A Summer day trip down the Torrent de Pareis

torrent de pareis

Our group

It was a hot dry day in mid-June when a small group of us set off early from Escorca to tackle the infamous Torrent de Pareis hike. There was a sense of excitement among the group as we had all wanted to do this hike many times before, only to be told “the conditions weren’t right”, or “there was too much water in the gorge”, “there had been heavy rains recently” ….. so this was our first time.

The temperature was perfect as we set off, the skies were crystal clear blue, and the views towards Puig Roig were stunning. Our guide Nina showed us the location of the concealed gap in the craggy rocks where the gorge carved by the torrent ran through the Tramuntana mountains. This is where we were headed. We admired the views.

The start of the hike is a gentle descent through masses of carritx grass, which is very typical of Mallorca’s alpine regions. We chatted animatedly as we zigzagged down to the dry riverbed and a point at which the paths of 3 different torrents met. Here we took a short rest and then continued, following the bed of the torrent de pareis. At first it was easy enough – we followed narrow paths along the edge of the riverbed; we scrambled over a few boulders and strolled along the pebble surface of the riverbed. But slowly and steadily the boulders got bigger; the scrambling got more strenuous; and there was no longer an inclination to cruise along chatting. This needed concentration; your wits about you. And at times even our guide had to stop and think and try and remember – which tiny gap between these massive boulders was going to offer us a way through. This was a real challenge.

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

Boulders, boulders everywhere…

As the sun rose in the sky, the temperature rose too, and so did the challenges we faced. We met a group of fun and noisy young Spanish guys – they were loving it; leaping among the boulders like mountain goats and sliding down the well worn surfaces. There are a few sections where you need to reverse down a crack in the rocks with the help of ropes – almost light abseiling. I think we all used every muscle in our body and not just the ones you’d expect to use for a “normal” hike! I for one, could feel every muscle for days after the hike.

By now we were deep inside the gorge, and it felt like another world. Slightly surreal. What a stunning landscape. At times the gorge is so narrow, that you can only see a slither of blue sky between the imposing rock faces on either side. It gradually becomes clear why this could be a very dangerous place to be when there is a lot of water flowing in the torrent ….

torrent de pareis, Mallorca

A chink of sky

And after about 5 hours of walking and mainly clambering, the gorge begins to open up and let some more daylight in.  We continue our walk and finally we’re greeted by a very normal Sunday scene in Mallorca – lots of happy laughing people relaxing with picnics on a beautiful pebble beach. This is Sa Calobra, our destination, and the scene is a very strange contrast to our day so far. Ed and Sean had run out of water way back, so they made a beeline for the bars along the coast. The rest of us couldn’t wait to get into our bikinis and dive into the cool, crystal clear water ahead. This was the best swim of the summer, by far!

This is an epic hike and well worth doing if you enjoy a bit of adventure – do take a look at the video we took on the day, as it’ll give you a more visual description of what’s involved! This is not the sort of hike to do on your own for the first time, so if you would like to hire a guide please contact us.

And if you’d like to know more about walking in Mallorca, please visit our website and our Facebook page for information and advice, as well as tips, photos…

What to pack for a 4 day hike… (With no bag transfers!)

How to pack for a 4 day hiking trip

Victoria

Hi everyone, I’m Victoria and I’m the newest member of the team at Mallorca Hiking.

Having recently returned from a trip to South America, mostly spent hiking around a handful of Patagonia’s National Parks, I like to think I have a few useful tips I can give to help you pack for a 4 day hike. The mountains of Mallorca may not be The Andean Altiplano, but there are a number of essentials any hiker needs when setting off for a few days hard walking.

It’s worth bearing in mind that although Mallorca has over 300 days of sunshine annually, temperatures can vary hugely between day and night-time. In the Autumn, the weather is a blissful 18-25 degrees Celsius during the day but nights can drop to 6 degrees. Winters are mild, with an average temperature of 14 degrees during the day and 4 degrees at night. I’ve therefore included a list of some warmer gear to take with you too.

The key is not to pack too much! A huge heavy backpack will not make for fun hiking- you don’t want to jeopardise your holiday for the sake of three spare pairs of shoes…

Many of the essentials I’d recommend may be obvious, but perhaps there’ll be a few surprises too. I’ve also included ‘specialist’ items, which I’d advise you to consider buying as they helped make my hiking trips that much more enjoyable!

