Sunday April 17th MHC Walk – Soller

fornalutx-to-soller-walk-mallorca hiking

Hello Mallorca Hikers!

If you are not already enrolled in Mallorca Hiking’s residents’ walking Club and would like to join, there is still the opportunity to sign-up with a special 50% discount (call Fiona – details below)

The next MHC walk is scheduled for Sunday 17th April. One of our members John Ballard has very kindly offered to lead this lovely circular walk –

Soller and surrounding villages

John is an experienced walker himself and has led many groups of walkers in the past. Please read the walk description carefully, consider the grade we’ve given it (moderate in this case) and make sure you are happy that it is a level you can cope with.

We’ll meet at 10.30 am at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens on the road to the Port of Sóller and we should be finished by about 4.30pm.

The programme for the day is slightly different to last time. In total we will walk about 3.5 to 4 hours (excluding stops): 2.5+ hours before lunch and then 1+ hours after lunch depending on the speed of the group. But you’ll be pleased to hear that the walk after lunch is easy and downhill all the way!

We’ve organised a delicious set lunch at the Es Turó restaurant in Fornalutx, which has a fabulous terrace (with even more fabulous views) where we’ll eat provided the weather is still good. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy some apres-hike fun and relaxation. Please note that for the main course there is a choice between roast pork and vegetables and fish with vegetables – please let us know when you sign up for the walk, which one you’d prefer.

The price for the day is:
* 5 euros contribution to Mallorca Hiking for organising everything
* 15 euros + service to the restaurant for 3-course lunch including wine
* If you’re getting a lift from another member please offer to contribute to their petrol and the toll for the Soller tunnel.

We’ll be limiting the number of people in the group to 20 + 2 guides, so if you’d like to join us please let us know as soon as possible! Friends and family are very welcome to join us if there are still places, but Club members are given priority. We’ve posted the walk on Facebook, and will post a reminder during the week, so if you can please respond via a comment on these posts. We need final numbers by latest 5pm Thursday 14th April please.

This time don’t forget to bring your cameras and take lots of snaps as we’ll be running a photo competition during the week following the walk. The winner gets to come on next month’s MHC walk for free (excluding lunch).

We’ll be posting the winner of last month’s quiz over the next day or so. Watch that space!

We look forward to seeing you on the 17th. Until then happy hiking!

Best wishes, Fiona

Fiona McLean
+34 635 393 402

Mallorca Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey with Mallorca HikingBirds of Prey are not necessarily what you’d expect to see in brochures about Mallorca, but just as many other mountainous regions of the world are famous for their giant birds, so too are the Sierra Tramuntana of Mallorca. Off the beaten track with Mallorca Hiking, we often see these graceful birds gliding high in the sky above mountain peaks – graciously drifting up and down as they connect with warm thermals rising up from the lower valleys. Today we’re going to introduce you to some of the birds of prey you might see on one of our guided walking tours.

black vulture mallorca hikingThe most famous birds of prey resident in Mallorca are the Black Vulture. They were close to extinction in 1982 when only 20 birds survived as the only island vulture population in the world. However, thanks to a number of conservation initiatives introduced – initially by the Balearic Natural History Society and Ornithological Group and then the Black Vulture Conservation Group (BVCG), the black vulture population now stands at 120 birds with 15 mating pairs. With a wingspan of nearly 3 metres and a brown and black plumage, they glide majestically over the peaks of the Tramuntana range – make sure you have your binoculars ready for a closer look and if you’re lucky they may be close enough for some impressive photos.

