Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

10 Interesting Facts about Mallorca

Posted on: June 6th, 2016 by admin No Comments

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Well known for its glorious weather, fabulous beaches, vibrant night life and varied history, Mallorca is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. However, there are many intriguing facts about Mallorca that many people are unaware of.

1.) Mallorca is the largest island in Spain, so it comes as no surprise that its original name derived from the Latin term ‘insula maior’, which translates to ‘larger island’. Over the years the name has gradually changed to Mallorca, incorporating the Castellano ‘ll’ pronunciation.

2.) Mallorca’s history is fascinating. The first recorded settlement dates back to 3000 BC, but ancient burial sites have been unearthed that date back to 6000 BC. The island was invaded by the Romans in 123 BC and was subsequently conquered by the Byzantines, the Moors and King James I of Aragon. Because of this varied history, the architecture and ancient ruins found on the island are very diverse.

3.) Although Mallorca has a population of around 900,000 inhabitants, almost half of these people live in the capital city of Palma.

4.) Mallorca has two large mountain ranges: Serra de Tramuntana and Serres de Llevant. Serra de Tramuntana has recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status and its highest mountain, Puig Major, is the highest mountain in the entire Balearic region.

5.) It is estimated that over 6,000,000 visitors travel to Mallorca each year. However, it isn’t just holiday-makers who travel to this stunning island. Boasting a varied terrain and over 400km of hiking trails, hikers and cyclists visit Mallorca in vast numbers. In fact, recent figures suggested that over 35,000 cyclists visit Mallorca each year, including both professional and recreational cyclists.

6.) The island’s most spectacular and most visited tourist attraction is La Seu, a huge cathedral that dates back to 1230. A great deal of restoration has been completed over the centuries and recent additions have been created by famous architect Antoni Gaudi.

7.) Mallorca boasts a wonderful collection of cave systems, including Coves del Drach which can be found on the east side of the island. Visitors travel from all over to see the impressive underground lakes, stalagmites and stalactites.

8.) With a glorious Mediterranean climate and average temperatures of 21°c, Mallorca boasts over 300 days of sunshine each year, making it a year-round destination for holiday-makers seeking sun, sea and sand.

9.) There are more than 3,000 restaurants on the island of Mallorca so visitors can indulge themselves on traditional Spanish cuisine, freshly caught seafood and international dishes from all over the world.

10.) Mallorca’s largest nightclub, BCM, boasts the biggest foam machine in the world and is a great place to go to dance the night away and enjoy water, foam and popcorn parties.

Historic Buildings of Palma de Majorca

Posted on: May 28th, 2016 by admin No Comments

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Historic Buildings of Palma de Majorca

The beautiful capital city of Majorca, Palma de Majorca, overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and is home to a wonderful collection of spectacular buildings that boast some of the most astounding architecture in Europe.The city’s landmark is the magnificent La Seu, a Gothic cathedral located in the old quarter. The foundation stone was laid in 1230 by King James I of Aragon and work continued for the next 400 years. Following an earthquake, work was resumed in 1851 and as a result, the building has features from many different periods of history. In 1909, a wrought-iron candelabra, designed by the famous architect Gaudi, was erected over the main altar. It is also home to one of the world’s largest stained glass windows that was made from 1,236 pieces of glass and measures an impressive 12m across. Dedicated to San Sebastian, Palma’s patron saint, this masterpiece is a sight not to be missed.

Opposite the cathedral stands the immense Almudaina Palace. Built in the thirteenth-century, it was originally an Arab fortress and housed members of the Spanish Royal Family throughout the fourteenth-century. Elements of Islamic architecture can still be found with its Moorish arches, but it was later converted to demonstrate Gothic architecture. Surrounded by the stunning S’Hort des Rei gardens, exploring the grounds is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Built in 1309, Bellver Castle is situated on top of a hill and offers some of the most outstanding panoramic views of the city below. The unique structure is entirely circular and features both Moorish and Romanesque features. For many centuries it was used as a prison, but now houses the city’s History Museum where Roman, Spanish and Arab artefacts can be found.

