Under Mallorca’s Spell – From BBC to CB&B (Chic Bed & Breakfast)

Can Reus Fornalutx Mallorca HikingMallorca has a way of making you look at life in a whole different way. As I can vouch from my own conversion from London strife to country life – Mallorca has a way of making you appreciate a slower way of life.

Many expats complain about the mañana syndrome here in Mallorca. I still have difficulty accepting afternoon siesta closing times, queuing for meetings rather than telephone solutions, Sunday closing and more. But none of these “problems” would tempt me to return to the hectic life I left behind in the UK.  So it was with perfect understanding that I discovered another couple who made a similar escape – also due to a love of the great Mallorquin outdoors.

In the picturesque village of Fornalutx you will find a small rural hotel nestled between orange, lemon and olive groves. From theCan Reus 1 Fornalutx Mallorca Hiking garden of Can Reus there are spectacular views to the Tramantana mountains and endless hiking routes on the doorstep. Indeed the owners are keen walkers, and this is how they became the owners of this idyllic retreat.

The location of this lovely hotel made it an obvious choice for Mallorca Hiking and for a base for our Tailor Made Walking Holidays. The superb facilities and service would have you believe the hosts had been in this profession all their lives – but those of you familiar with TV news and current affairs programmes would be surprised to see Sue Lloyd-Roberts that formidable sleuth of investigative journalism greeting you from her “other job” here in Mallorca. And husband Nick Guthrie continues to produce and edit his weekly current affairs programme for the BBC, Dateline London (but he is back at his post at Ca’n Reus by Sunday).

Can Reus 2 Fornalutx Mallorca HikingSue recounts that they originally bought a holiday home in Fornalutx to have a quiet place to escape from the mayhem of London, enjoy the incredible walks in the Tramantana mountains and the relaxing Mallorquin country lifestyle. Then the boutique hotel next door became available, and against all the advice and protests of friends and family, Nick and Sue invested in their new venture.

My personal trajectory into Mallorquin life also involved taking on an agroturismo in the south east of the island, so I understand what Sue means (when she recounts in an interview for abc Mallorca) that it didn’t begin auspiciously. As somebody who took on a business with more sentiment from the heart than the head, I know the learning curve can be very steep – I’m sure strong nerves from all Sue’s reporting experience came in very handy to overcome some of the pitfalls of Mallorquin bureaucracy, and the very different ways in which things get achieved in Mallorca.

However, regardless of the inauspcious start, the result is a beautiful 9 room hotel with the Serra Tramantana mountains literally Nick Guthrie & Sue Lloydoutside the back garden. This is truly a place to escape and forget the world. Relax and enjoy one of Nick’s chicken casseroles with olives, or one of Sue’s fish specialities fresh from the local market – complete with organic vegetables and accompanied by the very latest world news and current affairs!!

Nick still commutes between Mallorca and London for his weekly news shows, and Sue confines her award winning documentaries to the low season for the hotel. Both return to Mallorca as soon as they can, ready to kick off the world and share their Mallorcan oasis with their guests at Can Reus.

We can highly recommend this lovely hotel as a base for a walking holiday…

Soller to Lluc via the Pilgrim’s Steps

Monastery at Lluc MallorcaThe Pilgrim’s Steps are part of one of the most popular and enjoyable walks on the island of Mallorca – a 14 km hike from Soller to the monastery at Lluc, that continues on into Pollensa. The route passes through many different terrains, from mountains to valleys; woodland to spectacular coastal views; a limestone valley that descends into the canyon where the actual Pilgrim’s Steps are found – a cobbled pilgrims’ trail comprising almost 2,000 shallow stone steps.

Starting from Soller follow the road to the village of Biniaraix, which leads through groves of orange, lemons, figs and almonds. This is a picture postcard perfect Mediterranean village where each doorway and windowsill has been carefully tended with flowers, vines and bougainvillaea. Then moving on up to the Barranc (or gorge), the Pilgrim’s Steps lead us into the mountains. You can just imagine the work required to produce these steps and appreciate all the effort made by our ancestors to make our access to these mountains so much easier. More enchanting terraces of olive trees dropping down into the narrow valley of the Cornadors, and from here we move onto the Coll de L’Ofre. From the Coll there are spectacular views down to Sóller and in the other direction to the Cuber reservoir below and Puig Major above.

