Walking with babies and small children on Mallorca

Walking with babies on Mallorca

Picnic break with little baby in nature

Every day there is a growing request for information about where you can go and hike or walk bringing your baby or little child with you on Mallorca. The truth is in fact that there are many places that you can walk with your kids to enjoy the magic nature of the island; either by carrying them in different types of carriers or by letting the child walk by him or herself. If you are well prepared and using common sense, you can bring your little child almost anywhere into nature on the island. There is however quit a few things you need to keep in mind before heading out for an excursion with your little ones, here comes a list one some of those things:

Know the total distance & type of terrain

Be completely sure on the distance that you are planning on doing and the type of terrain. Many walkers in all ages have been surprised by Mallorcas stony terrain; the stones are many and they are everywhere! Bear in mind that there is a huge difference for a 2- year old walking on a more or less flat earth track or asfalted little backroad compared to “coastering” on rocky stones or jumping from stone to stone on a very uneven surface. On the later option mentioned, a lot more time and energy is consumed and this needs to be taken into account. Many times there are several different ways of arriving to a location – be sure to choose the option that suits your whole family the best and most importantly; make sure you know where you are going either by asking, using a good map or contracting a guide. Its also wise to have a good think about were you are actually going, if you’re not sure which routes are suitable for going with kids, then have a look the walks we have graded as easy walks (green boot) – they will give you a realistic idea and perhaps some inspiration.

Keep a track on time

Walking with your children in Nature

Parents hiking on Mallorca

As mentioned before we all know that it takes more time to take small steps than bigger “adult” steps. Sunset happens pretty fast on Mallorca throughout the year, and its is not the most pleasant experience to get caught by darkness without a flashlight, perhaps on your way back from the beach. To avoid this be sure to check when the sun goes down locally and keep a track on time.

Be well equipped

First of all consider carefully how you are going to carry your child keeping both your and your babys comfort level in mind (padded bandoliers, sunshield etc). For smaller babies we have been very satisfied with carriers such as “ergobaby”, “manduca”, “babybjörn” and similar brands and we were using this type of carrier for all kinds of walks until our son was more or less 1 year old. The time one type of carrier is used depends on several things though, most importantly the babies weight. We did experience that these kind of carriers tended to get too warm from time to time here on Mallorca, as  you carry the baby very close to your belly or back. Later on we got a babycarrier where the baby sits in a separate “seat” on your back from the brand Deuter (Kid Comfort) and this is the one we are currently using. It has got a handy sunshield that can be taken off and a pocket where you can carry other things apart from the child. You can find a huge variety of this type of baby carriers on the market in all price levels and be sure to check the second hand offers before you by a brand new one.  There are a few other things you should consider bringing before you get into nature with your small children, for example; a small headtorch is inexpensive, it doesn’t weight much and it can come in handy more than one time during your trip. A little first aid kit bag can save you from a lot of hazzle, be sure to complement it with your own details. We have also found it very useful bringing some kind of soft, light weight, easy-to-fold and well isolated pad that you can use for changing diapers, for sitting on, or for your baby to have a small nap on. Last but not least, do not forget your own equipment! If you wan’t to be sure of not leaving anything necessary at home, then have a quick look at our kit list.

Walking with babies

Walking with children

Bring the “just in case” stuff

When bringing small children into nature with you, its recommended that you have a good thought about what you are bringing because you don’t want to find  yourself carrying any extra weight and neither do you want to be in the situation where you think “I should have brought that”.. Bring a little bit extra food and snacks, enough water for everyone, 3-4 diapers per child, one complet set of extra clothes and perhaps a small light quilt. If its summer then be sure to not forget sun lotion, swimmers (if you are going near the sea) and perhaps goggles if your child is used to wearing them. If your child is walking by him/herself, it might be a good idea to bring a “small surprise” that you can take out and give to them if they run out of energy or motivation for continuing walking; fruit, dried fruit and chocolate are classic “decoys”. In the end the most important thing is that you and your child can be able to enjoy your outing together, and if you are not sure on how to set up this by yourself, just contact us and we will come back to you with a tailor made day-plan that suits both your and your babies needs. We would also very  much like to hear about your point of view and experiences when it comes to hiking with babies on Mallorca so please feel free to join the debate on our facebook page.

Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (part two)

jamon serrano

In our last blog post we where talking about what to bring when you go for a walk and giving suggestions and tips on delicious local food and products. Here comes the continuation on the same topic.

