Mallorca – discovering its hidden gems
I’ve been to three of the four major Balearics islands now, Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca and love them all equally. The ‘white isle’ of Ibiza for its club and music scene, Menorca for its peaceful coves and UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserve, and Mallorca for its historic towns PLUS its beautiful beaches and nightclubs. The best of both worlds you might say. Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic islands but is still only the 7th largest in the Mediterranean after Greece’s Euboea! No – I hadn’t heard of it either.
Whenever I’ve been to Mallorca I’ve had Magaluf as my base. Magaluf has been Mallorca’s most popular resorts for years, known back in the 80s and 90s for its bustling resorts and infamous party scene. I’ve been part of that ‘scene’ too, and no doubt referred to the island back then as ‘Majorca’. For those concerned whether it’s suitable nowadays for couples and families, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. The resort has cleaned up its act since 2015 so is now an even nicer destination … but still with the localised nightspots for those who want them.
Being ever on the lookout for unique experiences I explored some friends’ recommendations in an attempt to tempt you away from the Magaluf sun loungers, swimming pools and sangria – well at last for some of your summer sunshine holiday.
1. The Caves of Drach.
These caves near the town of Porto Cristo were first mentioned as far back as 1338 and I remember visiting them back in the 1980s. I imagine they haven’t changed too much since, apart from the stalactites probably being ever so slightly longer! The caves certainly are a sight to behold. You navigate around the 1.2km long caves with a guide with the tour lasting about one hour. The trip even includes a quartet playing a classical music concert plus and a boat ride one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world, Lake Martel – cuevasdeldrach.com.
2. Catedral de Mallorca.
Second on the list of Tripadvisor’s 198 things to do in Palma de Mallorca is visting the Catedral de Mallorca. Palma can be rightly proud of it’s magnificent Gothic cathedral with its imposing sandstone walls and flying buttresses. The rose window is one of the largest in the world at 12m across and is apparently studded with 1,236 pieces of stained glass. Something you just have to take their word for! Travel and lifestyle blogger http://www.nicoladunkinson.com/ visited recently and got up this close and personal with this lovely photo.
3. Es Pontàs
Now that Malta’s Azure Window is sadly no more, it might encourage you to visit Mallorca’s version while you still can. Es Pontas is a big natural arch in the water right by Cala Figuera. It’s popular with climbers so if you’re lucky you might get to see someone sweating away as you lie back taking in the view. Or you might see that as unlucky if you’re wanting the perfect shot like this one without someone dangling off it!
4. Sa Calobra
Sa Calobra is one of the most beautiful drives in the whole of Mallorca. It’s popular with budding riders for cycling down … and then back up it! A beach being the reward on the “easy” cycle/drive down to the sea. It’s not as challenging as something you might find in the Alps (like Alpe d’Huez) but it’s still 10km long. The average gradient is 7% and there are 26 hairpin bends (now that is 5 more than what you get on Alpe d’Huez). Mallorca has become popular with cyclists in recent years due to its good roads and plentiful sunshine.
5. Magaluf’s beaches, sunsets and nightlife
And that just leaves a nice hotel, some sandy beaches, good food and the nightlife. Magaluf is the most popular resort on the island. It’s the one that most people think of when Mallorca is mentioned. It certainly is the perfect base for your adventures and just a great place to be in itself. You may find you don’t actually end up leaving the resort at all! Or you might at least be tempted enough to make that small journey out to Palma in the east. Whatever you do, make sure you explore the local eateries too and enjoy the superb sunsets like THIS! Thanks again to Nicola for the great sunset photo!
Finally, staying somewhere? Check out what’s currently on offer like some of these ‘Magaluf deals from HolidayGems‘. You’ll find flights to Majorca from most UK airports, including all of the London airports, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds Bradford, Doncaster Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff among others. It takes just 2 hours to fly to Majorca from the UK, plenty of time to have a re-read of this article. 🙂
Also for more ideas check out Heart my Backpack’s comprehensive list of top Mallorca tips too!
Has anybody been recently and have any other great hidden gems?