There are several routes leading to the Cuber dam from here, one passing over the L’Ofre peak and a testing ridge walk, which then leads down to Cuber – look out for the abundant birdlife around the lake, including many birds of prey (covered in more detail in our previous post).

From the Cuber lake there is a gentle incline up through woodland to the Tossals Verd summit and more spectacular views (see our Youtube video of the route to the summit). If you are hiking over several days, the Tossals Verd refuge is a perfect stopping point. Here you can enjoy a home cooked meal complete with vegetables from the garden, and stay overnight if you want to. There is a circular path around Tossals Verds mountain and the refuge is located on this route. You can therefore access the refuge via either direction. Both paths to the refuge are well marked – one runs through a number of tunnels via one side of Tossals Verds and the other via the canaleta which is a slightly longer route the other way around.

Continuing on to Pollensa from the refuge, the route takes you through holm oak woods and an ascent of Massanella, the highestThe Pilgrim's Route to Lluc Monastery accessible peak on the island. This is a fabulous experience you will remember – not least for the care you need to take over the last part of the route (good hiking boots required!), but ultimately the views from the summit are amazing.

From the top of Massanella, the route leads down through the woods of Comafreda to the road and finally, the pilgrim’s destination at Lluc Monastery. The Monastery is another great stopping place that takes on a wonderful silence at night time when all the tourists have departed. You will be transported back in time to the origins of this sacred place and the peace and tranquillity the monks sought for their religion.

This lovely walk from Sóller to Lluc monastery via ancient pilgrims’ steps is just one of the many routes we can offer you on a Tailor Made holiday with Mallorca Hiking. We can combine fabulous local hospitality – either in the rustic simplicity of the refuges (or mountain “huts”) or in delightful boutique hotels –  with wonderful mountain scenery, fauna and flora and all the other good things that Mallorca has to offer! We look forward to hearing from you….

Don’t destroy what you came to enjoy!

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

dasyatis pastinaca common stingray

… that’s Brad’s motto and we totally agree with him!

Brad and Bea are a passionate team and we’re happy to say that Mallorca Hiking is increasingly working together with them, particularly when it comes to activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling (as well as canyoning and rock climbing, but we’ll save those for another day!). Brad is a qualified and highly experienced PADI dive instructor and today’s post is his story:

“Another beautiful summer day in Mallorca, clear blue skies and a slight sea breeze…what an Island!

Txus is a good friend of mine and a non-diver but he asked me to take him diving for the first time….”Hombre!!! For sure…lets go!!”  We were about to see the largest concentration of rays that I have ever seen anywhere in the world… in Mallorca!

I had been told about a spot in Mallorca that has a large population of sting rays. Coming from Australia and having dived with rays there, I wasn’t expecting too much. People say there isn’t much to see in the Med… haha… this is so far from the truth.

We arrived at our dive site and unpacked the gear whilst I gave Txus a thorough briefing in my ever-improving Spanish. I explained to him the very basics of diving, what to do, what not to do and what to expect to see.  All of this was done whilst enjoying the breathtaking views of the rugged coastline and crystal clear waters of Mallorca.

When we’d finished the briefing we slipped into our wetsuits and jackets, grabbed our fins, mask and snorkel and made our way to the water’s edge. I did my final checks on Txus and myself and in we went. The first thing we do before and at the end of any dive is to inflate our BCD (buoyancy control device) – a very simple and very important procedure.

The smile on Txus´ face spread from ear to ear and we hadn’t even gone underwater yet. As an experienced instructor I know that when someone is smiling like that at the beginning of their first dive, that the dive itself will be one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.

As we exchanged signals that we were “OK to Go Down” we released the air from our jackets and Txus´ underwater adventure had begun. We were blessed with amazing visibility, and were welcomed to the underwater world by a curious yet cautious Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse. Txus was mesmerized.

