In Sarah Drane described her favorite places to go to in Mallorca and offered some excellent recommendations. With travel due to open up later this and Mallorca being a long-established favorite of British travellers, Simon Maurice suggests some alternative goodies that UK visitors’ best-loved Balearic Island has to offer:
Soller is a picturesque town in the hills of North West Mallorca. It is accessible by car, but by far the most fun and relaxed way to get there is to take the little mountain railway train – the Ferrocarril de Soller – that starts in Palma and takes travellers on a beautiful winding, scenic, hour journey through the Sierra de Alfabia mountain range to Soller.
There, you can enjoy the delights of the picturesque town or you can take a second train (more of a tram really and, in fact, the way oranges were originally transported from the local groves to the port) down to Porto de Soller, with its beautiful beach and promenade. The main square in Soller – the Plaza de la Constituicion – is a great place for lunch or simply sampling some “café society” and, if you go on Saturday, there is also a bustling market.
While you are in Soller, do NOT leave without checking out the station itself, because you will find that within the station building is an Art Museum, which has a permanent Picasso exhibition that majors on his ceramics and also, a second exhibit featuring noted Spanish Surrealist artist, Juan Miro. Visiting both exhibits will probably take no more than half an hour, but both are fascinating and are even better because entry is free.
If you’re an art fan, there is, however, some great stuff to buy at the Gift Shop. Also worth a visit, is Soller’s Can Prunera Museum of Modernism which hosts varying exhibitions of art, all displayed in this Art Nouveau residence.
Soller and Porto de Soller are lovely, but it is as much about the journeys themselves. A combined train/tram ticket for around €32 gives you a round trip from Palma to Soller and a return trip from Soller to Port de Soller as well.
One of the great things about Mallorca is its weather – usually. However, even during the summer, you can get the odd day when it is cloudy or even rainy. When that happens, a trip to Manacor, close to the Island’s South-Central coast, will deliver you two attractions that aren’t weather dependant.
Caves of Drach :Between Manacor and nearby Porto Cristo, are the caves of Drach. Yes, they are one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Island, but there is a reason for that: they are simply spectacular.
The journey through the imaginatively lit cave system opens up fantastic displays of subterranean nature with various vast galleries of stalactites, stalagmites and water formations that are delivered to you in guided, language-specific groups which last around an hour.
The climax comes with a live classical music mini-concert at the amphitheatre situated in one of Europe’s largest underground lakes before the tour ends with an opportunity to travel across the lake by boat (or you can walk if you prefer).
There are the expected souvenir shops and a pretty fair café that you will probably end up having to patronise, as you need to turn up a reasonable amount of time before your tour starts.
That notwithstanding, if you can get there, go, it is worth the trip. And from the Caves you can do the easy walk to Porto Cristo itself, where, if the weather has brightened up, you can sit out to drink and eat along the waterside on either side of the inlet.