Kit List:

  • what to pack for a 4 day walking trip

    Platypus / Camel Bak hydration system

    Backpack- For a 4 day hike, a 35-55 litre backpack is ideal. It’s not necessary to have a backpack any bigger than 55l, as all bedding and towels are provided at your chosen accommodation, even if you’re staying in one of the island’s refuges. I’d recommend choosing a backpack with a padded hip belt to ensure the majority of the weight is carried on the hips.

  • Fully-charged camera- It’s better to bring a fully charged camera, as a recharger just adds extra weight to your pack.
  • Spending money- For dinner each night as well as picnics and other irresistible local delicacies along the way…
  • Platypus Hoser/CamelBak hydration pack 1.5-2 litres*- My No. 1 item. It’s hands free, reusable, easy to pack, and most importantly it helps to keep you constantly hydrated- a major consideration when hiking in Mallorca. See our previous blog post on the importance of hydration.
  • Walking poles*. They help when climbing uphill but most importantly, they help take the weight off your joints when going downhill. Walking poles are available to hire for 5 Euros per day from Mallorca Hiking.
  • Head torch*- Just in case you get caught out in the dark; or to go to the loo at night if you’re staying in a refuge…

In the winter, if you’re walking at high altitude, you may be surprised to hear that a woolly hat and some light gloves are also really welcome.

Snacks:

what to pack for a 4 day walk in Mallorca

Trail Mix Bar

My favourites are:

  • Trail Mix- nuts and dried fruit. Trailmix is great to eat for slow-burning energy and it’s light to carry. My favourite mix includes almonds, raisins and dried cranberries. For a 4 day trip, I recommend bringing a freezer bag-sized pack.
  • Muesli bars. Also high energy and nutritious (and unlike chocolate they won’t melt!). Bring 2-3 muesli bars per day.

But the good news is that if you’re doing Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221, there are quite a few opportunities to stock up along the way, so you don’t have to carry supplies for the duration of the trek.

Toiletries and Basic First Aid:

Sun cream, 1 loo roll, plasters, blister plasters, insect repellent, ibruprofen, Imodium, toothbrush and toothbrush holder (for the head of the brush) miniature toothpaste, chapstick (including spf 15 is best), deodorant, feminine hygiene products.

I would also recommend packing ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper, and particularly if you’re staying in a refuge where you sleep in dormitories. You never know how noisy your fellow hikers may be!

Clothing:

  • 3-4 lightweight t-shirts*- (one can be used as nightwear).  Polyester/elastane-mix t-shirts are ideal as they are light-weight and quick drying. They can be bought at any good outdoor shop (see shop reference list below)
  • 1 pair of comfortable walking trousers* or sports leggings. Zip off trousers are great as when it warms up you can zip off the lower leg to convert into shorts.
  • 1 pair of shorts*- preferably lightweight, quick-dry walking shorts. Do not bring denim – it’s heavy to carry and takes ages to dry!
  • 1 pair of lightweight trousers/long johns/leggings – for nightwear

    what to pack for a 4 day walking trip in Mallorca

    Ready for the GR221!

  • 3 pairs quality walking socks*- Merino wool or merino/polyester-mix walking socks are ideal as you don’t have to wear two pairs which saves on space, and they keep your feet dry and cool.
  • 3 underpants
  • (Women) 1 sports bra – much comfier to wear when walking.
  • 1 pair of quality walking boots*, preferably worn-in prior to the holiday as new boots are more likely to cause blisters
  • Cap*
  • Sunglasses*
  • Rainproof/windproof jacket (and possibly also over-trousers depending on the time of year)*- Preferably Goretex. It’s always advisable to bring a waterproof, as even if it’s unlikely to rain it’s useful as an extra windproof layer.
  • Lightweight fleece* for layering
  • Flipflops/indoor shoes- For evening use, bring flipflops or a lightweight pair of shoes, e.g. canvas plimsolls. It’s heaven to shed your walking boots for a few hours in the evening!

NB: Sometimes, if you know you’ll be staying somewhere that you can wash out a few things overnight, you can actually get away with packing a bit less – always good news ;-)

Where’s best to buy the gear?

All the items above marked * can be bought at UK outdoor clothing shops, for example:

In Mallorca, the main place to buy good walking kit is Decathlon and of course Bestard makes some awesome hiking boots! Also good for outdoor kit is Es Refugi in C/ Sindicat, 21, 07002 Palma de Mallorca, Phone:+34 971 71 67 31. Sorry there’s no link but their site doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.

