Prior to the 1960s, Paguera on the southwest coast of Mallorca was a small and sleepy fishing village where the only visitors were likely to be intrepid hikers drawn here by its network of coastal hiking routes. But as the growth of tourism across Mallorca took hold, it rapidly grew into one of the island’s most bustling resorts, awash with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
As is the case across most of Mallorca, the locus of activity in Paguera is on its three beaches: Playa Palmira, Playa Tora and Playa La Romana, all of which are joined by a modern and clean promenade. The beaches themselves are very child-friendly, with shallow clear waters and great crab-spotting opportunities around the rocks – although the urchins that live on them aren’t always as friendly. Inevitably, all three beaches can become very busy during the summer months, so if you want to be sure of grabbing a sunbed and parasol (which can be rented from beach vendors), it’s advised to show up early.
Paguera is also popular with watersports enthusiasts and is one of the few Mallorcan coastal resorts where you’ll often spot surfers attempting to catch some waves. For those seeking a more tranquil sea-faring experience, several companies operate boat trips aboard glass-bottom Catamarans which take you to various points around the island. Dolphin watching tours are also available, though can be a little hit and miss in terms of your chances of spotting any.
For a change of scenery, a few minutes’ walk west along the coastline from Paguera will bring you to Cala Fornells, a quaint village dotted with stylish apartments and houses cleverly built into the hillside. Here you’ll find a sprinkling of tiny, rocky, unspoiled beaches that are ideal for exploring, or head slightly inland to discover a beautiful forest popular with ramblers.
More experienced walkers and bikers have got plenty to enjoy within Paguera itself too. The town is the starting point for the trail that leads to the mountain village of Es Capdellà – a wonderfully scenic route that offers some of Mallorca’s most outstanding natural beauty. You can take the main road too, which provides easier terrain but nothing like the same kind of views.
Helping extend the resort’s appeal beyond the peak tourism months, Paguera has traditionally been the venue for its own Oktoberfest beer festival each October (there’s also one in nearby Santa Ponsa). With Paguera hugely popular with German tourists, it draws large crowds who throng the resort’s bars and restaurants in celebration of the amber nectar.
If you feel like a change in atmosphere, there are several exclusive beach clubs within easy reach of Paguera. Perhaps the most famous is Nikki Beach (Av. Notari Alemany, 1), a 15-minute drive southwest of Paguera and sited on one of the island’s most beautiful white beaches. Here, guests can enjoy lavish amenities including an award-winning restaurant and bar, outdoor pool, poolside cabanas, world-class DJs and live entertainment. For something a little more low key, Beach Club Gran Folies (Calle Tintorera) in nearby Port d’Andratx has been around for decades and combines a dash of luxury with an authentic ambience typical of the island.
As you’d expect from one of Mallorca’s most popular resort towns, there are a wide number of accommodation options to be found in Paguera. If you’re seeking somewhere with a dash of contemporary character and style, then BQ Boutique Hotel (Calle Palmira, 29) is sure to appeal. Part of a chain of hotels across Mallorca and Andalucia on the mainland, this Paguera property offers easy access to the town’s sandy shoreline and also has its own outdoor pool set in pristine gardens with pine trees. There’s also a chic on-site restaurant and bar, or if you’d prefer to venture out of an evening there are plenty of drinking and dining spots a short walk away.
Oozing Mediterranean charm, Villa Columbus (Carrer dels Pins, 13) is another boutique option close to the beach. Nestled in an elevated spot, guests can dine in a leafy courtyard restaurant while the bar area still has many of the same nautical-themed artefacts and quirky curios that have adorned the walls for decades. Accommodation comes in the form of bungalow-style apartments surrounding the kidney-shaped outdoor pool. If you’re looking for tranquillity, then you might consider one of Paguera’s adults-only hotels. The 3-star Valentin Hotel (Calle Peral, 3) has a no-kids policy, allowing guests to soak up the sunshine or indulge in a sauna session in solitude. Finally, for those on a budget, (Carrer Roser, 2) is an unfussy option that’s well located for enjoying all the town has to offer.
Eat and Drink
There are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the main street that runs the full length of Paguera, many of which serve up classic Spanish dishes including paella and grilled fish. In keeping with the town’s popularity with German tourists, you can also expect to find plenty of German-style dishes on menus, while German-brewed Erdinger is the house beer in most of its watering holes. Nestled on the seafront, Mar y Mar (Carrer Pinaret, 6) is a perpetually busy, no frills fish restaurant with an Asian flourish.
For visitors in search of a more exclusive dining experience, the lively Hacienda steakhouse (Carrer Ametllers, 1) is well-known for its selection of meats – considered some of the best on the island – and excellent salad bar. Rustic in style, the restaurant offers a warm and homely ambience and there’s a large terrace where you can dine al fresco during the balmy summer months when temperatures remain high well into the evening.
To experience gastronomy at its very best, dedicated foodies can venture eight kilometres inland to find the 2-Michelin starred Zaranda restaurant (Castell Son Claret, Carretera Capdella – Galilea). Housed within a hotel and helmed by world renowned chef Fernando P Arellano, there’s a choice of four tasting menus of extraordinary creations, all using produce sourced fresh from the hotel’s extensive grounds and the Balearic Sea.
If it’s imbibing you’re interested in, Waikiki (Carrer Platja, 70) is one of the town’s funkiest drinking joints. Featuring a tropical-style thatched roof, pumping music and with plenty of tables and bar stools dotted around the outdoor area, this buzzing cocktail bar is standing room only during peak season.
Most of the shopping in Paguera is to be found in Avenida Paguera which runs parallel to the town’s main strip. Here you’ll find not only the usual beach-wear and gift shops, but boutiques and leather goods too, including several excellent shoe stores. There’s also a good selection of practical shops such as chemists and supermarkets, so you don’t have to worry about being caught short for essentials during your stay. While Paguera caters very well for mid-range shoppers, for more exclusive retail opportunities visitors should make the short journey to the neighbouring fishing port of Puerto Andratx.
For picking up some casual clothes, Topdress-Paguera (Carrer de Palmira, 2) is one of Paguera’s best shopping outlets. The store stocks a wide range of loose-fitting apparel suitable for both the beach and the bars of Mallorca. They also have a good selection of footwear including classic Havaianas and more formal shoes too.
Situated directly opposite the 5-star Hotel Villamil, Galas Boutique (Bulevar de Paguera, 53) is a women’s clothing store selling a diverse selection of colourful and stylishly designed items. Whether it’s little black dress, a jump suit or something to throw on before heading to the beach, you’re almost certain to find it here.
On the same street, Orenda (Bulevar de Paguera, 13) is a great choice for picking up gifts and souvenirs, as well as practical goods for your stay such as towels, shawls and other clothing. But it’s the eclectic mix of bric-a-bric that sets the store apart, with many items sourced from far beyond Mallorca, including Africa and Asia.