I just spent two weeks on the gorgeous Spanish island of Mallorca. This is was my second trip in three years but I have many friends who have been coming year after year for more than a decade. At one point, I knew five families on the island at the same time as myself. It is a beautiful place but so are many spots in the world.
Why have I returned along with so many others? Simply put, Mallorca is the star of the Mediterranean and the perfect summer playground.
For us it has the perfect combination of wonderful food, friendly people, beautiful towns, stunning beaches and it is well cared for.
My family and I stayed in the north of the island some 50 minutes from Palma in Pollença. Our home for 2 weeks was a little finca with idyllic garden and private pool.
We spent our days swimming at home or at one of the gorgeous beaches nearby, building sand castles and watching the fish swim by. My favourite is Cala Sant Vincenc Beach, made up of 3 coves each offering something a little different. They are well looked after, not too crowded with lifeguards and crystal clear waters.
I shouldn’t gloat but the weather in Zürich was dreadful, making the 30-35C temperatures we enjoyed even more welcoming. With 300 days of sunshine on average annually, you wonder how the island is so lush. Yes there are the beautiful, arid and challenging Serra de Tramuntana and Serres de Llevant mountain ranges which cyclists love but the flatlands are stunning. Gorgeous villages nestled in lots of green. Every morning and evening little telescopes rose out of the ground in our garden to water the fig trees, aloe, cacti and Bougainvillea. All of which add to the colour of the island.
One evening, we were lucky enough to visit our friends in Valldemossa, one of the prettiest villages on the island and stay in her amazing holiday villa. Valldemossa is a little haven set in the hills on the Western part of the island. Her cook made us a feast and we slept in the ‘Casita’. How decadent!
We found Alcudia worth a visit. It has a walled old town, great restaurants and lovely shopping. The feast of St James was being celebrated at the time of our visit, so all the streets were lined with white paper trails. They whistled in the wind and made everything seem magical.
Of course my main interest wherever I go is the food and wine!
The climate in Mallorca means the wine has a distinctive taste. The whites are fresh, the reds rounder. We visited the little Vinyes Mortitx vineyard in Pollença and saw how wine is bottled, of course picking up a few bottles to bring home. Their Flaires rosé is particularly good. One of the island’s most famous wine makers is Macia Batle with its base in Santa Maria del Cami between Palma and Inca. Definitely worth a visit plus there is a famous weekly market in the village too. If you do go, drop into the Camper outlet in Inca or the Majorcan Fashion Outlet to pick up some great designer deals.
Fresh excellent ingredients are clearly very important to Mallorcans. There are a whole host of markets across the island. Considered the best outside of Palma is Pollença on Sundays. The quality of ingredients is stunning. I bought little organic blackberries to eat with Menorcan cheese, sourdough bread the size of my head, fragrant basil to make Majorcan pesto using walnuts instead of pine nuts, watermelon for a refreshing bite, whole artichokes perfect for apero, olives for salads and of course cured Iberico ham, a prized Spanish product. Lamb and seafood are prominent staples on the island and you’ll see lots of sheep grazing the heather and fields. Their diet is diverse and rich. The Majorcan cuisines feels very fusion Mediterranean. It has elements of Spain, Italy, France, North African all rolled into a unique style. Everything is fresh and simply treated but with maximum flavour.
My favourite meals out included:
Prawn, octopus and white fish ceviche in Palma at L’Ambigú
Majorcan sea bass with tomato stew and raisins soaked in white wine in Pollença at Cantonet
A potato, tomato and aubergine bake made by a local chef
Josper grilled tender octopus with humus at La Brasseria in Pollença
Markets also showcase the island’s handcrafted wares. The island’s linen, leather goods and pottery are sold worldwide and have a uniquely artisanal feel. I bought a few pieces of pottery with Jackson Pollack splashes, brightly coloured beach dresses, some jewellery including a flower ring and we couldn’t resist a painting by a local artist from Soller. Fish swimming in deep blue sea. Gorgeous. We had to buy another bag!!
I am always struck by the colours of Mallorca.
Every shop, piece of pottery, jewellery, kaftans, local flowers, the warmly painted houses in different shades of green, multicoloured tiles, fabrics, the sun hitting the blue water, the presentation of food on plates all emanate vibrant colours. You feel invigorated by the sheer colourful beauty.
We will return many times in our life. I have no doubt about that.
Palma: is a beautiful city dominated by the coast and cathedral standing watch over the port. We spent a day walking the narrow streets in wonder, sampling local ingredients and planning a return weekend to enjoy the beach clubs, shops and restaurants of the city sans children. Foodies shops to note are:
Georg’s , Mallorcaria and San Juan Gastronomic Market Palma
Beaches of note: check out Playa de Muro where the Queen of Spain just took her grandchildren to learn how to wakeboard or Son Serra De Marina which my good friend adores and where Mallorcans escape to.
Beach clubs are all the rage: they offer exclusivity and almost certainly no children. You can enjoy delicious food watching the sunset and listening to chilled tunes. There are a number on the island. Many consider Mood Beach the best, but there is Zhero Beach Club where the cool kids hangout in Palma and the most famous for partying is Nikki Beach .
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