Driving is a breeze on this island, and roads are well signposted. If you want to hire a car, Smith cardholders get a ten per cent discount at Hertz, who have a branch at Palma airport (+34 971 789670). Go to www.hertz.co.uk for more details, and quote '635230' when reserving.
Palma airport (+34 971 789099) is 10km south of the capital city - the drive to the centre shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk) flies to Palma three times a week from London Gatwick and Manchester.
There are two railway lines from Palma, one heads north-east to Inca, and the other heads north to Sóller. If you take the vintage electric train from Palma to Sóller, then you can enjoy the scenic route from there to Port de Sóller by tram.
Country code for Spain: +34. Balearics: 971.
A Winter in Majorca by George Sand; Snowball Oranges by Peter Kerr.
Do go / Don't Go
The temperature rarely dips below 30ºC in summer, when the island gets very busy. Autumn is less hectic and the water is at its warmest. In winter and spring, Mallorca is mild, sunny and peaceful.
Snack on pa amb oli, the Mallorquin take on bruschetta. Other specialities include lubina a la sal (salt-baked sea bass), slow-roast lamb, and frito Mallorquin - deep-fried offal and vegetables. If you want to get hands-on, Tyrone Power offers weekend cookery courses (+34 971 875395) in Sineu.
Cabs are cheap and easy to find in Palma itself, but you're better off hiring a car if you plan to do any longer journeys around the island.
Mallorcans don't usually tip. A few euros is sufficient.
Take a Mallorquin phrasebook with you and try out a few words of the island's mother tongue along with your Spanish.
The imposing Gothic cathedral, Sa Seu, dominates Palma's skyline. For modern-day eye candy, the Es Baluard museum, on Plaça Porta de Santa Catalina, has exhibitions showcasing works by Picasso and Dalí (www.esbaluard.org). There's also a great gallery and sculpture trail on an estate in Malpas, near Alcudia (www.fundacionjakober.org).
There are abundant coves for snorkelling near Palma: Estellencs is an especially good diving spot. There aren't any great sandy beaches near the capital, though, so you might want to combine a city break in Palma with a few days at a rural retreat. The three-mile stretch of Platja de Palma offers cafés and bars, or you can head to Peguera and moor at the marina there. For quieter shores, find your own rocky cliff on the islets in the western part of Palma Bay.
In Palma, a browse of the chic Chocolat Factory on Plaça d'es Mercat (www.chocolatfactory.com) is worth it just for the samples. Don't miss Corner on Paseo del Borne, and Custo on Calle San Miguel, which stock a wide range of designer brands. Fleamarket lovers should visit Rastrillo on Avenida Gabriel Alomar I Villalonga, where a market is held on Saturday mornings, 08h-14h. Perlas Majorica, in Avenida Jaume III in Palma, has a fine selection of Mallorcan cultured pearls.
There are unparalleled views over Palma from the fortress of Castell de Bellver. Alternatively, drift sedately above the landscape in a balloon (www.mallorcaballoons.com).
Take in the dizzying views from the clifftops near Cap de Formentor. Also, the 'serpentine' roads in the Tramuntana Mountains, especially between Valldemossa and Pollenca via Deia and Soller are a wonderfully scenic drive.
16 January The festival of San Sebastián brings Palma onto the streets with barbecues and live bands. March-April During Santa Semana, aka Easter Week, ghostly, hooded penitents, representing the island's 50 brotherhoods, parade through the streets of Palma. Late July-early August The Copa del Rey is arguably the most important and glamorous yachting regatta in the Med. 2 August Good-natured street battles in Pollença recreate historic wars between Moors and Christians. Late September Festa d'es Vermar is Binissalem's foremost wine festival - go with the flow.