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Thread: Palma de Mallorca?

  1. #1
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Need to book an escape for the xmas..

    Barcelona looks like a good target, it's still almost 20C down there. I was thinking of a few days there before and after, and spend the xmas days in Mallorca (45 minutes flights).

    Found a nice hotel in the old town, Hotel Puro. They have an iMac at the reception -- always a good sign.

    Anyone been in Palma de Mallorca? Is there enough to hang around for 1/2 + 3 + 1/2 days?

    We take a risk with the weather but real heat is pretty far away this time of year..

  2. #2
    StBartFan2 is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2003 NYC & Berkshires, Ma Posts: 183
    We were in Barcelona and Ibiza for Thanksgiving week. The weather on Ibiza was mostly sunny and warm enough for just a light jacket. The island was quiet, which was great for us. Alot of places were closed, but enough open to enjoy for our three nights on the island. I think Palma will be similar. (We had a car and stayed outside of town.)

  3. #3
    DaveM is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2007 Posts: 234
    We've only been during summertime, but absolutely loved Palma. I think the Puro group has an urban beach type sister property on the water to the south east of the old town. Another very pretty beach is Illetas, to the southwest about 15 mins drive. St Elmo is also quite scenic and quaint, about 45 mins, also to the southwest. But Palma itself can keep you entertained for four nights, no problem.

    Sounds like a great trip!

  4. #4
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    20DEC AY 3269 HEL BCN /NOT VALID BEFORE 20DEC /NOT VALID AFTER 20DEC /FARE BASIS: UFPAY3C /Check-in will be closed: 16:40
    30DEC AY 3270 BCN HEL /NOT VALID BEFORE 30DEC /NOT VALID AFTER 30DEC /FARE BASIS: UFPAY3C /Check-in will be closed: 09:20

    At least we're skipping xmas at home now :) It's a four hour flight so I spent the extra miles for business class. Last time we had 8 small bottles of champagne so we'll do that again..

    Too bad there are no good flights to connect to Palma on the way in or out. Now need to shuffle the Palma flights and Barcelona hotels :)

  5. #5
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Sounds like a great trip---the hotel looks very chic and nice! Please report back. We are planning a non-sbh-trip, and have narrowed it down to Mallorca or one of the other Balearic Isles.
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  6. #6
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Just booked the hotels and rest of the flights.. B Hotel, Puro Hotel and Hotel Espaņa Ramblas. 3.5 days in Barcelona, 4.5 in Palma & the island. Two halves for relaxed breakfast and flights..


    I was looking into local xmas traditions and they are rather interesting.

    Caganer is a small figurine that is usually put together with the typically nativity scene. There's also a tradition to hide the Caganer and let children find it.



    The hundreds years old history is a bit unknown but it's considered a tradition and the it's thought to symbolize fertilizing the Earth. It's also about equality of all people regardless of status, race or gender. Makes sense.


    The other local tradition is Caga Tiķ, a log of Christmas (Tiķ de Nadal). It's a log with little stick legs and a broad smiling face, usually covered with a hat or a blanket. It's kind of a xmas tree.



    On xmas eve or day the family puts the tiķ next to the fireplace and orders it to sh.t. To make it s.it, they beat it with a stick and sing something like:

    "Sh.t log, s.it nougat, hazelnuts and cottage cheese, if you don't shi. well, I'll hit you with a stick, sh.t log!"
    "S.it log, log of Christmas, don't shi. herrings, which are too salty, s.it nougat which is much better!"

    The tiķ does not drop larger objects, as those are considered to be brought by the Three Wise Men. It does leave candies, dried figs, nuts and nougats. When nothing is left to "s.it", it drops a salt herring, a head of garlic, an onion or "urinates". What comes out of the tiķ is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone present.


    Seriously, I'm not making this up Both are old traditions and part of the lively local culture.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Denver, Co Posts: 2,817
    Crazy! You definitly need to report back after your trip! Have fun, happy holidays!
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  8. #8
    mgk5u is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2010 Posts: 29
    Yes, please report back! We are doing the same trip this summer-- 4 days in Barcelona, and 11 days in Mallorca (we rented a farmhouse), and I'd love good restaurant recs!!!

  9. #9
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Quote Originally Posted by mgk5u
    Yes, please report back! We are doing the same trip this summer-- 4 days in Barcelona, and 11 days in Mallorca (we rented a farmhouse), and I'd love good restaurant recs!!!
    Exactly what we are planning, as well!
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  10. #10
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    I'll summarize our trip in a few days :)

  11. #11
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    :)
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  12. #12
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 27,561
    I look forward to reading it, Petri. Welcome home, world traveler.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  13. #13
    GramChop is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2007 Austin, Texas Posts: 17,555
    I'm looking forward to reading all about it, Petri!
    The waves of the sea bring me back to me.