Below is a video taken from a permanent nestcam positioned high above a vulture nest in the Tramuntana mountains. You can see more video footage here: BVCFMallorca

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9000AQwnd1M&feature=player_embedded

Other impressive birds of prey that you’ll see on Mallorca include the Griffon and the Egyptian Vulture, the Booted Eagle and Eleonora’s Falcon. A good place to see these fabulous birds is in the north of the island – the Boquer valley, the Albufeira reserve and Cap Formentor are all excellent spots, and are all within just a few miles of each other. The island of Dragonera in the southwestern tip of the island is a superb bird sanctuary and particularly popular for Eleanora’s falcons.griffon vulture mallorca hiking

Apparently in 2008 after some very heavy storms, around 100 Griffon Vultures landed in the Balearics. Most have since departed but quite a few settled here in the Cuber lake area. The Griffon vulture has a very white bald head, a broad wingspan of nearly 3 metres and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff and yellow bill. Vultures have a life span of between 50 and 70 years, with one reported case of 118 years!

Egyptian vulture Mallorca Hiking

The Egyptian Vulture is a rare sight in Mallorca. It is very distinctive with an underwing black and white pattern and wedge-shaped tail. Like other vultures it soars on the thermals. It has been seen to use stones to break the eggs of other birds, making it one of the few birds that makes use of tools.


Booted Eagle Mallorca Hiking

The Booted Eagle is another predator that lives in the mountains of Mallorca. It is a medium-sized bird of prey of about 47 centimetres in length and has a wingspan of 120 cm. It hunts small mammals, reptiles and birds.

eleanora's falcon mallorca hiking

Eleanora’s Falcon is a large and slender falcon, with long, narrow wings and a relatively long, rounded tail. This species comes in two quite different colours, a light and a dark plumage. It has a wing span of about 1 metre and can be seen throughout the Mediterranean islands – particularly in Greece.

If you want to see some of these wonderful creatures up close, and get a better idea of what you’re looking for in the wild, there is a fantastic Falconry show at La Reserva in Puigpunyent. You can view first hand the elegance of these wonderful birds with an impressive flight demonstration.  The falconer also demonstrates some training techniques and tells you all about the various different types of birds – well worth a trip..

Mallorca has a wide and rich range of interesting bird-life (and is a popular destination for birding holidays) and here we have introduced you to only 5 of our most majestic inhabitants. Watch this space for more bird-related articles, and why not come along on one of our Tailor Made holidays and see how many different species you can spot – don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

(click on an images  for the enlarged slide-show)

The Moors and the Christians

Moors & Christians1 Mallorca HikingThe second Monday in May (the 9th May in 2011) is a massive fiesta in the Sóller calendar. Much of the activity revolves around the annual re-enactment of the famous battle between the Moors and Christians originally fought on the beaches on 11th May 1561.

Celebrations commemorate a battle won by the bravery of the Pollença citizens who fought against 1,500 Moors led by the fearsome pirate Dragut. Probably the biggest pirate attack ever to be launched  on the island was thwarted primarily by the bravery of local hero, Joan Mas.  His warnings and  his heroic launch into battle, leading his local kinsmen to attack the pirates landing on the beaches, saved the day.

The initial “attack” comes by boats from the sea and onto the beach near the pier in Puerto de Sóller; the action then moves down the coast –  accompanied by Moors & Christians Mallorca Hikingtraditional Mallorquin music. The battles then move into the town centre, where historically both men and women rise up against the pirates.

The whole town of Sóller gets involved in some way in this fiesta. The two warring parties are easily identified as the Moorish troops wear dark make-up, but sometimes within the chaos and modern day enthusiasm for the fight it is hard to see who is actually winning. Needless to say lots of food and drink is consumed and everybody – both participants and spectators have a thoroughly good and very rowdy time!

As well as a huge street party, there is also an amazing fireworks display in the evening. From about 8 p.m. everyone who has taken part in the battle arrives at the Plaza. Here everybody joins in the biggest “fight” of the day and the noise is quite deafening – thick clouds of smoke fill the village square. Banks and houses are “robbed” by ladder-wielding pirates; bodies are strewn everywhere as the enactment mimics history with people hanging from trees, and blood-stained clothes adding to the dramatic effects. Finally victory is announced and the village joins as one singing La Balanguera – the hymn of Mallorca. Now all become friends again and the party really begins!

