….At least when we decide to vacation there!
I’ll preface this by saying that despite all my negativity, the island of Mallorca is beautiful and worth visiting!
When we first booked the trip for what seemed like a bargain, the weather forecast showed nothing but sunshine and rainbows. We made plans to lay on the beach and soak in the sun. Getting closer to the date, though, revealed only rain and thunderstorms. It turned out to be a lesson in finding the good when things seem negative (being the pessimist that I am, I have a long way to go…) and I hope to share some tips and our experiences if you’re planning on traveling to Mallorca. I know a lot for next time.
We left for the airport at midnight to make the 2 hour drive and our flight at 4:45. Fortunately, Nic had gotten a couple hours of sleep beforehand but I was too stressed as always to sleep. We arrived on time but waited at what we thought was the correct terminal after asking the help desk. We waited and waited for the check-in line to form and thought it strange they would wait so long if the flight was in under an hour. It was the budget airline Ryanair so I assumed that the flight would be delayed anyway and didn’t think too much of it. When we finally got through the line, the lady told us we were in the wrong place and to immediately take the AirBus to the other terminal. And to hurry! It turns out that though we booked with Ryanair, we were flying with a different airline (I still don’t know why the help desk didn’t inform us of that). Lesson number one.
We made it through by the skin of our teeth and boarded the plane among the last few people. I’ve never had such a close call and sincerely thought we would miss the flight despite all the planning in advance.
Arrival and Palma
We arrived safely in Palma, Mallorca! Car rentals were pretty cheap but I really recommend getting the insurance for reasons to come. Got our rental car, found out they only had manuals, and I dreadfully realized I’d have to do all the driving because my stubborn husband doesn’t know how to drive a stick. I hate driving, so this realization added to my frustration of a long night of travel and the pouring down rain welcoming us.
The road systems were obviously planned by a drunk, sadistic person, so after several close calls driving in the city and way too many uncharacteristically strung together profanities, we parked and wandered for a while. The cathedral in Palma was interesting and impressive from the outside; I’d never seen one quite like it. I wasn’t very impressed by the city itself, or maybe I was too stressed from driving/dying, so after a lackluster, microwaved meal we set off for our hostel in the southeast of the island.
Our hostel was called Hostal Marblau in Cala Figuera. It wasn’t a typical hostel with dorm rooms, more like a little studio apartment, so was nice for us as a family and located right over a convenience store if we needed anything. I was able to communicate with the staff in German and was happy to get some practice. They were friendly and accommodating. We didn’t really explore this little town too much but liked the area and planned to go to an awesome beach with cliffs you can jump off of called Caló des Moro nearby. Did I tell you it rained almost the whole time? So we didn’t make it to the beach.
The main thing to redeem the fatigue, rain, and stress was the food in (on?) Mallorca. After a nap on the first day, we dragged our waterlogged bodies to some incredible tapas at Restaurant La Bodega Mallorca in Cala D’or. It was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had and one of the best cocktails as well. We could get as much tapas as we wanted for a fixed price and we have massive appetites for such short people (think hobbits), so obviously we got our money’s worth. The service there was wonderful, too. There are plenty of tourist shops and restaurants if you have time to walk around.
The next morning/afternoon was nothing but torrential rain but we decided to drive around the island regardless. A horrible parking lot incident left me almost in a complete meltdown in Sóller and we didn’t even end up walking around the town that day. We cut our losses and headed for Cuevas del Drach (the Dragon Caves) near Porto Cristo on the opposite side of Mallorca since it’s a good rainy day activity. Thankfully, the rain started to let up by late afternoon. We drowned our sorrows in paella and delicious sangria at Restaurante Flamingo, but unfortunately were too late to the Dragon Caves and didn’t get to visit. Instead, we enjoyed the rare view of the blue sky and beautiful harbor of Porto Cristo. The service here was not very good and pretty slow. Since we didn’t speak Spanish and wished to communicate, we asked the waiter if he spoke English or German. He shook his head with a deadpan look for both and after that, wouldn’t come back to the table until we basically chased him down.
We both wished we spoke Spanish to avoid occurrences like this!! I would strongly recommend learning a few simple phrases before visiting. Most times, even if we only used a few words, they realized we were making an effort and would gladly help.
We returned from dinner that day to a parking ticket on our rental car and I didn’t think much of it. While rental cars are pretty cheap, parking violations in Mallorca are not. Doing my research, it would cost us €60 if we waited more than 20 days to pay it, and €30 if we pay it sooner. WHAT?! You do not want to get a ticket here. Staying only 15 minutes after the time allotted is freaking expensive and complicated to pay. Apparently they will track you down even if you go home to another country and rack up even more money. Please, friends, if you learn anything from this post, don’t get a parking or traffic ticket.
The next day was supposed to rain but ended up being a full day of blue sky and sun, HOORAY! We decided to redeem our trip to Sóller on our way to the infamous Sa Calobra. When we returned to Sóller, we followed the recommendation from my German Mama Anja and visited Sa Fàbrica de Gelats for some excellent gelato. (Also, no traumatizing parking this time) We kept seeing oranges here and throughout the town so I wish I’d tried something orange-y!
There was some sort of race going on that ended in the main square, so we cheered alongside locals as the athletes crossed the finish line. Sóller was a cute town and easy to walk around. We explored for a while and eventually left to proceed through Serra de Tramuntana, one of the most scenic drives in the world (read: terrifying). Check out that harrowing experience here.
Ryanair’s baggage rules are pretty strict but a little more lenient when you travel with a baby. We took along the carseat since we had a rental car but probably wouldn’t have otherwise. The flight attendants on both flights were so patient and accommodating with us. We thought we’d have to gate check our bags and the carseat but we ended up bringing them on the flight. We could each bring a small carry-on and a personal item for ourselves for free, and had no issues going through security with a bottle of milk, formula, and all of Thom’s baby food.
We were lugging around an 8-month-old on the island but didn’t find it too difficult without a stroller. In each town there was a lot of rough ground and stairs so I suggest wearing a baby carrier if you’re able, though we might try investing in a small travel stroller for next time. Every place we went was very family friendly and we didn’t have any issues bringing a baby along with us.
Thom wasn’t a happy camper on the flight back (he was that baby) but after the long weekend we’d had, it was understandable. Those around us were friendly nonetheless and a sweet German girl in front of us kept turning around and playing with him to help calm him down.
When we got back to the airport, I got to have my first casual conversation with a stranger in German! It’s the little things 🙂
To Sum It Up
Bring lots of extra and warm clothes (I did not), plan for rain or shine (I did not), bring an umbrella (I did not), be prepared for everything “just in case”. I feel like it really was a lesson in learning what to do when things don’t go as planned and learning to stay positive. Please learn from my mistakes! 😛
Enjoy the food, the sunshine if you can get it, and experience the island at least once without an all-inclusive resort. There’s a whole other trip’s worth of ideas to do on Mallorca next time. If we return, I’d like to see the Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves), the Capdepera Lighthouse, and Valldemossa (I heard it’s the prettiest town on Mallorca). I’d also like to actually visit the beach Caló des Moro like we planned.
I got a lot of non-touristy ideas from this post if you’re looking for more information.
If you were to ask if I ever plan on returning to Mallorca, I would say ideally if I didn’t have to drive, there was no rain, and there were still few tourists. I don’t know if I’ll ever have an experience again with those conditions, so we’ll just have to wait and see 🙂
What else should we have done on the rainy days on Mallorca? What should we plan for next time?
Bis zum nächste Mal,