Autumn Adventures in Mallorca || Palma, Sóller and Valldemossa

When Adam and I were looking for a holiday destination last year, we ended up flying to Mallorca. This will be the first of two posts documenting that adventure as I’ve finally got around to looking through the photographs properly and actually doing something with them. The main reason we chose the island of Mallorca was because it was one of the main places that ticked all the boxes on our 2015 holiday checklist:

  • Cheap – unfortunately when you’re saving every penny, this was top of the list. Google Flights is a dream when you’re deciding where to go and don’t have a destination in mind

  • Sun – Preferably just out of season in the Autumn – once again, it makes it cheaper, but it’s also more fun exploring without the tourists!

  • Sea – I needed my dose of crystal clear water.

  • Good Food – an absolute must, something we both love.

  • Short Haul – We didn’t want to go for too long, so a couple of hours max on a plane would be best.

Mallorca came top of the list and fit into all these boxes. Plus, by booking into two different apartments with AirBnB, hiring a car for the week and getting the cheapest flights we could find, including food and spending money, the whole trip came to less than £250 each! Bargain!

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We flew into Palma and spent the longest most frustrating time stood in a really short queue waiting to pick up our hire car. Seriously, it was ridiculous. Luckily we somehow managed to eventually get to the front and drove off in our Ford Focus to find the first apartment – close to the centre of Palma. Mina met us at the door and we were satisfied that there was everything we needed to cook, relax on the little balcony and sleep in relative comfort (though air con would have also been preferable!). Still, you can’t complain when you’re paying about £25 a night! The apartment had been bought and furnished purely to rent out, but even when we asked for various missing items (such as, shock horror – a bottle opener!) they were provided really quickly.

On the first day, we went on an explore around Palma, Mallorca’s capital, and found a quirky hipster cafe for lunch, which quite possibly turned out to be one of the tastiest meals of the trip!

It was warm, but not too hot, easy enough to navigate, and the locals were very friendly. One guy in a corner shop even ended up giving us freebies when we went in to buy water, sangria and some snacks.

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So far, Mallorca was a great choice.

The day after, we’d decided to fulfill one of the main recommendations from friends, and get the wooden train from Palma to Soller (FYI a return ticket is €22 pp). Finding the station was a bit of a mission and it was boiling, so we arrived a bit flustered and sweaty (yum!) but as soon as the train rolled off, the welcome breeze cooled us down and we could admire the changing scenery. There’s even a section at the top of a beautiful valley where the train stops to allow you to take photographs!

Arriving in Soller then became apparent why it was recommended – not just to us, but to every single tourist on the island apparently! It was jam packed, and very pretty, but we wanted to explore a bit further out and started off on a walk to Port de Soller. You can get the tram from the Soller train station, but we assumed it wouldn’t take long at all and could enjoy a sunny walk together.

We were wrong.

It’s a good 5km route along mostly main roads. I’d get the tram if I were you!

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The port provided the beautiful blue sea and cafe lined promenade I’d been promised, so we sat dangling our feet in the water, drinking lemonade and eating ice cream in the sunshine before getting the tram, and train, back to the city.

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That night seemed the perfect opportunity to try out some local specialties and experience some culture so we headed into the main bustling centre and chose a lively outdoor restaurant doing a tapas deal. Crammed in, the tapas was nice, but not as varied as I’d hoped. The live music and copious amounts of sangria definitely helped! Afterwards, we indulged in new gelato flavours, really enjoying liquorice, and goats cheese and fig. Sounds bizarre, tasted great!

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We also made the mistake whilst in Palma of buying what we assumed was sangria flavoured juice and mixing it with red wine, only to then get utterly pissed because we were adding wine to “juice” which was already 8%.

From that day forward “turbo sangria” was the way to go.

Having a car made it far more fun exploring Mallorca and on the third day we ventured up to Valldemossa, a quaint stone town in the middle of nowhere. Winding roads through picturesque forests, mountains and vineyards, it was lovely to approach and we even managed to find some sneaky free parking quite close to the centre. Sadly the weather hadn’t quite held out for this day, but though the clouds looked thunderous, it didn’t rain and we wandered the streets amongst the bus loads of German tourists.

Evidently another point on the “things to do in Mallorca” checklist of every guidebook going.

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The cobbled streets were my favourite, with jungles worth of plants lining the walls, succulents galore and a beautiful Santa Catalina plaque embellishing every doorway. We also followed more recommendations to try the local delicacy -Coco Patata (potato cake). Personally, I thought it was a bit plain. Like eating a bread roll dusted with icing sugar. Not bad, but nothing particularly memorable either. Soz Mallorca, your bread cake ain’t got nothing on a cinnamon bun.

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Having a kitchen in the apartment meant we could cook most evenings, keeping our costs down. However, each day we decided to go for at least one meal out, and after returning from Valldemossa we wanted to visit the Santa Catalina market close to our apartment.

As it turns out, these markets had little mini restaurant stalls inside, and one of the most popular was Japanese. Both being big fans of sushi, we chose two high stools and treated ourselves to some mouthwatering courses including tuna tartare and various dim sum, accompanied by Asahi and champagne (because, well, why not?!).

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So far, our Autumn adventure in Mallorca had included the perfect balance of rest and exploration, urban and rural landscapes, mountains and the sea, and we had a jam packed itinerary ready to discover over the next few days.

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On the morning of day four we packed up and left our Palma apartment ready for the second half of our trip exploring the east and north of Mallorca and I’ll be posting part two featuring Arta, Inca, Polenca and Alcudia soon.