Getting Around Mallorca: Public Transport vs Car Rental vs Taxi
Mallorca is a top vacation destination, popular for its stunning beaches, excellent year-round weather, and a slew of things to see and do. The Spanish Island boasts many great attractions for all the family. As you can see in the best side of Mallorca which covers where you will find the best beaches, views, history and activities But with so much to see across the island, what’s the best way to get around Mallorca?
A car is the best way to travel in Mallorca. It offers the freedom to visit the island’s hidden gems and allows you to explore at your own pace. Plus, with a bit of forward planning, it doesn’t have to break the bank either.
Let’s find out more and look at some of the other methods too.
1. Car Rental in Mallorca
I’ve always been a fan of road trips. The ability to set your own path and schedule offers unrivalled freedom to explore. In Mallorca, renting a car enables you to discover some of those stunning beaches and attractions that are slightly off the beaten track. This can be a good way to avoid the crowds, but also enjoy family-friendly attractions like water parks, aquariums, and various other activities, like farms and nature parks.
You’ll find numerous car rental companies, mostly at the airport, but also at most large resorts and towns. For the best deals, it’s often best to book online in advance.
Discover Cars is a good example of a car rental website that will allow you to compare cars and prices from various rental companies to get the best deal available. They also have an excellent rating on Trustpilot because they provide quality car rental services and exceptional customer support to their customers.
If you are not already aware, although renting a car from the airport is convenient, it generally costs much more than booking from another location. For more information on costs, documents required and policies you can reference this guide on hiring a car in Mallorca.
Is It Hard To Drive Around Mallorca?
Mallorca has some excellent roads that offer incredible scenery at every turn. As a mountainous island, you can often find yourself on narrow, twisty roads, so care is required. Especially since 66% of fatalities happen on rural roads as we detailed on is Mallorca safe.
However, most roads are well-maintained which contribute to Spain in general having some of the safest roads in Europe. The driving style is fairly relaxed, especially outside of cities. When renting a car in Mallorca, something small is generally better suited to negotiating the narrower country lanes.
For more information on the road conditions, driving culture, rules and tolls you can check out the guide on driving in Mallorca.
Palma offers plenty of secure car parks that you can use, and most hotels and other accommodation options will have a car park. When you’re out and about, you may find paid street parking, which is indicated by blue lines.
Once you’re parked, simply find the ticket machine and display your ticket. Alternatively, you can use the app. Yellow lines mean parking isn’t allowed, while white lines indicate free parking. Prices for parking range depending on location, but can be as little as €0.40 for over 12 hours.
For more information on parking all over Mallorca, additional marking to look out for and rule check out this guide.
If you’re planning to visit a variety of attractions across the island, car rental is the best choice for you. It allows you to visit towns and attractions that are off the beaten track, such as the Campanet Caves (Coves de Campanet) or a variety of ranches and farms for horse riding or sightseeing. Like the kids activities that are listed in the 13 Things to do With Kids in Mallorca which are in different parts of the island and featured on this map.
Driving isn’t the best choice if you’re planning to stay in one city or resort for your entire stay. Places like Palma are extremely well-connected in terms of public transport, and driving is unnecessary for the most part.
2. Mallorca Public Transport
Public transport in Mallorca is a great alternative to renting a car if you don’t—or don’t want to—drive. The island enjoys a fabulous public transit system, comprising numerous bus lines, three train lines, and a metro line. In all, they cover all of the major attractions, such as beaches, resorts, and adventure parks.
From the airport, you can easily reach Palma by bus or airport shuttle, for as little as €5. There are also airport transfers directly to your hotel which are slightly dearer, but better for travellers because it saves you the hassle and cost of finding transportation from a central location to their hotel. Additionally, it provides a more convenient and comfortable experience, especially for those carrying heavy luggage or traveling with children or elderly companions.
Once in Palma, the main transport hub is the Intermodal Station. Train, bus, and metro lines all leave from here to destinations across the island. There are also direct bus lines from the airport to major resorts such as Sa Coma, Cala Bona, and Cala Millor.
You’ll find two types of buses in Mallorca; TIB routes connect Palma to destinations across the island, while EMT city buses serve Palma and its surroundings. Both types are modern, comfortable, and easy to use. At the time of writing, EMT buses cost €2 for a single fare, which you’ll pay in cash to the driver. Avoid using bills larger than €10 if possible. Alternatively, you can buy a €15 pass, which is loaded with 10 journeys.
Meanwhile, TIB buses are even easier to use. Simply tap your bank card when you enter the bus and again when you get off. The prices vary depending on the departure point and destination, but they’re very affordable.
The TIB buses are really nice and modern, with clear displays showing which stops are coming up, making it difficult to get it wrong! When you want to get off a bus in Mallorca, just hit the button when you’re approaching your stop and the driver will stop for you.
Pretty much all of the TIB bus routes depart from Palma’s Intermodal station. They can more or less take you to every corner of the island, and unless you’re planning to visit a remote village, you can almost always find a bus to take you where you need to be.