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Moors & Christians Mallorca Hiking

Music and festivities continue late into the night.

Es Firó is the biggest and most dramatic fiesta that takes place in Sóller. It is well worth experiencing, so if you can get to Mallorca in early May it’s a great time of year to combine a walking holiday as well as some serious partying!

If you can’t take time off, take a look at our tailor made walking holidays – we can organise a walking itinerary especially for you and your group, exactly when you want it…

We hope to see you soon…

Welcome to a new walking season!

walking in Mallorca

Let's walk...!

We recently uploaded our new schedule of walks for every Wednesday – do take a look at the Calendar on our website for more details.

Click on any Wednesday and you’ll see a summary walk description below the Calendar. Click on the title of the summary, and you get full details of the walk scheduled for that day.

We’ve scheduled a walk for every Wednesday until the end of November so do come and join us. In December we have something different in store for you, so watch this space! Even better, please become a fan of our Facebook page – don’t forget to click the “like” button, and then you’ll be kept well up to date with all our activities.

Please remember, Wednesday walks cost:

walking in Mjorca

The beautiful Sóller valley

  • 35 euros per person
  • 25 euros per person for Mallorca residents
  • 20 euros per person for members of the Mallorca Hiking Club

From November we’ll be offering additional walks at weekends and on other days of the week.

And if none of the hikes we’ve scheduled fit in with your plans, then contact us and we’ll arrange a tailor-made day out especially for you and your party. For more details check our website: blog.mallorcahiking.com

Or join us on Facebook and Twitter

We hope to see you all soon!

Tramuntana as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

This week 2 big celebrity visitors to the island supported Mallorca’s application for the Tramuntana mountains to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (officially defined as a site with “special cultural or physical significance”).

Rock legend Patti Smith and her band were playing in the magical setting of the gardens of Palau Comtes d’Aiamans, in Lloseta, at the feet of the Sierra de Tramuntana (how appropriate!), and Michael Douglas – a long time ambassador to Mallorca and property owner in the Tramuntana – is on one of his regular visits to the island with wife Catherine Zeta Jones and family.

If you’d like to help preserve this fabulous natural resource for all outdoors and nature lovers, why not join the growing band of supporters for this application? Take a look at the following link on Facebook (it’s mainly in Catalan, which is a bit of a challenge, but you can get the general gist!)

PER QUE LA SERRA DE TRAMUNTANA SIGUI DECLARADA PATRIMONI DE LA HUMANITAT. PARA QUE LA SIERRA DE TRAMONTANA SEA DECLARADA PATRIMONIO DE LA HUMANIDAD.

Happy hiking!

A different hiking concept

Mallorca Hiking has started collaborating with Mallorca Rural Experience, an enterprise from Artà that has launched a very interesting and different hiking concept.

Mallorca Rural Experience is a 4 hours guided activity (in English) that features several key elements:

Local food and wine

Picnic on top of the lookout

  • The circular route runs inside a private farm, which means that you don’t find other hikers than those who come with your group.
  • The path has got a great part of shade thanks to the majestic Holm oak forests, a distinctive characteristic of the farm considering its location next to the deforested Natural Park of Llevant and surrounding mountains.
  • A very original sensorial circuit lets you discover new sensations and definitely brings our body and mind to a new status, ideal to immerse yourself into a true natural experience.
  • Several human heritage remains (lime kilns, charcoal platforms…) have been restored in order to let you learn more about the rural traditions of Mallorca.
  • The path features an ascension to a marvelous lookout on top of a mountain, from which you are able to enjoy fantastic views over the East part of the island.
  • A delicious picnic consisting in local food and wine is enjoyed under the pines on top of the mountain, a very pleasant moment for the whole group.
  • Organic agriculture is nowadays carried out in the farm. During the walk we can see and learn about sheep ranching, fruit trees, almond trees, vegetables and a lot more.
  • The itinerary is not particularly hard and the paths are well kept, which means that the excursion is suitable for all ages, particularly interesting for children because there are dynamic activities and animals.
Alternative hikes