Let the fun begin…

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

Thalossoma pavo-ornate wrasse

We were immersed in an underwater landscape of white sandy patches surrounded by lush Posedonia fields, small rocky outcrops and small underwater caves. We glided through channels of sand that were lined with Posedonia  – picturesque and calm… then all of a sudden from beneath the sand BOOM… our first ray, nervous of our presence, swam off into the distance at speed. Common Sting Rays bury themselves under a light layer of sand making them difficult to see, so when you unknowingly approach them, their lightning fast movement, flapping their wings, shaking off the sand and darting off into the distance, can take you by surprise.

As we dropped down to around 9 meters we approached another large sandy area, and this is where things were going to get very, very busy with Rays. Every meter we swam, there was another ray in front of us…Txus was over the moon, his mask letting in water through the creases in his super huge smile… (top tip: happy smiling divers must clear water from their mask regularly!)

We approached a few of the rays without disturbing them, so we could get up close and personal with these amazing creatures… within 30 cm I’d say – eye to eye with a common sting ray in Mallorca… just amazing.

scuba diving in Mallorca

Coris Julis Doncella-Rainbow wrasse

The next thing I saw was a very special moment – an Ornate Wrasse had befriended my student Txus, and whilst Txus was standing upright with his right hand held out in front of him, this very curious little fish was swimming from the palm of his open hand up to his mask and then back to his palm…. This continued for 2 to 3 minutes. In my experience fish from the Wrasse family are naturally inquisitive and this little guy was no different. Txus displayed the same level of curiosity… a true connection was made between fish and man.

We dived for almost 1 hour, returning to our entry point and greeting each other on the surface with huge smiles and a big man hug…what a dive! A memorable experience for new diver Txus and another memorable experience for this salty old diver.”   By Brad Robertson of  www.OndineEscape.com

Tempted?  Why not ask us to design a tailor-made holiday for you?  We will include all the activities you like doing most – fabulous guided walks, diving or snorkeling with Brad, boating, to name but a few. Please call or email us for tips, ideas and further information.

Mushroom picking in Mallorca

Collecting mushrooms

Collecting mushrooms

One of the many things that we love about Mallorca is the island’s dedication to its traditions of foraging for local wild produce, such as mushrooms, asparagus and the like. When we’re out walking in the mountains at this time of year, we meet any number of Mallorcan families enthusiastically searching for setas, all equipped with their traditional wicker baskets to collect their mouth-watering harvest.

The Mallorcan mushroom season is usually late October to November, depending on the weather. The rains usually arrive in late August, but if like this year they’re late, the season tends to be a bit later.

 

Mushrooms or Setas in Mallorca

Mushroom varieties in Mallorca

Mushrooms are quite varied in Spain, with some very big varieties growing in the forest areas. Our weather is good for mushrooms – hot summers, high humidity and autumn rains all contribute to conditions that allow them to thrive.  Ceps, or porcini (in Spanish rovellos) are quite common, as are Chanterelles. Niscalos or lactarius deliciosus are also prolific, and are used in many of the local dishes. But here in Mallorca the real pick of the crop is the Esclata-sangs (Lactarius Sanguifluus – Bleeding Milk Cap) a large flat fleshy mushroom, which bursts with flavour when cooked…!

This island is not shy about promoting its local produce, and every year on the last weekend of November, the tiny Mallorcan village of Mancor del Vall comes alive with the Fira de l’esclata-sang i de la Muntanya. This delightful little place lies in the foothills of the Tramuntana mountains and this autumn fair is one of its annual highlights.

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

Esclata-sangs in Mallorca

This wonderful fair aims to show and preserve traditional mountain activities and island traditions, but the main attraction is their prized mushrooms, which are showcased over the weekend in a variety of dishes offered by local bars and restaurants. You can snack on mushrooms on toast, freshly made at one of the many stalls, or visit one of the cafes or restaurants to try one of the many specially prepared dishes featuring these delicious mushrooms.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about the varieties of mushrooms you can find here (particularly the edible variety!), there is an excellent online catalogue published by the University of the Balearic Islands in conjunction with the Balearic Natural History Museum.