Buses run on most routes fairly frequently, particularly those going to more popular destinations, so you’ll not normally be waiting too long. Even in winter, you’ll find buses running at least hourly in most cases. However, be sure to check timetables in advance and note that some bus lines only run during the summer months. On weekends, some services run on limited schedules or not at all, especially on Sundays. If possible, it’s best to travel by bus during the week.
There are three train lines in Mallorca, which is pretty impressive considering it’s just a small island. Like the TIB buses, all three train services depart from Palma Intermodal Station. The lines take you to Inca, Sa Pobla, and Manacor, with numerous stops along the way.
Trains are fairly frequent during the week between 5:45 and 22:20, with services departing at least once every 30 minutes. You’ll also find a number of trains that allow you to bring a bicycle onboard. However, be sure to check the schedule before you travel.
Like buses, trains in Mallorca are fairly affordable. A one-way ticket to Sa Pobla or Manacor from Palma costs just €4.50 at the time of writing or €3.60 to Inca.
Mallorca has just one metro line. It departs from Palma Intermodal Station and serves the suburbs of the city. As a tourist, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to ride the Mallorca Metro, and it’s more commonly used by locals and commuters. However, it’s very cheap and runs every 20 minutes between 6:35 and 21:30 during the week, and every 30 minutes between 7:00 and 14:30 on Saturdays. The metro is closed on Sundays.
Public transport in Mallorca is ideal for those who don’t drive but want to see the main attractions that the island has to offer. Indeed, the best beaches in Mallorca and the major resorts are all easily reached by bus or train. However, some attractions that are off the beaten track may be more difficult to reach by public transport directly, requiring several transfers and maybe even a taxi to get you to your final destination.
Mallorca public transport is also a great choice for those on a budget. Traveling by bus or train is much more affordable than renting a car. Plus, with long schedules and frequent services, you won’t be waiting too long to get to where you want to be.
3. Taxis in Mallorca
There are some great taxi companies in Mallorca, mostly centered in Palma and other larger resorts. They run on a meter and at the time of writing, most only accept cash and not card payments. They’re not overly expensive though, especially when you’re traveling within the city. Taking a taxi from the airport to your accommodation in Palma can be a good choice, especially if you have a lot of luggage that you’d struggle with on the bus.
Mallorca taxis also travel to and from the island’s main resorts and attractions, and while they may cost a bit more than a bus, you can be sure they’ll get you exactly where you need to be. In my experience, taxi drivers in Mallorca have always been kind and helpful, willing to offer advice and lend a hand with heavy bags.
Be advised, you won’t find ride-hailing apps like Bolt or Uber in Mallorca, just registered taxi companies. You can book a cab in advance, but you’ll also normally be able to grab one on the street in busier areas.
Taxis are an ideal way to explore cities and larger resorts. They’re an ideal choice on a night out to take you back to your accommodation from a restaurant or bar when bus services are reduced. Taxis are also a handy solution on rainy days, as they’ll take you door to door, perfect for a rainy-day visit to a museum or gallery.
Longer distance journeys by taxi can become a little expensive compared to taking a bus or train, so they’re not the best choice in that scenario. Having said that, they do offer privacy and the chance to chat with the driver. You never know, they might recommend an incredible attraction or restaurant that you’d never discover otherwise!
Finally, taxis can be the best way for non-drivers to reach those off-the-beaten-track places, such as Ostrich farms, caves, and horse riding ranches.
4. Exploring Mallorca on Foot or Bike
Is Mallorca walkable? For sure some parts of the island are best explored on foot or in the saddle of a bicycle. Palma’s old town is a great place to walk around, exploring the various alleyways and markets, and discovering hidden cafes and restaurants. The Hop-on hop-off bus in Palma is great to help you get to see all the highlights and get to where you need to go.
Other cities also offer fantastic pedestrianised areas to wander along on foot. Out of the towns, you can enjoy rambling along the gorgeous shorelines and of course, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Serra de Tramuntana.
Cycling in the city is getting better, but there still aren’t too many cycle lanes. However, if you’re fit enough to tackle the mountain roads, there are some amazing places to cycle in Mallorca. Having said that, for longer distances, you’ll want to consider another option.
5. Ferrocarril De Sóller Train
Finally, an honourable mention for the Ferrocarril De Sóller Train which connects Palma to the wonderful town of Sóller. Sóller has an old world charm and incredibly popular and in fact featured as one of the 6 best areas in Mallorca to visit.
The vintage wooden train rumbles through a breathtaking mountainous landscape. Along the way, it clatters over bridges and slips into tunnels, providing a thrilling experience amid some of the most beautiful scenery in Mallorca.
The journey takes about an hour and the experience, including a ride on Mallorca’s first electric tram. There is a tour that includes the journey on the Ferrocarril De Soller train, and extends the journey; full day Tramuntana Mountain excursion.
While it’s not the most affordable or practical way to get around Mallorca, it does offer an unforgettable ride and an incredible day trip from Palma!
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