Mallorca (or 'Majorca') is a beautiful Mediterranean island, part of the Balearic Islands which belong to Spain. This entry is designed to give a summary of some things which, as a visitor, you might enjoy.
Places to Visit (or Not)
Palma is a beautiful historic city and home to one of the largest1 cathedrals in the world. At certain times of day the sunlight shines in through the massive glass windows, creating the most beautiful lighting effects inside. Walking around Palma, you'll often see horse-drawn open carriages navigating the streets, many of which are lined with trees. There are several buildings with interesting Gothic, Late Gothic or Art Deco architecture and it can be great fun to get lost wandering through the back streets and peering into the open courtyards of the houses there. There are some great eateries around Palma, among them Cellar Sa Premsa, which is decorated with large wine barrels and pictures of bullfighting, and also serves a nice Gazpacho.
The La Granja cultural museum in Esporles is worth visiting for the sheer number of exhibits. Upon entering, you arrive at a display of farm equipment and animals. Further round there are leather, dye and wool workshops, which lead you past gardens and round to the 18th Century bath-house. Beyond, a short walk guides visitors past a waterfall and around a small woodland area. Inside the house, look out for a small hermitage, olive presses, a casino, snooker room and even a torture chamber. A nearby chapel is adjacent to a shady courtyard with seating and a café. Try the delicious bunuelos, 2 a great accompaniment to the fortified wines: dulce (sweet, like a sweet sherry), tinto (a red wine) and seco (dry). This place is well worth a visit and definitely worth the entrance fee, which at the time of writing was somewhere in the region of €11.
Soller and Puerto Soller
The best way to visit Puerto Soller is to take the tram from the town of Soller located further inland. While there, do visit the charming town square, where orange trees grow outside the church. The tram wends its way past groves of citrus fruit trees and small areas of woodland3 before finally arriving at Puerto Soller, where you'll find a nice, sandy and heavily-populated beach. Many women bathe topless here, but it is certainly not compulsory. If you're feeling hot, you can cool off in the sea, or buy an ice-cream from one of the many vendors along the shore. At the time of writing, a tram ride cost €2 each way.
If you're looking to experience the local culture, don't visit Magaluf. It's designed to cater for people who basically want to visit a sunnier England. The whole place is packed with bars, clubs, fast food outlets and tourist junk shops.
Food and Drink
This section applies all around the island. Most cafés and restaurants serve paella, tortilla and food to cater for tourists4, but many of the speciality dishes in these places are worth trying. If you look through the menu you will often find a translation into your own language, so you can flip back and forth and try to order in Spanish if you want to please the locals.
Mineral water (agua) can be ordered almost everywhere, either carbonated (con gas) or still (sin gas). It is quite common in restaurants to drink the house red wine mixed half and half with lemonade. This is quite refreshing and lightly intoxicating. You should also be able to get cola, coffee and fruit juice.
Don't be ignorant about this. Be sure to have plenty of high-factor sun cream to apply and re-apply to exposed (and in some cases unexposed) areas of skin. If you're not careful you will burn. Remember to apply before you go out, after swimming, and to re-apply in time before you start feeling the effects of sunburn. See sunscreen.
A Few Useful Spanish Phrases
|Please||Por favor (emphasis on each 'or')|
|Thank you||Gracias (pronounced 'Grathias')|
|You're welcome||De nada|
|Two beers, please||Dos cervezas, por favor|
|One, two, three, four, five||Uno, dos, tres, cuatro (kwatro), cinco (thinko)|
|Where is ...?||¿Donde está...?|
|I don't know||Yo no se|