London artist Ben Robbins has been coming to Mallorca for over 15 years now, first succumbing to the nightlife of Palma but nowadays he comes to enjoy the more tranquil side of the Island. Here he gives us his views on the top 10 things must do’s while on the island.
1. Palma Cathedral – Standing tall in a striking waterfront location within the city of Palma Mallorca is one of Spain’s finest examples of gothic architecture. Made from golden sandstone, the beautiful interior is accentuated by floods of light filtering through the stain glass windows. A favourite with photographers I have painted this many times.
2. Valldemossa is an artists dream from a distance. Situated in the hills just south of Miramar this picturesque old stone town has a beautiful monastery that once housed Chopin and George Sand. Dating back to the early fourteenth century, the monastery is the second most visited tourist attraction after Palma Cathedral. There are plenty of nice restaurants to enjoy and you will find many Mallorcan holiday villas to rent nearby.
3. Platja de Palma – If you are staying for a short period then Palma’s nearest large beach is more than adequate. This long white sandy beach located next to the islands capital is probably the most self conscious place to hang out on the island. It can get crowded as there are many local holiday apartments to rent nearby.
4. Peninsula de Formentor – At the north east of the island beyond Port de Pollenca you will find the jagged peaks and sheer drops of Peninsula de Formentor. Leading down to one of Mallorca’s finest beaches and hotels, this makes for a great day trip if you have a hire car. You can get a boat from Port de Pollensa to avoid the crowds in the height of season. The Hacienda meets art-deco style Hotel Formentor is worth a visit for a drink or maybe a longer stay if you have the budget. Mallorca Holidays are not complete without seeing this.
5. Palma Restaurants – Palma has by far the best selection of restaurants, cafes and bars the Balearics has to offer. Whatever your taste you will find something to satisfy. I have eaten at so many places over the years but my favourite Restaurant in Mallorca has to be Eden in S’aigua Blava.
6. Palma-Soller train – I have to say this is not to every one’s taste but I find this train ride is a great way to get under the skin of the island. The 28km journey takes you through the mountains and the valleys of the Serra de Tramuntana. Holidays in Mallorca take a new dimension when you see the island from this perspective.
7. Soller – Hidden away in the mountains the country town of Soller is full of old stone mansions and sloping narrow lanes that navigate you around the town. Many of the houses were owned by the regions wealthy fruit merchants centuries ago. Today the town is a picturesque place to walk around and enjoy the surroundings. Soller has become more and more popular with holiday makers and there is plenty of choice when it comes to self catering holidays in Mallorca.
8. Arta – The small town of Arta is situated at the top of one of Mallorca’s steepest hills and is home to arguably the most important Mallorcan shrine. There are some great spots to paint the town from above. Although the town is not quite as dramatic as its setting, the shrine is the main reason to visit the town. Walk 10 minutes up to the Santuari de Sant Salvador for a worthwhile look at this holy place.
9. Deia – Located on the western side of Mallorca half way between Valldemossa and Soller, Deia is a beautiful old village of stone buildings that sits on a spectacular mountain backdrop. The tall Puig d’es Teix mountain (1062m) meets the coast here and at night the moonlight brings the wonder of this enchanting town to life. The mountain road running along the coast is spectacular and makes for a great days driving. Holiday villas in this part of Mallorca can be quite expensive but if you look hard enough there are always bargains to be had.
10. Monestir de Lluc – Sightseeing in Mallorca would not be complete without a trip to the remote valley 35km north east of Soller, where you will find the Monestir de Lluc (Monastery of Our Lady of Lluc). This has been Mallorca’s most important place of pilgrimage since the thirteenth century. With its orange tiled roofs and high-sided dormitories, the building clearly stands out within the surrounding mountains.
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For Balearic Island holiday advice he Recommends MallorcaCalling.com for Quality Mallorca Holidays.