Visiting beautiful monasteries on Mallorca

Mallorca monastery Porreres
A lot of monasteries and sacred sites on Mallorca are in fantastic locations.

For many reasons, Mallorca is a pilgrimage destination - and this is also due to the island's beautiful monasteries. They are places of contemplation, devotion and, in some cases, of crowds of visitors. The monasteries on Mallorca are a rich heritage - more than spread across the island, around 70 have opened their doors to visitors and are now among the most important sights on the Balearic island. From classical religious communities and holy pilgrimage sites to historical museums, modern hotels or wellness facilities, the island's monastic landscape is richly endowed.

In addition to ancient walls, valuable relics and nightly tranquillity, monastery travellers are often rewarded with a breathtaking view over the expanses of the Mallorcan landscape. This is because many of the monasteries are elevated above or deeply embedded in the seclusion. There is a religious reference point on almost every mountain promontory and hilltop in Mallorca. This is because pious men and women retreated there for prayers and penance after the reconquest (Reconquista) of the island. Miraculous events almost always preceded the building of monasteries and churches. Be it because prayers were answered, the sky lit up at the starry hour or statues developed magical powers.

The monastic island

With the development of a unique monastic landscape, Mallorca has earned the nickname "monastery island". Nowhere else are there more monasteries or hermitages, measured in terms of island area and population. And the Mallorcans maintain a respectful and grateful relationship with their monasteries. Not only for religious services. Especially at weekends and on public holidays, you can see families with large picnic bags setting off for the monasteries to spend the day in the shade of the old walls.

The Pilgrim's March

A special event takes place every year on a weekend in August, when thousands of people set out on a night-time pilgrimage from Palma to the monastery of Lluc to commemorate the almost miraculous recovery of a Mallorcan child. The "Lluc a peu" night walk (starting around 11pm) covers 42 kilometres through the centre of the island and has been an integral part of Mallorcan culture for more than 40 years. People from all over the world now take part.

Overnight stay in a monastery on Mallorca

A monastery trip to Mallorca is for many people connected with an overnight stay in one of the monasteries. This has been possible for some years - from the simple monastery cell to the luxury suite, new rooms have been created in many hostels. Until well into the 1990s, most facilities still kept their doors closed. With the emergence of " gentle tourism", however, the ball started rolling on Mallorca, too, and more and more monasteries opened up to new concepts and therefore also to the public. In addition, the number of people who wanted to spend their lives in a monastery was decreasing and many monasteries had to be abandoned due to a lack of new generations. 

Today, some monasteries are secular places with a religious tradition that are no longer run by an ecclesiastical body. Despite their often exposed location, most of the houses are well and easily accessible, often also connected to public transport. For many visitors, however, a proper pilgrimage programme includes an arduous hike or a sporty bike ride up the mountain.

To help you keep track of all the cultural sites and find the perfect destination for you, we have compiled an overview of what we consider to be the five most important and beautiful monasteries on Mallorca. You can also stay overnight in these hostels. In the maps you will also find other hermitages and important sites that you can visit.

The 5 most important monasteries on Mallorca

1. Lluc Monastery - the spiritual centre

A Moorish shepherd boy named Lluc laid the foundation stone for the construction of the most famous monastery on Mallorca with his treasure find in the mountains of the Tramuntana. According to tradition, it was a black statue of the Madonna that he discovered among the stones in a valley basin in the municipality of Escorca, and he always returned to this place. A chapel was built on that spot, which became the starting point of this religious complex. Work on the church, which includes a central nave, three chapels, a barrel vault and a dome, lasted several decades. The spiritual centre of Mallorca is more than 500 metres above sea level and attracts millions of holidaymakers every year. Not only pilgrims. People without religious ties are also inspired by this place and its history.

Some may also come because of the Catalan star architect Gaudi, who immortalised himself in the monastery. The decoration of the church, which dates from the Baroque period, was completed according to his suggestions and ideas, after which the church was consecrated by the bishop in 1914. The centre of the church's masterpiece, however, is still the black Madonna set with precious stones, of which there are only three. Many pious people come to see her once, to pray and to feel the effect of this place. In addition to the magnificent furnishings of the basilica, the special features include a monastery garden with a plant trail..

The fact that Lluc is still the place to go and the starting point for many excursions is due to its history. The monastery was always a place of pilgrimage and had to be accessible for people from different parts of the island - this explains the three main paths leading to the monastery. Monks still lived in LLuc Monastery until 2019, and there is a boarding school, a museum and a monastery hostel. In addition, the sanctuary is the home of the famous "Blauets" choir, founded in 1532, which gives concerts and public rehearsals here. 

Accommodation in the Lluc Monastery: The Lluc Monastery is also a hostel with currently 81 rooms and 39 flats with kitchen. All accommodation is equipped with bathroom, TV and heating, and some have an unobstructed view of the Tramuntana. The monastery hostel is particularly well booked during the hiking months from October to March. For more information, visit www.lluc.net.