Pa amb oli” is the way local people from Mallorca call a slice of bread with tomatoes, olive oil and salt. This is the local sandwich base, which can be topped with other food or eaten directly as the 4 ingredients are already very tasteful. The best thing to do while hiking is to prepare it during one of our stops: cut some bread slices with a foldable knife, cut some tomato slices (the tomato should be a big one!) and then add virgin olive oil (local gold) and salt. A fresh “pa amb oli” is something that all locals go mad about!!

Dry cured cuts of meat are among the best toppings to a “pa amb oli”. Typical dry cured meat from Mallorca is made of pork meat, salt and spices. The most popular types that are eaten without cooking are sobrassada (orange soft paste that can be directly spread on a bread slice or bread cookie), paté (orange soft paste made of pork libber that can also be spread on a bread slice or bread cookie) and camaiot (grey and white color, cut in slices). These are the fatty and “unhealthy” part of the meal, but in small quantities they are just delicious if you like meat. It is common to also complement the “pa amb oli” with other Spanish dry cured cuts of meat such as Jamón Serrano, fuet, chorizo, salchichón… We recommend you to buy from small producers in order to maximize quality and authenticity. Majorcan cheese

There are many cheese producers in Mallorca, bringing lots of different products to the market. Cow and sheep cheeses are the most usual, though there are some excellent goat cheeses as well. Native red sheep are farmed to produce excellent and original flavors. There are ecologic producers who use traditional methods and reach excellent results (normally a bit more expensive than bigger producers). Curing and aging processes directly affect consistence, texture and taste of each cheese. We do not recommend bringing fresh cheese when hiking unless you bring a well functioning/long lasting cold bag. Cheese is a source of animal fat, protein, vitamins from group A, B and D, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus (great for our bones). It must be eaten moderately, but when you are hiking it is always nice to cut some slices with your foldable knife and enjoy its fantastic flavors, alone or combined with a “pa amb oli”.

 

Bakery products from Mallorca, both salty and sweet, normally contain pork fat. They are not healthy products eaten on a regular basis but it can be interesting to bring some of them ‘cause they are delicious and provide a caloric boost that can be needed when you have a long way to walk. “Coques” (sort of cold pizzas with only vegetables on it) with paprika, onion, tomatoes or parsley are crunchy and oily. “Panades” are round pasties filled with cooked lamb meat or bacon, onion and peas. “Cocarrois” are long pasties filled with cooked vegetables, including raisins. These pasties use to be typical Easter food, but nowadays they are baked the whole year around; they are very convenient to bring to an excursion because they last more than other bakery products. If you like sweet stuff (or you are longing for a sugar kick), then you must bring some ensaïmada, a round spiral inflated dough powdered with sugar, sometimes filled with sweetened apricots or other ingredients (cream, chocolate, etc.). There are other typical sweet baked products like “coca de patata”, “bunyols”, “crespells” and “robiols”, but easy on the sugar and fat.

panades

In terms of drinking, we always recommend to drink mineral water (preferably from Mallorcan springs). Freshly squeezed natural orange juice can be sometimes acquired in some hikes as there are some rural houses which prepare them for you in the very moment.

Finally, we sometimes like to bring some local red wine to do a small toast and savor this traditional beverage during our lunch break. But the wine culture in Mallorca is interesting and rich enough to write another blog-post…

Find Your Inner Space through Hiking and Yoga on Mallorca this Summer 

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Yoga and Walking Holiday Mallorca Hiking

Yoga practitioners often talk about finding peace within. The most difficult thing (even if that can be hard enough) isn’t really to find a quiet place during our holidays where to roll out our mat, but to keep that quietness within, in middle of our daily rush. 

Nina and I have known eachother for many years. Coming from the colder northern Europe Nina is a dedicated Outdoor-guide, and I’m a Yoga Teacher, and we both have found our place and our peace here in Mallorca. We have practiced and hiked together, and we both agree that the sea and the island’s special light give an extra energy to our training and to our daily life. The nature, the peace and calmness, are one of the reasons that we have decided to settle here and that we see this as the ideal environment for our Hiking- and Yoga Retreats. Nina knows all the tracks and trails of the island, she always suggests new places where we may go to come closer to the wonderful and varying nature that this Mediterranean island offers.

