MALLORCA OFFERS SO MUCH MORE…
I’ve been to the balearic island of Mallorca before. Unfortunately, 3- to 4-year-old-me just doesn’t remember much of that trip besides a burst tire on our rental car. So for this trip I started from scratch. My expectations though were up high due to various recommendations. A lot of people have been telling me about the beauty of the island and that it is such a hidden gem besides all the party action at Playa de Palma or Magaluf. Well, Mallorca didn’t let me down, my already high expectations have been exceeded. But let’s start from the beginning.
Day 1 – It took us a little longer
When Marion (@ladyvenom) asked me to block the 24th to 27th of May for an upcoming travel opportunity, I had no idea where we would be going. A little later she revealed that we – the team consisting not only of Marion and me but Philipp (@theyellowguyproject) and Justinne (@juz_me) joining us – are going to the balearic island together with Eurowings, to celebrate the inauguration of their newest home base located in Mallorca.
The flight was all party and celebration, thus no tourists where on the flight but only members of the Eurowings group, a bunch of bloggers and journalists and our group of four. After arriving at the airport in Palma de Mallorca there a short press conference was held and after a few difficulties (Philipp lost his ID in the plane, which caused some trouble as we could not reenter the plane – he got it back a day later fortunately) we headed to our hotel near the town of Llucmajor.
A quick shower we’re back in our rental car (a must if you want to explore the island) on our way to our first destination: We found a little bay, called Cala en Basset, while researching for photo locations in Mallorca. The bay is about 20 minutes walk from the small but cute town of Sant Elm. Obviously, it takes us almost an hour to get there as we are photographing all the way and unfortunately we are not on the fastet track. Well, we left the marked path somewhere, maybe that was our fault. Luckily we arrive at the bay and it’s main attraction, a more than 400 years old torre (meaning tower), in time to catch the sunset. At this point we meet Stephan, a surgeon from Munich, who accompanies us for sunset. Quite the awesome guy! Plus we are save on our way back as there’s a surgeon present, right?
Infinitely hungry we decide to eat at Es Moli in Sant Elm. A great discovery we make right here, the food is on point and although it’s looks a little bit more sophisticated it’s not that pricy in the end. I can only recommend going there if you happen to be around Sant Elm, it’s a bit hidden and not so easy to find.
Next stop – it’s already 11pm by now – is the hotel of course. We decide to get up early the next morning, as we only have 3 and a half days on the island.
Day 2 – Let’s get out of bed very…zZzZ
Well it never goes as planned, right? No chance we would make it out of bed this morning, with all the photo editing and stuff we do on such a trip we didn’t make it to bed until around 2 am and we are way too tired to get up for sunrise. After a great breakfast – and that’s the most important thing staying at a hotel! – we finally were able to start the day at around 9am. Our first destination: Es Pontas, a rock formation looking like a gate in the middle of the sea. It’s located near Santanyi, on the eastern coast of the island. To get there we need about one hour but as you might already assume we need some more time. As photographers we just have to stop at every interesting looking corner, this time it’s the village of Campos that makes us stop and explore.
We are spending an hour or so enjoying the view of Es Pontas, it’s quite magical and – quite unlikely – there are almost no tourists around. The steep cliffs and the gate in the middle of the sea provide a perfect opportunity for a drone shot. As Philipp bought a drone especially for that trip we had to use it! The only problem: He received it just days before we started our journey and had no time trying it out or even calibrating it. Well, there’s one more problem right there: You can’t calibrate your drone in the middle of nowhere, as you need a flat, monochrome surface to do so. Thus we have to postpone Philipp’s first drone flight.
The most important thing on any journey? Maybe even the most important thing in life? Right, proper food. As we receive a tip for a good, vegetarian-friendly restaurant in Arta, a town in the northeast, we know our next destination. Although we are super hungry we just can’t help ourselves but have to stop in the idyllic little town of Felanitx. Besides the quite frequented main road there are a lot of tiny alleyways without cars and just a few locals defying the midday sun. We try to collect as many moments as possible and continue our way to the food.