2. Santuari de Sant Salvador Monastery - the Christian Fortress

Situated majestically and like a fortress on top of Puig de Salvador near Felanitx, the monastery of the same name is a place to arrive, marvel and look out. For some, the panorama over large parts of the island gained from the viewing platforms is like a revelation. Without a doubt, Sant Salvador is one of the most beautiful and, according to lluc, most important monastery complexes on Mallorca. As if on a throne, it rises into the sky on the 509n metre high mountain. A chapel was built on the highest point in 1348. In 1715, the great popularity of the place was taken into account and a Wallfartskirche was built. The monastery was home to monks until 1992. Since their departure, the monastery has been in private hands.

The interior of the church is dominated by a baroque high altar, a statue of the Virgin Mary and a replica of the Last Supper; the furnishings are altogether magnificent, but not overloaded. The significance of the pilgrimage site for believers to this day can be seen, among other things, in the many photos that people have left here to express their thanks for a recovery or a positive turn in their lives.

Even the approach to the monastery is breathtaking - especially for the many cyclists who engage in a trial of strength on the mountain. The road winds around the mountain for five kilometres and those who make it to the top are captivated by the impressive buildings. First and foremost is the imposing Crist Rei monument, a gigantic stone cross. Sant Salvador has a tavern and a hostel.

Accommodation in the monastery of Sant Salvador: You can also spend your holidays in Sant Salvador in simple and cosy rooms. All rooms are completely renovated, some of them have a terrace. For more information, visit www.santsalvadorhotel.com.

3. Randa Monastery - the sacred mountain

The highest and only mountain in the centre of the island, Puig Randa at 542m, is home to three monastery complexes, where one of Mallorca's most famous personalities once sought refuge. The monk and philosopher Ramon Llull spent several years in retreat here, in the Santuari de Nostra Senyora Cura, and thus laid the foundation stone for today's museum, where you can admire the life and work of the Mallorcan. 27,000 pages of text and with them the origin of the Catalan language are said to have been written here.

One of the monasteries is still inhabited by reclusive monks and thus remains hidden from visitors. But with the other two complexes and above all the spectacular view over the plains of Mallorca, there is a lot to offer here. For those who prefer sporting activities, this is also a wonderful opportunity for a hike or bike ride. An excursion to the monastery can be combined with a visit to the restaurant, which is housed in the former monastery library. Here too, in addition to an exciting day trip, the possibility of overnight stays is offered.

Accommodation in the Santuari de Cura monastery: The rooms and flats in the Cura are warmly and comfortably furnished. The hostel offers conference and meeting facilities and is therefore also suitable for a company outing in Mallorca. For more information, visit www.santuaridecura.com

4. Puig de Maria Monastery - Authentic

In the northwest of Mallorca near Pollenca, the sanctuary of the Virgin Mary rises 330 metres above sea level. The foundation of the monastery in the middle of the 14th century goes back to the devastating plague epidemic that resulted in the death of many inhabitants. The signal for the construction of the monastery came from a miraculous event that three lay sisters had. According to the stories, they followed an unusual light and found a statue of the Virgin Mary on the mountain, which could not be carried away despite the help of strong men. It was thus clear that a holy place had to be built on this spot. In 1355, the chapel was completed, and 20 years later it became a monastery that housed various orders of nuns and monks over the centuries. It was not until 1988 that the last residents moved out.

The monastery is popular for its refectory, a deeply original room, the statue of the Madonna and a nativity scene. A small exhibition displays coins, household items from the monastery kitchen and tools. From various levels out of the courtyard, visitors enjoy views over parts of the Tramuntana mountains and the nearby bay of Pollenca.

Accommodation in the Puig de Maria monastery: Luxury is not to be expected in this very pristine place. The monastery rooms are sparsely furnished, which contributes to an almost meditative atmosphere and the feeling of being a hermit. Double and single rooms are available, as well as common areas such as the kitchen with fireplace and dining room. For reservations, call +34 / 971 18 41 32.

5. Ermita de BonanyMagnificent and romantic

A majestic sight is the monastery of Bonany near Petra in the centre of the island, which is also called Catedral de las montañas because of its appearance. The name "Bon any" means "good year" and goes back to a miracle. Because a period of drought around 1609 threatened the harvest and livelihood, inhabitants of the surrounding villages made a pilgrimage to the mountain to pray for rain before the Madonna of the Ermita de Bonany. With success. The drought ended and the harvest was rich. Out of gratitude, a chapel was built on the mountain and the baroque church was constantly changed and enlarged in the following centuries. Further buildings were added around 1900. So today, visitors encounter a variety of architectural styles.

To this day, Mallorcans come to the Puig de Bonany to pray for a "good year". The mass on New Year's Day is always well attended. The view you get from the mountain of the Bay of Alcudia, the table mountain of Randa and parts of the Tramuntana is impressive. If you set off from Petra, you have to walk about 4 kilometres. It is also possible to get there by car - there is only one access road. 

Accommodation in Bonany Monastery: The hermitage offers simple overnight accommodation in 5 monastery cells and is thus the right place for people who are really looking for a time-out in the monastery. In addition to the rooms, there is a kitchen and a refectory for the community. There is a functioning monastery well in the courtyard. Telephone: +34 971 82 65 68.

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