Map of Mallorcan by Jackie Diedam
Mallorca Part 1 – Pollença
I’ve been coming to the Balearic island of Mallorca since I was 10. It’s changed a lot over the past 40 years but it still remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever travelled to. Obviously the glorious weather (although not always a guarantee – it is an island in the middle of a big sea after all,) the charming local people and the divine food are just part of the reason of why we come back time and time again. But let’s face it, it’s a relatively inexpensive 2 hour journey from the UK and you’re in paradise.
It’s a big island with a lot of options but here are some of our favourite places, things to do, places to eat and drink and little excursions:
Before we start, let’s discuss the weather…
Obviously nothing is guaranteed. This year January was glorious sunshine but cold in the evenings. August was quite rainy (never cold) and October was stunning, almost too warm. But generally it works like this:
January to mid March is can be sunny but chilly in the evenings. Not beach weather but if you find a spot in the sun you could easily tan. It did snow last year but that is like a once every decade type occurrence.
Mid March to Mid May the sun is warm and the evenings are warm. I would swim in the sea but you could also get rainy days.
May to end September is is hot, bordering on uncomfortable unless you can slip into a pool or the sea. You need a place with air-conditioning to get a good nights sleep.
October to Jan – sometimes October can be stunning. This year the first two weeks were averaging 29 degrees and we swam in the sea. Even the evenings were warm. Locals call it their ‘second spring’ because everything starts to grow again. November and December are a mixed bag of cooler but sunny days, mostly dry and cool in the evenings. The locals will tell you they’re freezing!
The Calvary Steps in Pollença
Pollenca (Old Town) is a small town situated in the North of the Island and is about 6km in-land from the beach town of Puerto Pollensa. It’s a 40 minute taxi ride (€85) or a 50 minute air-conditioned bus ride (€3) from the capital city of Palma. My aunt has a home in the Port and I was fortunate to have spent many childhood holidays staying in her apartment. We still visit the port daily but for about 10 years now (since The Viking came by himself and did some exploring) we have a preference for staying in the Old Town. It’s one of those classic medieval Mediterranean towns with tall houses and narrow, higgledy-piggledy streets. The turn of every corner reveals a stunning, instagrammable shot! Famous for The Calvari, a set of 365 steps that rise above the town to a beautiful church at the top, and the most stunning views of the bays of Pollenca and Alcudia.
the garden of the Hotel Son San Jordi
Hotels & Rentals
The Mallorcan government have changed the laws recently in regards to rental licences. It likely won’t effect the short-term holdiday maker but if you’re planning longer stays then a long-term rental may be a good option. We now have a ‘long-term’ rental town house in the middle of the town (get friendly with a local and discuss it with them!) but we have in the past rented through AirBnB. There are a lot of stunning town-house conversions with interior courtyards and plunge-pools or for those larger groups there are some incredible converted fincas on the outskirts of town that are just a ‘drunk, stumble’ from town. (Or a bus ride from the brilliant bus service.) Just remember when you’re searching you want to search ‘Pollenca Old Town’ and not the port.
There are only a smattering of lovely boutique hotels. We’ve stayed at The Son San Jordi which is ridiculously charming with more rustic and traditional rooms in the main hotel and she very stylish rooms in the building across the narrow road. There is also the very small but quant DesBrull.
There are some lovely restaurants in Pollenca, from the very fancy to the rustic and many of them centred around the main square – Placa Major. Pollenca doesn’t do the ‘standing at the bar tapas’ style food that you get in mainland Spain but you can sit down at one of the pubs around the main square and order a few plates of tapas or the wonderful local Pa Amb Oli and sit and watch the world go by. We love the Club Pollença which is owned by the town and was set up for the townsfolk as a club and restaurant. You’ll often find us sitting out the front with our backs against the big stone edifice, along with all the old abuellas, chatting shit about nothing. The food is lovely but be warned, the service is very slow so don’t go there hungry, just sit back and absorb the vibes.
We also eat (and drink) at Can Moixet which has pub-vibes so it’s affordable and cheerful but the tapas is good and the drinks flow freely so what’s not to love?
Slightly out of the main square, at the base of the Calvari is the wonderfully atmospheric La Scalinata. Ask for Naomi and tell them Dom and Andy sent you! The menu is a little more ‘family friendly’ but their pizza’s are SO good and we think their Caprese Salad is the best we’ve eaten.
For very good cocktails and a wonderful internal courtyard you must visit Jimmy’s. I always have their cosmopolitan which is incredibly good.
If you’re looking for something a little more ‘authentic Mallorquin’ you can do no better than La Trobada for some roasted goat but be warned this restaurant is like an old-peoples home. Don’t expect anything fancy, just traditional food.
Something a little more local
And finally, if you’re on the hunt for a local bar with a crazy publican who will shout at you in the local dialect but serve you the best cortado and the cheapest beer or vodka with Kas lemon you’ve ever paid for, then go visit Juan and Violetta at Bar Gorreta on the corner of Carrer de Roca Tomàs and Carrer De L’Horta. They are like family to us and this is our home away from home. Friday nights it is packed with locals and for every drink you order, you receive a little plate of homemade tapas. It’s ridiculously adorable.
The Port of Pollensa is lovely but has become a little ‘touristy’ for our tastes recently, however, if you want a day on the beach doing nothing but laying on the sand and then running into the sea to cool off there are some lovely options. I’d suggest you avoid the centre of the port but rather find somewhere to nestle down either to the far left or far right of the marina.
To the left you’ll find Pine Walk which is a wonderful stroll past shops and restaurants out to the Ill a D’Or Hotel. (Which is well worth a visit in its own right.) We often sit at the lovely cafe there and listen to the gossip from the ridiculously wealthy. There are some lovely little beaches either side of the hotel which are lovely to lay your towel down on. (We like to lay here because it’s never too busy and you can use the hotel shower once you’ve come out of the sea.)
To the other side of the marina are the white sandy beaches of Tamarells and Llenaire. (We like to go as far over to the Llenaire area as possible. Outside the front of the Embat chiringuito is lovely. You’ll find rows of sunbeams and parasols to hire (the team come to you to pay with a card machine or cash) and it’s only €15 for the day which isn’t too bad. It may seem crowded but you never feel packed together like sardines like you do on other beaches. Plus there are a number of lovely chiringuitos dotted along this beach for a toasted sandwich or a Pina colada! Don’t forget to look out for the fresh fruit man. You can hear him coming a mile off, as he wheels his barrow of incredibly fresh, cold fruit up and down the beach shouting ‘coco-loco-chicky-chooky-pina-pina’!
There are toilet blocks and showers dotted along the beach. You’ll need 50 cent to use the toilets but they are always kept very clean.
We tend to fly from the UK via EasyJet as it’s relatively inexpensive. Your destination is Palma de Mallorca Airport.
You can then get to our side of the island via bus or taxi. Located directly outside the airport however we are big explorers and would recommend hiring a car to pootle around in. There are many car-hire places at the airport.
If you don’t hire a car and want to get around the Pollensa area you can use Pollensa Taxi’s. Call (+34) 971 86 62 13 or use the brilliant local bus service which runs between the port and the old town.
There’s so much more I can tell you but I think I should save it for another post. So until then, whatever you do and however you get here, enjoy your stay!