And then, why not “go local” and join Mallorca Hiking for a guided mushroom foraging walk. Our expert guides will take you to the best areas, talk you through the various species and keep you safe by making sure you don’t pick the wrong ones!  If you’d like to book a walk just for you and your family and friends, we’ll organise a tailor-made day out just for you… you can then go home and cook a delicious meal with what you’ve picked!

Do contact us for more information – we’ll be happy to help…

 

Looking forward to the almond blossom…

Almond blossom in Mallorca, Majorca

Almond blossom in Mallorca

Here at Mallorca Hiking we can’t believe it’s already November and that all the Christmas festivities will start soon! That usually means there’s not so much time available to get out and enjoy some walking :-(

But we’re looking on the bright side and plan to make up for a busy December with lots of good walks in the new year. We’re already looking forward to the almond blossom season, which in Mallorca is usually from the end of January to about mid-February – our short video will give you a general idea.

If that has tempted you and you’re looking for a sunny spot to enjoy a walking holiday, we can organise a tailor-made holiday for you and your group, which includes guided walks, accommodation, additional activities, hotel and restaurant recommendations… Just contact us for a chat and more information.

And if you’re just interested in a day’s walking, we recommend you to have a look at our 2 favourite blossom walks throughout January and February:

–  Rural wanderings – Es Capdella and the Galatzo Estate

–  4 Picturesque rural villages

Please contact us directly to reserve your place.

We look forward to seeing you!

The GR221 – with or without a guide?

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Signage for the GR221

We’ve had loads of enquiries recently from walkers wanting to complete Mallorca’s long distance hike, the GR221 or Dry Stone Route. And among the most frequently asked questions is – do you need a guide or can you walk it alone?

Well, the answer is that in theory you should be able to walk it alone but in practice it’s not quite as simple as that. The local government has invested a considerable amount of money in developing the route and way-marking it and for the best part it is clear and well-marked. But there are 2 stages 1) Esporles to Valldemossa, and 2) Valldemossa to Deia, that really do benefit from a professional guide. The first of these – Esporles to Valldemossa starts with a few signs, which soon dissolve so you have to rely on cairns and red dots on the rocks, and a few other bits of rustic signage to guide your way. If you miss one and take a wrong turning, it’s difficult to get back on track. The second tricky stage, Valldemossa to Deia is similarly lacking in way-marking (for some reason). Added to which, there are a number of different routes out of Valldemossa (of differing lengths) that connect with the steep path down to Deia, so for the visitor the choices can be baffling…

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route signage

Consell de Mallorca Info boards at the start of each stage

Another stage, Estellencs to Banyalbufar remains under a cloud of boundary issues so it is best to hop on a bus for this short section and avoid the issue, or if you’re determined not to miss anything, definitely use a guide for half a day.

In our view, the best holiday experience is a combination of guided and un-guided walks. There are so many more benefits to using a local guide than just route finding – a good guide will give you an insider’s view of the island, tell you about the plants and bird life you see along the way, tell you stories about the various characters who have featured in the island’s history, and take you to the best local bars and restaurants! So, if you take our advice you’ll use a guide for the tricky days (and at the same time benefit from all the other good stuff he/she can offer!), and enjoy the well-marked stages on your own. In fact, we’ve just completed exactly this kind of trip…

On the last day of February, a group of Mallorca residents set off from Es Capdella in the South West of the island to complete the GR221 over 6 days. This is how we did it:

On day 1, we walked un-guided with no path-finding problems, from Es Capdella to Estellencs. As it was our first day, we took a leisurely pace in glorious warm sunshine, and had time for a cool drink on our arrival in the tiny village of Estellencs, before catching the 5 pm bus to Banyalbufar (and therefore avoiding the controversial Estellencs to Banyalbufar stage!).

Day 2: another glorious day and we were feeling lazy, so we hopped on a bus from Banyalbufar to Esporles and started our hike from there. As I know the route from Esporles to Valldemossa (one of the tricky path-finding stages!) I led the group, but we met a couple of German girls who were lost and finding the path-finding very tough. If I hadn’t known this stage, I would have asked one of Mallorca Hiking’s expert guides to lead us.

