Most visitors to the island of Mallorca never make it to Palma, the capital city. But even those who do, rarely venture outside the city center to see what else is there.
Take the east end of Palma, for example. Walking the beachside promenade from the city, which is particularly beautiful along that stretch, will lead you to a small port for sail boats, called Portixol. Once you’ve passed that, you enter the quiet neighborhood of El Molinar, an expanse of low, colorful houses, rarely more than two stories tall.
At its heart is a crescent-shaped beach with calm, clear water and beautiful, partly submerged rocks on one side. Around its edges are small cafes, bakeries and restaurants, catering to locals and the few tourists that come here. The fish is fresh, the coffee excellent and prices surprisingly moderate.
El Molinar is sleepy by day, but gets busy in the evening. The promenade extends along its entire waterfront and has plenty of benches, where you can sit and watch the sunset or people strolling by.
In good weather, most cafes and restaurants put their tables outside and the place is abuzz with conversations in Spanish and Mallorquin, the local dialect, till the early hours of the morning.
When you spend enough time in El Molinar, it begins to dawn on you why there are so few tourists there. It’s quite simple really: no hotels. Genius!