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Yoga and Walking Retreat Mallorca Hiking

Sometimes we need to get away from our daily routines to be able to appreciate what is there right next to us, and also to find new energy and inspiration. I have just been away travelling for a few months in Central America, where I’ve found beautiful places to practice Yoga. Far away from my daily life, surrounded by dense rainforest, deep waters and volcanoes, it was easy to find stillness within. Later, in the crazyness of Mexico City, I had the opportunity to experience the total contrast; the deep forest was suddenly far away, the subway full to its limits, and making my way between people selling napkins, lighters and tacos in every corner, I was lucky if I reached my yoga class on time. There it was: a MiniAshram squeezed in between offices, bars and a dance studio, we had to close all the windows to get away from the noise. I took a deep breath and looked around me, I could feel my heart beating faster, but the faces around me didn’t actually reflect any stress at all. It looked like they had that deep calmness from the rainforest within.

I do think that we have a lot to learn. And learning begins here and now. We practice Yoga to learn and to share with others what we experience through our practice. And it is necessary to start with ourselves, to later see a continous change in our surroundings. First it is important to give us time and space for what we want to do. A shortcut to find out what that is, is to give yourself time for an intense practice, in a peaceful place, where your daily stress doesn’t reach you. Where your common worries and habits dont draw all your attention. A place where we withdraw from what normally distracts us, to come closer to ourselves. We create a quiet room, to give us the space to listen to our inner voice.

Retreat means to withdraw. Yogis have been doing that for ages. It doesn’t mean that we go away forever or that we quit our responsabilities or pleasures. It means to shirk all those things that draw your attention and energy, in order to be more present. In this way we load the batteries, and slowly we can find the route back to the essence within us that tells us who we are and how we want to live. It is easier to do this in a place that is not our home, a place in nature that reminds us of the human origin, far away from the rush. To walk in nature helps us a good bit on the way, and once we find and give ourselves those moments and places of tranquility, it is easier to find back here. The next time you are stuck in the metro or in a difficult situation, you will find it easier to resort to your inner peace, your inner space, maybe giving it the form and coulour of a Mediterranean landscape. This is the landscape that Nina and I want to invite you to, and at the same time, create together. The blue ocean, the mountains and the tranquility are already here; the sense of community and energy that emerge when we intentionally look within and practice intensely with others, will fill you with spirit and motivation.

During the hikes you will experience a new part of Mallorca, less known than its packed beaches. Nina takes you to the most unforgetable places. Walking is a moving meditation, when we are in closer contact with earth and nature, our body gets the opportunity to discharge and exhale all that may not serve us anymore.

To stay in a rustic farmhouse, enjoy the settings, and get healthy Mediterranean food with fresh ingredients, will be a special treat for body and soul.

The yoga classes will be adapted to each and everyone’s needs and experience. Beginners as well as more experienced Yogis are welcome. We will charge our batteries in the morning with a more activating practice, whilst the evening classes will be more of a restorative and relaxing type. Through Asana, Pranayama and meditation we will play with different themes, and again, our beautiful surroundings will help us to look deeper within and discover new ways and possibilities.

www.mallorcahiking.com

Hiking and Yoga retreat at rustic finca in Majorca.

We hope and believe that you after four days of hiking and Yoga in S’Alcadena’s and Alarò’s environs will feel renewed and relaxed, filled with energy and experiences that you can bring home with you and keep in your inner space, to bring forth in the more difficult moments, when you need it the most.

Nina Harjula is a professionell mountain- and outdoor guide (hiking, mountainbike, cycling and horse riding).

Maria Larsson (author of this article) is a masseus, art therapist and credited Yoga teacher (200 RYT, 120h Therapeutic Yoga, current Anusara studies).

If you are interested in participating in our retreat, please send us an email to: info@mallorcahiking.com, or contact us by filling out the contact form at our webpage. You can also call us directly on: +34 699 906 009.


Singles Walking Holidays for the Solo Traveller

Solo traveller mallorca hikingIf you like to head off to new destinations and do different activities, but cannot always coordinate this with friends and family, why not join one of our scheduled walking tours? These group holidays are open to individuals (as well as couples or a few friends…), allowing you to add Mallorca as a new destination in your passport, and meet new like-minded friends here.

Many people don’t mind travelling alone, but possibly do not make the reservation because they feel that catching a flight, getting to the resort, staying in a hotel and – perhaps worst of all – eating alone, is no fun at all. With Mallorca Hiking, no-one is alone unless they want to be. Our guides and organisers are here to make sure all your holiday arrangements are coordinated – including airport transfers, hotel accommodation, meals, restaurants and integration with the rest of the group. We can also help you to organise excursions and trips outside our guided walks. And we never forget it is your holiday, so if one day you prefer a stroll along the beach or reading by the pool – that’s your choice!