In Arta our first challenge is finding a parking spot in the quite touristy centre, the next one is finding the restaurant itself. Called Mar de Vins it is in fact quite hard to find, as Google Maps is not accurate on this one. After asking a few not-so-locals we find it by using that old-school-instrument called “Look-at-the-street-number”. The food is actually quite good, but as we have set our standards quite high with dinner at the first evening, this restaurant can’t quite compete.
Now it’s time to check-into our second hotel on Mallorca. We’ve only got rooms for one night in Llucmajor and decided to spend the remaining two nights far up in the north: The small town of Cala Sant Vicenc, more precise the Hotel Cala Sant Vicenc, is hosting us. So we do what we do best, taking a quick shower and out again just minutes later to catch sunset.
We decide to watch the sun setting on the horizon in the lovely harbor town of Port de Soller. To get there from Cala Sant Vicenc you have two options: Take the motorway towards Palma or the scenic mountain road going by the name of Ma-10. We opt for the slower, but more promising latter option. As usual, as the lights get better the mood of photographers gets better and so does the level of stress (“OHMYGOD we might miss the perfect light”). Well, the light was in fact already quite good on the way to Port Soller and thus we have to stop a few times including the first ever flight of @TheYellowGuyProject’s drone. As we arrive in Fornalutx, a few minutes from Port de Soller, we are certain that we will miss the sunset. Unfortunately Google Maps is doing us a disservice again, leading the way through the small town of Fornalutx and the city of Soller (not to confuse with the actual harbor town) although there’s a faster way all around. Now imagine the following scene: We arrive at the parking lot in Port de Soller at around 8:50 pm, sunset is predicted for 9 pm. Four photographers running the 50 metres in the middle of the street towards the harbor. I guess it must have looked like complete craziness. Well, in fact we made it! The light was almost perfect and we even had a few minutes until the sun was actually setting on the horizon.
Again we need what we need: Food. This time we decide to stop by at a small restaurant in Fornalutx we just passed by a few minutes earlier on our heroic mission to catch the sunset. The vegetarian meal consists of tomato salad and croquettes filled with spinach – poor Marion! Different from our plan to get to bed early today, we aren’t sleeping until 1 am again.
Day 3 – Finally the early bird rises!
On the third day of our Mallorca-Trip we finally make it out of bed in time to catch sunrise. Destination: Cap Formentor, the northernmost point of the island. Luckily enough our hotel is just a 40 minutes drive form the lighthouse which marks the cape. We drive the curvy mountain road up to the lighthouse, most of the time there’s nothing but the sea on one side of the road and rocky walls on the other side. Slowly but steadily we are making our way to reach the cape, overtaking a lot of very ambitious cyclists. As one of our friends will remind us later, this sunrise only “counts” if you make it by bike. Well, to be honest we are nowhere near to making that possible, let’s all be glad for a moment that we even made it out of bed. The light welcoming us at Cap Formentor is exactly what we’ve been craving for. We spend almost an hour partially photographing the scene, watching the sun rise, searching for the dolphins we recognise far away in the sea and looking for the goats that are joining us on our mission from time to time. After everyone of us has about 300 images of the same illuminated road to the lighthouse, we decide to drive back to the hotel for breakfast. After a modest breakfast for the first and only time during our trip, half of us makes it to the pool! Sounds like relaxing time! Well, at least for an hour or so.
The afternoon is dedicated to small towns and alleyways, starting in Valldemossa. The town most famous for Chopin’s short stay in 1838/39 is – obviously again – an hour of driving away from our hotel. As we are reaching the scenic village that has been recommended by a lot of people we are a little bit disappointed. The main street is full of tourists and at first glance the village looks like nothing special. We have received a tip for a small restaurant which should be serving one of the best tapas around and by the time we get there the scenery changes completely. Just a few metres away from the really touristy main streets, the town of Valldemossa shows it’s real beauty. The tiny alleys and small bars look fantastic, the streets are almost empty and besides a couple of straw-hat-wearing German tourists there is nobody around. Unfortunately the bar we want to eat lunch at does, like so many others here in Mallorca, not serve any vegetarian meals. We decide to try our luck finding another restaurant and come upon one just around the corner. Going by the name of Sa Cova, the tiny little tapas bar offers great food and makes our hangryness go away – at least for a few hours! Only negative aspect: They don’t serve good coffee.