  14. #14
    mgk5u is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jan 2010 Posts: 29
    Petri, will you share details of your trip? We are doing a similar trip this summer, and I would love reccos!

  15. #15
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Ah, had forgotten.. I'll do it this weekend.

  16. #16
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    hooray! Looking forward to your post
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  17. #17
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Trip Report - The background and logistics


    November and December had been awful months -- very little sun, cold but not cold enough, plenty of grey, rainy days.

    Unfortunately we had just about a week available to take a break from the weather and xmas, and from Europe it's a tough one. If you want to see sun, one either gambles with the weather, flies to the Middle East, or flies long haul. We were in Abu Dhabi a year ago, and in my opinion one week trip isn't worth a long haul flight.

    So where to go?

    During the summer we spent time in Barcelona and other parts of Spain, enjoyed it a lot and the weather history looked promising -- Barcelona is very likely to have sunny weather, even if it's a bit cold.

    Looking at the map I found Mallorca. Ahh.. the traditional mass tourism destination for Europeans. Very popular even here in Finland since the 60's. Why not? It can't be that bad? And even if it's bad, it's still warmer than home and you don't need to return - ever.

    Flights with frequent flyer miles, reasonably priced hotels, good food, looks like a done deal! Just one request for xmas present -- good weather.


    A few days before xmas to the airport for an evening flight to Barcelona. Everything is smooth as always, and we enjoy some vintage champagne at the fabulous Wine & View Bar.



    The nice thing about the Helsinki - Barcelona flight is that as a 4 hour flight it gets better than average meals.



    With the mandatory in-flight champagne:



    We couldn't do four bottles this time, though.


    For the short Barcelona - Mallorca flight we used a local low-cost airline, Vueling. The flight itself was quite fine but not exactly something one would enjoy more than an hour or two:



    The flight was a codeshare with Iberia and we actually booked it on their web site. The price was the same, Iberia was just offering a package that included luggage. Vueling's own site offered everything as extra, including a paid option to select seat at the front, in the middle, and on the exit rows. One could even book so that the middle seat will be free.



    Barcelona airport was filled with xmas spirits (literally, too).




    We decided to do a few days in Barcelona, xmas in Mallorca in Palma de Mallorca, and again a few days in Barcelona before returning home for the new year.

    For the first part we chose B Hotel next to the Plaza Espanya. Very easy to arrive with the airport bus, next to a shopping mall, and next to a metro station. We used the same hotel last summer, too.

    The latter part in Barcelona we chose Hotel Espaņa a block from Ramblas. The hotel itself was fine and convenient location but I'm not sure if nearby Ramblas is actually preferred when in Barcelona. The city lives elsewhere.

    In Palma de Mallorca we stayed in Puro Hotel, a nice, modern hotel in the old town. Overall a nice experience, great breakfast (including Grey Goose vodka and Cava!), and for the 5 night stay we got a nice room on the top floor with easy access to the rooftop sunbeds.



    Sunshine, bottle of cava from the grocery store, what else do you need?

    We didn't expect any beach activities this time of year so the hotel was pretty much perfect. Plenty of restaurants in the neighboring blocks, easy to access from the airport.


    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. #18
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Thanks for the review and photos! We have looked at Hotel Puro---sounds great!
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  19. #19
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Barcelona

    We've been to Barcelona a few times, so nothing new as such. We didn't plan to do any major sightseeing, just happy to enjoy hopefully good weather, great food and some shopping.

    Unfortunately it turned out that the xmas sales don't start until early January so very little was for sale. Luckily there's the aftermath of financial crisis, especially in Spain, and some stores, like our favourite Desigual, had some sweet deals.



    Here the traditional food for xmas is actually fish. The TV news reported how much the prices for fish increase for the holiday season.



    Back at home everyone was waiting for the sea to freeze. Not here.

    And some brave people even went for a swim. Or perhaps they were british tourists.



    Small alleys were nicely decorated.



    And the sunny weather lured plenty of people for a nice stroll on the Ramblas.



    To give a try for some shopping, we even decided to take a bus to the outlet mall. And on the way to the bus stop, we managed to infiltrate an asian group going to the same place.



    A nice lunch on a terrance in Port Vell. Good enough, and one can't do this in Finland. In December.





    And some cozy dinners as well.



    We actually went twice to this restaurant, the first visit was so great that we wanted to go again on the last night to make sure we leave the city with great memories. http://carmelitas.biz/

  20. #20
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Arrival to Mallorca



    Looks promising. Blue ocean. Clear sky. Sun.



    .. but.. but.. wasn't this supposed to be a beach destination?