If you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to send them my way. Either leave a comment here or contact us by email. Also do take a look at our previous blog posts with tips and advice about kit.
Happy hiking!

Walking the Road to Happiness

 

walking in Mallorca

The road to happiness

Walking the Road to Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is a hot topic and for good reason, as living in our society today is deemed to be more stressful than ever before.

So what can we do about it? Exercise is a fantastic way to help us ‘switch-off’ but I want to show you why walking is particularly beneficial to our happiness and well-being.

Walking – a time to reflect…

As walking is not as strenuous as other forms of exercise, perhaps it is more conducive to reflective thought and relaxation. When hiking with a friend of mine recently, I recall asking him why he loves walking so much and he said, ‘because it’s like a form of meditation; it allows my mind to wander.’ My friend’s response resonated with a recent newspaper article tackling ‘Why are we so tired all the time?’ Professor Stephen Palmer, director of the Centre for Stress Management, says ‘we don’t give ourselves time to reflect – no wonder we’re so tired. We are human doings now not human beings’. Research shows meditation and ‘mindfulness’- learning to live in the moment to quiet the mind – can help us feel more rested. We can apply mindfulness when walking outdoors, spending time ‘in the now’ and noticing the world around us, not only to combat stress but to be fully aware of, and appreciate our natural environment.

Exercising in a natural environment

walking in Mallorca

happy days!

When was the last time you walked in a green, wide-open space? In the woods? Or in the park? The impact that being in a natural environment has on the brain is significant. Mental health charity Mind recently looked at the role the environment plays on the effectiveness of outdoor exercise for mental wellbeing. Using 20 people in two contrasting walks, one inside and the other outdoors in a natural setting, they found:

  • 90% of people reported an increase in self-esteem after an outdoor walk verses 17% indoors.
  • 71% of  people experienced a decrease in the levels of depression after an outdoor walk verses 45% indoors.
  • 71% people stated they felt less tense after an outdoor walk verses 28% indoors.

The combination of walking and being in the outdoors appears to have a very positive effect on mental health: the endorphins released in the brain elevate mood and help prevent depression.

 How else does walking benefit our mental health?

Studies have shown how walking can heighten mental alertness and improve memory. Physiologist Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, a physiologist at a London hospital, says exercise has a dramatic positive effect on the brain. A study of 6000 women in California found that those who walked regularly showed improvements to higher mental processes, suggesting long-term effects of walking on concentration and cognitive abilities could be profound.

So let’s get walking! If it can improve HAPPINESS and well-being, cognitive ability and concentration… What’s stopping you?

Why not contact us at Mallorca Hiking for more information on walking in the warm winter sunshine of Mallorca or join us on our Facebook page. We’d love to help you on your way to good health, wellbeing and happiness!

 

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.

image

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.

Practice makes Perfect

Today we revisit the importance of preparation for a hiking or walking holiday. Following these simple, commonsense tips will help ensure you don’t have wasted days because you’ve taken on too much, or because you didn’t realise what is involved – especially if you are not a regular walker. Read on…

Regardless if you are a professional or a novice on a walking holiday, it is still really important to go on a lot of practice hikes before jetting off to your holiday destination. Practice walks serve many purposes: to test new gear and clothing; to know your walking and physical limitations; to master different walking conditions; all are important factors to understand before you embark on a series of long walks.

When starting your build up for your walking holiday, practice walks should start short and gradually increase, so you slowly “break-in” all those rusty muscles.

Pay attention to your body temperature. Use layers of clothing and remove/replace as your temperature increases and decreases on easier and more difficult sections of the walk.

Create awareness to sensations in your feet. Hot spots in your boots can turn into blisters, so stop and adjust your boots/socks/remove stones etc. If your feet get wet, stop to dry them and change your socks. If you are walking with a partner ensure both of you are comfortable about stopping each other if these re-adjustments are necessary. Remember: with walking, prevention is significantly better (and less time consuming/painful) than curing a damaged foot etc.

Keep your back-pack comfortably adjusted. Again, re-adjust straps if they have become too loose or are cutting into your arms. This may also be due to the contents not being well distributed. Try to keep the heaviest items close to your back. Try to create a set place for each item in your pack and return it to this place to maintain a comfortable walking position for your backpack.

Get used to having regular drink and snack breaks to maintain your energy levels. Little and often is much easier on your digestion and converts quicker into energy, as opposed to large meals which take energy to digest and can be uncomfortable for walking afterwards.

