Nestled in the northern coast of Mallorca, overlooking the cyan ripples of the Mediterranean, is the charming town of Alcúdia. Many visitors choose to visit Alcúdia in order to soak up Mallorca’s island atmosphere and indulge in the region’s famous beaches and golf courses while avoiding the fast-paced, crowded feel of Magaluf, one of the island’s other major resorts. While there is indeed plenty of good sunbathing and golf to be had, there’s much more to do when you visit Alcúdia. Below we’ve collected some of our favourite cultural and historical attractions for your consideration.
Set in magnificent historic surroundings and flanked by old stone walls, arches and buildings, Alcúdia’s market is well worth a visit. From the moment the overflowing stalls come into view, you’ll be greeted with such a burst of colour and sound that you won’t know where to look first. The fruit and vegetable stands are piled high with plump, flamboyantly coloured wares and hung with bunches of vibrant chillies and braided garlic. The clothing and accessory stalls tinkle with jewellery or rustle with fabrics and handbags. There are beer-sellers, cured meat-sellers, shoe-sellers, flower-sellers and even stalls selling hand-carved wooden chopping boards and sculptures. The market has a real sense of life and energy, with the historic surroundings making it all the more compelling.
During the time of the Roman Empire, the capital of Mallorca was located just south of modern-day Alcúdia. Overlooking both the Bay of Pollenca and the Bay of Alcúdia, the city, called Pollentia, also had an excellent strategic position on the Mediterranean trade routes. The fact that it now lies in ruin does not speak to its insignificance – in its day, it was larger than Alicante.
Its decline began with a large fire and continued with peasant uprisings, its collapse mirroring that of the Western Roman Empire, and finally being destroyed at some point between 400 and 500 C.E. It lay in disrepair and was undiscovered until the early to mid twentieth century, with the majority of the excavation occurring in the second half of the twentieth century.
Only a short distance from Alcúdia, Pollentia is well worth a visit for any history or archaeology fan, as well as anyone with an interest in the Roman Empire. In the ruins you’ll be able to see Roman architecture and town layout, with a clearly defined forum and amphitheatre, as well as a large number of typical Roman villas. As well as being of historical interest, it’s a lovely place to let your imagination wander as you reconstruct the villas and streets, imagining the bustle of Pollentia in full bloom.
Penya des Migdia
One of the best spots in the area is Penya des Migdia, a watchtower overlooking the bays of Alcúdia and Pollenca. Pass through the hermitage of La Victoria on the way; it’s a truly beautiful, legally protected piece of nature, and a perfect example of Mallorca’s natural beauty.
When you reach the watchtower, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the two bays, allowing you to visualise the trade routes that made Pollentia so important. There’s also a cannon, dating back a century, which was placed there for defensive reasons, but it’s the view that makes this spot truly inspiring.
How to get to Alcúdia
British tourists setting out to reach Alcúdia can fly from London to Palma de Mallorca Airport in around 2 hours and 20 minutes. Airlines offering direct flights include Ryanair, easyJet, British Airways, Iberia and Monarch.
Upon arrival in Palma de Mallorca Airport, you can either take the public transport bus from Palma to Alcúdia, or get directly onto a pre-ordered transfer service, which is a very affordable option. Shuttle Direct’s airport shuttle bus from Palma to Alcúdia only costs around £6 in summer season and can bring you to Alcúdia’s centre in approximately 50 minutes.
If you want to take public transport links, you are looking at a 1 hour 45 minutes drive, taking bus 1 in the direction of “Port” to Plaça d’Espanya, where you’ll have to change to bus 351 direction “Platja de Muro (Càmping)”, which will take you to central Alcúdia.
Where to stay
Apartamentos Carlos V – Located in the very heart of Alcúdia, the Apartamentos Carlos V offer cosy, comfortable accommodations at an excellent price. There’s also the added bonus of a roof terrace overlooking the historic town.
Hotel Moré – For those who like to lounge around a bit more, Hotel Moré is ideal. While maintaining competitive prices, it’s a beachfront hotel, overlooking beautiful clear waters and white sands. There’s also a pool with a sun terrace, giving you plenty of options when you want to cool off and relax.
Hotel Can Tem – A truly stunning hotel set in an original 17th century mansion, Hotel Can Tem is located within Alcúdia’s historic centre and is as attractive and tasteful as it is historically valuable. The rooms are furnished with tasteful antiques, maintaining the historic atmosphere of this gem of a hotel.