I love the Balearic Islands, found in the Mediterranean off of the eastern coast of Spain, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera are perfect for a sunny break away. I enjoyed many summer family holidays in the Balearics when I was younger and have always thought of it as a summer holiday destination. That is until I visited Mallorca in October, I was really surprised at how gorgeous the temperature was. Highs of 24 degrees during the day and lows of 12 to 15 degrees in the evening. Not only is it warm enough to spend time on the beach, being out of season there are less crowds to contend with, especially if you avoid the UK October half-term break. Mallorca is often known to us Brits as Majorca and is the largest of the Balearics, it’s the perfect destination for some winter sun and what’s more not only are there plenty of beaches for relaxing on, there are also a lot of things to see and do. Read on for my favourite Mallorca adventures best enjoyed in the winter sun…
Santanyí is a picture perfect Mallorcan town, rustic buildings, cobbled streets and a market held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays amongst the winding streets and alleyways. This bustling market is a must visit and operates until the end of October. Stroll the streets, people watch and browse stalls full of leather bags, scarves, handmade jewellery, clothes, local produce including fruits, veg, meats and cheeses and some tasty looking cakes. Try haggling too, stall owners are quite happy to bend their prices a little.
Lunch at Laudat
Combine a trip to the market in Santanyí with lunch at Laudat, a lovely restaurant in the heart of the town perfect fo catching your breath away from the hustle and bustle of the market. Sit and enjoy sangria with your lunch amongst lemon trees and white washed walls in a gorgeous shaded court-yard garden. The food here is some of the best I tasted while in Mallorca, starters I tried included beef tartar (my first time trying it, big thumbs up) and prawn salad with mango. For the main I had steak with mashed potato, it was delicious and cooked to perfection. Dessert was out of this world, a kind of chocolate cake drizzled with ice cream and fruity goodness.
Sunset cocktail at Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel and Spa
I don’t think I have ever seen a sunset quite like the one from the Sunset Sushi Lounge at this hotel. This is definitely a really special thing to do. What’s more the bars and restaurants at the Jumeirah are open to non-residents so you can spend an evening sipping on cocktails and watching the sunset over the ocean. There are so many cocktails on the menu here it’s hard to know what to choose! I went for the Kuler made with a local gin, it was the perfect accompaniment for admiring the ever-changing colours of the sky as the sun sunk below the horizon.
Cocktail at Puerto Portals
If you love cocktails with a view head to Baiben found right on the waterfront at Puerto Portals. Sip away on a refreshing beverage overlooking fancy yachts and the sparkling waters in the port. Baiben have an extensive cocktail menu and will even rustle you up something on request if it’s not listed. Being a lover of gin I chose the Mediterranean Julep, Gin Mare, Mediterranean herbs, bitter and elderflower. Such a gorgeous cocktail in a lovely location. Afterwards you can stroll along the waterfront shops and admire the yachts moored up.
Flor de Sal d’es Trenc
For a unique day trip visit Flor de Sal and find out how salt is harvested on a tour of the salt flats. From evaporation to crystallization and drying techniques it is so interesting to see how salt is produced. Plenty of sunshine, a gentle breeze and low air moisture are all required for the production of this completely natural product. The salt is harvested by hand and deposited into huge salt mountains which can tower up to 10 metres high. You could be mistaken for thinking you are in the Swiss Alps rather than next to a salt mountain in Mallorca! It certainly is an extraordinary place to visit. This is sustainable tourism at its finest, an eco system generated from the salt production is home to over 200 hundred species of birds who live amongst the salt marshes, including flamencos and avocets. Spot these pretty creatures in the distance amongst the marshes of this protected area. Try some of the salt, purchase from the on-sight shop and enjoy a coffee right next to the salt flats. Go on a tour of the salt production from April to October.
Es Trenc Beach
Crystal clear turquoise waters, backed by pine forests and sand dunes this beach is a beauty. Located right by Flor de Sal d’es Trenc, combine a visit to the salt farm with some beach time, you won’t be disappointed. Perfect for families the water is shallow and calm and busy areas of the beach have lifeguards on duty. The shoreline stretches for 2km along Mallorca’s south coast. Apart from paddle boarding there are no watersports on this beach so you can enjoy a tranquil, unspoilt day on the beach. Snorkel, explore the sand dunes and swim in the turquoise waters.
Explore Palma on foot
The beautiful capital city of Mallorca is best discovered on foot. Stroll the cobbled alleyways taking in the gorgeous architecture, stop for a traditional Mallorcan pastry (Ensaimada) at one of the many bakeries or coffee shops and be sure to visit the cathedral. Gothic in style this beautiful building can be visited throughout the year. Admire the beautiful stain glass windows and go on a rooftop tour to gain a completely different perspective on this magnificent building. The view of the city from the rooftops is wonderful and to see the architecture of the cathedral from the roof is amazing. The huge stained glass windows are just as beautiful from the outside as they are on the inside, the rose window on the east side of the building is one of the largest in the world.
This quaint fishing village is a lovely place to visit out of season. Tranquil and full of rustic Mallorcan charm I loved wandering along the narrow waterfront past boat sheds, white washed buildings with coloured doors touching the water, cats perch on doorsteps and fishermen bringing in their catch. Pretty boats line the tiny port and the crystal clear waters look beautiful under the Mediterranean sunshine. A very picturesque spot.
I’m not normally one for castles but there’s something about Bellver Castle that makes it stand out. Built in the 14th century it is Gothic in style with imposing towers and circular in shape, the open interior is very impressive. Climb the castle steps to the rooftops for magnificent views of Palma and look back down towards the centre of the castle, it’s fascinating.
Tapas at Belmond La Residencia
Originally owned by Richard Branson La Residencia is stunning. Perched amongst towering hillsides and looking down onto quaint villages, the views are breathtaking. Stay a night or two and visit the resident donkeys who live amongst the hotels olive groves or grab a paint brush and paint the surroundings with the resident artist. Even if you don’t stay here book in for lunch, the tapas is to die for with traditional dishes and cured meats, this is a place to enjoy Mallorca at its finest.
Stay in a rural retreat
I spent two night at Hilton Sa Torre, once a stately home, dating back to the 14th century it is unlike an other Hilton I have stayed in before. The buildings original features have all been lovingly restored and each of the rooms retain old charm and character. Within the grounds there are two swimming pools, an indoor pool and spa, a running track, a chapel and even a beautiful windmill. Although only 20 minutes from Palma airport Sa Torre is located in a rural area, making it a very tranquil retreat. Breakfast included a huge variety from continental to cooked and local pastries. Evening meals here are divine, if it’s on the menu try the Sa Torre’s Pigeon with marmalade, I loved it.
Thanks to the Balearics Tourist Board and Visit Spain for inviting me to Mallorca, I visited the island as part of the #betterinwinter campaign along with some lovely Instagrammers from Igers London.
Check out @natal13d @thesilvecherry @justefe and @drapes213 over on Instagram for some beautiful images of magical Mallorca. This island is definitely better in winter…