I deliberately wrote the tile for this post as “when first time in Mallorca” (or Majorca as often also called), as I believe once you visit this island you will would want to return to it one day, just as I wish now. Especially that I am revoking the memories of it, by writing this post.
MALLORCA SIMPLY HAS IT ALL!
It is a beautiful Balearic island, part of Spain, opposite of its east coast and just across Africa. Ibiza and Menorca are also very close by, but Mallorca is the the largest island of all. The whole island has population of around 900,000 inhabitants., and the predominant languages beside the Spanish are German and English.
Capital of Mallorca is Palma, as well as the capital of all Balearic Islands. Island has also the so called Serra de Tramuntana (Unesco’s World heritage) – a mountain range with a length of 90 km and a width of 15 km at some point, that runs along the northwest coast of Mallorca.
I heard so much about Mallorca from others but somehow I was delaying travelling there, until this summer when I decided to check it out. So buckle up, for a Majorcan ride to see how Classy Explorer experienced it 🙂
WHEN TO GO?
Mallorca has a nice, pleasant climate all year long. They say that the coastal line has around 300 sunny days in a year – which is fantastic! Even if you go in the winter, it can be enjoyable comparing to the winter in the continental Spain or Europe. If you are looking for the period when you can swim in a sea and not to be cold, the best time is from June till September. The hottest period being in July and August. Good thing is that there is a breeze most of the time, so you do not feel the heat that much. Nights are very pleasant as well. The rest of the year is ideal for relaxing, walking, cycling and watching the sea.
I was there now at the end of June/ beginning of July, with temperatures varying between 28 and 33 degrees. However, I was a bit unlucky as it happened that during my stay, some cold front reached Spain and brought stronger wind and big waves one day, and the sea was not really calm for few days, nor clear ( since it is sand beach). If it was cloudy I was going to the city of Palma. But still most of the time it was very hot and nice to sunbathe, as well as have fun at the beach, something like this :-):
WHERE TO GO?
Well, I traveled with a travel agency, which mainly offers accommodation in the city – Palma de Mallorca or on the coast line left and right from Palma, stretching from Magaluf till El Arenal. There are accommodation offers in nice places around the island – with some crystal clear beach lagoons, being a bit more pricey.
I stayed in a quiet place called Can Pastilla, which is very close to Palma – just 10 km, and with buses (number 15 (slowest), 23 and 25 (express), ticket is 1.5 euro per ride) – it is just 1o-15 min till the center of Palma. It was very convenient for me to go Palma almost every day, even for 3-4 hours, in the mornings or afternoons, and use the chance for discounts and shopping since the sales started from July 1st :-).
I loved Can Pastilla, as it was really what I needed – complete relax and chill place. It is a quieter place, but there are nice cafes around, having a promenade which is long – so each night you can burn down the dinner calories quite well ;-). The night air was so fresh which it made it easier and more enjoyable to walk around. This is how for example the promenade along the coast looks like as well as Can Pastilla:
There is also a road train number 52, which goes along the coast, Platja de Palma and costs 4.5 euro for a return. It is a great way for sightseeing the Playa de Palma – from Can Pastilla till end of El Arenal and explore the area with a lot of fancy hotels, cafes, restaurants etc.
I stayed in a Hotel Java 4*, which was quite close to the beach (50 m). My feeling was that it was maybe a bit pricey for the standard I expected from a 4* hotel category, but ok. They even spoke more of German than English since majority of the guests are Germans, Scandinavians or Dutch. The food in a hotel was really great with so much choice (lots of seafood, fish, paellas (Spanish traditional dish), local beef, jamones Iberico, fuets, chorizos, cheese, desserts etc) , I had half-board, and I heard that most of the hotels in Mallorca are pretty the same with the food quality and plenty of choices. They played lounge music by the pool each day (some Ibiza or Mallorca deep house of lounge mixes), plus they had entertainment nights with singers every second night, so sometimes it was good to chill out even at the hotel.
In general, Mallorca has kept that image of higher standard travel destination for a long time. Its airport is the third busiest in Spain and just last year they had more than 25 million tourists. And tourists are practically growing each year more and more (they even raised tourist stay taxes now to 1.5-2 euros per day). Given those facts, they do not have the need to invest in the infrastructure or decorating the places more than what is now there.
I would definitely NOT recommend the two ends of the the bay around Palma de Mallorca, since Magaluf is full of young British tourists, while El Arenal is full of the same but Germans – drunk, loud, party type etc.
These two coastal cities are totally devoted to these two nations., but that makes them unattractive to other nations. Smart thing is that Spanish government split Brits and Germans on these two ends, as they knew there would be fights and more problems (especially during soccer matches).
For example, I passed by El Arenal several times and I was shocked what I saw. All the pubs, restaurants, writings… are German, and everybody speaks German rather than English… so like a German colony. Even during the day there are so many groups of mainly guy groups (age 20-30, or who came for stag party trips), some girl groups too, who start partying already at the beach, and then continue during the night.. even till very late. So if you are in the same hotel or near by, you would not sleep at all, trust me. I was not feeling very pleasant when I passed by them on a bicycle, as I was not sure if they are so drunk to act too crazy on the street. Here is how the area looks during the day:
I personally do not like the fact, that on many Spanish or even Greek islands you have this type of tourism which attracts these young people behaving foolishly and crazily (drinking a lot, fighting, throwing up on the street, shouting etc). and in that way lowering the quality of the holiday experience in those places.