Sensorial circuit

The relaxing environment of this walk is impressive, as the farm is located in a protected area far from villages and crowds. During the excursion you might only hear sheep bleats, singing birds, moving treetops and your own footsteps. You can achieve a very special mood while trying the peculiar sensorial circuit, barefoot and blind over different materials and cold water, quite an amusing activity too. In the orchard and vegetables patch you are invited to try any available fruit or vegetable, if there are any (depending on the season). What can taste better than a freshly picked fruit? At the end of the walk, you almost feel like knowing this farm since a long time ago. But what it is for sure is that you will bring with you a wonderful and clear picture of the authentic rural Mallorca.

For all these reasons, this rural walking activity is suitable not only for those who want to get a deeper insight into Mallorca’s culture and nature, but also for those who want to evade themselves from the touristic side of Mallorca. The unique, modest and authentic element of this farm captures your senses in an unforgettable way.

 If you want to know more about this different hiking concept you can visit www.mallorcaruralexperience.es or email mallorcaruralexperience@gmail.com .

 

Introducing the Mallorca Hiking Club – our new residents walking club

Mallorca ResidentsHiking Club Introducing Mallorca Hiking’s new residents* walking club

(Be sure to see the Special Introductory Offer at the end of this article – but read the article first!)

You may have been living in Mallorca for a short time or have had a home here for many years – but the reality is that you probably still haven’t seen even a small proportion of this beautiful island that we live on.

It is also true for many of us that we get very tied up in our work and family lives and we neglect the opportunity to switch off, relax and make the effort to explore the island on our door step, and just enjoy our surroundings. Well here is your opportunity to do just that, and at the same time to meet like-minded people, make new friends, and much more by joining our newly formed Mallorca Hiking Club.

Mallorca Hiking has been an established Guided Walking and Tailor Made Holiday provider in Mallorca for more than ten years. We’ve had many locals using our services and joining our walks through the years, and we know how much you enjoy “getting out there”. We now want to develop this into a local hiking community; a walking club that enjoys the social aspects of walking as well as the obvious benefits of discovering new places – and of course the physical and health benefits of a good walk.

The Mallorca Hiking Club will consist of walkers of all ages and levels of ability, so if you’re a beginner, you won’t feel like the odd-one-out as there are bound to be other beginners walking with you. Likewise, there will also be experienced walkers who can offer advice and useful tips. In due course, we’ll also have separate walks to suit different levels of ability.

Why  Join the Mallorca Hiking Club

  • Get outdoors, enjoy nature and discover more of our beautiful island – away from the madding crowd!
  • Meet a whole variety of new people with a common interest – gone will be the Sundays you would have liked to go hiking, but all your friends were busy or didn’t want to go with you…
  • If you don’t have your own transport, there’ll always be someone who can give you a lift to the start of a walk and back again…
  • If you’re a beginner, you won’t be the only one, and even if you are you will benefit from the support and experience of more seasoned walkers;
  • Share your knowledge and experiences of the island, and benefit from other member’s knowledge and experience – whether it’s places to walk, the best places to buy gear, great restaurants….
  • Experience something new and different, and meet someone new every time you come along for a walk
  • Discover fabulous hostels, country restaurants, bars and cafes where you’ll often benefit from club discounts
  • It’s a healthy activity that doesn’t require expensive memberships, equipment and a lot of time commitment to maintain your position
  • Bring along visiting friends and relatives – it’s an easy way to show them parts of Mallorca they would not have discovered (and you may not have known yourself!)
  • Enjoy lots of other fun events, outings and Mallorcan discoveries…

