Schools have just started, and summer is already starting to slowly ebb away with cooler days and darker evenings. The school holiday season already seems like a distant memory, but it was only last week that I returned from a great two-week family holiday to Mallorca. Before we left, friends had commented on how ‘bad’ the exchange rate is and how expensive everything would seem. Well, we found that it was not necessarily the case!
After a relatively short and trouble-free flight with Easyjet to Palma and short drive to the beautiful SW tip of the island we arrived at our resort between Port D’Andratx and Peguera, surrounded by pine forests and rocky coves. The view from our apartment was stunning and this was going to be my ‘office’ for a few weeks where I managed to work in between trips to the beach, the pool and the bars/restaurants… The beaches are busy in Mallorca, but it is a big island and full of ‘hidden’ coves. You sometimes have to scramble over rocks and through hidden tracks to get to some of these, unless you are the owner of one of the superyachts which seem to be all around the island at this time of year. As long as you don’t mind sharing the smaller coves with occasional nudists it means you can escape the busy resorts and crowded areas easily.
We spent many days at this almost deserted cove which was a short walk away from our villa – the one thing to be careful of are the jellyfish which seem to be there occasionally. After Basta was stung by one on his arm it did scare the children but was soon forgotten when they carried on snorkelling, rock jumping, sunbathing and building sandcastles, all the things that make a beach holiday so relaxing. The weather was hot and sunny on almost every day of our stay. This is the great thing about going to Europe at this time of year. I do love the UK but the weather is such a hit or miss situation back home. The beauty of travel to the Mediterranean in August is that this does not (usually) have to be something to worry about, unless like me, you find the really hot weather a bit much sometimes. Reason enough, I think, to invest on the additional flight cost to get you out to Southern Europe, even in the height of summer.
There was one day of rain, but this gave us the excuse to head to the hills and visit a beautiful Monastery at Lluc. The Monastery was a mixture of art gallery, museum and cafes. It even had an indoor play area which kept Nelle happy and after wandering through the various rooms and monastery grounds we stopped on the way back at a great local restaurant for lunch.
During our stay I did manage to fit in a visit to the best nature reserve on the Island – Albufera Marsh in the North. If you want to experience close views of birds like Black-winged Stilts, Purple Gallinules and many egrets and herons then it is a very pleasant way to pass a few hours (free entry too). The rest of family spent the day at a nice sandy beach and managed to find a beach-front restaurant serving all you can eat breakfast buffet for around 8EUR per person. I missed out on this by the time I joined the others!
Food/drink and value for money:
The question is, is it still good value to travel to Europe?
There is no denying that it is not as cheap as it used to be years ago, and it is certainly much cheaper in Asia or outside of the EU. However, the combination of short, cheap flights with good quality food, safe resorts and almost guaranteed good weather (in summer) make travelling to Europe a good choice. Whatever happens this year with Brexit, this will remain the case.
We combined eating in our apartment (which had a small kitchen) with meals out. The cost of food in the supermarket was similar to the UK. If like me, you enjoy the odd glass of wine or beer you will find that wine is ridiculously cheap! (3-4EUR for some good local wines and not much more for better quality).
We seemed to end up going back to a great Italian restaurant, Ciao Bello di Salvatore in Port D’andratx. It served pizzas and pasta as close to real Neapolitan food as you will ever get outside of Italy. Five of us with drinks (soft drinks, wine and beer) for around 80EUR a time. Followed by some of the best ice creams I have ever tasted at the busy ice cream shop on the harbour and cocktails from a cool side-street bar.
We returned relaxed, tanned and missing our daily swims in the pool and in the sea. Not much more we would have wanted from a Summer holiday abroad.
If you would like to book a similar trip please do call me. It is the second time we have visited Mallorca and I can recommend lots of great places to visit as well as being able to book flights and car hire when they are at their lowest rates.
The pound may be weak but with a combination of inside knowledge and planning in advance it is possible to ensure you have the perfect European holiday.