The 3-day getaway to Mallorca has been my best trip ever! In the past years the Balearic Islands made it to the top of all the travel lists, mainly as party destinations (see Ibiza fever), as well as cheap summer breaks for the (mainly German/French) elders. The capital Palma may be the most popular landing-place, but I guarantee that the entire island is sprinkled with wonderful spots! And when you look at the big picture, you realize that you’re just passing time on a tiny island amidst, thrown in a wide sea somewhere on this earth. Funny enough, I find that reassuring. Life passes by slowly here and drowsiness is in the air. To me it felt like that mood between the late spring asthenia and early summer excitement. Moreover I liked the locals’ flippant art of getting by: the maids taking their time have a quick gossip over a café con leche, the merchandisers smoking leisurely in front of their (mostly non-stop) shops, the waiters joking and nudging each other as they wait for the first clients to come in for the usual sangría with tapas or paellas. How could I have helped exclaiming, just like K. in Kafka’s The Castle: “The gentlemen here live in a perpetual noontime!” But as much as I enjoyed the typical dishes in rustical restaurants, swimming in the chilly sea, the windy sunbaths, getting lost on narrow streets because of admiring the architecture, only to end up in the delightful Arab Baths (with a grey cat following me) – still the most memorale moment was a late night spent on the beach, with a bottle of sangría to keep us warm till sunrise. 🙂
When to go: The peak season is obviously in July-August, a time when the island is invaded by tourists and turns into a tiring bustle. (or so I’ve heard) However, you can avoid all that and still enjoy a great holiday if you go in May and early June. I went to Mallorca at the beginning of May and the weather was already summerish (average temperature 22° C, water temperature 17° C). Moreover, you get to be surrounded predominantly by locals, and not by annoying tourists.
Where to eat/drink in S’Arenal: Rock Bar owned by a New Zealander/Kiwi and his two cats. The bar looks like an underground Flinstones house and the walls are taped with national flags on which everyone’s welcome to leave a note. Breakfast is served all day, as well as other snacks and of course beer.
The huge plates of various tapas which, combined with a bottle of wine (to be recommended by the waiter) in El Arriero fill you up for the next three days. I am still nostalgic about that dinner…
Where to stay: If you go to Mallorca mainly for the nightlife/party/shopping, then it’s good to get accommodation right in Palma. For those who look forward to swimming or basking, the best option is accommodation in S’Arenal 1 hour away from Palma by bus. Platja de l’Arenal is a must-see anyway. We stayed at the one-star Hotel Salpi (http://www.hotelsalpi.com/) which was a very good deal: close to the beach, clean, buffet breakfast and friendly staff.
Even though it’s a small village inhabited by 80 people, Sa Calobra instantly evokes the image of an off-beat serpentine road winding through Puig Major till it meets the sea in Torrent de Pareis. This is the most feared, yet alluring route for cyclists in Mallorca (note: not for the faint hearted + beware of lost sheeps). No wonder, the 12.5 Kilometer drive on the 12 dazzling hair-pin bends make a memorable ride and earn you a golden star 😉 Once you get to the bay (probably a bit dizzy), an idyllic scenery unfolds before your eyes: a pebble beach surrounded by sturdy rocks, tranquil crystal-clear water, animated by seagulls. I couldn’t help exclaiming “Heaven is a place on earth!” But don’t lay back just yet, climb the built-in stairs and pass through the small dimly lit tunnel which takes you to a wider pebble beach! That was it, in the next 3 seconds I jumped in the sea. The water was cold but I couldn’t care less about the flu I was going to catch in the next days. In that moment, the feeling of infinity by floating among fishes tickling my feet eclipsed everything else.