Winter Sun in Palma
When I first launched this blog, I had plans to offer regular posts of my travels and adventures, but I soon realised, after reading this great blog from Alastair Humphreys that first I needed to actually travel and then I would have something to write about. Planning out my travel with a view to writing about it, did however confirm why I wanted to write this blog, which is to share my travel experiences and adventures and maybe make it a little bit easier for others to travel themselves.
So, as my first travel destination, I decided to head off with my wife to Palma in Mallorca (Majorca) for a little winter break. I had been to Mallorca before during the Summer, but having the chance to enjoy the warmth of the sun in this cosmopolitan but uncrowded
city, was worth getting up for the 2½ hours flight from the UK one early winter morning.
From our hotel, situated along the Paseo Maritimo, we had amazing views from our room across the marina.
Here are six things to try while staying in Palma
Take a cycle ride
If you are feeling energetic and want to get out of the city for a few hours, why not hire a cycle and take a ride along from Palma to Portixol and Molinar for a spot of lunch. The ride, which follows the coast and offers the most amazing views is along the cycle path running in front of the marina, which is a safe route, separated from traffic and easy to follow.
There are a number of cycle shops in the city centre and along the Paseo Maritimo that hire bikes and organise various day tours around the city, including sight-seeing and bikes and tapas tours.
Tapas and Art
Spend some time wandering the streets of the Old Town around the Santa Catalina area. Located west of Avenida Argentina, this area has a bohemian arty feel as you wander the narrow streets. You can visit the Es Baluard Museum of Modern Art, housing some 500 pieces of modern and contemporary art.
While here, why not visit the Santa Catalina market, or just wander amongst the eclectic shops that are scattered through the area, before stopping off in one of the many tapas bars or restaurants serving different international menu's for something to eat. We ate lunch at Duke, but in an area crammed with this many tastes and world cuisines you'll always find something you'll enjoy.
Boat trips from the marina
Head down to the marina and book yourself on a yacht or boat trip. There are various options to suit all budgets and timescales from shorter excursions around the bay on a catamaran to a full day trip along the coast aboard one of the more luxurious yachts.
You'll have plenty of time to experience the thrill of spending some time aboard one of the many vessels that are moored in the marina. It's hard to beat the chance to sail out from the harbour and enjoy the chance to see the majestic views of the bay, the cathedral and the coastline from the sea before returning to land.
Shopping In Palma, you'd be hard pressed to avoid shopping. Even if shopping is not at the top of you must do activities at home or abroad, the range of shopping in the islands small capital stands out. Some of the best areas for well known international brands are Paseo del Borne, Avinguda Jaume III and the El Corte Ingles Department store.
However, what we really enjoyed was wandering and browsing some of the narrow streets scattered across the city around the areas of Plaza Mayor, Plaza Cort and not forgetting Santa Catalina.
Markets, Food and more
If you are a foodie and you cannot visit a city without taking a wander around the local food markets or shops, then Palma will serve you well in this respect. From the Mercat d'Oliva, a huge covered market in the centre of Palma, serving up fresh fruit and vegetables and meats to the San Juan Gastronomic Market, offering a real mouth watering experience ranging from local dishes to Thai and Japanese noodle and fish dishes. In addition, the Mercat Ecologico in Placa de los Patines offers organic fruit, vegetables, cheese and meats every Saturday morning. Don't forget to treat yourself to some of the local Mallorcan favorites including a pastry called an ensaïmada from one of the countless bakeries or how about trying Pa Am Oli or Sobrassada, which can be found on many menus.
There are various other markets in Palma selling everything from artisan arts and crafts, flowers and fish.
Cafés: coffee (or tea), cake and people watching
Lastly, but certainly not least of our activities, was just taking the opportunity to sit and enjoy a coffee (or tea) while enjoying the sun and a few days rest. There are so many great cafés in Palma from Tuduri Pastisseria on Calle Blanquerna for some late night coffee and homemade chocolate cake following your meal (if you enjoy tea, you have to try the Té Rojo or Red Tea) The Boat House near the marina, where we spent hours drinking coffee and just enjoying the ambience and the sound of wind in the boat sails.
So, if you are looking for a winter break away, Palma does really have it all, with a extensive selection of great places to eat, including at the highest level, its Michelin star restaurants Marc Fosh and Adrián Quetglas, an average temperature of 16 degrees in January, compared to London's average of 5 degrees , walks along the seafronts of the upcoming and quieter neighbourhoods of Portixol and Molinar, world-class music and nightlife and all this, less than a three hour flight away.