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What’s It Like Living In Mallorca As An Expat

Mallorca is a popular Spanish holiday destination thanks to its good weather, good food, and friendly atmosphere. But does that mean it’s suitable as a permanent living destination?

In this article, we’ll cover the important facts about living in Mallorca. We’ll look at the cost of living, the key pros and cons, where to settle down, and other points that might influence your decision.

Is Mallorca a good place to live?

Mallorca is a good place to live because it offers all the benefits of a Mediterranean lifestyle, along with stable investment opportunities and interesting history and culture.

It’s the largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous community off the Spanish coast. For things like healthcare, currency, residency visas, driving and more, it follows Spanish rule.

Mallorca has a typical Mediterranean climate that draws in plenty of expats. You’ll find hot summers and mild winters that are perfect for enjoying an outdoor lifestyle. Of course, its extensive coastline is ideal for those into sailing and water sports.

The island has economic stability, both in terms of jobs and housing. Importantly, this means it’s not difficult to find an affordable property and take out a mortgage if you need one. You will find more information on how to buy a property in Spain in our Complete Guide To Buying A Property In Spain.

As you’d expect from a popular tourist destination, there’s plenty to do in Mallorca. It has annual music and art festivals, lots of sports tournaments, and interesting local architecture. In short, you won’t be short of things to do here.

Is it safe to live in Mallorca?

Yes, Mallorca is a generally safe place to live with low rates of crime. Of course, there are greater concerns during the tourist season, as is the case with any popular destination. But, even during peak times, its crime rate is low.

Living in Mallorca
Cala Figuera, a traditional fishing village in the southeast of the island.

Mallorca’s crime rate is low to moderate in various areas. Things like theft and burglary are rare, which is important for anywhere you’re thinking of settling down.

You also don’t need to worry about things like drug-related crime or assault, regardless of whether you live in a city or rural area.

In short, crime in Mallorca shouldn’t be a concern when considering it as a place to live. You’ll be able to relax at home and the sense of community you’ll build with your neighbours means you’ll even be able to leave your doors unlocked!

Is it expensive to live in Mallorca?

Although an autonomous community, the cost of living in Mallorca is similar to the cost of living in mainland Spain. In short, this means it’s inexpensive. A couple could live on €1,200 a month in Mallorca, excluding rent.

Eating out will set you back around €15 per person at an inexpensive restaurant, although this rises to €25 per person at a mid-range restaurant. Luckily, local beer and wine are inexpensive and bars are plentiful.

Grocery shopping is cheap, and you can buy your fresh vegetables at one of the island’s numerous farmers’ markets. Most of these stock meat and cheese, too, meaning you can do most of your shopping there.

Basic utilities for a two-bedroom apartment would set you back around €115 a month, and internet access from a typical provider is around €45 a month.

Public transport is inexpensive, but petrol prices are slightly above those of mainland Europe. This is simply to compensate for the extra transportation costs.

Finally, rent and property prices are very attractive for expats. Rent for a central, three-bedroom apartment is around €1,400 a month but will be obviously cheaper in smaller towns. Property costs roughly €4,000 per square metre in the centre of Palma.

Renting rules and laws in Spain might differ from what you are used to in your home country. To rent safely and avoid disappointment, read our guide Renting a Property in Spain? How to do it the right way

But, elsewhere on the island, you can find some incredible (and fairly pricey) properties. Spending a few million will get you a nine-bedroom finca (country estate) with plenty of land.

In short, living in Mallorca can be as expensive as you want it to be. Basic necessities aren’t costly, and a retired couple could live very comfortably on less than €1,500 a month. If you have the money, though, Mallorca has the lifestyle you’re looking for.

Living in Mallorca: the pros and cons

It’s always worth trying to build up a complete picture of an area before moving there. While visiting is helpful, it can only tell you so much about permanent residency.

Living in Mallorca
The famous orange tram that runs from Soller to Port de Soller in Mallorca.

Weighing up both sides is worthwhile when thinking about living in Mallorca. Here are the main pros and cons that it presents.

The pros of living in Mallorca

1. The climate

This almost goes without saying, but many expats choose Mallorca because of its climate. It’s not too hot, and winters offer some rain, which can be a blessing in the Mediterranean.

2. Plenty of activities

Mallorca is a dream for those who like being outdoors. There are hiking and cycling routes, golf courses, fishing opportunities, and of course swimming and sailing.

3. International connections

One advantage to a tourist-heavy location is its international connections. Palma de Mallorca Airport offers flights to most of mainland Europe. If you can’t fly there directly, a one-hour flight to Barcelona or Madrid offers great connections.

4. Great food

Whether you choose to eat out or cook at home, there’s no shortage of great dishes and ingredients. Of course, Spanish cuisine is a massive influence, and we all know the benefits a Mediterranean diet can offer.

living in Mallorca
A local vegetable store in Valldemossa, Mallorca.

5. Economic security

Mallorca has a stable economy, which means job opportunities and secure real estate. While you might not be looking for employment, the knock-on effect is better public transport and infrastructure, and a generally happier and more affluent community.

The cons of living in Mallorca

1. Island life

Living on an island does present some restrictions. Taking your car on holiday bumps the price up considerably, and it obviously will impact moving here too. Mallorca isn’t a tiny island, but some might find it a bit claustrophobic later down the line.