The Arab Baths, located in the mediaeval quarter, is all that remains of the Moorish city of Medina Mayurqa, which was what Palma was once known as. Dating back to the tenth-century, this ancient building features a domed room that was once used for relaxation purposes. Spend an afternoon exploring the grounds and be sure to visit the courtyard for a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of hectic city life.

For more modern architecture, visit the old Gran Hotel. Opened in 1903, this breathtaking building is now home to the city’s most popular art gallery and many different exhibitions can be found here throughout the year. The sculptured façade, the intricate tiling, the ornate iron railings and the huge stone carvings make this building a wonder to behold.

The Most Beautiful Places in the Balearic Islands

Posted on: May 5th, 2016 by admin No Comments

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The most beautiful places in the Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands are a glorious Mediterranean archipelago nestled in the Balearic Sea, off the coast of eastern Spain. If you want to avoid the usual tourist haunts and see some jaw-droppingly beautiful places, you are going to be spoiled for choice!Mallorca
Pretty villages include Sóller, nestled within a lush green valley and majestic mountains, and Fornalutx with steep winding street, both perfect for hiking. For artistic inspiration, visit the charming village of Valldemossa where crumbling houses, a palace and a monastery are surrounded by romantic forests. Bellver Castle is a 14th century gothic castle on the outskirts of Palma. If hidden coves are more your thing, head to Sa Calobra beach for a lovely trek through a shaded gorge, underground tunnels and Torrent de Pareis (‘twin streams’). You can catch a boat across an underground lake in the Caves of Drach and admire stalactites and stalagmites in the Caves of Artà. For panoramic views, head to Cape Formentor which has a peak 384 metres above sea level and unspoilt, picture postcard beaches. Another beautiful beach can be found at Playa de Es Trenc; a two mile stretch of golden sand where the local speciality is freshly caught red shrimp.Menorca
One of the most photographed places in Menorca is Cala Turqueta, a beautiful cove with crystal clear waters. For history enthusiasts, Naveta des Tudons is a majestic Bronze Age monument best viewed at dusk. Favaritx Lighthouse, in the S’Albufera des Grau Natural Park offers a charming perspective for wildlife watching.

Ibiza
Nestled in the hills of Ibiza’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Dalt Vila with medieval battlements, white washed buildings and a stunning cathedral. Just ten minutes away is Las Salinas Beach, a park of outstanding natural beauty with salt lakes and a wildlife conservation area. For lovely views of a nearby uninhabited island head to Cala d’Hort and relax by the towering white cliffs.

Formentera
Regularly making it onto ‘best beaches in the world’ listicles, Playa de Ses Illetes is the perfect place to get away from it all. For one of the most stunning sunset views on the island, head to Barbaria Lighthouse – if you climb to the top you can see Ibiza. You could also take a boat trip around the tiny island of Espalmador, just 50 metres offshore and paddle in the sea off Playa S’Alga.

Learn 10 Simple Spanish Phrases Today

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016 by admin No Comments

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When you’re visiting a country like Spain, it can be a little daunting if you don’t speak the native language. If you don’t understand the most basic words, your vacation may not be as much fun. It’s a good idea to learn a few phrases in order to develop your conversational skills. Communicating with people in Spanish will certainly make your travel experiences more memorable and enjoyable. To get you started, here are the top 10 most popular Spanish phrases that every traveller should learn.

1. If you get lost somewhere, you will need to ask a local some simple questions. Always start with the question “¿dónde está?” (where is). Some of the most common examples include: “¿Dónde está la estación de ferrocarril?” (Where is the bus/train station?) “¿Dónde está un restaurante?” (Where is a restaurant?) “ ¿La calle ” (the street).

2. “¿Cuánto cuesta?” (How much does it cost? Or what is the price?)

3. “¿Qué hora es, por favor?” (What time is it, please?)

4. “Yo entiendo, yo no entiendo” (I understand/ I don’t understand)

5. “Yo quiero un boleto, un hotel, un taxi” (I want a ticket for a hotel, a taxi)

6. “Necesito ayuda”. (I need help)

7. “¡Buen viaje!” (Have a good vacation!)