Your clothes are a key part of your comfort when walking for several hours, so practice walks will let you know how comfortable each item is. Trousers/shorts may rub on your thighs; upper layers may be too tight when you get warmer – all this can then be adjusted or rectified prior to flying off on your holiday.

Although none of our guided walks require large backpacks with sleeping bags etc (the luxury of boutique accommodation and good restaurants is more our style than tents and camp food!!) an awareness of your body and your clothing will make your holiday much more enjoyable.

A little preparation and thought and a bit of planning really help you get the maximum benefit and enjoyment from our holidays. We recommend these simple practice routines to all our clients – and you’ll be happy you did them when you arrive.

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 …?

Our Weekly Facebook Roundup

Again, for those of you who have missed some of our many Mallorca Facts and Figures; Hints and Tips and General What’s on information – here’s a summary of last week’s news from Mallorca Hiking – if you know anybody who might be interested in our Walking Wikipedia – just hover your mouse over the big Like button above and share us with your Facebook & Twitter  Friends, Thanks.

Mallorca Hiking Did you know: People have lived on Mallorca since 5000 BC The Romans were here in 123 BC. Tourists have only been coming here since 1952!

Mallorca Hiking Did You Know: The local pastry, the Ensaimadas is only available in Mallorca. Try one for breakfast today with cafe con leche!

Mallorca Hiking Did You Know: In 2005, there were over 2,400 restaurants on the island of Mallorca according to the Mallorcan Tourist Board. How many now?

Mallorca Hiking Walking Holidays – Seven Key Tips For Beginners

Tom 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 visitin…g another you are sure to meet like minded people….

Mallorca Hiking Did you know: The name Mallorca derives from the Latin ‘insula maior’ meaning ‘larger island’ Mallorca is Spain’s largest island

Mallorca Hiking Did You Know: Palma is famous for La Seu, its vast cathedral originally a mosque. Construction began in 1229 it didn’t finish until 1601!

Mallorca Hiking Did you Know: The surface of the island of Mallorca is 3.640,16 square kilometres, and it has more of 554 kilometres of coast.

Mallorca Hiking

The Talayot Of Es Rossells

Source:Mallorca Daily Photo Blog

Mallorca Hiking Did you Know: In 2008, 22,832,865 passengers passed through Son Sant Joan Airport in Palma, with an additional 1.5 million arriving by sea

Mallorca Hiking Mallorca Fact: Did you know: The population of Mallorca is 702.000? From those, more than 300.000 live in Palma

Mallorca Hiking Good morning Hikers: The sun is shining – good weather forecast for the weekend. Get your hiking boots out!

Mallorca Hiking Alimenta 2011

Mallorca’s very own international gastronomic fair, Alimenta, will this year be held at the Palma Arena from the 23rd to the 26th of March. Alimenta includes an exhibition of businesses related to the food and wine industry in Mallorca and across  Spain. It is a fair wh…ich attracts thousands of business owners, entreprenuers and ‘foodies’. One of Alimenta’s highlights is the ‘Gran Gourmet’ which is a special section of the fair dedicated to…

Source:SkyBlue Mallorca for Mallorca Restaurants, Wine Estates & Gourmet Prod

Mallorca Hiking

Coming soon… Misa Brasserie

February will see the opening of a brand new restaurant in Majorca. Marc Fosh and his team opens Misa Braseria and Bar. ”We are pleased to announce the opening of our new restaurant in February. MISA will be a Mediterranean Brasserie with a Modern-Rustic feel. It will f…eature a Relaxed & vibrant cuisine and offer the city of Palma something totally new, taking informal dining to new heights with Marc Fosh’s renowned cooking…

Source:SkyBlue Mallorca for Mallorca Restaurants, Wine Estates & Gourmet Prod

Mallorca Hiking Do you live in Mallorca? Would you be interested in joining a walking club for small annual fee & monthly walks – plus equipment discounts?

Mallorca Hiking We’re working on a club format that should be enticing for everybody who wants to enjoy what this wonderful island has to offer Paddy. If there is any cost it will be more than returned with many benefits. Watch this space!

Mallorca Hiking HikingTopTip:Fitting your pack: don’t over tighten shoulder straps. Tighten just enough to keep your pack close to your body and stable.

That’s it for this week – Look out for our daily Facebook Facts next week..


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