We’ve all been there. You go to the travel agents, turn the travel magazines inside out trying to find out all the information possible about your destination, you buy a few guide books or spend hours searching on the internet… However, all this will never truly give you a personal insight into what the island of Majorca is really like. You can look up what the local bars and restaurants are like; what sights there are to see; which are the best beaches… but only a personal perspective from people who have spent many years on the island, can really give you the insider info that you are looking for. This is where we come in at Gran Isla Hotels. Instead of providing you with information about what there is to do in Santa Ponsa or telling you why Palmanova is the right destination for you, we are going to provide you with quirky facts to help you better get to know the island.
If you think Spanish is the first language then you would be wrong. Officially, there are two languages spoken in Majorca: Catalan and Spanish. (Catalan is a language spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands in places like: Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante…). And the Catalan spoken in Majorca takes on a dialect that is called Mallorquí. This makes it quite difficult for even people from other areas of Catalonia to understand the Catalan spoken in Majorca as they use different words but because ‘Majorcans’ learn the Catalan taken from the books at school, they are able to understand most Catalan. For example, take a Geordie and a Londoner, they both use slang that the other wouldn’t understand even though they speak the same language. Furthermore, even though the majority of the population in Majorca are brought up bilingual in both Catalan and Spanish, the former is used in all aspects of administration and spoken more widely in villages whereas Palma city centre is where you’ll find that most people speak both 50/50.
Majorca is called Germany’s 17th federal state. There are many visitors that come from all over the world to Majorca. However, most live-in residents are Brits and Irish, and of course, beating them is an impressive number of Germans. There are an estimated 60,000 Germans living out the winter during the cold months on the island which grows immensely to 3.5 million German holidaymakers during summer. Places like S’Arenal and Can Pastilla (a 15mins bus ride from Palma) have become the hotspot for German tourists but live-in residents relocate to all areas of the island. The same goes for Brits and Irish; holiday destinations are Santa Ponsa, Alcudia and Palmanova where all our Gran Isla Hotels are based, but Palmanova, Magaluf and Palma, as well as other places, are where you will find them during the winter.
It’s an island for everything and everyone. Majorca isn’t an island that boasts all-year-round sun but that is why we like it. For in winter you can hike or mountain bike up the Tramuntana mountain range without collapsing in a pool of sweat, with the trails sans litter or visitors, so you can enjoy the serenity of this glorious mountain range, at your own pace. It’s an opportunity to really get to know the local people in the village markets as they go about their normal day-to-day lives. Knowing they don’t have a queue of people to get through means they have more time to chat and maybe you can practice some well-learnt Catalan phrases with them… Both winter and spring are perfect for cyclists to take advantage of the long and windy country roads and get ready for the Ironman Mallorca race that takes place in May. Spring is also the ideal time to see the true beauty of the island with all the flowers starting to bloom (like the almond trees, used in many local recipes for desserts) and temperatures are perfect, not too cool; not too hot, to allow you to explore the place leisurely. Summer is of course time for sun and beach but it is also when you can visit all the expositions, shows and performances in Palma and Alcudia, when the restaurants reopen for you to try the exquisite typical food and when family fun starts and doesn’t stop till October. No matter how old you are or whichever activities you like to do, Majorca has everything for you.
You can eat in a cellar. A typical Majorcan meal takes place in a traditional Majorcan setting: a cellar. These old wine cellars house rustic restaurants, adorned with barrels and old farming tools. There are many of these all over Majorca; all will sport the name ‘celler’ in front of them so you know for sure they’re the ones you’re looking for. In most of these you’ll be able to taste typical food like frito mallorquín, which involves various bits of pork or lamb vegetables, potatoes and herbs. They also come in large portions that make them worth your money.
Reconnect with nature. For all the bird-watchers, cycling and walking enthusiasts out there, S’Albufera, on the the north-east coast behind Playa de Muro, is the place to be. There is a wide network of trails for walking and cycling as well as more than 200 species of birds to watch like kestrels, egrets and purple herons. So take your folding chair and binoculars and enjoy nature in a calm and quiet setting.
Any other quirky facts you would like to share with us about Majorca? Then contact our Gran Isla Hotels team because we would love to know your experiences!