8. “¡Lo siento!” (I am sorry!)

An alternative way to apologise is saying Perdón. This is a more common way of saying sorry, however, if you are looking for toilets, you can use this phrase “Perdón, pero dónde están los baños? (excuse me but where are the WCs?)

9. “¡No se preocupe!” (No worries!)

10. “hasta pronto” (See you soon)

The top 10 phrases are not just helpful but they’re also most commonly used in Spain. If you make an effort and speak with the native locals, they will appreciate your attempts at becoming part of their community. It won’t be long until you are ready to learn more words and phrases and improve your Spanish.

5 Reasons To See Majorca By Road

Posted on: February 10th, 2016 by admin No Comments

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Take the car and explore Majorca’s hidden gems

Hiring a car and going on a road trip is an exciting way to see the nooks and crannies of somewhere new. Take a road trip around Majorca and take in incredible views, artisan markets and quaint villages with traditional restaurants.

Spend time exploring Majorca by car and you can:

1. Shop at a street market. Manacor is on the east side of Majorca and is the second largest town on the island. It is well-known for pearls and there are factories where visitors can go on a tour and see the production of pearl jewellery from start to finish. Along the streets of Manacor, two weekly markets are held – a local food market is open every Monday and an artisan market takes place each Saturday.

2. Sit by an underground lake. Head towards the town of Porto Cristo and you will find Coves Del Drach, some of the most incredible caves in Europe. The lit walkways take you past stalactites and stalagmites and onto a lake where they play peaceful music in a unique atmosphere.

3. Witness breath taking views. A drive along the coast from Palma to Deia reveals dazzling vistas across the Mediterranean Sea and the rolling countryside. The road gets a little hairy in some places, but the rewards are worth it. Stop a while at Valldemossa which has a church with a spire and terraced hillsides. Continue further along the coastline and you will reach the tiny village of Deia which is a favourite spot for A-list movie stars who want to get away from it all. As you wander the twisting backstreets look out for famous faces hidden behind large-framed sunglasses.

4. Tuck into to something different. Stop at cafes, restaurants and bars which offer traditional Spanish dishes and local wine. There a many places to stop along the roadside where you will get to try something new. Choose a place to eat with wide views in the countryside or fresh seafood next to the Mediterranean.

5. Explore the Tramuntana Mountain range. Enjoy cooler air by car by driving the M10 through Lluc and onto the Bay of Alcudia. Along the way you can spot sheep, goats, almond trees and olive groves. This area is a favourite with hikers, so if you can park up, get out to take in the fresh mountain air.

Sailing in Majorca – Balearic Bliss

Posted on: February 3rd, 2016 by admin No Comments

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One of the best ways to see all of the beauty that Majorca has to offer is on a sailing trip. While relaxing on deck you can soak up the warm sun and view the island from a whole new perspective. Sailing round the coast will show you the true variety of landscapes found on Majorca, from palm-fringed beaches to bustling fishing ports, tiny coastal villages and towering cliffs. Day trips are an ideal way to sample some of these hidden delights, but yacht charters are also widely available if you’d like to spend more time out on the waves.

Majorca is well known for its stunning beaches, many of which are not easily accessible from inland. A sailing trip allows you to visit remote and hidden coves, so you can enjoy some peace and tranquillity away from the busy tourist areas. Cala Boquer, on the north-west coast, is one such spot – only accessible on foot or by boat.

If you enjoy a more active holiday, most sailing trips will offer opportunities for swimming and snorkelling. Other water activities, such as water-skiing and wakeboarding may also be available. Fishing is another popular option, with a wide variety of fish found in local waters – including giant swordfish and bluefin tuna, which pass through at the end of summer.

The position of the Balearic Islands means that Majorca enjoys ideal conditions for sailing much of the time, particularly during the summer months. Reliable breezes and sheltered coves make the island an excellent spot for beginner sailors to learn some new skills. Port de Pollenca, on the north-west coast, is well-known as an excellent spot for this.