Our scheduled holidays take place on specific dates, with a pre-arranged walking itinerary. We work closely with our chosen hotels to offer you the best value we can – and usually our group holidays are outstanding value! If you’re traveling on your own or with a couple of friends, and you’d like to walk with a small group, then this is the kind of holiday for you.

There are 2 ways to find your ideal walking holiday – either:

– Check our calendar to see what we’ve scheduled for each month, or

– Look at some of our suggested holiday itineraries. From the summary list you can click onto a detailed information page for each itinerary, and at the bottom of each page you’ll find prices and the dates we’ve scheduled for that particular itinerary.

Our holiday itineraries usually run for 1 week (7 nights and 6 days) from Friday to Friday, but we also offer long weekend breaks (4 nights and 3 days), and very occasionally short weekends (3 nights and 2 days). Of course if these dates don’t suit you, or if you’d like to vary the itinerary, then please look at the calendar for other scheduled activities or contact us to discuss a tailor-made holiday just for you – see Tailor made holidays.

Some holidays are purely walking holidays, and others include a theme or special interest. We like to share and include in our itineraries, as many of the local seasonal activities on the island as possible, so for example, some include an insight into the olive harvest season, local fiestas, food or some of our outstanding bodegas and vineyards… See our calendar and look out for Special interest holidays.

Please note that all our holidays are individually priced, so for example, some holiday prices include some or all meals; some of our special interest holidays include additional activities etc. Please check each itinerary carefully to see what is included and excluded from the price.

Unlike other operators, we prefer small groups (ideally 8 people but in some cases we’ll accommodate 10), so you’ll never feel that you’re “just a number” or that you’re being herded like sheep. We’re a small team ourselves, and we want to ensure that you get the individual and personal care and attention that we think you deserve on your holiday.

So, if you would like to spend your singles holiday doing exactly what you want, in the company of other like-minded single travellers, please browse our website or give us a call. Enjoyable singles holidays and holidays for single people – with Mallorca Hiking.

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.

Diverse Mallorca

Diverse MallorcaMallorca is a much misunderstood and often maligned Mediterranean island. It is so much more than a package holiday resort for low cost summer holidays in the sun – away from the high-rise hotels and manicured beaches of the mass tourist resorts (which incidentally cover only a tiny proportion of the island), there is another Mallorca – a far more alluring, varied and totally different world.

Thankfully, not all Mallorca’s beaches and coastline are throbbing tourist resorts. As well as long white sandy beaches, there are also lots of isolated rocky coves and deserted bays, so it’s still possible to find a peaceful spot by the sea if you’re prepared to make an effort and get off the beaten track. And the best way to do this is to walk or take a boat…

Being an island, Mallorca revolves around boats so there are any number of different boat trips you can take here, particularly in high season. The east coast of the island is relatively flat and the coastline is a long string of rocky coves punctuated by the occasional resort. Here it is fantastic for boating and exploring hidden away inlets and bays, many of which are impossible to access other than by boat or foot.

For a small island, it is extraordinary how diverse Mallorca is. Yes, there are fabulous beaches and sparkling blue seas, but beyond these there is also a dramatic range of mountains (the Sierra de Tramuntana), countless charming rural – and totally un-spoilt hamlets, cliff-hugging villages, monasteries, castles, meadows, orchards, olive groves, wetlands (yes wetlands!), and the chic sophistication and culture of the capital city of Palma.

The Serra de Tramuntana on the west coast of Mallorca – the ‘mountains of the north wind’, which run the length of Mallorca’s north coast are home to some of the island’s most spectacular landscapes, wildlife and birds. Pine-covered slopes lean into the sea, and higher up forested hills give way to barren crags and peaks. This is hiking country and by far the best way to get to the heart of this fabulous, and surprising, part of the island is on foot.

Dotted throughout Mallorca, and often located in dramatic hill-top locations, there are many ermitas, hermitages, santuaries and monastries, mainly dating back to Medieval times. Originally inhabited by monks, they were places of pilgrimage, and they still retain a sense of calm and tranquility – a serene reminder of an ancient world. Nowadays, they offer an excellent focal point to a hike, as many offer refreshments, and some offer (fairly basic) accommodation so it’s even possible to stay overnight and continue walking the next day.

