Last year, we ran away to Cyprus from the chilly Romanian autumn, and this year we chose another Mediterranean island: Mallorca. We never visited Spain together before and the idea of an island with palm trees and large beaches sounded very good, so we reserved two weeks for this vacation (the longest yet) and waited with enthusiasm for the day of departure.
We flew low-cost with Wizzair from Cluj to Mallorca, the ticket prices are good if you buy them early enough and the flight takes about 3 hours. If you are lucky enough to have a window seat, you can enjoy these views:
Right before arriving at the destination, you can spot the outline of the island in the great blue sea, with endless beaches, mountains with forests and naked rocks shining in the sun.
A few minutes before landing, we were happy to see that the island is very green, having a lot of fields and orchards, meaning we could enjoy lots of local fresh fruits and vegetables, which was not the case in Malta, for example, where the rocky terrain makes it hard for agriculture to flourish and you can feel that in the high prices for locally grown food.
After landing, we were glad to be met by the warm sun right when exiting the airport. So glad, that we got lost a little in the parking lot while searching for the bus station, which is located further away, after passing the coach area with buses rented by tourism agencies. A bus ticket for non-locals from the airpot to the city costs 5 euros, although the distance is pretty small. The locals have special resident cards and can buy cheaper tickets.
So, after finding the bus station, we headed towards the area where our hotel was – El Arenal, where rainy clouds dispersed the people from the beach.
El Arenal, also called S’Arenal by the locals, is a well-known resort, located on the southern shore of Mallorca, 5km away from the airport and 10km from the island’s capital, Palma. It is a very popular destination among German tourists, this is why many services are addressed to them, most shops, bars and restaurants display information in German.
Although El Arenal is sunny most of the year, we have managed to catch its palm trees under a cloudy sky.
The sunset from the first evening of our vacation in Mallorca was very beautiful and during the next days we discovered that the story repeated itself every evening.
On the next morning, well rested and enthusiastic, we set off to explore the surroundings of the resort that was going to be our home for the next two weeks. The surprises started to show up: we have discovered a wonderful isolated beach, hidden behind the port, which quickly became our favorite spot for the rest of the vacation.
Right next to the beach, we encountered a “motivational tree” which reminded us that, if you really want to grow and develop, you can do it no matter how hostile the environment is, that great things can grow “out of stone” if there is enough will and perseverance.
Further away, while walking on the small street with dreamy houses above the beach, we stumbled upon some extraordinary places, with very few people, where you can quietly admire the sea.
After the walk, we decided to stay on the beach until dusk.
Next day, on our way to the city of Palma, we made a short stop of about… 2 hours at the aquarium, for a fascinating journey among 700 species of sea life from all around the world, including 275 kinds of corals, being cared for by over 100 specialists.
Fish, jellyfish, starfish, coral and plants from the deep – all of them can be seen here in detail.
Probably the most impressive marine creatures, by their sheer size and grandeur, are sharks and giant fish.
Besides the enormous aquariums, full of life from all the oceans on Earth, you will also find here a “jungle”, very realistically designed, with outside gardens where visitors can walk among pools with koi fish, turtles and lovely greenery.
The Palma Cathedral
After enjoying the things we saw at the aquarium, we continued our road to Palma, where we made a first stop at the cathedral, the best known landmark and the symbol of the city.
The roman-catholic cathedral, built in Gothic style, was finished in 1601, although works on it started in the 13th century. Its dimensions are impressive: 121 meters length and 55 meters hight.
Being located right on the sea shore, the view from there is very beautiful.
Do not hesitate to visit the inside of the building as well. You will be able to admire its astonishing architecture and one of the biggest stained glass windows in the world, also known as “the Gothic eye”.
The Port of Palma de Mallorca
Impressed by the beauty and grandness of the cathedral, we continued exploring Palma and headed towards the port.
Palma has the largest port in the Balearic Islands, located right in the heart of the city, near the cathedral and the charming little streets of the old town.
Private boats, commercial ships and huge cruise ships, some tens of meters high and wide, they all come here to anchor.
We also made a trip around the bay on water, on board of a small excursion boat, which was well worth it! The view is great and the sun and breeze have amplified the experience.
Proudly standing on the ridge of a nearby hill, watching over the city and the port, the Bellver Castle is hard not to notice when you walk around Palma.
Also built in Gothic style, during the 14th century, it has served as a royal residence, then as a prison, and presently is one of the most important tourist spots, open for visiting, hosting a history museum about life on the island.
From the top of the castle, the panorama is wonderful – you can admire a part of the city, the port, the nearby hills with forests and the sea in the distance.
A landmark we liked very much in Mallorca was Pueblo Español, which can be translated as “the Spanish town”.
The place is a sort of museum of Spanish architecture, an area with miniatures of the most famous and defining buildings and public squares from across the country.
Walking around the paved alleys of the “city”, we could admire well known constructions from Toledo, Granada, Barcelona, Valencia and other Spanish cities.
It was a very nice experience, one which we recommend to anyone who visits Mallorca. It was the first time for us to visit an architectural park and we were positively surprised.
One of the largest boulevards in Palma is called Joan Miró and this makes you curious about the person behind the name. We went on to visit Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró and find out more about his life and creations.
We had the chance to see some of his sculptures even before reaching our destination, when we stopped for a rest in the Marivent park.
This small botanical garden is well kept, with neat plants and trees – a great place for some relaxation in the shadows and the entrance is free.
After the welcomed rest, we went on further towards the Miró Foundation, having to climb a hill, but the view from the top was worth it.
Joan Miró lived and created here for 30 years and today the visitors can admire his works and the workshops where they were made.
