In an era when far flung exotic destinations have become the norm, Mallorca hardly fits the bill as a pioneering new discovery for holidaymakers. As one of the first mass market holiday destinations for Brits travelling abroad, most of us have been there at some point or other. But, don’t confuse tried and tested with tired and tacky! Mallorca is a versatile, sophisticated destination that has managed to keep abreast of new trends and tastes.
Here are my five reasons Mallorca will always be a UK family favourite:
I know, I’ve started with the boring one. But, for practical mum’s, if it means dragging the kids out of bed in the middle of the night, long flights, connections and lengthy transfers on dubious looking local buses that have seen better days, we’ll rule it out straight away, however glorious the beach looks.
Mallorca is a winner – short flights, local departures from over 20 local UK airports and the possibility of getting a decent set of flight times will start you off on the right foot. Transfer times are reasonable to most resorts, taxi and hire car options are plentiful.
It’s an easy destination to navigate and drive around, and most local people will have a smattering of English at the very least, coupled with a friendly nature, if you need help. Finally, well-stocked supermarkets and internationally staffed clinics add peace of mind.
Practicalities dealt with, let’s move onto the fun part.
2. Activities and things to do
Mallorcans have been entertaining British holidaymakers for decades, ever since package holidays started to become popular in the 70’s. So it’s not surprising to find every conceivable special interest group catered for, along with the demands of the mainstream tourist.
For families, the number one, top item on every kids list is a good waterpark, and Mallorca has four to choose from, plus a whole host of other kid-friendly attractions. I have fond memories of Marineland sealife park, with it’s amazing shows and opportunities to get close to the animals – although I’d suggest taking a packed lunch, it can get very busy!
Sporting activities available include all manner of watersports, horseriding, go-karting and cycling, or go even more extreme with kayaking and canyoning. More relaxing pursuits include fishing, golf, boat trips and an endless selection of spa facilities. Of course, some areas have more activities available than others.
It’s possible to find laid back destinations where you can create your own entertainment away from the hustle and bustle too. A villa and a hire car are a good option if you want to visit the busy resorts and big attractions with a smattering of history and local village life.
3. Accommodation and dining
OK, if you are reading this blog, you are probably interested in a villa! Great choice, there is a fantastic range of villas in Mallorca to suit all budgets and party sizes. And, the island has a great range of other options too, from big brand all-inclusives to private apartments and boutique hotels.
Villas offer a lot of flexibility – eat when you want, do what you want, go where you want. My own preference is a villa close to a resort so we get the best of both worlds. Travelling with one or two other families with kids the same age is ideal – the parents get a bit of freedom and the kids get to hang out with their buddies.
Dining options are also vast. Many villas have a BBQ and outside dining space for self-caterers as well as the usual kitchen area. And of course, there are restaurants of every type – from the Michelin starred Es Fum to the local take-away! Fresh fish and Mediterranean flavours are what I love though, and you won’t be disappointed if you take a walk around most harbours and villages. Make sure you sample some of the Mallorcan local dishes too.
4. History and culture
OK, this doesn’t sound like an essential thing for a family holiday, but I do think it’s a good idea to try and get a sense of the local history and everyday life rather than spend the whole time at the beach.
Palma Mallorca is still one of my favourite European cities! The magnificent cathedral, Almudaina Palace and Bellver Castle are the architectural must-see’s. A lasting impression I have of it is lots of elegantly dressed Europeans walking purposefully down streets with beautiful pale stone buildings. It just oozes class and sophistication, with designer boutiques and expensive jewellery shops a plenty.
But it’s not just Palma. The island is steeped in history – from old forts and watchtowers to ancient churches and quaint fishing villages, make sure you try to get a flavour of the real Mallorca.
5. Beaches and nature
I love a bit of history and culture, but let’s face it, a family holiday is all about one thing – the beaches!
Mallorca has some cracking beaches, up and down the island, from the long commercialised strips to hidden gems that you’ll need to search out. Perfect for the typical seaside holiday, you’ll find golden sands with all the amenities needed for a family day out – café’s, shops and water-sports, boat trips, playgrounds and promenades.
And don’t forget the rest of the coastline – amazing cliff top views, stunning scenery, ports and harbours and even a few cave systems to explore.
These are just some of the reasons why Mallorca is somewhere I’m sure I’ll be returning to time and time again with my children. For me, it sets the benchmark against which to measure all other family holiday destinations.