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Known as the larger island of the four in the Balearic’s and also a popular spot for young tourists looking to party, Mallorca is an idyllic destination with sunny beaches and boat parties, but it’s not all just fun and sun. Here’s a more comprehensive guide that will hopefully dispel some myths that it’s all just for the youth.
A few things about Mallorca
- Mallorca is the largest island in Spain, located in the Balearic sea. Its neighbours are the famous Ibiza, Menorca, its smaller cousin and the lesser known Formentera.
- The capital city is Palma de Mallorca and was founded as a camp for Romans’ upon a Talaiotic settlement.
- The population of the island is over 850,000 and half of that figure live within the capital Palma.
- The local language is mainly Catalan although a lot do speak Spanish and with the constant influx of tourists they are very accommodating with their ability to converse in English as well.
- The island has played host to many a famous person like Rafael Nadal who was born there, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones who lived there. Other notable people that have called this island home are English novelist Jeffrey Archer, Miquel Barcelo a contemporary painter who fashioned sculptures for the Palma Cathedral and Jean Emile Oosterlynck, famous Flemish painter who lived and died on the island.
- The name was originally from the Classic Latin insula maior which means ‘Larger Island’ this was then contemporised to become Maiorca ‘The Larger One’.
- The city has been passed from hand to hand by other countries and was a stronghold for Italian fascists up until 1950. Around this time a change came and the advent of mass tourism became the main source of income for the island, this attracted workers from mainland Spain.
- Speed limits are in km/h and road signs are generally in Spanish. The limits range from 50km/h in urban areas up to 120km/h on the freeways.
- It is a must to have your driving license and also an IDP(International Drivers Permit) anytime you are operating a vehicle on the island.
- Minimum age to drive a car is 18. Additional fees apply for under 25s when renting a car.
- Child safety seats must be used for children under 135cm in height or if they are under 12 years of age.
- The currency in Mallorca is the euro.
Airports in Mallorca
There is only one airport on the island and its name is Palma de Mallorca Airport(PMI), its located around 8.5 km’s from the capital, Palma. In 2018 the airport had over 29 million passengers pass through its gates and when compared with the under one million people living on the island it’s clear to see that tourism is a major part of the economy. You can fly from and to 50 domestic routes. There are flights for around 390 destinations internationally. Even though it is an island airport its deceptively large with the following available, 3 VIP lounges, 38 restaurants and cafeterias, 9,521 parking spaces, 192 check-in counters and 83 boarding gates, it seems enough to satisfy any traveller from everywhere.
Hiring a car in Palma De Mallorca Airport
With such a lavish area for an island airport you will not be surprised that car hire is a plenty. All the large names in car hire are there with physical desks, those being, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Goldcar, Sixt and Interent. When it comes to a more local brand there are companies that have pickup points at the airport but no physical desks, those being Centauro, Record go and OK rent a car.
Brief History of the Airport
Palma de Mallorca Airport has another name as well Son Sant Joan Airport. Built in the 1920s to serve as a postal stop for the other Balearic islands the airport has a rich history with its grounds being used as a military base from 1938. After the war the airport was expanded to allow for more airlines to arrive there which then led to the construction of a second terminal. The second terminal was opened in 1960 for domestic and international civilian travel. The airport reached a million passengers flying through it by early 1960 which was cause for more improvement taking it closer into the constructed island, four terminal, behemoth that it is today.
History of Mallorca
Habitation of this island dates back as far as the prehistoric settlements with the earliest signs of inhabitants being around 6000 – 4000 BC. Traces from the Neolithic period have been discovered that steer toward the ancient settlements of the Talaiots or Talayots. They were here during the Bronze age and raised structures that included burial chambers and defensive towers, it is said that the original inhabitants were a protection focussed race which is why they built so many of their towers or Talayots.
