PALMA – Following yesterday´s announcement from the UK government adding the Balearics to the green list, there was a massive surge in bookings. UK holidaymakers at last have the chance to go abroad. The British are desperate to go on holiday, and where better than Mallorca?
In an official press release, Steve Heapy, CEO of Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “This is fantastic news for our customers who want nothing more than to get away for a much-needed holiday. Now that we have some clarity about where we can fly to, our focus is on getting everything ready for the restart of our international flights and holidays from July 1.”
More than 300 days of sunshine
Mallorca tourism has traditionally been dominated by UK holidaymakers. Recently, however, due to various Covid-19 travel restrictions, German tourists ranked top. It is not hard to imagine why it is such a popular island with holidaymakers. The climate is perfect and has over 300 days of sunshine each year.
There is a vast range of accommodation from private villas with swimming pools, luxury hotels with spas. There are also plenty family hotels with children’s entertainment daily and an abundance of apartments to choose from.
Authorities will be diligent
Javier Pascuet, director of tourism for the municipality of Calvià, which includes Magaluf stressed “holidays are about being laid back. But we cannot afford to have our numbers go up again. The authorities will be diligent in cracking down on parties, crowds and other behaviours that could risk exacerbating the pandemic.”
After last year´s lessons the notorious Punta Ballena strip has only recently reopened. However, the region has put in place rules prohibiting dancing, both indoors or outdoors. Drinks must also be ordered in restaurants and bars to be consumed while sitting at a table. “We’re going to be watching very carefully,” said Pascuet.
Spoilt for choice
Magaluf has been a hot spot for Brits on holiday but let´s look at what else the island has to offer.
It really is an island of two halves, whether you choose to relax in an atmosphere of peace and quiet or party at the islands’ nightlife scene. Although as mentioned above, this will be somewhat curtailed.
Palma is normally known for its beautiful beach resorts and cliffs. But it also has amazing, varied landscapes with mountains not far from the beaches and an interesting historical quarter. And what´s even better, is you can explore a lot of it on foot.
The mountains (Tramuntana) have walking and cycling trails to suit all ability ranges. The coastal fringe is full of sandy beaches which gently slope into the Mediterranean Sea and are safe for children. If you are feeling energetic, you can also find a full range of water-sports from jet ski hire to para-kiting.
Away from the beaches is one of the most popular visitor sites, the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma. Although, it is more commonly referred to as La Seu. Dramatic in appearance, and set high up, a few metres from the sea, and overlooking the Bay of Palma. La Seu is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral. Legend has it that James I of Aragon vowed to build this cathedral when he ran into trouble on his way to Mallorca. He promised if he landed safely and conquered the island, he would dedicate the church to the Virgin Mary.
Construction began after his death in 1229 on the site of a Moorish era mosque. This was also on top of the former citadel of the Roman city, previously called Palmeria. It took over 400 years to finish, and was later added to by Gaudí in the early 20th century. It remains the most impressive and recognised architectural gem on the island.
As well as the Cathedral, Bellver castle, the Pilar i Joan Miró Foundation, the Caves of Drach, and Marivent Palace are also places to visit.
Kings of Mallorca
Bellver Castle is a Gothic-style castle set on a hill 3 km west of the centre of Palma. It was built in the 14th century for King James II of Mallorca and is one of the few circular castles in Europe. Firstly, it served as the residence of the Kings of Mallorca. Three kings of Mallorca resided here, including Jaume II, Sanç I and Jaume III. In 1717, it became a military prison, then later a private residence.
The castle also imprisoned several French soldiers defeated at the Battle of Bailen. In 1821, the castle was temporarily converted into a currency factory, before becoming a prison again during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), when more than 800 Republicans were imprisoned here.
Now under civilian control again, it is another of the main tourist attractions of the island.
The Fundació Miró Mallorca is a museum in Palma, dedicated to the work of the artist Joan Miró. The foundation was created in 1981 by Joan Miró and his wife Pilar Juncosa. The museum, designed by Rafael Moneo, was built in 1992. Miró’s mother and wife were from Mallorca. He settled on the island in 1956.