But the diversity of the island is not limited to its natural beauty, culture and history. Palma – the island’s capital – is a big surprise to many people. It is stylish, sophisticated, intimate and yet bursting with life. Half of Mallorca’s population live here, enjoying the island’s best restaurants, shops and nightlife as well as a thriving arts scene and a lively cafe society.  Palma’s masterpiece is its Gothic cathedral, rising out of the city walls which once marked the edge of the sea. In Palma you can also find the old Arab quarter, fabulous architecture, a maze of narrow streets hiding museums, art galleries, palaces and exquisite courtyards.

This “other side” of Mallorca is distinctly up-market, and appeals to a very different visitor. As a result, a popular new hotel style has evolved – traditional “Agroturismos” and boutique hotels offer relaxed luxury in quality surroundings. These hotels are usually beautifully restored traditional Mallorcan buildings, often old country estates, fincas or townhouses, and offer the discerning visitor an excellent opportunity to experience Mallorca at its best.

We could go on and on… so this is just a small selection of things to keep in mind when planning your next trip – you don’t need to endure long flights to far-flung parts of the world to discover a fabulous holiday experience. Added to which, you could come back several times a year on a short break and continue discovering hidden treasures, great restaurants, relaxing walks or just disconnect from the world and relax… And if you need some help or ideas, take a look at our Tailor Made holidays

We can offer you a holiday that is exactly what you want , when you want it. With the benefit of our local knowledge and experience, everything will be arranged before you arrive. A worry free holiday with airport transfers, great accommodation, the best restaurants, excursions “off the beaten track” – as well as shopping trips and days to just relax. We guarantee Mallorca will become a regular place to visit.

If you’d like to read more about Mallorca and what it has to offer, why not sign up to Follow this blog …?

Walking Holidays – Seven Key Tips For Beginners

Hiking & Walking Tips with Mallorca hikingTom Oxby is one of our guest writers and today we have another excellent checklist he has created for those of you thinking of taking your first Walking Holiday:

Walking Holidays are a great way to explore the world. Whether you are on a trail in your country or visiting another you are sure to meet like minded people. If this is the first of your walking holidays you may be wondering where to start but by following these tips you can easily be on the trail.

Tip 1 – Planning – There are two options; using a tour operator or planning the walking holiday yourself.

Booking through a tour operator can be a great choice for your first walking holiday. They arrange the accommodation, some meals and experienced guides. Depending on the destination and tour operator one hike may be offered each day or several hikes requiring different levels of experience. Before booking check on the level of experience required as a multi-day hike along the Inca Trail in Peru varies from a walk in the English countryside.

If planning the walking holiday yourself you will need to arrange accommodation, transportation to the hike starting location, detailed maps and guides. There is lots of information about adventure travel.

Tip 2 – Equipment – You will require a pack (rucksack), hiking boots, hiking socks, poles, water bottles, rain wear, jacket, hat and other clothing which will depend on your walking holiday destination. Additional items may include sunscreen, insect repellent, first aid kit, digital camera and bear spray if visiting western North America.

Tip 3 – Training – You need to start a program of walks to get and keep in shape prior to your departure on your walking holidays. Break in your hiking boots and test all the equipment to ensure it is comfortable and working properly. Are you using the hiking poles properly?

Tip 4 -Transportation – Arrange for your flight and any other transportation needs such as train passes or rental cars. Book early and you may qualify for a better price, especially if a discount or charter airline flies to your destination.

Trains or local buses may be required to get from the airport or train station to the walking holiday starting location. It rail transportation is required to connect to your route consider a rail pass. Often rail passes include discounts to museums, attractions and local buses as well.

Tip 5 – Documentation – Check requirements for passports, visas and vaccinations. Vaccinations, where required, sometimes need to be taken well in advance of departure. Travel insurance with medical coverage should be considered. If you purchased a walking holiday from a tour operator travel insurance is usually mandatory.

Tip 6 – Accommodation – If you have booked with a tour operator this is included in your walking holiday package. If planning on your own you will need to book a hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel in advance. Accommodation in popular areas such as Zermatt in Switzerland; Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies and the Lake District in England can be difficult during high season. Consider traveling in shoulder seasons which are not as busy and prices are generally cheaper. The final option is camping along the way.

Tip 7 – Finishing touches – You are now down to the final details of your walking holiday. If traveling to a foreign country consider learning a few phrases of the local language, it goes a long way with the local citizens. Take photo copies of all your documentation with you and if traveling to a foreign country obtain local currency in advance. Depending on your destination you may need to purchase snacks for the trail in advance as well.

Your first walking holiday should be exciting, so follow these tips and have wonderful hike.