There will be a small annual fee to join the Mallorca Hiking Club and members will enjoy the following benefits:

  1. At least one guided walk per month – on a Saturday or Sunday or fiesta
  2. We’ll organise transport among members so that those without cars get a lift with other members to the start of a walk (and back)
  3. A varied schedule of walks in all parts of the island exploring mountains, flatlands, countryside, coves, historical landmarks…
  4. Club discounts from selected hiking/walking shops in Mallorca
  5. Hints, tips and advice on all aspects of walking
  6. Introductions to, and Club discounts at some of the best kept secrets around the island – restaurants, Agroturismo’s…
  7. We’ll organise regular, special outings such as hiking/boating combo days, wine tours, dinners…. as well as walking weekends away, for Club members and their friends and families
  8. Friends and Family Discounts for Mallorca Hiking’s walks and holidays, whether scheduled or tailor-made
  9. A fun, social element for those who want to join in Après Hike activities (why should skiers and golfers have all the fun?)

And the fee for joining the Mallorca Hiking Club? The good news is that this will be a very low annual joining fee (how low will surprise you!).

There will be a 5€ contribution payable to Mallorca Hiking for each monthly walk to cover the cost of organising the day, many ‘phone calls, logistics…

For members without a car, there is a 5€ contribution towards petrol etc. payable directly to the member giving you a lift. For members who have their own car and choose to share transport with other members, or “take it in turns” to drive, can sort out contributions (if any) between themselves!

The actual joining fee will be announced on the 20th of February – but for this week only you can get free membership to the Club by doing the following:

  • Publish the link for this article on your Facebook Wall (just hover your mouse over the Launch Offer image to the left and click Share)
  • Invite and join at least two friends to our Facebook Page
  • Leave a Comment on our Facebook Page letting us know you would like to be a “Founding Member of the MHC” (Mallorca Hiking Club)

Of course we would be even more excited if you actually shared our Facebook Page with all your friends – but to get free membership (just for this week) hop over to Facebook and complete those 3 simple tasks.

Following us on Facebook will keep you updated on all our activities; news; hints; tips; discounts and more – so if you haven’t already become a Fan here’s the link.

Imagine the fresh air in your lungs; the incredible changing scenery of each monthly excursion; lively conversation with new friends; magical historical and cultural discoveries; quaint restaurants and hillside inns for a local speciality lunch; views from the tops of Mallorca’s incredible mountains; learning about all the best equipment and techniques for all levels of hiking and most important of all a fit, energetic, healthy body and mind looking forward to the next outing…..

Mallorca Hiking Club – be a Pioneer Member – Join now!!

*Living on the island permanently or for a large part of the year is the only criteria needed to join the club. Official Spanish residency is not required.

Active aging and the benefits of Nordic Walking

 

Nordic Walking in Mallorca, Active ageing, active aging, benefits of Nordic Walking

Nordic Walking in Spain

 

As you probably know by now, the population is getting older in average due to the extension of lifespan. Medicine, food and exercise are the main drivers of this phenomena, leading to fitter and healthier seniors. Todays’ 40-plus generations are either thinking about or actively trying to not become “the oldies that do not participate anymore”. Instead they are more eager, able and willing to continue eating healthy and practicing sports in order to enjoy an interesting social life when they retire: family issues (which can actually be thrilling and demanding), travelling, performing (music, theatre, dance, etc.), studying, (volunteer) working, and many other leisure activities are also a seniors’ thing. This rich social interaction will probably help them to prolong their capabilities in time.