A sailing trip is also a wonderful way to see more of the local wildlife. Dolphins are regular visitors to the surrounding waters and keen birdwatchers will enjoy spotting the many different sea birds found in the area. In the south-east of the island is Colonia St Jordi, where boats trips can be taken to the Cabrera Archipelago, a collection of 19 islands that form a national park where lots of great wildlife can be seen, both on land and in the water.

Sailing trips are widely available and set out from many different ports all around the island, so wherever you’re based there’s sure to be at least one within easy driving distance.

How Majorca Does Luxury Accommodation

Posted on: January 13th, 2016 by admin No Comments

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Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, but the beauty of this resort is that it’s small enough to discover in a day. There is a vast array of beaches, caves, and sweeping bays, from green mountains to cobbled villages. If you are looking for luxury accommodation on this island, you will be spoilt for choice. Here are some of the examples of the most luxurious places to stay the next time you visit this island.

The Son Julia boutique hotel
This luxury hotel is the perfect getaway set in an idyllic countryside. The 15th century mansion has many facilities to offer families and couples. You can enjoy a good workout in the gym or pamper yourself in the spa. There are also 2 golf courses situated a few minutes from the hotel as well as tennis courts and state-of-the-art bicycles.

Belmond La Residencia
This charming residence is just a stone’s throw from the clear blue Mediterranean Sea. The hotel dates back to 16th century and comes as two characterful manor houses. The rooms are furnished in traditional Spanish style, with floating curtains and elegant armchairs. The timber shutters overlook the green landscaped gardens, where guests and staff can pick fresh flowers and fruits every morning.

Castillo Hotel Son Vida
This luxury hotel is located between two golf courses, 4 swimming pools, and 3 tennis courts. There is also a spa for guests to indulge in. Each room offers open views across the mountains and there is a state-of-the-art TV, CD player, and free Internet connection. Moreover, the hotel’s staff is on call 24 hours a day, or you can opt for a butler for an extra fee. The studios are equipped with plush bathrobes, slippers, fresh fruit and flowers to make your stay unforgettable. To truly enjoy your time at this hotel, consider taking part in the relaxing activities such as the indoor pool, sauna, steam bath, and fitness centre. Select an invigorating massage and many other beauty treatments that are offered at the hotel’s own salon. There are also 4 refreshing outdoor pools to enjoy, while the nearby golf courses and tennis courts await you. This hotel offers professional guest services to assist daily, from making restaurant reservations to delivering flowers and booking excursions. This is truly one of the most luxurious accommodations that you will find in Mallorca.

Majorca’s Top 5 Indoor Attractions

Posted on: January 7th, 2016 by admin No Comments

night life in Majorca

When it comes to finding indoor activities on your holiday, Mallorca will not disappoint as it’s riddled with many adult and kid-friendly attractions. From culture to sports, there is something to suit everyone. For some holiday inspiration, check out our selection of top 5 indoor attractions in Mallorca.

Nassau Beach Club
This indoor restaurant and club is world class and highly sophisticated. There is an outdoor terrace too, where you can enjoy the scenic views across the beach. Nassau Beach thrives on an urban setting, with a stylish and quality venue that will please your whole family.

Indoor concerts
Listen to great music on the hot summer evenings at the indoor convert venues. The annual Deia International Music Festival is held every summer, with a series of concerts by the talented pianist and composer David Gomez.

Dinner shows
Mallorca is home to some of the best-known professional entertainers who regularly take the stage at dinner shows. There is also a pirates adventure show for children, with the most thrilling acrobats, comedians, and gymnasts. For over 18s, there is the late-night Pirates- the Mutiny show where tickets include drinks.

Jazz clubs
You can find some of the most excellent jazz clubs on this Spanish island. The Saratoga Hotel Jazz Club offers great views of the town, especially if you stay on top floor. Listen to the finest jazz played every weekend while drinking a glass of wine on your terrace. This club is furnished with large sofas and comfortable armchairs, where friendly waitresses serve a fine selection of wines and spirits throughout the evening.