Tom Oxby is a recognised expert writer for Hiking and Cycling holidays and you can visit his webpage here: www.walking-holidays.org


Blossom Fever: guided walking holidays in Mallorca

almond blossom mallorca hikingFebruary is a fabulous time of year in Mallorca, and it is when the almond blossom is at its best. Mallorca is famous for it’s almonds and every year the island comes alive with landscapes of blossoming almond trees – and thousands of visitors flying in to marvel at it’s beauty…

Almonds are a major part of Mallorcan life. They’re an important locally grown food product and a hugely popular ingredient in many traditional local dishes, both sweet and savoury. They’re also a much-loved part of the island’s winter landscape when the almond trees burst into white and pink blossom in late January.

What better way to enjoy the vibrant colours and beauty of the island at this time, than to get outdoors with a guided walking holiday? We can arrange a “made to measure” break – a long weekend, a week – just for you and your group, or if you’re traveling alone you can join our popular annual Blossom Fever: 8-day guided walking holiday in Mallorca

This week-long itinerary is a good example of the kind of walking holiday we can organize for you at this lovely time of year. We combine the delights of the Sóller valley with walking in some of the best spots for almond blossom. You’re based in the pretty village of Fornalutx, just outside Sóller, and three of our walks are in this area – walking straight out of your hotel door. The other two are at the heart of the best almond blossom – a real treat.

Walking Itinerary

Graded: Green Boot (“Easy” enough for everyone to enjoy!)

Your walking itinerary includes 5 days’ guided walking. One day we walk around the Sóller valley visiting some of the surrounding villages and other highlights; another day we set off down to the port of Soller and the Muleta lighthouse and then on to Deia, a lovely village further along the coast (see W-NW11 for more details)… and no stay in the Sóller valley is quite complete without having tackled the spectacular Barranc (gorge) of Biniaraix – either in one direction or the other – see W-NW08.

During the course of the week, we’ll already have seen a lot of almond blossom in different areas, but for the other 2 walks on your itinerary we go further afield to visit the inland village of Es Capdella, which in our opinion, has the best almond blossom on the island. Here, we’ll meander through the village and along the surrounding lanes and visit a lovely old finca with a typical Mallorcan courtyard (see W-SW05). Another of our favourite walks for this time of year is walk Ref. W-NW01 where we pass a fabulous old senyorial manor house – formerly owned by Richard Branson – which is surrounded by terraces of almond trees.

Hotel

For this itinerary we usually like to be based in a delightful, 8-bedroom hotel in the centre of Fornalutx (see Ref. A-NW04 for details), but if you’d prefer us to organize a tailor-made holiday for you, there are plenty of others to choose from (see Accommodation).

Valentine’s Day

Alternatively, Valentine’s day is always a perfect excuse to treat yourself and your partner to a special, and romantic weekend away. So why not try something different this year – take a short flight to this sunny Mediterranean island, enjoy some lovely easy walks among the blossom, and indulge yourselves with champagne and the luxury of your hotel…. the perfect recipe for a romantic weekend getaway!

However you decide to enjoy fabulous February in Mallorca, make sure you have plenty of memory sticks for your camera and be prepared for some incredible landscape collages of vibrant colours – an unforgettable experience!

To review prices and what is included in our guided walking holidays please visit our web page at MallorcaHiking.com

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Wonderful Walking Facts

Walking Facts from Mallorca HikingThose of you who have been following us on Facebook and Twitter (just click the links to become a fan or follower!) will have seen the Walking Facts we have been posting over the last few weeks. Here today you can have the full list – providing overwhelming justification for your next holiday being with us in Mallorca!

Walking is one of the simplest and safest aerobic exercises you can do. It will help you strengthen your bones, control your weight, and condition your heart and lungs. Being consistent in your walking exercise routine is one of the most important factors in developing a healthy physical activity program. Research has shown that people who walk approximately 20-25 miles per week outlive those who don’t walk, by several years.