In this post, we want to support the international movement of “Active Aging” by highlighting the benefits of Nordic Walking. To better understand the meaning of active aging, we think that the explanation from the World Health Organisation’s website is very helpful:

“Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. It applies to both individuals and population groups. Active ageing allows people to realize their potential for physical, social, and mental well-being throughout the life course and to participate in society, while providing them with adequate protection, security and care when they need. The word “active” refers to continuing participation in social, economic, cultural, spiritual and civic affairs, not just the ability to be physically active or to participate in the labour force. Older people who retire from work, ill or live with disabilities can remain active contributors to their families, peers, communities and nations. Active ageing aims to extend healthy life expectancy and quality of life for all people as they age. “Health” refers to physical, mental and social well being as expressed in the WHO definition of health. Maintaining autonomy and independence for the older people is a key goal in the policy framework for active aging. Aging takes place within the context of friends, work associates, neighbours and family members. This is why interdependence as well as intergenerational solidarity are important tenets of active aging.”

Now this is where Nordic Walking and Mallorca Hiking have something to contribute. This fantastic sport has got a large number of benefits and it is considered as one of the ideal sports for almost all humans in different ages because of the following facts:

1) Nordic Walking is one of the most effective cardiovascular workouts (together with cross country skiing) because when doing Nordic Walking you use all your major muscle groups in your body.

2) Recent studies by the Cooper institute in Dallas showed that Nordic Walking burned more calories, increased oxygen consumption and can be up to 46% more efficient than normal walking.

3) Nordic walking is great for weight loss as you burn more calories compared to walking without poles.

4) Nordic walking is generally a very “kind” sport for the rest of your body and less stressful for knees, back.. compared to regular walking, jogging or biking.

5) By adding the poles and a correct Nordic walking technique to your walk, you increase the total use of your muscle mass from approximately 70% to 90% while increasing your heart rate significantly.

Nordic Walking Mallorca

Nordic Walking in the woods

Moreover, we need to add another few but very important issues that might lead to a greater popularization of Nordic Walking in the future. The price is not a barrier because if you want to exercise Nordic Walking on a regular basis you only need comfortable sport shoes and a pair of poles, and that’s it! Since you are most likely to be walking in the outdoors (and preferably in the nature), you will receive all the benefits of (hopefully) fresh clean air, sunshine (D vitamine amongst others) and quietness (relaxed mind). Nordic Walking is generally a very safe sport and the risk of injuries is very low. Nordic Walking is also a very social sport as it is often done in pairs or groups (you might even have a Nordic Walking club or association very close to where you live!). It is easy to learn a proper Nordic Walking technique and easy as well to keep it up. It is a sport that is suitable and has got benefits for everyone; from the absolute beginner to the fittest sportsman or woman.

Mallorca, and especially the East part of the island (Llevant), is very attractive for exercising Nordic Walking due to its natural quality, its fantastic landscapes and the fabulous climate. Mallorca Hiking’s guide Nina Harjula is a licensed Nordic Walking instructor from Finland, and she is committed to spread the knowledge and fun of exercising this magical sport in a beautiful natural environment such as the Mediterranean coast can offer.

So much for our lovely GR221!

 

GR221, Mallorca, Majorca

GR221 route thoroughly blocked

This post is for everyone planning to hike the GR221, Mallorca’s Dry Stone Route, in the near future. I just wanted to give you a quick update on some recent issues, which have arisen with the GR221 routing. I’m afraid the GR221 has been, and continues to be, beset with problems regarding rights of way over private land, and now there’s a new one to watch out for.

Don’t expect there to be any helpful published information along the way!

But please note the implications for your trip are:

  1. Estellencs to Banyalbufar: This section has been problematic for years and it is currently un-passable, so it means taking a bus for this relatively short section of your hike. This is a fairly longstanding dispute, which is taking years to resolve with the landowner.
  2. Esporles to Valldemossa: This is a very recent development and the landowner of part of this section has now erected signs, fences, and (ironically) a very solid dry stone wall to prevent hikers passing over his land, thereby cutting off the route to Valldemossa.

The really maddening thing is that the Consell de Mallorca has issued no warnings and provided no information regarding the sudden closure of the Esporles to Valldemossa section. These paths are ancient rights of way and have been used for hundreds of years as a link between the two towns and yet they think a virtually imperceptible notice on their website is enough to inform us that suddenly, this section is “in project” or under construction, again.

