We’ve just returned from an amazing (much needed) off-season family holiday in Mallorca, Spain. We love our current home in Berlin, Germany, but we are beach people at heart and we can only go so long without feeling sunshine on our skin! This four day getaway was so refreshing for all of us and I can truly say that, whenever you visit, Mallorca is beautiful and offers so much to do and see.
What to Wear:
Last year, we found ourselves in Barcelona in January (also amazing!), so we knew another winter trip to Spain would rid us of our cabin fever. While the water is definitely too cold to take a dip in, the weather still allows for barefoot walks on the beach during the daytime. On both of our winter visits to Spain, we were able to take our light jackets off on most days and pretty much lived in jeans and t-shirts for the entirety of our holiday. Layering is a good idea for everyone. Like any tourist destination, you’ll see people dressed in every way possible; people wearing everything from puffer jackets to tank tops. So don’t stress too much about fashion. Having a layer handy to take off and put on is a good rule of thumb. As far as shoes go, I wore my TOMS nearly the whole time, only switching to dressier flats for dinner (I used to always pack heels, but seldom do they actually get worn!). The kids wore sneakers the entire time, while Ben brought a pair of casual walking shoes and dressier shoes to wear to dinner. We packed perfectly and I felt that we were not dressed unusually for the climate or the setting.
Helpful Things for Families:
- A good umbrella stroller is practical- Three words for you: LOTS. OF. STAIRS. We often see people with bulky designer strollers when we travel around Europe, but there’s no way you can maneuver them on narrow passage ways and up and down all the ancient stairways in places like Mallorca! If you plan on truly SEEING the island, opt for a stroller you can fold up and carry (or, in some cases, carry with a sleeping babe or tot in it!). We brought our Chicco umbrella stroller with the zipper blanket insert and it was perfect. It was great, because it could fold up easily and quickly, and it also lays all the way back, making it ideal for a tired baby or toddler to take a nap.
- Babywearing is also practical- Most of our recent trip, I had our seven month old in a sling. It’s easy to move about and it also deters strangers from touching them. It’s weird how comfortable people everywhere are with touching babies they don’t know, isn’t it?!
- The bus system is excellent and inexpensive- We take public transit anytime we can when traveling. It’s educational for children and adults alike, as well as economical. If you want to mingle with locals and connect to your temporary community, public transit is a great way to do just that.
- Bring single euros for restrooms- Like most places in Europe, expect to pay 50 cents or one euro for using public restrooms. In Mallorca, we didn’t see a lot of public restrooms, however, most cafés offered restroom access for non-customers for the same price. Like anywhere, most restaurants and cafés do not charge patrons to use their restrooms.
- The island is very family-friendly- It may seem silly to mention that, but living in Germany (where people are not always welcoming to children), we think it’s good to note that Spanish culture is exceptionally warm and open to the presence of children and young families.
- You don’t need to pack car seats- We road in a taxi to our hotel the night we arrived, and the cab had carseats available. When we left, we took the bus to the airport, which was not only less expensive, but quite clean and fast. The one day we did rent a car, we used carseats offered by the car rental agency.
Things to Do:
- Visit the Palma Cathedral- The architecture will blow you away! It’s building began in 1229, and wasn’t completed until 1601! We loved that there were so many built-in seats in the stonework surrounding the cathedral to just relax and take in the views.
- Play in the bubbles in the cathedral courtyard- I’ll tell you what, the best travel memories for kids are rarely the planned activities on the trip itinerary! The gentleman creating gigantic bubbles for children to chase in the cathedral courtyard was a big highlight for our kids! Don’t forget to have some change handy for your littles to drop in his box to show appreciation for his efforts.
- Visit the Bellver Castle- Anytime you have the option of taking your kids to a castle built in 1311, of course you do it! It’s incredible to walk around the top of the towers and look out over all of beautiful Palma. The extraordinary cathedral looks so tiny from the top of the ancient castle on the hillside. Admission is extremely inexpensive (4€ per adult, free for children). It doesn’t take long to tour and we felt it was a great family outing.
- Go to Mercat de l’Olivar- Check out the local artists, craftsmen, artisans, and bakers at this wonderful market in Palma.
- Play on the playground at the bottom of the cathedral- A wonderful little break for kids to play and parents to regroup! If you’re looking at the cathedral, it’s to the right at the very bottom.
- Take the vintage train from Palma to Sóller- The train boards in Palma just to the left of the central train station in Palma. It takes a scenic route to Sóller, situated on the west side of the island. Offered with the ticket is a connection on the tram to Port de Sóller.
- Visit Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves)- These majestic natural sea caves in Porto Cristo were a huge hit with our six year old son! At the end of the multilingual tour (Spanish, German, English, and French), there is a spectacular classical music concert performed in the caves. A live mini orchestra streams in on a boat through the underground Lake Martel and plays for you in the dark cave, a concert which has been given since 1935! Afterward, you have the option to board one of the boats a ride the turquoise water to the end of the tour. It’s fun for the whole family!
- Take the glass bottom boat tour in Porto Cristo- After the one hour tour of the caves, walk the short distance to the port’s city center and enjoy a lunch before taking the glass bottom boat tour. We didn’t have time for this in our itinerary, but we regret not doing it! It’s said to be an incredible way to see the east coast of the island, and you get to check out all of the colorful fish through the glass bottom of the boat!
- See the sunset in Alcúdia as you eat ice cream on the beach- We rented a car for just one day during our stay, and we drove from Palma to Manacor and Porto Cristo, up to Alcúdia on the north end of the island just to take in the views and experience the more rural areas en route. The north side is super gorgeous and I think in the summertime it would be wise to stay on that end for the many seasonal activities it has to offer.
- Take the Hop On Hop Off Bus- Whenever we get to the final day of a trip and haven’t made it to a few key travel spots, we often jump on for the tour. They are great for families because 1. Everyone gets a seat (we take public transit a lot and kids do tire of being tossed about on packed buses/trains). 2. The tour has headphones so you can listen to cool facts in your native language. 3. Everyone enjoys the open top bus (when it’s sunny!). 4. It’s great for parents to sit comfortably and feed babies (Nursing mom over here!) 5. It’s inexpensive- this one was 34€ total and they didn’t charge for the kids. Their website advertised a higher price, but we purchased our tickets straight from the driver and it was much cheaper. Also, in the summer, you can add the boat tour for a small upcharge. We’ve taken the big red bus in several cities and have always enjoyed it!
For more pictures and details from our trip, visit our Instagram gallery and connect with us!