The next inhabitants of the island were supposedly the Phoenicians, seafaring people that would’ve had close to no knowledge of the Talaiots as the Phoenicians arrived in the 8th century. They birthed many colonies and eventually were under control of Carthage, North Africa. After a long drawn out 17 year war, the Second Punic War, the Phoenicians lost all of their possessions and the island was then ruled by the stars of colonisation at the time, The Romans. As per usual Roman habitation cities were established and Palma was born. It was named Palmaria at the time and the name dates back to around 120 BC. Salt mining, olive cultivation and viticulture were some of the trades that were established by the Romans on the island at this time.
It was smooth sailing for the Romans until around 427 AD when Gunderic King of Hasding Vandals and his Vandals, sacked the town of Palma and subsequently took control of the island. The King and his vandals used it as a base to loot and plunder settlements in and around the Mediterranean till the feisty Romans took it back in 465. It was then that Christianity began to flourish with countless churches being built.
The island continued to be fraught with disaster with Romans being attacked from the south by Muslim raiders from North Africa around 707 AD. Palma, for a while, became a predominantly Muslim town where the agriculture was improved through the introduction of irrigation.
Jumping ahead into what is known as the more modern era, the island again became the subject of much fighting amongst the Spaniards and North Africans who were known as The Barbary, in and around 1479. This continued on way into the 16th Century when the Spaniards even considered leaving the Balearic islands altogether.
Closer to today, last century the island became a stronghold for the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War which lasted for 3 years. Republicans attempted to drive the Nationalists from their home but with stern support from The Italian Fascists, the Nationalists air attacks were bolstered up and they won their island yet again. This is what is referenced when the Battle of Majorca is spoken about.
In 1983 Palma became the capital of the autonomous region that is the Balearic islands.
As with all of this region the history is complex and long. This is an abridged version of that history with more intricate details omitted.
Guide to Mallorca
Mallorca is not all sun and beaches, although they do boast some of the greatest in the Mediterranean, if not, the world. It is drenched in culture outside of revelling, there are countless historical sites, parks, UNESCO world heritage sites and then of course the party towns and endless clubbing that some of the island is incredibly well known for. So where to start? Well why not begin with the food.
One of the most famous dishes that is available in the great island of Mallorca is the breakfast dish that apparently can only be made properly on the island, it’s the sea air that assists the pastry, its known as the Ensaimada. The dish is a spiralled yeast pastry bun that is dusted with icing sugar and filled with cream or apricots, sometimes even filled with Sobrasada which is a Mallorcan sausage of sorts. A few of the most well-known spots to grab some of this deliciousness are places like Can Joan de S’aigo which there are 3 locations in Palma, the patisserie Forn d’Espont where the surprises come with the pumpkin sweet version, then there is the award winning patisserie Forn i Pastisseria Gelabert home to the dish and they will fill it with cream and strawberries till the heart is satisfied, a little bit of a drive from the centre of Palma.
Breakfast is done so now time to get into some of that incredibly important contested history. Start with a wander through the medieval town of Palma and you’ll find yourself bumping into that history because there’s so damn much of it. The Palma Cathedral or La Seu for instance, the gothic cathedral with the second highest nave in all of Europe, when it comes to Gothic cathedrals. Take a day trip to the increasingly popular traditional fishing village of Port de Soller, this is about a half hour drive from Palma but rewards await in the form of glorious fish restaurants that will make the taste buds sing with fresh delights. Starting with the waterfront, up market, delectability of Es Passeig where the dishes are filled with fresh seafood like the open California roll that is made using prawns from Soller itself, the menu is a little adventurous with dishes like Steamed Duck Dim Sum with Shiitake mushrooms but is quite traditional when they bring it home with Roasted fillet of Majorcan fish and saffron sauce. Slipping away from the nouveau and into the more traditional Kingfisher where they will pour the traditional fish into your belly. Their classics of Grilled Octopus with the compulsory Romesco sauce or the Cod Fillet ‘Firo De Soller’ with herbed couscous and a Pepperonata ragout lay themselves out for your pleasure.
