Majorca- things to do and places to visit
With an economy built around tourism, Majorca still has a few hidden gems that are worth exploring if you really want to see how the locals. From small villages to beaches and mega theme parks you can easily find activities for the whole family while in Majorca. The family and nature based activities are one reason why Majorca is able to draw in its own very healthy crowd despite the popularity of the other Balearic Islands; Ibiza and Menorca.
There is plenty more to the sunny island of Majorca than beaches. With caves, water parks, aquariums, museums, boat trips and much more, below are some ideas of places to visit and things to do on this beautiful island.
Open daily until 5pm during the main holiday season, the Arta Caves are fun for all ages given the fact that the chambers are split into sections that feature themes that stretch from Paradise to Purgatory. Spread out along the Capdepera coastline with mountains hiding them from sight, they are known for their historical role in history during the Crusades as a popular hiding location for those under persecution.
In addition, the caves feature a stalagmite that measures a total of 22m and fittingly named the 'Queen of Pillars.' Nearby there are also locations for rock climbers to try their hand at spelunking and above ground there are plenty of hiking trails that should appeal to the hiker in you.
A boat trip is a great way of seeing the spectacular coastal scenery of the island. Most resorts will offer boat trips, and many offer the opportunity to see some of the Mediterranean aquatic life with glass-bottom boats. If you are taking children on a boat trip, don't forget the sun block as the water reflects the UV rays increasing the possibility of sunburn.
Those who love aquatic life that do not want to get their feet wet may instead want to think about heading into the central area of Palma and paying a visit to the Palma Aquarium. The aquarium features a large amount of different marine animals and is quickly on its way to becoming one of the most popular aquariums in Spain. The aquarium itself is split into three different sections, 'dining with the sharks' where you can watch feeding time, The Big Blue that features manta rays, guitar sharks, barracudas and more, and the Old World where you will find the traditional aquarium staples such as crabs and sea horses.
Le Seu Cathedral
One of the charms of the Le Sue Cathedral is the fact that it sits along the waterfront of Palma allowing visitors to see both the beautiful structure and the dazzling waterfront. The Cathedral features a mix of both modern and primitive designs and offers everything you would expect from a Cathedral including a mix of high altars, bell towers, arches, and side chapels all placed together in Gothic design.
Marineland is a marine education centre and theme park about ten minutes from Palma and five minutes from Palma Nova .The park has sharks, penguins, tropical birds, a sea-lion and dolphin show and offers a great way to spend some time with the kids away from the beaches.
The entrance fee is around €24 for adults and €14 for children, but cheaper tickets and family deals are available from the Marineland website.
Calvary Steps, Pollenca
For more active tourists, the Calvary Steps at Pollenca are worth climbing for the stunning panoramic views of the island. There are 365 stairs leading up to a small chapel. If you happen to be in the area on Good Friday, the "Stations of the Cross" religious procession is the highlight of the towns calender.
After the descent, relax in Pollenca's main square which is one of the most attractive on the island, and has narrow streets and a medieval ambience. Tourists flock to the central square which has plenty of bars and restaurants offering a shady retreat from the summer sun.
The Museum of Contemporary Art that is located inside the building is also popular with visitors. Those travelling to Majorca during August will also want to try to make a trip up to the monastery to take part in the Chopin Festival which is an annual event.
Deia is a small village that is located in the northern part of Majorca and is known for its Moorish architecture. Although it is about a thirty minute drive away from the hotbed of activity in Palma, the village is a great example of traditional life in Spain that has not been doctored and adapted to meet with the tourism industry.
At Deia you will find some great literature, music, and artistic works in general all set against the backdrop of the Serra de Tramuntana Mountains. Every year there is a festival I Deia worth a stop for a true taste of the international flavour of Spain, but even during regular times of the year there are a few restaurants, hotels, and boutiques to keep you busy while in town.
Built in the 13th century, the Valldemossa Monastery sits along the high hills of Majorca in the Valldemossa region. It is one of the best known landmarks of the area since, due to its lofty location, you can see it from surrounding towns.
There are several water parks in Majorca with the usual array of slides, flumes and fun areas to cater for the whole family. Aqualand have water parks at El Arenal and Magaluf (Western Park) on the western side of the island, while Hidropark is located in Alcudia on the north eastern coast.
If you are going to visit a water park there are two things worth doing. Firstly make sure that you have the whole day available. In the height of the season the queues for the most popular rides can be quite long and the day will pass very fast. Secondly it's worth checking online to see if there are any discounts available for advanced online bookings. At Aqualand you can save up to 10% by booking online. Look out too for discount vouchers for Aqualand at hotels and the airport.
Aqualand (El Arenal)
Aqualand at El Arenal is open from May to September. Opening hours are from 10am till 5pm in May, June and September and stays open an hour longer in July and August. The facility is conveniently located and there is ample free parking immediately outside the entrance. Even in the height of the season the entrance queue is normally not too long. Make sure you pick up a park map at the entrance.
After paying, all visitors have to pass through the area where sales guides get visitors to pose with wild birds or snakes for a photo. You will not normally be allowed to take your own picture and the images are available to buy at the end of the day for around €10.
The water park itself is clean and well-maintained and the staff are friendly and efficient. If you need a locker the queues can be quite long and you need to pay a fee and a deposit which you get back on return of your key. Queues for the rides can be quite lengthy so visitors will be out in the sun for prolonged periods, so make sure that you splash on that sun cream.
Like other water parks, Aqualand operates a system whereby you can hire your own ring for the day so that you can shortcut some of the queues. This is well worth doing when the park is busy as you could easily find yourself queuing for up to half an hour for some rides. However these rings are not permitted on all rides. For more information see the Aqualand Website.
Western Park (Magaluf)
Located on the outskirts of Magaluf, Western Park is actually situated at the Ctra Cala Figuera a Sa Porrasa. You can easily get there by bus or drive over to the popular Majorca water theme park. The water currents are, of course, the main attractions, but you can also easily fit in an evening of wining and dining which makes the park attractive to those of all ages.
The diving spectaculars are also something worth seeing and are also great to watch while you dine at one of the fine restaurants located within the park. Open until 6pm daily during the peak season, the Western Park is one stop that you will not want to miss.