As if the Majorcan capital Palma isn’t enticing enough for a weekend visit, there are plenty of easy day trips to be done from the city. Paul Read shares some of the best
Walking from Palma to Can Pastilla
Unfortunately, the walk from Palma to Can Pastilla isn’t totally relaxing as it follows a busy highway but the route round the coast out of Palma is easy to follow and there are some nice beaches to enjoy en-route. It’s certainly a good way to stretch those legs and build up an appetite for dinner.
Although you can carry on walking if you wish, the couple of hours or so walk to the lively town of Can Pastilla is enough for many people. In addition, it’s a good place to stop for food as the Marisqueria Internacional (tel: 971-266-799, Calle de Nanses 7 07610) serves excellent seafood. Our meal cost around 25 Euros a head with a shared bottle of wine. Treat yourself to one of the tallest slice of Lemon Meringue Pie you will ever see; have one to share.
You can ask the waiter to arrange for a taxi back to Palma at the end of your meal to save your legs on the return, or you might be lucky and spot one waiting just down the road from the restaurant.
One of the real highlights of this walk out of Palma is the trip alongside the end of Majorca’s airport runway. Time it right and you can physically wave to the pilots!
Cheap and Cheerful: Palma Nova and Magaluf
For a taste of more base pleasures, take a bus out of Palma in the other direction to the resorts of Palma Nova and Magaluf.
While these vacation resorts have a reputation for being cheap and trashy, it’s easy to see why the wide lovely looking beach attracted those first hoteliers and tourists back in the day.
While there, we took a package 2-hour glass bottomed boat trip (boats leave from both Palma Nova and Magaluf, and it’s easy to spot the ticket sellers on the edge of the beach), and dozed amongst the young party animals sleeping off their hangovers from the evening before. Don’t expect to go anywhere fast as the tour includes 40 minutes for ocean swimming, but it’s a nice introduction to the rugged Majorca coast, and an opportunity to top up that tan and sink a few more beers!
In the heart of Magaluf on “the strip” we found our feet sticking to the beer and burger fat spilt on the pavements, while the faint but distinctive smell of vomit mixed with disinfectant lingered in the air.
We moved from the main drag and had a very cool lunchtime drink and meal in the Ibizza bar and restaurant, just at the side of the beach, relaxing in the cool young trance atmosphere housed in a former fisherman’s cottage. Cocktails here are 6 Euros or so, while beers are 2.75. In the strip, pints of cocktails (yes, pints!) are 5 Euros and beers a Euro each, but you don’t quite enjoy the same sophistication.
More mature and sophisticated: take the train to Soller
Towards the other end of the class scale, our final weekend trip took us on the famous old train (http://www.sollernet.com/trendesoller/en1.html) into the mountains, and the pretty village of Soller. One tip is not to have breakfast at the train station cafe; it is fine, but about four times as costly as you would pay elsewhere.
The train carriages were sadly built for rather smaller humans than abound today, so you might get to know your neighbours a little better than you anticipated. Still, the ornate wooden carriage peels back the years, and the trip through mountainous olive groves, lemon trees and pretty little villages really offer a glimpse of the best Majorca has to offer. As the journey is conducted at a sedate pace, it’s a great trip for taking photographs. I particularly liked looking for “faces” within the knotted ancient trunks of the Olive trees.
At Soller, it’s worth having one of the best ice creams on the planet (more a fruity sorbet than anything else) at Sa Fabrica de Gelats (http://www.gelatsoller.com/indexen.html next to Soller Market Square) before walking off the calories by taking the wander through the olive groves to the coast at Port de Soller (although you can take the busy tram if you wish).
Route maps for the walk, which takes an hour or so, are available at the tourist information office in Soller. We found a meal in one of the restaurants off the main front, before catching a bus back to Palma.
Sleeping in Palma
While you can decide to sleep outside of Palma, the advantages are that you have a whole city to explore and the public transport connections are the widest. We found a good deal at around £65 a night at the 4 star Hotel Tryp Bellver (Paseo Marítimo, 11, 07014, T. (34) 971 222240 ), a modern hotel nicely located near the harbour.
The facilities and rooms at the Tryp Bellver are clean and tidy, although not particularly memorable. Having our own balcony was nice, as it enabled us to relax for an hour before dinner. There are quite a few bars and restaurants within walking distance of the Tryp Bellver, including a couple of very good local style and cheaper Italian restaurants along the backstreets away from the front.
Need some tips to help you explore Palma? Read my guide here: http://www.simonseeks.com/travel-guides/enjoy-weekend-break-majorcas-fascinating-capital-palma__171836