foot of the Puig with its famous monastery, you will find the rural Son Brull Hotel and Spa, which is well deserving of a visit. A convent building dating back to the 18th century and carefully transformed into a luxury hotel, Son Brull combines old and contemporary architecture in the most exciting manner.
If you don’t want to stay for the night, make sure you treat yourself to a gourmet meal at the hotel’s restaurant 365, opt for one of their praised cookery classes, or simply listen to the fabulous live Jazz played here frequently. Just as the restaurant uses produce farmed from the surrounding estate, the hotel’s small, intimate spa harnesses the power of herbs sourced from the gardens in its powerfully restorative treatments.
Overlooking the lively main square, Hotel Juma is a much-loved old traditional hotel. Boasting large, well-appointed rooms, generous breakfasts and fantastic coffee, you won’t find a more centrally-located stay.
Juma’s sister hotel, L’Hostal Hotel de Interior, a few minutes’ walk away on a quieter side street, is fresh and modern. Stylish and informal, this small, very reasonably priced boutique hotel is housed in a building where horses used to rest while their merchant owners visited the marketplace.
Tastefully decorated with modern artwork and sculptures, Hotel Desbrull lies just steps away from the Santo Domingo Convent, on the other side of a shady, tree-filled square. Nothing is too much trouble for the charming owners.
Beautifully understated, yet far from ordinary, the Hotel Llenaire occupies a prime position atop a hill overlooking Pollensa bay.
The stately manor house, Hotel Llenaire overlooking the bay of Pollensa is a traditional, romantic luxury hideaway in the north of Mallorca. Beautiful views! […] Hotel Llenaire in Port Pollensa
This family run adult-only hotel in the north of Mallorca in one of the most beautiful locations on the island with a splendid beach in a small town atmosphere is the perfect getaway place! […] Cala Sant Vicenç Hotel
Events in Pollensa
Pollensa town is the location of a lively battle re-enactment every August. The ancient settlement of Pollensa is also renowned for an annual religious ceremony that draws crowds to this north Mallorca town.
At Easter, on Good Friday, Pollensa attracts huge number of tourists for a moving and atmospheric religious event, which takes place on the Via Crucis, the 365-step stairway that leads up Calvary hill, in the north of the town. This is the festival of the ‘Davallament’, a Mallorcan passion play in which actors sensitively depict the suffering of Christ on the Cross and the lowering of his body, which is carried by torchlight down to the church in the square.
The Santo Domingo Cloisters in the centre of town are the venue for open-air concerts every summer, as part of the Pollensa Music Festival. You’re also invited to step inside the cool, inviting interior of the cloisters for Mallorca’s largest wine fair, Fira del Vi, which takes place in spring, usually two weeks after Easter.
Attracting such famous artists as Spanish opera singers Monserrat Caballé and José Carreras, Pollensa’s festival transforms the town into the island’s cultural capital, bringing a touch of the artistic sublime to hot summer evenings. Besides concerts, film showings and art exhibitions are regularly held in the streets, and the patio of the town hall.
Hosting around 40 of the island’s wine producers every year, the Fira del Vi presents the perfect opportunity to sample award-winning wines, in the special atmosphere of the elegant convent.
Hidden away off a winding road between Pollensa and Lluc, the Mortitx winery, established in 2005, is a young, up-and-coming contender in the Balearic wine market. Located on a flat plain with expansive views of the sea and mountains, this bodega offers some especially exciting creations, including Mortitx Dolç de Gel – the only ice wine made on Mallorca – plus an excellent modern rosé, Flaires and is worth navigating the hairpin bends of the Tramuntana mountain range to find.
Michael Pietroni gave a fascinating guided tour of his antique map collection which he donated some years ago to the town hall in Pollensa. Blevins Franks sponsored this very interesting event. […] Antique map collection unveiled in Pollensa
Living in Pollensa
Pollensa ticks many boxes as a desirable place to live or own a home. It’s a town with a solid, established infrastructure and easy access to the main MA21 motorway, yet surrounded by unspoilt natural beauty. There is a thriving foreign community, and a tolerant, accepting attitude to settlers moving in from abroad. The older generation of Mallorcans brought up here remain incredulous as to their humble town’s appeal to international visitors, an attitude which only adds to its charm.
There are no less than three schools, one of which, Colegio Montesión, is housed within part of the former Jesuit church, with the remaining space designated the town hall.
Climate in the north can differ markedly from the south, which can be seen as a good or bad thing, depending on your view. Some appreciate the resulting cooler temperatures, which are often a few degrees lower than the southern capital, Palma, and the increased rainfall during the winter months creates a terrain far lusher than the more arid south.
Leading real estate agency Kensington International Pollensa has an office in Pollensa, indicative of the affluent profile of foreign investors in this much sought-after area. This is country living at its best; private, stone-built retreats offering sea and mountain views; spectacular refurbished townhouses; and contemporary villas featuring Bond-esque design, set amongst landscaped grounds.
If you are looking for advice in order to buy, sell or rent a property in this or any other area of Mallorca, please do not hesitate to have a look at our selection of reliable and professional real estate agents on the island.
The north of Mallorca offers unspoiled beauty, long white sandy beaches perfect for kids, lively ports, traditional markets and wonderful sightseeing. […] The Northern Region of Mallorca
Surrounding areas of Pollensa
Pollensa’s twin town, Port de Pollensa, is the most obvious place to visit nearby. Though the two towns share a name, they have distinct characters, and differ dramatically in feel and atmosphere. The fact that the port, with its beaches, amenities, and interesting history lies within such easy reach of the old town is a definite boon to staying here, adding another facet to the visitor experience.
If your idea of the perfect beach is one without a gift shop or crowd in sight, you’ll be in heaven at Cala Sant Vicenç. An enchanting natural cove lying 4km off the road between Pollensa town and the port (look out for the signpost a couple of kilometres after the Eroski and Lidl supermarkets) there’s a sense of seclusion you won’t find at the busier tourist resorts, and a smattering of excellent fresh fish restaurants.
A trip just beyond the port to exquisite Formentor, the most northerly point of the island, is a truly memorable experience. A wild, rugged landscape stretching for miles, this is a peninsula of great natural beauty, wherein lies the legendary Hotel Formentor, famed for its secluded glamour. Once the secret haunt of pirates, this far corner of the island still retains a sense of insider mystique.
Some 17km from Pollensa in the direction of Palma lies the traditional Mallorcan village of Campanet. While you won’t find much to do in the town itself (although the main plaça with its busy café scene is a popular stop on the cyclist route) you may consider a trip to Ses Coves de Campanet. Quite unlike the more touristy and developed Porto Cristo caves on the East coast, Campanet’s attraction has a much more natural ambiance, set on a small hillside with glorious views over the surrounding countryside.
Just a 20 minute drive will take you to either Port d’Alcúdia, or the original medieval town of Alcúdia itself. Once in the vicinity , you’ll be spoilt with all manner of restaurants, bars, and fine boutiques, a fine white sandy expanse of beach, and a rich history to rival that of Pollensa’s itself.
A beautiful secluded resort village with a splendid beach offering a good variety of hotels, apartments, and medium sized holiday villas. […] Cala San Vicente
Port d’alcudia is a popular and family friendly resort town in the northeast of Mallorca. A beautiful, clean beach, and boardwalk with restaurants & hotels. […] Port d’Alcúdia
More Places on Mallorca
The Balearic Island of Mallorca has a wealth of interesting towns and villages, plus the stylish capital Palma. Explore them all here!