So, take your time to review all the great reasons for booking your next holiday with us at Mallorca Hiking. Read on…

Walking Facts:

  • Fact 1: On average, every minute of walking can extend your life by 1.5 to 2 minutes. That’s about a 2 for 1 trade-off!
  • Fact 2: Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year.
  • Fact 3: To burn off 1 plain M&M candy, you need to walk the full length of a football field. Think about that next time you dip your hand into a candy bowl at someone’s office!
  • Fact 4: Longer, moderately-paced daily walks (40 minutes at 60% to 65% maximum heart rate) are best for losing weight
  • Fact 5: Shorter, faster walks (20-25 minutes at 75% to 85% maximum heart rate) are best for conditioning your heart and lungs

Walking provides the following benefits – it:

  • Fact 6:  Improves efficiency of your heart and lungs.
  • Fact 7:  Burns body fat
  • Fact 8:  Raises your metabolism so you are burning calories faster, even while you rest
  • Fact 9:  Helps control your appetite.
  • Fact 10:  Increases your energy.
  • Fact 11:  Helps relieve stress
  • Fact 12:  Slows aging
  • Fact 13:  Reduces levels of cholesterol in your blood
  • Fact 14:  Lowers high blood pressure
  • Fact 15:  Helps control and prevent diabetes
  • Fact 16:  Reduces the risk of some forms of cancer including colorectal, prostrate, and breast cancers
  • Fact 17:  Aids rehabilitation from heart attack and stroke
  • Fact 18:  Promotes intestinal regularity
  • Fact 19:  Helps promote restful sleep
  • Fact 20:  Strengthens the muscles of your legs, hips, and torso
  • Fact 21:  Strengthens your bones and reduces bone density loss in older women
  • Fact 22:  Reduces stiffness in your joints due to inactivity or arthritis
  • Fact 23:  Relieves most cases of chronic backache
  • Fact 24:  Improves flexibility
  • Fact 25:  Improves posture
  • Fact 26:  Promotes healthier skin due to increased circulation
  • Fact 27:  Improves mental alertness and memory
  • Fact 28:  Spurs intellectual creativity and problem solving
  • Fact 29:  Elevates your mood
  • Fact 30:  Helps prevent and/or reduce depression
  • Fact 31:  Improves your self-esteem
  • Fact 32:  Increases sexual vigor
  • Fact 33:  Helps control addictions to nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs

Walking is much more preferable to running or jogging because it creates less stress on your joints, including hips, knees, and ankles. Remember to properly warm up before and cool down after every walking session… your muscles will love you for it!

10 Best Hiking Trails in the World

World's Best Hikes - Mallorca HikingFor those of you thinking about a walking holiday, which will allow you to actually appreciate the beauty of the world around you, we are reproducing a great article written by Julie Blakley of the 10 Best Hiking Trails in the World.

Walking holidays need preparation to ensure you get maximum benefit and enjoyment from them and to avoid problems such as blisters or being caught out with the wrong clothes or equipment for the weather or terrain where you’re hiking. We recommend you start your preparation towards regular walking holidays with a guided walking company that can give you the advice, information and tuition necessary to build up to some of the spectacular hikes detailed in the article below.

Mallorca Hiking has been running Tailor Made holidays for over ten years, and we will help you to aclimatise to this kind of holiday. We will help you develop your walking skills and prepare for your dream hike (whichever one of the ones outlined below that might be!), so why not contact us to take that first step (if you’ll excuse the pun)…

Here are  Julie’s 10 Best Hikes, this is the first of two posts itemising these idyllic walks and their surroundings, enjoy!:

If everyone placing personal ads who claimed the hobby of “hiking” really did it with any regularity, the earth would have been trampled flat decades ago.

But those who really do enjoy this peaceful outdoor activity have plenty of incredible choices in every corner of the world.

Here are the ten best hikes on the planet, each with a combination of scenery and special extras that make them well worth going out of your way to enjoy.

Tongariro Northern Circuit, North Island, New Zealand10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

It is certainly no secret that New Zealand boasts some of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic scenery, which is why it’s not surprising that one of the world’s most spectacular hikes is located on these mountainous islands. While many people who hike in the Tongariro Reserve (a World Heritage site) on the Northern island stick to the one-day Tongariro Alpine crossing, the multi-day (2 nights and 3 days) Tongariro northern circuit provides hikers with a much richer and scenic experience.

Hikers on the Tongariro Northern Circuit hike for about 35 kilometers through non-stop compelling volcanic and desert environs that will make you feel like you are trekking on the surface of another planet—all while giving you high mountain peaks as a backdrop, diversely striking vistas wide variety of different scenery. Hikers who set out on this out-of-this-world hike (quite literally) will circumambulate the active volcano Mt. Ngaurube (Mt. Doom for those Lord of the Rings fans out there) while hiking past boiling mud pools, craters, interesting lava features, the amazing water filled volcanic vents, glacial valleys and water-filled explosion craters called the Emerald Lakes. Things stay nice after dark, as you get to stay in comfortable alpine huts along the way that have decent beds, gas heating and stoves, running water and toilets. Hikers on this trek can also easily do two short side trips to the tops of both Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe—allowing hikers to gaze out at the captivating volcanic scenery below.

