Majorca Mi Amigo – So, we may have discovered a little late that there is more than one island to the Balearic chain, but that hasn’t changed the way that pale-skinned Brits head for the golden sands of this Mediterranean Mecca. Mallorca to the Spanish, and to the Catalans for that matter, the biggest part of the Balearic chain will always, to us, be Majorca, no matter how much we try to master the understated, subtle and laid-back Spanish “May – hor – kaah”. It’s more of a languid breath of warm air, than a proper, stiff upper lip pronunciation. Then again, you can leave your stiff upper lip at home, along with your bowler hat and umbrella.
Of the millions of British visitors to the islands in the round, the vast majority with a hard “jay” made for Majorca, with a much softer one. One in four visitors to the island is British and, if we all went at once, we’d outnumber the native population by about three to one. Only our great travelling companions the Germans can match those figures. Where we stand out is in the number of group visitors. Better than four in every five British visitors to the island, and the Balearics in general, arrives as part of a group, which means that there is an almost endless variety of offers from British agents, keen to capture business from Blighty to the Mediterranean destination.
Sunset and Vine – It’s probably got a lot to do with the sunsets. The West Coast, in general, is the favourite destination for British tourist to Majorca. More than one in three of us find the irresistible combination of golden sands and golden evening lights the combination that unlocks the secret of the island. However, in a close second place, the gentle attractions of the north coast Bay of Alcudia prove especially popular with family and mixed age groups. Although being 62km north of Son Sant Joan International airport and the capital Palma, the journey into the Bay of Alcudia is a well travelled and easy route. Coach transfer is the easiest, if not the fastest way to make the journey. Taxis are always available, at a premium price, be sure to fix a price before departing, or even make sure a pre-booked taxi is waiting for you. Hire car is the most flexible way to make the journey.
Allow at least an hour for the journey by car or taxi, add at least a further thirty minutes for a coach journey and, if your operator insists on a detour to the nearby resort of Puerto Pollensa, add another 45 minutes. The original medieval old town of Alcudia is two miles inland from the modern coastal development. A visit takes you in the footsteps of the Phoenicians and Greeks -who first settled here -followed in the 2nd century BC by the Romans, who made Alcudia the capital of the island. Note that the hotels of Playa de Muro, about 8km from the town, are often inaccurately referred to as Alcudia. Playa de Muro is a little more upmarket, typically charging around £250 per person per week more for its modern 4 and 5-star hotels and apart hotels. The more modern amenities are an offset against the rather less historic setting.
Coastal Favourites – The warm shallow waters of Alcudia Bay make this resort very popular with families with young children, and the beach is, without doubt, a major attraction with fine, clean sand with a wide variety of water sports, and plenty of refreshments nearby. Be prepared to walk about a bit. Buses are often full, especially so on market days, and taxis are reportedly hard to come by. However, avoid the busy times and local operator Autocares runs frequently through the town to as far as Palma. Inland Adventures Undoubtedly Majorca is known as a beach destination, but visit only the fringe of the island and miss out on the inland delights and the majority of Majorca.
There are more landlocked provinces on the island than there are coastal regions, and the island government, Govern de les Illes Balears, in concert with the Conselleria de Torisme, is working hard at promoting the interior as, initially, a place to visit, and in due course a destination in its own right. However, as far as convincing the Britons goes, the “Govern” has a long way to go. “The British do not stand out for their interest in sporting activities,” says the report on the British market to the Balearics!
Maybe that’s not all down to us sunburnt British seals, lugubriously lying on the beach. Getting about can be an issue. On the West Coast, the resorts tend to be spread either side of the busy Ma-1 2 northern coast road. When booking here it may be worth checking on which side of this road your accommodation is situated, as such demarcations as the dedicated cycle lane are as rarely observed as they are back home. This one, although reserved for cyclists, is often used as a short cut by local motor traffic. That though should be an encouragement to explore the interior, where the weather is just as fine, and the sights even more delightful. Bicycle hire is plentiful and relatively cheap throughout the island.