When one thinks of a setting for a fabulous shopping spree, big cities like Madrid or Barcelona come to mind; and, if in Mallorca, the city centre of Inca takes the lead with years of shopping tradition.
However, there are countless other towns and cities in Mallorca that also offer culture, gastronomy and tradition. And do you know what I like best about these locations outside of Palma? Their uniqueness and proximity. And I was able to personally experience these characteristics during my visit to one of the main centres of shopping and trade in Mallorca, the municipality of Inca.
Inca is one of the best locations for shopping, eating, enjoying a drink or wandering along the town’s many pedestrian streets, lined with both traditional independent shops and main high street retailers. Restaurants and bars offering avant garde cuisine and traditional gastronomy alike, all set against a backdrop of architecture and heritage which, blended with the array of cultural activities on offer and the warmth of its residents, have made it one of the ‘must’ visits on the island in recent years.
Although a yet undiscovered destination for some, for many it has become a ‘go-to’ place for product range and singularity. My fondness for this town and all it has to offer is well known but, would you believe me if I tell you that Inca is a shopping mall under the sun? Carry on reading and I will tell you how to spend a few hours, a day or even a whole weekend experiencing something that I am certain will be new for you. Will you join me?
Inca’s first urban hotel: Can Guixe
Barely two years ago, the hotel offering in Inca was practically non-existent, but today the town boasts two hotel establishments that I will tell you about.
On calle Estrella, in the heart of the city centre and beside the City Hall, we find the urban hotel of Can Guixe, where I was made to feel at home as soon as I stepped in. A space to enjoy, celebrate and be happy. For a digital nomad like me, one of its most appealing features is the range of generous and light-filled rooms where the tasteful décor and design make them ideal work spaces. A writing desk, sockets and everything one might need to combine business and pleasure; something that, for those of us who work remotely, has now become essential. But it is not just the interior that is delightful: the terrace in my room looked out onto the City Hall Square, infused with an enticing and unique mix of modernity and tradition; all spiced up with the aromas of the gastronomy of Can Guixe.
Without a doubt, its culinary offering is a salient feature of Can Guixe, served in its rooftop bistro boasting unparalleled views over the City Hall Square: the perfect place to savour a delicious brunch before my shopping expedition in Inca. I would have loved to have spent hours enjoying its gastronomic delights based on local produce, seasonal ingredients and traditional recipes, but I had to move on.
By the way, for those of you in search of an event venue, this hotel has the ‘Quely Room’, named after the city’s most famous biscuits, for holding conferences, ceremonies and celebrations.
Losing one’s mind over the traditional sweet delights of Can Delante
So I am definitely weak and fall to temptation all too quickly … It is impossible for me to walk around the city and not notice the many patisseries with their alluring displays of traditional sweet and savoury pastries and desserts. I must confess that, although I had often partaken of the delights of some of the most emblematic establishments, there were still some that were new to me. One such case is Can Delante, a pastry shop that has been making all manner of the island’s traditional sweet pastries for over 160 years. Its beginnings date back to 1856, when Ramon Prats Arrom started the patisserie. Joan Sans Perelló, who inherited the business from his father, has been at the helm since 2008, and it was he who saw the fascination on my face upon entering the first establishment of Inca. The store frontage still displays the original sign and the shelves and display cabinets inside date back to its very beginnings.
At Can Delante they make nougat (turrón), Easter sugared almonds, ice cream creations and a long list of Mallorca’s most famous desserts and pastries, such as ensaimadas, almond cake (gató), pasties (empanadas) and sweet Easter pastries (rubiols) and pizza bases with savoury or sweet toppings (cocas), among others. Can Delante is a family business that is well-known throughout the Balearics for making products with top quality materials using traditional methods.
Heritage in the very heart of Inca
For a selfie addict such as myself, taking a photograph of every place I visit is a must and, on this occasion, the majestic presence of the church of Santa Maria la Major captured my attention, a construction made of local sandstone (mares) habitually used to build Majorcan baroque churches.
This church is located in the square that bears its name, the Plaza of Santa Maria la Major, where a fruit and vegetable market is held every Thursday.
Fashion in Inca: local, national and international brands.
The time had come and, without further delay, I headed for the Plaza de España, the location of three of my favourite stores: Ones Moda, Forum and HOMINE (formerly Can Pere).
Shopping in Inca blends tradition with modernity and the latest trends, with local, national and international brands on offer.