Next stop on our tour through the tiny villages of southeastern Mallorca is a town called Deia. Before we get there, we more or less accidentally stumble upon an old mansion once inhabited by Ludwig Salvator, archduke of Austria. What a coincidence! The mansion is called Son Marroig and we strolled through the exhibition of collected sets of Ludwig’s (or Luigi, as he is called) studies on Mallorcas wildlife. Sadly there seems to be a wedding preparation happening right at the time we’re here so we cannot access the small temple built on the edge of the cliff, maybe the most notable feature of Luigi’s mansion.
The town of Deia, which has also been highly recommend to us via various people did not offer too much in our opinion. The main street is proceeding directly throughout the town, giving it a little bit of a stressful feeling. We are not spending a lot of time exploring that town to be fair, so it might be the case that we just miss out on some of the better parts.
Today’s sunset spot are the mountain roads leading to Sa Calobra. The road is most famous for it’s serpentines and seems to be quite popular amongst both cyclists and car commercials. After arriving at that also quite insta-famous spot, we decide to take the drone out for a flight. Looking down from a bird’s perspective at all the serpentines, dangerous-looking curves and narrow paths is just a whole other level. While Marion is operating the drone, Philipp is preparing his yellow coat for the perfect picture. That’s when we are suddenly aware of a strange noise, sounding like an alarm. As we just drove by a “military area”-sign and the sound is enhanced by the echo of the mountains, all of us are somehow feeling certain that it has to do something with us flying the drone. We literally almost shit our pants until Justinne – being the only one to keep a clear head once more – draws our attention to the mountain rescue car driving by. What a shock moment that was. And I was neither flying the drone nor was it mine, so I can’t even imagine the feeling Marion and Philipp must have had that moment. Although it’s legal to fly the drone for private purpose in Mallorca, we just assumed that we have done something wrong.
Due to that shock we decide to leave the scenery here and move on to Sa Calobra for the sunset. Ten minutes and a few metres walking after we arrive at Sa Calobra, we are standing in the parched riverbed of Torrent de Pareis – a scenery that could be directly out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This time we don’t have too much luck with the weather and it’s really cloudy, making the sunset quite unspectacular and the light diminishing fast. We all conclude that we definitely have to come back for that crazy area alone. After almost running out of gas, we make it back to the hotel and by skipping dinner we finally get to sleep a little bit earlier.
Day 4 – It’s all over now..
Traveling with the perfect crew has a lot of benefits. Unfortunately there’s one disadvantage: Time goes by a lot faster.
For the last day here in Mallorca we decide to rent a boat which you can actually do without a licenses! What you get is a 15 PS “strong” boat but at least you are completely independent. We start at Port de Pollenca, the nearest harbor from our hotel, and decide to go to a small bay called Cala en Feliu. The drive takes us about 45 minutes and with a little bit of wind blowing, our boat has a hard time to survive (well at least it felt that way!). After the rough journey we’re just relaxing on the boat before going back to the harbor. Despite me being not the sea-kind-of-person – like I don’t really want to swim in the open sea, it’s just not for me! – renting a boat is a great way of experiencing the island of Mallorca. Most of the small bays you’re only able to access by boat so that brings you to places you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Our flight back to Vienna is scheduled for 10pm and as we have a bit of spare time left we decide to check out one last destination. We choose to pay the cliffs of Puigderros a short visit and fly the drone over what turns out to be a nudist beach. Oooops! No worries, we did not film or photograph any humans, it’s just cliffs to be seen. Still, we might have to do some more thorough research next time!
Well, the island of Mallorca has never been an insider tip. Still, a lot of people only recognize it for it’s party beaches and the mass tourism. That’s why I think it’s somewhat an underestimated destination. We’ve had only three-something days on the island and already seen lots of beautiful locations as well as a lot of difference. There is mountains with scenic roads, cute villages to get lost in it’s alleyways and carribean-like beaches all within an hour. I can’t think of any other island that is so diverse. Just get yourself a plane ticket, borrow a car (no way surviving there without a rental car!) and explore the island on your own! Highly recommended as it exceeded my high expectations by far.