Many hikers come to the island solely to complete the GR221 – a fabulous long distance trek – and just this morning, in the space of about an hour we met 7 hikers heading off for Valldemossa from Esporles. None of them had any idea that there was an issue with the route. All GR221 way-marking is still happily in place, lulling unsuspecting walkers into a false sense of well-being – little do they know that only meters ahead they will be faced with a massive wall blocking their route!

So what are your options?

GR221, Mallorca, Majorca

GR221 signage all still in place!

  • To persevere notwithstanding these obstacles? But beware, the landowner has also destroyed many of the way-markers that considerate hikers have taken the trouble to construct over many years, so path-finding is even more tough-going than before. Also beware an angry landowner who prevents you from passing over his land – you may have to back down and return to Esporles.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer the easy option, make your way to Valldemossa from Esporles by taxi and continue your hike from there.

Thankfully, from Valldemossa on the GR221 route is a clear run with no further problems.

So, what’s the story, you ask? What’s going on? That’s what we asked the Consell de Mallorca, whose (unhelpful!) explanation was that the section was (now) “not open”! Ah that’s just great, thanks for the heads up, really useful (yeah right). Well I’m sorry to say that that’s all we know for the time being, but we’ll be keeping our ears and eyes peeled for some local gossip and we’ll keep you posted!
If you’d like to be kept informed about developments on Mallorca’s GR221 then please sign up to our Facebook Page and keep your eye out for further posts on this Blog. Please also refer to the Consell de Mallorca for the “official” situation!
And finally, if all this sounds far too complicated to tackle alone, why not contact us about our guided walking tours and take a look at some of our favourite walks – there are plenty to choose from!
We hope to see you very soon!

Made in Mallorca

made in mallorca hikingThere isn’t nearly enough information produced about the variety of products that are made and sold in, and exported from Mallorca. Mallorca has a history of producing a variety of products, which are all available here on the island for you to discover. Exploring the real Mallorca can start with sampling some of these products. They all contain an essence of the island, whether it’s liquer made from local herbs or perfume made from the flowers of the almond blossom…. Tempted? Then read on:

Many of the island’s products are known only in Spain, however some of them, such as Camper shoes, are now a global brand!

Here’s a sample of some of the ‘home-produced’ items you can buy in Mallorca.

Sobrassada and Botifarró

Pork products form a large part of the Spanish diet and these two delicacies are produced throughout the Balearics. They are well-known and well-loved across the whole of Spain. Essentially, Sobrassada is “sausage meat” made from good quality minced pork combined with spices like paprika, salt and red pepper (which gives it a lovely red colour), which you normally spread on bread. Every producer makes it slightly differently…

Botifarró is the name given to a sausage filled with coarsely ground pork, including liver, and spiced with salt, pepper, herbs and aniseed, which gives it its distinctive flavour. They are delicious, large chunky sausages and perfect for BBQ’s!

Ensaimada

You may have noticed Spanish holiday-makers walking around the airport with large hexagonal boxes. These are used to carry home the ensaimada which is a light, quite sweet pastry usually eaten for breakfast. The dough is made of flour, water, sugar, eggs, mother dough and reduced pork lard called saïm, and shaped into a spiral – it is quite unlike anything you will have tried elsewhere.

Sometimes ensaimadas are filled with angel’s hair (squash jam), custard cream, almond puré, chocolate, sobrassada, apricots, but normally they just have a light dusting of icing sugar – perfect for “dunking” in coffee at breakfast or a mid-morning snack.

Olive Oil

Excellent quality olive oils are produced from the olive farms on the island. Extra virgin olive oils with designation of origin are made from majorquine, arbequina and picual olives and have a wonderful, and very distinctive flavour. Olives and olive oil production will be the subject of a future article, so why not register to follow this blog…?