Virtual Club
Virtual Club is situated in the southwest of the island. It is a classy venue where you can soak up the sun and sip on your cocktails. This club is open all day and night, with a bistro and a unique nightclub that looks like a cave located within the building. The VIP area of this club includes parasols and large comfortable hammocks where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon snooze or a glass of champagne.

15 Handy Spanish Phrases For Beginners

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by admin No Comments

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While the grammar may be fiendish (just ask an advanced speaker of Spanish to explain the subjunctive to you), beginners in this beautiful Romance language will be pleased to hear that, unlike in English, having a strong accent shouldn’t prevent native speakers from understanding you. And of course, having even a little Spanish will be seen in a very favourable light when you’re visiting any Spanish speaking country (or país hispanohablante). Read on for 15 easy phrases to get you going.

1. ¿Cómo se dice … en español?
A very useful phrase: it means “How do you say …. in Spanish?”.

2. ¿A qué hora abren las tiendas?
What time do the shops open? To ask about one shop, say la tienda rather than las tiendas.

3. ¡Hola! Buenos días/Buenas noches/Buenas tardes!
This means “Hello! Good morning/goodnight/good afternoon”. It’s important to note that in Spanish the word for “day”, el día, is masculine, so you say buenos, while la noche and la tarde are feminine, so you say buenas.

4. ¿Te gusta…?
This simply means “do you like…?”

5. ¿Hablas inglés?
“Do you speak English?” – not that you will be needing it, of course!

6. Hábleme en español/Puede hablar español conmigo
These are two different ways of saying “Speak Spanish to me”.

7. ¿Dónde está?
This means “Where is…”. For “where are”, say ¿Dónde están?

8. Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez.
These are the numbers one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten.

9. Dos cervezas, por favor
Two beers, please!

10. Me gustaría un vinto tinto/blanco, por favor.
I would like a red wine/white wine, please.

11. ¡No funciona!
It doesn’t work! This can be used in a variety of situations, it’s a great catch-all phrase.

12. ¿Cómo te llamas?
what is your name?

13. Yo necesito…
I need… . You can also just say “necesito” on its own, or “yo quiero”.

14. El hotel está al lado del bar
The hotel is next to the bar.

15. ¡Hasta luego!
See you later! You can also say Hasta la próxima.

Cooling Off – Majorca In Autumn

Posted on: October 7th, 2015 by admin No Comments

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Majorca in Spain is a year-round destination, with hot summers and mild winters. Autumn brings the much needed rain, and as it’s cooler, fewer visitors tend to travel to this resort from September onwards. This is the perfect time to take advantage of discount flights and low hotel rates. The temperature stays at a comfortable 25 degrees Celsius during the day, and at night, it gets down to 10 degrees.

Autumn is the ideal time for visiting some of the best museums in Majorca. Head down to Deia, a quaint village tucked away on the mountains, where you can explore the art galleries and take part in art classes. Across the island, there are many international concerts, which are always highly anticipated in Palma.

If you’re spending a week in Majorca, it would be a good idea to explore the Serra de Tramuntana by bike. This mountain range has been made a World Heritage Site because of the amazing techniques used to develop its farming sector. Take a ride to a few wineries in this area where you can enjoy local Spanish traditions.

This island always has something to discover, no matter how many times you have already visited it. There is a vast range of luxury and budget hotels scattered around the lush countryside as well as on the coastline. A day’s cycling will also take you to the olive farms and meat factories, where you can learn how to make the traditional Majorcan pork sausage.

The traditional recipes of Majorca are adapted to suit modern tastes. You can find many popular and chic restaurants on the island serving authentic Spanish dishes. In the mountain villages, you will come cross some of the tastiest delis in Palma. No trip to Spain is complete without sampling the local Majorcan dishes.

Once you’ve satisfied your taste buds, why not take a plunge into the deep-blue sea. In autumn, when olive and grape harvests take place, you will find lots of visitors heading down to hidden coves for a swim or taking part in the fruit harvests.
The best thing about Majorca is that it’s busy with tourists all year round. If you just want to relax on the beach, you can do so, even in autumn months. This is the perfect time to take advantage of low rates and get a feel of real life in the Balearics.