Mallorca is large enough to offer a variety of landscapes, yet small enough to make getting around relatively easy. From the metro system in Palma to the train and bus networks around the island, the public transport network is efficient and integrated. Getting around by car allows greater freedom to explore all the hidden treasures, while walking and cycling are also actively encouraged in Mallorca thanks to pedestrianised areas and dedicated cycle paths.
Public transport in Mallorca
Palma’s Intermodal Station in Plaça d'Espanya is the hub for train, metro and bus services. The Intermodal Card can be purchased for use on any of those services and offers significant savings for regular public transport users. The station is located underground and can be accessed by escalator, elevator or stairs.
TIB (Transports de les Illes Balears) operates transport services across the island; TIB buses and coaches are distinctively yellow and red. When in Mallorca’s capital, Palma, expats can get around by EMT (the municipal transport company) buses. The integrated travel system means that bus services are found at most of the island’s railway stations, so passengers can complete their journey to outlying destinations.
TIB also operates the train routes in Mallorca. The main services connect Palma with the town of Inca, where two further routes continue to Sa Pobla and Manacor. Check the TIB website for info on fares and timetables.
Tren Sóller – Orange Blossom Express
Mallorca’s traditional narrow-gauge rail service is operated by the private company Ferrocarril de Sóller from its own station in Plaça de Espanya, linking Palma and the mountain valley town of Sóller. Dating back to 1911, this service sought to transport citrus fruit from the Sóller valley to the port of Palma, and it’s now one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions. A tram service links Sóller and its port.
Mallorca has a small metro system based in Palma with two lines connecting with Universitat de les Illes Balears and Marratxí municipality. The metro makes getting around easy and allows expats greater flexibility when looking for accommodation outside of Palma’s city centre.
Taxis in Mallorca
Several taxi companies operate in Mallorca. Taxis are typically white and must display their taxi licence and number. They are easily identifiable and can be found at taxi ranks usually near public transport hubs, contacted by phone or hailed using a taxi app.
Driving in Mallorca
The main roads in Mallorca are excellent and – with the exception of Palma and its environs – traffic is often fairly light. Not surprisingly, the main road through the Tramuntana mountain range has many hairpin bends, so journeys take longer than expected for the distance. Driving through the mountains calls for particular care in the summer months, when traffic is heavier and tourist coaches (which need extra space on the bends) use the route.
Palma de Mallorca has a motorway ring road known as Ma-20 or Vía de Cintura. From this road, motorways link Palma to the southwest (Ma-1), the north (Ma-13) and the southeast (Ma-19). The road from Palma to the second city, Manacor, in the east, is a very good dual carriageway (Ma-15). Look for speed limit signs on smaller roads and in towns and villages – and be aware that speed cameras are used.
Having access to a car gives expats greater freedom of travel in Mallorca, but drivers should note potential hazards. Always drive defensively and be aware of other road users, cyclists and pedestrians, especially at roundabouts and corners where pedestrian crossings are located. If parking on the street, check whether a pre-purchased ticket is necessary. Driving is on the right-hand side of the road.
Note that Guardia Civil officers often do spot checks for sobriety and appropriate documentation.
Importing a car
If expats intend to bring a vehicle when moving to Mallorca, it’s recommended to seek advice from a local specialist company that can assist with this type of operation, as the bureaucratic process of obtaining new Spanish registration plates can be time consuming and complicated – and there are costs involved.
Cycling in Mallorca
Mallorca has an excellent network of cycling routes and it’s no surprise that the sport is popular on the island. There are many cycling clubs in Mallorca and, during the cooler months, keen cyclists and top professional teams travel to Mallorca to take advantage of the favourable climate and bike-riding conditions.
In Palma, it’s easy to travel around on a bicycle, and there are plenty of official bike parks to secure the two-wheeled steed while not using it.
While expats residing in Mallorca can buy a bicycle, they can just as easily rent one for a short period through schemes such as BiciPalma and Mou-te Bé. Bikes fitted with child seats can also be rented, making it easy for expats with kids to get around.
Walking in Mallorca
Walking and hiking are popular activities in Mallorca, which boasts some excellent signposted routes in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tramuntana mountain range. Palma is also an easy city to walk around, being compact and with several pedestrianised shopping areas.
►Visit the official website for TIB (Transports de les Illes Balears): www.tib.org
►Read more about living and working on this Balearic island in Moving to Mallorca
►For more on how to travel in Spain, read Transport and Driving in Spain
"To be honest public transport isn’t fantastic across Mallorca and you really do need a car. We’re lucky in Sóller because we have a fantastic historic train which takes you on a magical one hour journey through the mountains to Palma, the island’s capital. We also have an excellent regular bus service to the capital and local villages of Deia and Valldemossa. However, in the smaller villages service is sporadic if it exists at all. Most bus connections can be made in Palma at the central station and there are a few train routes but there’s no service island-wide. They’re working on it. Taxis are plentiful, if quite expensive."
Read more in our interview with expat Anna Nicholas.
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