I’ve recently returned from a wonderful villa holiday in Mallorca, an island that holds many happy memories for me. My parents had a beach apartment in Cala d’Or in the south east, in the 70’s which was a great place to spend many of my school holidays!
Mallorca is a beautiful and diverse island with something to offer for everyone. Head for the dramatic Serra de Tramuntana mountain range for hiking, cycling and stunning scenery. Inland you'll find sleepy ancient towns and rural fincas. For relaxed beach bathing and activities such as snorkelling, windsurfing or even kite surfing, look South and East and for those in need of a city fix, there is the bustling cultural capital Palma.
I spent a glorious couple of weeks back in my old haunt, Cala d’Or, which has expanded over the years, and now covers an area of over 4km of small sandy coves and creeks. Thankfully, this growth has for the most part been controlled, and the town still has the feeling of a small village with few, if any, high rise buildings.
The largest of these coves is called Cala Llonga, which has been developed into a large luxury marina that effectively splits the resort in two. The focal point of the town centre is a pedestrian zone around the area of Cala Gran, which has a varied selection of shops, bars and restaurants.
Self catering is a great option in Cala d'Or as there are supermarkets (a large hyper market and several Spar's in the centre of town) and a varied selection of restaurants, offering a wide choice of cuisine and catering for all budgets. We went to a different restaurant most nights and they all offered a children's menu which helped keep costs reasonable. A few of my favourites are Can Trompe - love their warm bread and alioli which is a garlic mayonnaise, the paella and the sea bass baked in salt is delicious. La Bodega for tapas and a great wine selection - we enjoyed sitting in the pretty courtyard area. Fernando Cafe, which was a popular meeting place back in the 70's and still is now. It combines a traditional café with a restaurant and has a lovely ambience. Many of the hotels in and around Cala d'Or now offer ''All Inclusive'' board basis options, which certainly wasn't the case in the 70's. Whilst ''All Inclusive'' helps with budgeting and often offer's great value for money, one of the pleasures for me of being in Cala 'Or is eating out at one of the many restaurants in the evening (nearly all of them have tables al fresco) whilst enjoying people watching.
The beach at Cala Gran is the largest in the town, but at 40m wide and 100m deep can never really be described as being large. Near here is Cala d'Or itself where I stayed and from which the resort takes its name. This is a small pine fringed cove. In addition, there are also around 8 or 9 other smaller sandy coves in the area.
The best way to explore and enjoy the many coves in the area is by boat. If you don't have your own boat or use of a friend's then try one of the fun Sea Riders trip's that depart from the Marina at Calad'Or. We enjoyed Sea Riders 1, which was a 90 minute boat trip around many of the coves and included time for swimming in the crystal clear waters of the natural park Cala Mondrago. If the beaches at Cala d'Or become too crowded or if you wish to escape from Cala d'Or for the day, many visitors take the morning bus to Es Trenc. This beautiful beach of clear blue water and golden sand, backed by pine trees and dunes, stretches for almost 5km along the wild south eastern coast of the island. One of my other favourite beaches which can also be reached by car or bus from Cala d’Or is Cala Mondrago, a small Blue Flag beach situated within Mondrago National Park. It has been protected from development and is considered to be one of Mallorca's most beautiful areas, with it's sand dunes, pine forests, beautiful coastline and rocky coves. I recommend taking the short scenic walk round to the beach at S’Aramador, which is the next cove to the east of Cala Mondrago.
Other places I enjoy visiting in the South East of the island include:
Porto Petro a quaint low key harbour resort with a frontline of restaurants that look down onto the boats. There’s no beach here so it remains a quiet and relaxed place.
Charming Cala Figuera is set around a deep cove where local fishermen bring in their catch and mend their nets. The low key cliff top resort and its restaurants offers great views onto the natural harbour below, where small boats bob in front of ancient seafront houses. There’s no beach here but this is a great place for diving on the island
Set on a headland, the seaside resort of Colonial Sant Jordi is flanked on both sides by attractive sandy beaches. The town’s a bit of a maze but the best place to head for is the harbour front with its marina and seafront restaurants.
Campos is a quiet agricultural town which livens up on market day. Set in rural surroundings, it’s a friendly place with a smattering of interesting shops, restaurants and excellent bakeries.
Santanyi has become more cosmopolitan due to the insurgence of foreign buyers. Here amongst the narrow streets a mix of traditional cafes and shops can be found alongside interior design boutiques.
Porto Colom is a charming resort. Fishing boats still bob up and down in the harbour and at the northern end of the quay the colourful fishermen’s cottages provide a delightful view.
I’d love to help organise a wonderful holiday for you on the island of Mallorca.