At certain times of the year, the trip by boat or plane can be pleasant, but in August these routes to Palma must surely qualify as the major bottleneck in Europe. Don't travel without advance reservations, and be sure you have a return plane ticket if you come in August -- otherwise you may not get off the island until September!
Iberia (tel. 90-240-05-00) flies to Palma's Aeroport Son San Joan (tel. 97-178-90-00) from Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid. There are daily planes from Madrid and Valencia, and several daily flights from Barcelona in summer. Spanair (tel. 90-213-14-15; www.spanair.com) flies into Palma from Barcelona (up to three times a day year-round) and from Madrid, Bilbao, Minorca, Santiago de Compostela, Málaga, and Tenerife. Air Europa (tel. 90-240-15-01; www.aireuropa.com) flies to Palma from Barcelona a maximum of two times a day during peak season and, to a lesser extent, it flies to Palma from Madrid, Minorca, Ibiza, and Seville.
British and other European travelers should consult a travel agent and look into the available package tours, which combine airfare and accommodations; they can save you a ton of money.
Countless charter flights also make the run. Bookings are very tight in August, and delays of at least 24 hours, sometimes more, are common. If you're flying -- say, Iberia -- on a transatlantic flight from New York to Madrid or Barcelona, you should have Majorca written into your ticket before your departure if you plan to visit the Balearics as part of your Spanish itinerary.
From the airport, bus no. 1 takes you to Plaça Espanya in the center of Palma from 5:30am to 2:15pm daily; the cost is 1.85€. A metered cab charges from 25€ for the 25-minute drive into the city.
Trasmediterránea, Estació Marítim in Palma (tel. 90-245-46-45; www.trasmediterranea.es), operates a daily ferry from Barcelona (trip time: 3 1/2 hr.), from 67€ one-way. There are six ferries per week from Valencia, Monday to Saturday, taking 7 hours and costing 62€ to 67€ one-way. The fast boat takes 4 to 6 hours and costs 120€. In Barcelona, tickets can be booked at the Trasmediterránea office at Estació Marítim (tel. 90-245-46-45), and in Valencia at the office at Terminal Trasmediterráneo Muelle Deponiente, Estacio Marítima (tel. 90-245-46-45). Any travel agent in Spain can also book you a seat. Schedules and departure times (subject to change) should always be checked and double-checked.
At the tourist office in Palma, you can pick up a bus schedule that explains island routes. Or call Empresa Municipal de Transportes (tel. 90-070-07-10; www.emtpalma.es). This company runs city buses from its main terminal, Estació Central D'Autobus, Plaça Espanya. The standard one-way fare is 1.10€ within Palma; at the station you can buy a booklet good for 10 rides, costing 8€. Some of the most frequented bus routes include transportation from Palma to the Coves del Drac; the one-way trip takes 1 hour and costs 9€. Other popular routes go to Dexa (45 min.; 5€ one-way), and to Valldemossa (30 min.; 3€ one-way).
Ferrocarril de Sóller, Carrer Eusebio Estada 1 (tel. 97-175-20-51; www.trendesoller.com), off Plaça Espanya, has train service through majestic mountain scenery to Sóller. Trains run from 8am to 7pm; a one-way ticket costs 10€. A "tourist train" leaves daily at 10:50am and 12:15pm and costs 10€. The only thing special about this route is a 10-minute stop at Mirador del Pujol d'en Banya. A ride on the tourist train itself, however, is a worthwhile experience. Privately owned, it was constructed by orange growers in the early 1900s and still uses the carriages of the Belle Epoque days.
Another train runs to Inca; it's often called "the Leather Express" because most passengers are on board to buy inexpensive leather goods in the Inca shops. Servicios Ferroviarios de Mallorca leaves from Plaça Espanya (tel. 97-175-22-45 for more information and schedules). The train ride is only 40 minutes, with 40 departures per day Monday through Saturday and 32 per day on Sunday. A one-way fare costs 6€. For a radio taxi, call tel. 97-175-54-40.
If you plan to stay in Palma, you don't need a car. The city is extremely traffic clogged, and parking is scarce. If you'd like to take our driving tour, you can rent cars at such companies as Europcar, at the airport terminal (tel. 97-178-91-35; www.europcar.com), where rentals range from 56€ to 250€ per day. Avis at the airport terminal (tel. 97-178-91-87; www.avis.com) is well stocked with cars; its rates range from 106€ to 154€ per day. Reservations should always be made in advance.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.