10 Best Hikes Mallorca HikingZion Narrows, Utah, United States

While hiking through the volcanic landscape of the Tongariro northern circuit may provide enthusiasts with an extraterrestrial experience, hikers are sure to be amazed at the unique and stunning scenery of trekking through the Zion narrows in the American southwest. Recently ranked as #5 on National Geographic’s list of America’s Best 100 Adventures, this trail will have you hiking up streams through dramatic, narrow slot canyons.

Hikers will wind their way through colorful, sculpted sandstone walls that rise up to 3,500 feet (that’s just about 1 km). The trek will also lead hikers through the famous “Wall Street,” a 2-mile section of the journey that crosses through a narrow canyon where the walls close to just 22 feet wide at the top. Hiking through water for about 60% of the hike up the streams that wind their way through these breathtaking slot canyons, you will see hanging gardens bursting from the red canyon walls, trickling water threading through cracks in the canyon walls and sprouting patches of moss, waterfalls sliding over the sandstone, and sandy banks with towering ponderosas. However, while this wondrous journey is sure to enchant hikers, it should be noted that hiking through the Zion Narrows is extremely dangerous, as flash floods can come quickly and the entire area is a huge drainage. Rainstorms up to 50 miles away can storm down the canyon and every year hikers die on this trail. Make sure to check the weather report in advance to make sure there is NO RAIN whatsoever in the forecast. However, with proper precautions, this hike, which is rated as one of the best hikes in the entire U.S. National Park system, is truly unparalleled.

Annapurna Circuit, Nepal10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

Any serious hiker or trekker dreams of going to Nepal to journey through the world’s most dramatic mountain landscape. While most hikers think of Kathmandu and Everest when they hear the word Nepal, the Annapurna circuit (which circumnavigates the Annapurna massif) not only has staggering snow-capped and rugged peaks providing for a spectacular backdrop, but the hike also offers trekkers great opportunities to see a wide range of natural and cultural diversity.

This 3-week trek allows you to stay in comfortable lodges as you hike from lush sub-tropical landscapes into the highest mountains in the world (beware of altitude sickness as the trek goes to a elevation of 17,749 feet). As you hike the Annapurna Circuit, you will get to interact with the Tibetan mountain peoples, see Buddhist temples, visit teahouses, soak in hot springs and take in some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the entire world.

10 Best Hikes Mallorca HikingInca Trail, Peru

Most people who know something about travel, know about the famous and world-renowned Inca Trail. While some of the more hard-core types out there may think of this amazing trek as cliché, the truth is that this trail is popular for a reason. Peru offers some of the most beautiful South American mountainous scenery and, while some criticize the trail for being over-regulated and too popular, Machu Picchu is a destination worth seeing and the hike along the way is sure not to disappoint, with plenty of scenic vistas and amazing views.

Along with offering spectacular scenery, the Inca Trail is not only safe and easy to organize, it also allows trekkers to hike through jungle to high alpine terrain, visit 3 sets of Inca ruins along the way, and take in the beauty of the Peruvian mountains over the 3-night, 4-day hike. Plus, at the end of the journey, hikers will arrive at one of the most celebrated man-made destinations on Earth.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, China10 Best Hikes Mallorca Hiking

This 15-km gorge located along the Yangtzee River between approximately 6,000-meter Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the 5,300-meter Haba Xueshan mountain, in China where rapids pass under a series of dramatic 2,000-meter cliffs. The gorge got its name from a legend that says a tiger once jumped the narrowest point of the gorge to escape a hunter (which is still 25 meters). As one of the world’s deepest river canyons, Tiger Leaping Gorge is a beautiful and scenic hike for those adventurous trekkers.

The high-road trail is well-maintained and marked and takes hikers on a 14-mile journey with varied mountain views that features a surprising variety of micro-ecosystems, waterfalls and even guesthouses where hikers can stay along the route.

While this gorgeous gorge is a essential and protected part of the World Heritage site of the Three parallel Rivers of Yunnan, the Chinese government has proposed building another hydroelectric dam that would flood this place—meaning hikers interested in seeing this beautiful, lush canyon should probably head there sooner rather than later.

Julie Blakley grew up mostly hiking the trails of the Rocky Mountains and has recently discovered trails of the Cascades near Portland Oregon. When she’s not dreaming of trekking through Nepal or summitting Mount Kilimanjaro, she’s busy writing the France Travel Guide