    And the eagle landed.



    And we were well greeted by this shiny phenomenon.



    .. followed by a nice lunch on a terrace.





    I've always assumed that oranges come from supermarket. Especially in December.



  21. #21
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Palma de Mallorca

    Around the city.

    A major winter boat storage destination in the Med.



    The spanish take the nativity scenes very seriously.



    A local mafia band is ready to play.







    A dream!





    Even public parks are nicely decorated for the xmas.



    But they do take the lights seriously.



  22. #22
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma (La Seu)

    The huge cathedral is the main sight in Palma and very hard to miss.











    We even decided to visit the xmas night mass, just to see what's happening.



  23. #23
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    The Waterfront

    Probably the most amazing thing in Palma is the waterfront. Especially in the winter when the city is quite sleepy and the beach isn't at full swing.




    From the old town one can stroll either towards the harbor.


    .. or towards the airport where one can see people doing this and that.






    It's pretty warm for xmas in the sun.


    I know the feeling.


    .. so it's time for a lunch as well.

  24. #24
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Cap Formentor

    It's time to see something else, too. We decide to splurge some serious money and rent a car. For 8 euros we got a Huyndai i30 for a day, it wasn't even the cheapest option and with a 60 cent discount our total charge was 7.40 euros.



    We decide to travel along the northern coastline tovards Cap Formentor, a lighthouse at the northeast corner of the island.







    A lunch stop in Port de Pollenįa.




    Our destination, Cap Formentor.


    Menorca in the horizon.


    Some serious cliffs out there.


    There.





  25. #25
    katva is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Posts: 4,764
    Wow--these are great! Exactly what I was looking for :) Our tentative itinerary is very similar. Thank you so much for posting this!!!
    If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room :)

  26. #26
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Time to return


    Some souvenirs from Barcelona.


    The spanish TSA didn't care.


    Ah, glassware!


    .. and some airline food.


    .. and four hours later.

    To celebrate the new year.





    Summary

    Well, the raw fact is that Europeans go to Mallorca for one reason -- weather. It is very, very likely to have sunshine and we had just the perfect winter weather in both Barcelona and Mallorca, can't get any better in Europe. The island is especially favored by the british and germans.

    Palma itself is quite a small, a bit boring city. You can see the major sights in a day, the next day you'll be wondering about all the houses and places that look like they've been there for the last 40 years and nothing has changed. The old town is cozy, the narrow alleys are nice to wonder around and get lost, and the cathedral is a must-see.

    As always in the Med, the food is pretty good. Spain can't compete with the french or italians but it's good, fresh, and usually sea-oriented. We never had a disappointing meal (our preference would be something less fancy, less touristic, and local). Spanish wines are also a safe choice and tapas (pintxos) are a great alternative if one doesn't feel too hungry.

    The island itself offers several days worth of sightseeing. We managed to see just one side but I'm pretty sure there is more to see. What was actually interesting is that we didn't see a single large masstourism hotel. I guess they are on the southern shore or south from the airport which we managed to miss. Not that I complain..

    I would most definetly recommend renting a car to see rest of the island. I would also recommend visiting the other Balearic islands, or at least Minorca as it's just next door.

    In many ways Mallorca was very similar to Rhodes island, similarly popular tourist destination in Greece.

    We enjoyed our trip, it was in every way above expectations. We didn't fall in love with Mallorca but we're happy that we've been there now. We enjoy Spain very much and are always ready to return to the country, maybe not Mallorca but rest of the country for sure.

    I think the best part of Spain so far has been the Pyrenees (see Montanas trip report)

  27. #27
    amyb is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 27,561
    Petri, thanks for the photo journal. I get a kick out of seeing the world through your eyes and lenses.

    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  28. #28
    Petri is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jan 2004 Helsinki, Finland Posts: 7,968
    Thanks, I enjoy your restaurant photos even more, and I try really hard not to gain weight just by looking at them :)

  29. #29
    julianne is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2003 CT Posts: 3,136
    Thank you for the extensive report. Your trip descriptions and photos are marvelous.We went to Mallorca many years ago and it didn't appear that much has changed. It obviously accomplished just what you wished--a sunny, scenic winter getaway. It wasn't high on our list of places but we were glad we visited while we were in Spain. Can't wait for your next travelogue!

  30. #30
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Denver, Co Posts: 2,817
    Wow, thank you for your report, and the photos are awesome, Petri !!!! I really love the photo of the waterfront; Palma ; with the palm trees and the water......and the couple of cap formentor; they look like California raods almost!
    I have always wondered about that island; and I thank you for the great info! Very nice.
    It makes me even more excited for our upcoming trip to another island; Sicily in May !!!!!
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

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