When you are there, don’t miss the gardens from outside the building – a green oasis, nicely kept, where you can spend a few silent minutes.
The Enchanting Streets of Palma
The city of Palma is quite big and it has so much to offer that it is impossible to explore it in a single day.
We returned to Palma again and again during our two weeks in Mallorca and each time we found new and interesting things to explore.
Almost half the population of the island lives in Palma, so history and modern way of living go hand in hand here, the paved alleys go together with highways, the old buildings sit next to modern office spaces, the small artisan shops are close to the modern malls.
The old center is especially charming, you feel like you are walking through a citadel when you cross its narrow alleys between tall walls.
The promenade that runs along the port is perfect for long walks during which you can admire hundreds of boats of all types.
You can extend the walk further, until the sun sets, because the golden shadows of the boats reflected in the water make up a splendid picture.
The Windmills of Mallorca
There are thousands of windmills on the island which add to the authenticity of the place and amplify the contrast between old and new, creating a special atmosphere.
In the past, the windmills were a necessity for the locals, being used for wheat grinding or water pumping, but now they are maintained only for touristic and decorative reasons and as a reminder of what once was.
Hop-on Hop-off Mallorca
Although the distances between landmarks in Palma are not very big, there are a lot of things to see here and it’s difficult to get to all of them on foot. It’s a good idea to hop on the panoramic bus that takes you to all of them and lets you admire each one in detail. It also has an audio guide on board, which presents the most important things you have to know about the interest points you are passing by and their history.
For a complete experience, you can also visit the port close by, on board of the touristic boat, for which you can buy a ticket that goes together with that for the bus or a separate one, directly from “the sailors”.
Another nice place we went to and we highly recommend is Marineland – a sort of marine zoo.
During the day, there are several great shows with dolphins, sea lions and parrots.
The parrots are very intelligent and we were surprised to see them talk, count and even ride bicycles. 🙂
At certain hours, the visitors can assist when zookeepers feed the animals, which is quite a show in itself.
You can also find here a family of penguins, something you don’t see very often at most zoological gardens.
Besides the marine animals, there are also a lot of exotic birds in the park and in some places you can go inside their enclosures.
There are several spaces inside hosting aquariums and terrariums.
The City of Sóller
Because we had enough days of vacation this time, after exploring Palma for a while and getting bored (just a little) of being lazy on the beach we thought of visiting some other cities on the island. The first one on the list was Sóller.
When you go on an island, you expect endless beaches, which are plenty in Mallorca. But you can also find here mountains with charming little towns and one of them is Sóller.
Tranvía de Sóller is probably the best known landmark of this city. It’s a historic tram running since 1913 which connects the city with the port, located just a few kilometers down. Being a very touristic thing, the high ticket price and big crowd was something we were expecting. But there are modern alternatives too: you can get to the port in just a few minutes with a public bus for less than half the price.
The tourist area of the city is focused on just a handful of streets around Plaça Constitució, where the church of Saint Bartholomew stands, and it is surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and open air terraces with local goodies.
The small streets nearby are full of nicely decorated artisan shops, pastry shops, souvenir shops and their prices show you that most of the city’s economy relies on tourism.
Port de Sóller
After enjoying a delicious ice cream and a coffee at one of the places in Plaça Constitució, we went to Port de Sóller where, although the rain caught up with us, the beauty of the place made us very happy.
The port village is very beautiful, it has a beach with fine sand, boats anchored close by, countless hotels, restaurants and shops along the shore, everything to make the tourists happy.
You can also spot here many species of aquatic birds, which live close to the beach, coming from other places for some food and rest or escaped from captivity.
Port de Sóller is one of the most wonderful places we have ever been to and we recommend it to anyone who goes on vacation in Mallorca.
The City of Pollença
Since we liked so much the city of Sóller with its great port, we wanted to visit other places on the island and maybe find some more gems. This is how we got to Pollença (have we mentioned that all the roads in Mallorca are very good?).
Pollensa, as it is also known, proved out to be another quiet mountain town we were very happy to visit – we were struck by the uniqueness of the place, by the serene atmosphere present there.
The streets, the houses, the squares, the terraces, the trees – all of them seem to have stories to tell from forgotten times, about past and present destinies, about the passing of time and of today’s times.
The narrow streets of the town and the old houses bare witness of the medieval heritage of the place.
Another interesting spot in Pollensa is the Roman Bridge, with a history surrounded by mystery and the researchers have not yet come to a conclusion about the exact time and purpose of its construction.
Our conclusion is: this small town in the mountains is well worth visiting, it’s quite different from the rest of the island and it gives you a desire to dream and explore.
Port de Pollença
The port of the city is the kind of place where, as soon as you arrive, you say: “I want to move here!”.
Tens of restaurants, hotels, stores, coffee shops, but mostly charming houses, lay along the beach, next to palm and pine trees.
It is a wonderful and quiet place, although it has a lot of tourists, being preferred by the English.
Not even the rain, that followed in short but strong intervals, could manage to curb our enthusiasm. Maybe just a local bird was wondering why don’t we find a shelter.
Although we have planned initially to visit Alcudia and the Port of Alcudia, we did not have enough time for both so we had to make a choice, not an easy one, so we ended up in the port.
Although we were a bit sad that we left visiting Alcudia for our next trip to Mallorca, the Port made us forget our sorrow pretty quickly.
The Port of Alcudia is a lot bigger than the other two visited before – large ships set sail from here on long voyages, even to Barcelona, on the continent.
The promenade could not be absent from here either, it goes along the beach and has a lot of restaurants, coffee shops and stores.
This is how we spent 14 wonderful days in Mallorca. It was really great and we will be back for sure, because many interesting places remain to be explored and many treasures to be uncovered! 🙂