Enough of lunching now time to beach the shoulders off. So many options here for sunning, whether the want is to be around the masses or sneak into a tucked away cave for some swimming in the birthday suit, Mallorca will provide. Coming in at around a whopping two kilometres is the first beach on every holidaymakers list, Es Trenc, this beach has managed to sustain its beauty by being declared part of the national park. Its shallow blue waters and untamed terrain are protected for all to enjoy. It’s about a fifty minute drive but its around 100 on the rewards scale. The most packed beach on the island during the summer time is Magaluf beach, a warning that this is where all the party goers are. Forgetting the madness that is Magaluf and presenting the picturesque setting that has been voted best beach in Europe at one stage, S’Aramador comes splashing in, providing the much sought after turquoise waters and rocky coves to fulfil all fantasies.
Whole day of history, food and beaching has been completed now its time to hit the town till all hours. Start the night at Sifoneria where drinks are mixed using syphons and the seats are from the crates. Loads of local wines and vermouth at reasonable prices. Next up on the pavement adventures is Abaco Cocktail Bar, which is situated in the old town, La Llonja, this place is a portal into how the island was enjoyed before, its cocktails and history in one. Finally Mallorca can’t be attended without visiting a club or a few, heading off to Tito’s International Club which has been featured in a couple of movies, it houses the usual VIP area and largish dance floor with balcony space on offer and even a VIP DJ experience, it has the look of a casino but still pumps the tunes. Next up Garito Bar and Club which opens around 19:00 and spills out onto the square. The background tunes are usually jazzy early on with the house coming around a little later, once warmed up, on the weekends they continue into the early hours with a 04:00 closing time. Round the list off with the wildest that can be attended, the most famous and largest nightclub on the island BCM Planet Dance, which from outside looks like a shopping mall, inside is packed with people and djs from all over the world, not one for the faint of heart.
Mallorca Car Hire FAQ’s
Cost of hiring a car in Mallorca?
All depending on what you are after and where you pick it up from. For a smaller rental around April for seven days with a pickup and drop off location of the airport you can get a Peugeot 108 or similar for around €6.27/day. If you are wanting a larger more luxurious vehicle then you could rent yourself an Audi A5 or similar for around €91.16/day. These prices change somewhat during peak seasons.
What is the cheapest car hire in Mallorca?
The cheapest car hire in Mallorca from ‘OK rent a car’ with the pick up of 16th April and drop off 23rd April, from the airport is Peugeot 108 or similar for around €6.27/day.
How much is it for an economy car hire per day in Mallorca?
An Economy car rental in Mallorca for April from ‘OK rent a car’ Peugeot 108 or similar for around €6.27/day. This is the cheapest available with the next car up being a Nissan Micra or similar for €6.93/day.
Which car companies operate out of Mallorca Airport?
All the large names have physical desks at the airport, those being Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Goldcar, Sixt and Interent. For a more local brand there are companies that have pickup points at the airport but no physical desks, those being Centauro, Record go and OK rent a car. All companies that you book with provide a complimentary transfer service from the arrivals terminal to your car and vice versa.
What’s the best way to get around Mallorca?
There are plenty of coaches that travel around the island for the longer journeys and there a few dedicated bus services for most of the coastal towns and cities. If you have only a few days or even you have the desire for many day trips then you’d be best getting a car to attend the more secluded beaches. If you want though, most of the island is accessible by foot and if your base is Palma a lot of the beaches are in walking distance.
Do I need an international license for Mallorca?
Drivers that are not from within the EU need to have an IDP(International Drivers Permit) and their personal license. Drivers from the UK will not need and IDP up to 9 months after the date the UK leaves the EU then for visits under 6 months your UK license will suffice.
What if I have an accident?
Contact the local authorities first then the car company that you hired the rental from.
Which side of the road do the Mallorcan’s drive on?
Are the roads dangerous?
Be wary when driving in a foreign country as the road rules are different and the locals may drive in a fashion that is not to your taste.
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