My first stop was ‘Ones Moda’, which boasts 9 retail stores in Mallorca (Inca, Ca’n Picafort, Port d’Alcúdia, Alcúdia, Port de Pollença and Cala Ratjada) and carries well-known brands like y Jack & Jones, Jack & Jones Kids, Only Kids, Only, Vero Moda, Pepe Jeans Man & Woman, among many others. But do you know what the best thing is? That they offer a Personal Shopper service, to ensure you make the right purchase for you: young and modern fashion with a cool twist for men, women and children.
My second stop was at ‘Forum’ a family business that has devoted over 40 years to selling womenswear and accessories in Mallorca. Like Ones Moda, it also has many outlets all over the island, where you will find designer items and major international brands: Isabel Marant, Golden Goose, Anine Bing, La Morenita, Mr. Boho, American Vintage and Zadig & Voltaire. Utter luxury to have all these brands under one roof!
Carrying several shopping bags already, I still had to visit an establishment in the Plaza de España: HOMINE or, as many still continue to call it, Can Pere. It was back in 1970 when Pere Cortès Aguiló opened a fabric and haberdashery store under the name of Can Pere. The fusion of family and fashion with its own tradition and history, even boasting an atelier called Creaciones Cortés, where collections were designed and made for sale on mainland Spain and the Canary Islands. But what impressed me the most was that the legendary Galerías Preciados department store was among its principal clients.
Today the business is managed by Pere, mainly dedicated to the sale of fashion and accessories from main international brands such as Is coming, Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, 10days, MC2 Saint Barth and other sustainable brands like Ecoalf. There are HOMINE stores in Port d’Alcúdia, Playa de Muro, Cala Ratjada and Puerto Portals.
Flor de Murta Handmade, unique and exclusive pieces
I now had a brand new set of clothing items, but still needed that touch of singularity and exclusivity that only stores like Flor de Murta can provide. This is a treasure trove of handmade Mallorcan crafts, as well as on trend fashion accessories and artisanal décor (ceramics, terracotta and local Balearic products). What did I like the best? Their own creations, called ‘Flor de Murta Handmade’, unique and exclusive pieces to gift to yourself or someone you love. There is also a Flor de Murta store in Sineu.
A hotel with charm, authentic character and a Mediterranean feel in inland Mallorca: Can Vidal Boutique Rooms
Shopping bags and more shopping bags, and the compelling need to continue to experience Inca. I have already mentioned my renowned weakness for gastronomy. But before we go on to discover the culinary offering of this town, I must highlight two recently restored buildings in Inca: the Teatre Principal d’Inca and Can Vidal Boutique Rooms.
The Teatre Principal d’Inca is a meeting place for lovers of culture, events and shows. With a longstanding history in Mallorca, it has been restored to its former glory, where modernity shines without losing its essence and identity. Concerts, cinema, opera, dance, drama, innumerable activities that spell culture with capital letters.
My next stop was a few steps up along this same street: Can Vidal Boutique Rooms, a small boutique hotel with an air of authenticity. It was built back in 1890, and 132 years later it has been transformed into a unique and welcoming establishment.
Upon entering, we see a shoe display rack decorating its stone clad walls. An echo of Inca’s traditional footwear and leather goods industry. But what really captures the imagination at Can Vidal Boutique Rooms are the rooms, each one decorated with different tones and restored materials, and a distinct vintage touch. What did I like best? The attention to detail, such as the Mallorcan baskets provided to their guests in an effort to promote sustainable shopping.
After soaking up all the art of this place and now sporting one of my new purchases – a stylish dress I bought at Ones- I was ready to end the day in the best way possible. Any guesses?
A gastronomic offering that delights the palate with tastes of heaven
Inca boasts an infinity of culinary offerings, from restaurants serving traditional menus to the exclusive signature cuisine of renowned chefs. On this day, I chose two restaurants respectively located in Carrer d'en Jaume Armengol and Carrer de l'Àngel, offering different options of fusion cuisine. My first choice? SURO Bistró Restaurant, a venue with a distinctive cork décor and a varied street food style menu, flavours from all over the world with a unique culinary interpretation.
With my tired legs longing to rest in my lovely room at Can Vidal Boutique Rooms, I still had one more stop to go: s’Angel Restaurant.
One thing about the gastronomy of Inca is that it delights the palate with tastes of heaven. And if there is one place that can satisfy my appetite for Mediterranean cuisine, this is it, although always with the Asian touch that I love so much. Thanks to the great weather that day, I was able to eat alfresco in the Plaza de S’Angel.
My day had now officially come to an end. A day in which I became more acquainted with everything that this municipality can offer its residents and visitors, a veritable shopping mall under the sun. All that’s left is that you experience it for yourself. Are you ready?