Mallorca: challenging driving
Mallorca isn't necessrily a dangerous driving experience compared to many other places, but it still poses its challenges. Additionally, whilst it’s a relatively small island, it has a near infinite amount of ways to navigate. There’s a lot to see and with limited time, you want to choose your transport wisely.
Arriving at the Airport
Arriving at the airport is your first taste of Mallorca, and you want it to start off on the right foot. Leaving how you will navigate Mallorca to the last minute upon arrive is a sure-fire way of beginning the visit in an anxious mess with a ton of hiccups.
Ideally, you want to organise airport shuttle in Mallorca. This means getting a bus to pick you up from the Palma airport after you land, and taking you to your organised town/place of choice. This is the most reliable way of getting out of the remote airport location and into your intended town without anything going wrong. Renting a car from the airport is costly and can be a nightmare to find, and searching for a taxi service isn't always as simple as following the coach departures.
The dangerous roads to be aware of
Being a mountainous, meditarranian island, much of Mallorca is very scenic. This means that there’s a bunch of opportunities to go on some incredible drives with mind-blowing views. However, with such altitudes, narrow roads and mountain faces comes an element of danger.
A perfect example is the MA-10 road. The road is an asphalted, 51km long road with some stunning views. However, it’s also known as the wildest road of the island. Along the way, there are some hairpin turns, tunnels and some reservoirs. It’s a pleasure to drive down, but just like the MA-2141, it becomes particularly dangerous on rainy days. Such curved roads are often narrow and unable for two cars to pass at the same time.
There is also the more unpredictable (albeit less likely) danger of the rock cliff edges. Some of which are not netted, meaning there’s that small possibility of rock falling and crumbling off its edges. Mallorca is far from one of the most dangerous places to drive, but it still requires attention and knowledge before undertaking journeys.
Having a driver
Firstly, many prefer to be a passenger of a professional driver. The most popular option here is buses. Whilst buses are far from the easiest vehicle for when driving on dangerous, curved and narrow roads, the main point here is that the drivers will know which one’s are preferable, and calculate a route accordingly.
Additionally, many will also be accommodating enough to have customised journeys, meaning you can see all the sites you want to, yet without the worry of getting around. It’s much more comforting to view a mountainous drop in a large vehicle with an experienced driver compared to driving yourself.
If you wanted more flexibility and a small vehicle, yet still a professional driver, then a taxi service may also be useful. This certainly wouldn’t be the cheapest option, but it may be extremely useful as you can stop off when you want, go wherever you want, yet do not need to worry about driving or maintaining a car. You won’t have to find gas stations or watch out for scratches like you do with a rental.
Renting your own car
If you’re a confident driver and wish to have the flexibility of stopping off whenever you like, then you can rent your own car. It will be more expensive, but it’s preferable to some. If you go with this option, it’s good to go for a 4x4. With the steep, asphalted roads and occasional under-maintained roads, it’s better safe than sorry by being in a 4x4, particularly in the winter when it’s raining.
It’s also worth taking pictures of the car when you first receive it. Many cars will have some scratches due to the nature of Mallorca driving, so you want to be sure you’re not going to get blamed. There are some unpaved roads in Mallorca, so it’s best to avoid these if you want to stay covered on your insurance.
Additionally, you will ideally plan out routes ahead of time to see if they are wide enough for you to drive on, any dangerous turnings and so on. You may also get charged more if you’re young (i.e. under 25), so if you have the option, put the oldest and most experienced driver as the driver who will be liable. In fact, generally keeping the drivers to a minimum is the best way to keep the cost down too.
Lastly, it’s worth keeping in mind that whilst it’s convenient, picking up a car from the airport comes at a premium. You may still be better off getting a coach into your town where you’re staying (or whenever the car is providing it’s roughly on the way), and rent it from there. This will likely be cheaper, even with the coach cost added in.