The best thing is just to avoid places where they go or stay an you will be fine!
WHAT TO DO BEST?
BEACH -SWIM, READ, HAVE FUN!
Mallorca has beautiful crystal clear, sand or small rock beaches around the island. There are also smaller bays like Cala d’Or or Formentor -haven’t been but heard are beautiful. And the beach around the Palma bay, Platja de Palma, is basically the same all coast along.
The sun-umbrellas and sunbeds are not usually provided by the hotel, unless maybe in a 5* one, and you pay around 15 euros on average. In Can Pastilla, they costed 16,5 euro for the whole set (or 5.65 for just a bed or sun-umbrella), which I think is too much – why? Because no matter what part of the day you come to the beach, you have to pay the same, so even if you stay for few hours only. Then, not all parts of the beach you have toilets or showers or changing cabins, which is also a minus when you pay that much. What you can do is to buy your own sun-umbrella for 5 euros in one of the small shops along the street, just before the beach, and the inflatable bed for 10-15 euros and lie on it, so save yourselves some money. My favorite activity on the beach is to read some interesting book and just enjoy the blue into the blue (sky and sea).
In Can Pastilla and in general the whole Platja de Palma I liked that there was some beach art too to attract the tourists passing by – big sand castles which are taken care of daily by some guys who sit all day next and water the sand to keep it stable.
Other nice bays around Mallorca may have a set costing 40-60 euros for beach beds, depending if you want a shade or not, or a more trendy setting etc. If you stay in Palma or Can Pastilla, and like some fancy beach style during the day or night, with some cool house music or events, there are Purobeach or in Magaluf Nikki Beach clubs as options. Here is how Purobeach looks like from distance:
Beach Playa Es Trenc is popular for those who like wild beaches, and it does look fabulous., but there is no shade or anything there. So if you want to see it, be prepared for it.
Since there is breeze or wind most of the time in Mallorca, so sometimes they bring high waves, it makes it a great spot for kite-surfing or sailing.
CHILL OUT AND WATCH THE SUNSETS!
I simply loved the walks along the sea promenade as I could inhale the smell of the sea, watch nice people on the way, watch the sunset each night… Playa de Palma is ideal for long walks and enjoying every step.
PROMENADE – WALK, RIDE, SIGHTSEEING…
I like to walk and here the weather, the sun, the air are so inspiring to even take some nice photos. Lighting was perfect for photo set-up.
Along the coast, there are locals also who play volleyball, beach football, run, rice bicycles… which might motivate you to the same. I took a bicycle 2 days and loved the ride along the coast.
I was also amazed with how many electric small vehicles can be rented out there, some of them I have not seen anywhere else. I knew Sedgeway from before, but now there were electric scooters, tripods etc. And for about 20 euros an hour, you could ride these things along the coast and edo some sightseeing. Here are photos and video how some of these look like:
If you are more traditional you can rent a bicycle, for 5 euros a day. I did it twice, since I wanted to exercise as well. It is a great way to see more of the places around and in a slower pace, then take a break somewhere, drink a sangria or coffee. Definitely if you are there one day, do not miss renting one of these things.
Locals like to play beach football or volleyball later in the afternoon, or run like professionals. If you are fan of sports, you can join them or even bring your own sports gear and have a run by the sea at evenings.
DRINK SANGRIA OR TUNNEL!
If you have ever been in Spain you must have tried Sangria. It is made our of red wine or mixed with sparking wine Cava, mixed with fruits. It is an excellent drink for anytime of the day, at least for me. I found one in a supermarket, in cans, called don Simone Sangria, which tasted quite well, so always had some stack of it in my hotel room, in case I feel like drinking it.
I would definitely recommend this cocktail beach cafe-bar at the beginning of El Arenal on Playa de Plalma, called Ginger, where I loved drinking sangria with Cava , and enjoyed lovely views of people passing by and the sea of course. Prrices of sangria vary, but go usually from 2.5 to almost 6 euros, like in this place.
There is another drink which you can spot on the island, especially in souvenir shops, called Tunnel. It is a Majorcan herb liqueur made from rosemary, chamomile, mint, fennel and marjoram. It tasted to me like a syrup I drank when I was a child and sick, so not my kind of drink for sure hahaha….but in case my throat hurt, I would drink it :-).
City of Palma is great since it is one of the capitals of Spanish brands like Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti, Desigual. etc. I am a big fan of El Corte Ingles department stores, and whenever I am in Spain, I always shop there. The summer sales started just now at the beginning of July, so it was a good chance to buy cool stuff on some really good discounts. There is also a Mallorcan Fashion outlet and Showroom where again you can take a look, if you are a real shopaholic. During the summer months, some of the shops in the center are open even on Sundays.
EXPLORE THE ISLAND!
I would have done it, if had more time, and if the aim of my holiday was exploring. But this time I took it slow and wanted to leave something for the next visit! :-). Therefore, my advice if you have time just rent-a-car, and go around, places like
- Town of Soller
- Valldemossa village
- Caves of Drach
- Cape Formentor
- Port Pollensa
- Alcudia and Playa de Muro
- Palma Aquarium
- Marine zoo Mallorca (Marineland)
- Aqualand, Arenal
- Rafael Nadal’s museum
- Some boat tours
- One day trip to Ibiza
As you can see, I provided lot of information though too short to combine all, since the island needs to be explored in depth. I am sure each time I revisit it I would find something new.
My next post will be about city of Palma so stay tuned 🙂