Not only does the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca boast an impressive collection of Miró’s works, with paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints numbering into the thousands, but the foundation has special links to Miró, having been his studio for several decades. The studio Sert was designed for Miró by Josep Lluís Sert on his arrival to the island and was used by the artist until his death in 1983. In 1959 Miró bought the nearby Finca Son Boter which he also used as an atelier; his graffiti on the walls can still be seen.
Stalactites and stalagmites
The Caves of Drach are four great caves on the island. They are in the municipality of Manacor, near the locality of Porto Cristo and were first discovered in a letter dated 1338. The four caves, called Black Cave, White Cave, Cave of Luis Salvador, and Cave of the French, are connected to each other. There is an underground lake situated in the caves called Martel Lake, which is over 100 m in length and 30 m wide. Its depth varies between four and twelve metres.
The beauty within these caves must be seen. The stalactites overhead, and the stalagmites all around you on the ground look amazing. The reflections also create an eerie atmosphere.
Royal Family summer residence
Marivent Palace is the summer residence of the Spanish Royal Family and is a spectacular estate overlooking Palma Bay. The Palace was built in record time between 1923 and 1925 by the architect Guillem Forteza. It was personally commissioned by John Saridakis who had a large fortune from working as an engineer in the Chilean mines. He was in love with Mallorca and lived there until 1963 when he died.
After his death, his widow, Anunciación Marconi, donated the palace to the Balearic government with the proviso that it be turned into a public museum named after her husband. The authorities fulfilled her wishes, however, in 1973 the government decided to donate the palace to the then Prince and Princess of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia, to be used as their summer residence.
If you want to totally disconnect, you can visit The Monastery at Lluc high in the Tramuntana Mountains. Dating back to the 13th century, this is a retreat and refuge away from the trials of modern life. It is more than a sanctuary. The breath-taking views, the relaxing pool, the fantastic walks, and cycle routes are incredible. Food and accommodation are available and cater to all tastes. At Lluc, you are also emersed in history. There is even an ancient portrait of the Black Madonna.
For those of you that simply want to hang out, and do some people watching, venture into the courtyards, eat at the fantastic restaurants or shop in the exclusive boutiques. For shoppers Palma has an abundance of boutiques including virtually ALL the big names. Shopping Malls like the Fan and Porto Pi, air conditioned and containing all the latest fashions and everything you could possibly need to ensure a comfortable stay during your holiday.
Or there are plenty of options just to relax and soak up the sun at one of the pavement cafes and bars. Or if you wish to indulge, enjoy a cocktail in one of Mallorca´s exclusive beach clubs.
Aside from this, there are many quality bars and restaurants some with entertainment including live bands, karaoke, tribute acts and the old British favourite….BINGO!
The range of food available is never ending. Traditional Spanish including paella, tapas and Frito Mallorquin….a mouth-watering dish whose main ingredient is the most tender liver you’ll ever taste. Every ethnic food you can think of, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Sushi, Chinese, Greek, Lebanese…..a real gastronomic experience awaits you!….and…..good news….prices are VERY reasonable.
Or you may wish to try the “slow food” trend in Michelin starred restaurants, at the harbours or visit the cake shops where they sell the famous ensaimada pastry.
These are just a few of the many places of interest on the island. There are also bus trips, boat trips, diving excursions, wine tours. And for the children or young at heart, there are Waterparks, Aquariums (Palma Aquarium is a fabulous experience), pirate shows, sunset watches, birdwatching….all are available on this beautiful and diverse island.
I could go on, but I am quite exhausted! In short, whether you are old, young, or in-between Mallorca is the IDEAL holiday destination. However, please ensure you familiarise with the current (minor) restrictions prior to travelling.
Once you do arrive in Mallorca, you can be sure to receive the warmest of welcomes!
Your Man in Majorca