2. Typical bureaucracy

As we discuss in our Living In Spain guide, the country is notorious for bureaucracy. The same is true for Mallorca. Be prepared for lots of paperwork and lengthy processes from opening your Spanish bank account to sorting out your Spanish taxes. If you feel stuck, use gestorias – they can be a great help.

3. Learning the language(s)

Majorcans speak Castellano (Spanish) and Mallorquin (a dialect of Catalan). While plenty of people in busier towns speak English, getting to grips with the island’s specific dialect will help.

4. Humidity

The Mediterranean climate is great, but heat and proximity to the sea mean one thing: humidity. This is the case all year round, but in the winter you also have rain mixed in. So, be prepared for a bit of dampness.

5. Cars are expensive

If you are planning to buy a car in Mallorca, you might find the prices are quite high for both new and used cars. Taking your own car over to Portugal and re-registering it won’t come cheap either. However, if having a car is a must for you (and for many expats in Mallorca it is), many say buying locally is easier.

Find more information on Spanish driving regulations and a car registration process in our guide Sorting Out A Car And Driving In Spain.

Where do expats live in Mallorca?

Expats living in Mallorca typically congregate around a few main destinations. The most popular coastal areas include Puerta Portals, Santa Ponsa, Portals Nous, and Bendinat. You’ll find English is widely spoken in these locations.

If you want a rural destination and expat connections, places like Deia, the Soller Valley, and Pollenca are your best bets. These give you a combination of rural living and accessible amenities.

Mallorca’s best towns & villages

Mallorca offers a great number of desirable towns and cities as destinations for expats. Depending on the lifestyle you’re after, you can choose from rural locations or more urban areas.

Here are some of the highlights for where to live in Mallorca:

Palma

Palma is Mallorca’s capital city and so carries the usual connotations you’d expect. Life is busier, but services are more accessible. Also, property prices are higher here, and you won’t get anywhere near as much land as you would in more rural places.

Deia

Deia is a small village on the northern coast of Mallorca. It’s known to attract artists, writers and other creatives because of its laid-back, bohemian vibe.

living in Mallorca
Deia, an idyllic little village is known for its literary and musical residents.

Deia has access to some great hiking routes and houses cute boutiques. Deia was once home to the likes of Mick Jagger and Mark Knopfler, so be on the lookout for some stars.

Son Vida

Son Vida is a very rural area but is also one of the most exclusive. You’ll find high-end villas and estates nestled amongst acres of private land. If you’ve got a bit of extra cash, this could be the place for you.

Puerto Portals

Puerto Portals is in the Bay of Palma, meaning you have access to Palma’s amenities without city living. It’s ideal for boat owners, as the town centres on a marina. Combine this with winding streets and designer boutiques, and you have a very desirable place to live.

Living in Mallorca in winter

Living in Mallorca in winter might take some getting used to, but it’s not all bad. Granted, it rains, but the temperature remains quite warm. You can expect absolute lows of 8 degrees C, but the typical average is a balmy 14.

If you’re the outdoor type, the weather is ideal for hiking and cycling. Plus, you have the added advantage of no summer crowds, meaning the beaches are almost exclusively yours.

Mallorca hosts lots of events over the winter. You have typical Christmas activities, including German and Swedish markets, and a few festivals. Overall, living in Mallorca in winter gives you a chance to experience the island for real rather than its tourist-focused image.

Residency in Mallorca for non-EU nationals

As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, Mallorca follows Spanish rules for things like admin and immigration. This means if you are a non-EU citizen you’ll need to fulfil Spanish requirements for residency.

The most popular routes for non-EU citizens are a Non-Lucrative visa and Golden Visa.

While a Non-Lucrative visa is perfect for permanent retirement, the Golden Visa route gives you more flexibility in terms of deciding whether you want to become a tax resident in Spain or not.

If you have questions or need more information about your Golden Visa investment options in the area, contact us via our Advice page, we will be happy to help. 

Final thoughts on living in Mallorca

Mallorca is a good choice for those wanting a combination of island living and a Spanish lifestyle. If you love the outdoors and the sea, Mallorca might be the place for you.

It’s definitely worth spending some time in the country (particularly in the offseason) to get a feel for living there permanently.

Regardless, Mallorca has plenty to offer expats looking for a relaxed but stable pace of life.

Other popular locations in Spain to consider:

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camila

Wednesday 24th of August 2022

So sorry, but this information today is totally wrong!! Mallorca has become the third most expensive place in Spain to live, rents are sky high (if you can even find something) dining out or even having a beer is going to hurt your pocket. This summer has been unbearably hot and humid, not just hot, but suffocation for the last 3 months! We have had no rain since May....... And yes, there is more and more crime, robberies, muggings, etc etc. I have lived here for 21 yrs, and it is NOT the same at all. The tourist overcrowding is horrendous! The locals cannot even go to the beach in summer because they are too packed........Not a great place to live anymore.

Dean

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Hi Jacob. Me and my missus are going to Palma from june until November. Is there a website to rent 1 bed. apartment in Palma for 5 months directly from the expats community? The estate agents don't rent properties in Palma for less than a year we've been told. We really like Majorca and trying to become a expats ourselves.

Good luck with the website and thanks in advance for your help.

Ola Degteva (Editor)

Tuesday 24th of May 2022

Hi Dean, try Idealista, they do list rentals in Mallorca. Good luck with your relocation.