Wine and Liquers

There are two areas in Mallorca with D.O. – Binissalem (where a festival is held to celebrate the grape harvest every year) and Pla i Llevant. Wine produced in the island has consistenly improved over the decades and can now quite rightfully hold its own alongside the more well known Spanish names. See also our earlier article on Wines of Mallorca.

Two liquers are made on the island: Palo and Hierbas. Palo is a very dark (almost black), dense, thick liquid and made from infusing cinchona bark (quinine) and gentian roots, and caramelised sugar. It has been made in Mallorca since the 19th century. Hierbas, an aniseed drink, is made from infusing and distilling herbs gathered from the island. This is by far the most popular digestive on the island and comes in sweet, dry and medium varieties. Restaurants will often offer you a “chupito” when you’ve finished your meal and order the bill – and this is invariably Hierbas!

Don’t forget that liquids can’t be transported in your hand luggage so either buy your bottles after going through security or get them wrapped carefully in the shop and pack them in your main luggage.

camper shoes mallorcaShoes

The island’s shoe-making industry is based in Inca, Selva and Lluchmajor. These days some of the brands such as Camper and Patricia are well known across Europe. Modern, funky and traditional designs are all produced on the island and the quality of the leather used is well known.

Also made on the island are the canvas “rope” shoes or Espadrilles. Worn over the years by the locals and available in wonderful bright colours, they became popular across Europe in the ’60’s.

There is also another type of Mallorcan open sandal – ever popular with the locals – made from leather and recycled motor tyres! These also now come in funky colours, and with a number of variations on the theme…

Pearls

The imitation pearls made in Mallorca are famous the world over for their close similarity to natural pearls, which cost considerably more! The factory, established over 100 years ago and now producing over 50 million artificial pearls a year, is in the town of Manacor.Mallorca_Pearl_Bracelet

Mother of pearl and ocean substances are used to make the artificial pearl and the process is absolutely fascinating. Enjoy a visit to the factory where you can watch how the pearls are produced, and also take advantage of lower prices in the factory shop.

Don’t expect a bargain though – artificial pearls, such as those cultivated in Manacor, are almost indistinguishable from the real thing so they can be quite pricey.

Pottery and Glass

Pottery and ceramics have been synonymous with Mallorca for centuries. One of the cutest examples of the tradition for pottery is the ‘siurells’. These are little clay whistles produced as far back as the Arab times. Adored by children, they come painted in bright eye-catching colours and can still be bought on the island today. All over the island you will see many examples of Majorcan pottery for sale.

Glassblowing, which originated in Syria and was brought to the Balearics by the Romans, is a craft that still exists on the island to this present day. In places like Lafiore in Valldemossa you can still watch master craftsmen. In Palma there are many small Art Galleries where exquisite examples of this craft can be seen and bought.

Perfume

The perfume Flor d’Ametler (‘almond flower’) is made in Mallorca. The main ingredient is the almond flower, which gives it a distinctive scent. Make sure you look for the flower inside the bottle. Only the authentic perfume has that, copies won’t!

flor de sal mallorcaSalt

Salt is a relatively new product now being produced from salt “farms” mainly around Ses Salines in the southeast of Mallorca. There are 2 excellent producers – Flor de Sal and Llum de Sal – which use high quality sea salt in their products, as well as extracts and essences from Mediterranean plants such as mandarin orange, rosemary, rose and lavender, wine… As the most natural sea salt available, this is a very sought after product and is now exported worldwide.

From the earth..

Natural products like oranges from Soller and Almonds island-wide,  Olives & Olive Oil as well as growing Wine production have all been covered in previous posts, and these describe many diverse products made from these locally grown fruits.

Suffice to say there are some great shopping opportunities when visiting Mallorca – take some of these fabulous products home as presents, souvenirs or just treat yourself to a little Mallorquin luxury. So…. see you in Mallorca soon?