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Nina telling us a few essentials before setting off on day 3

Day 3: Another tricky stage – Valldemossa to Deia – and today one of Mallorca Hiking’s fabulous guides Nina guided us and educated us in the flora and fauna of the island, as well as telling us about the island’s fascinating rural history and ancient rural industries. This was a stress-free and very informative day thanks to Nina, her knowledge and her guiding skills!

Day 4: As we weren’t able to stay in the refuges on this occasion (they were fully booked!) we had to cheat slightly and hiked from the town of Sóller to the Cúber reservoir via the Barranc de Biniaraix, and took a mini-bus back down to Sóller for the night at the end of the day. This is a very well marked trail, so no problems with path-finding today (even if we had been able to continue to the Tossals Verds refuge).

Mallorca's GR221 or dry stone route

Snow covering our path

Day 5: This was a challenging day. Even though this stage – Tossals Verds (or in our case the Cúber reservoir) to Lluc Monastery – is well way-marked, this year’s heavy snowfall lingered at over 1,000 metres and had covered up some crucial sections of our path. There were a few stressful moments but we succeeded, and reached our destination safely. However, moments like this are a sobering reminder that conditions on the mountain – snow, low cloud etc – can quickly and effectively impair visibility! Another good reason to have with you a guide  that knows the route well and can “read” the weather!

Day 6: Lluc Monastery to Pollensa is an easy end to this fabulous trek; well way-marked and un-challenging hiking, though we did (for the first time on our trip) have some heavy rain to contend with (a challenge in itself!).

As you can see, our 6-day trek demonstrated all the good reasons for hiring a guide for at least some of the stages of the GR221! For more photos of our trip, please go to our Facebook page.

If you would like more information on Mallorca’s long distance trail, the GR221 please take a look at some of our previous blog posts, such as:

Mallorca’s dry stone route – an overview

Dry stone route, part 1

Dry stone route, part 2

or contact us with your questions. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime happy hiking from the Mallorca Hiking team!

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…

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!

 

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 1)

When we go for a hike we need to eat the appropriate type and amount of food, due to the intensive physical exercise. Drinking is even more important especially if we are not used to the climate and to the type of terrain. Therefore, we must plan carefully our food and drink intake before, during and after the hike.

Mallorca’s hikes can be quite challenging, especially in terms of temperature and slope, as the mountain paths are often steep and with a limited amount of shadow. Temperatures at noon can go over 25ºC already in March-April, and until the end of October. From June to August temperatures can pass the 30ºC threshold, even reach 35ºC or more in extremely hot days. Many routes should be avoided when temperatures are so high up, while other routes (more shadowy and with sea access) can become a perfect option to enjoy an outdoor hot day.

Mallorca hiking food

Eating local food while enjoying the fantastic views

This article (divided into 2 blog posts) will try to introduce you to the typical Mallorcan food that can complement your hikes, while resuming the health benefits they have to offer. Since we are focusing on food that can be eaten during a hike, it must be raw food or previously elaborated food. Notice that Mallorca Hiking offers you the possibility to tailor made your activity and include local food, which we will select and bring in order to make your day even more special.

 

Fruit is a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), vegetable soluble fiber, water (fruit provides fast body hydration), and it helps the digestive system and the drainage of liquids. The typical seasonal fruits produced in Mallorca are tangerines (November-March), oranges (November-April), lemons (November-May), grapefruits (December-April), strawberries (February-May), loquats (April-May), cherries (May-July), apricots (May-August), peaches (May-September), nectarines (May-September), plums (June-August), watermelons (June-August), melons (June-September), figs (July-September), pears (July-November), apples (August-January), pomegranates (September-November), grapes (September-December) and kakis (October-December). The sunny Mediterranean climate combined with the traditional tree varieties and low air and soil pollution; provide the perfect environment to grow very tasty and juicy fruit. However, you need to know where to get it, preferably from smaller shops or directly from countryside producers.

 

Local and abundant nut

The healthy energetic snack to bring on excursions

Almonds are the main nuts produced in Mallorca, since the cultivation of almond trees became a main economic rural activity during the late XIXth century, after an epidemic stage in the grapevine that led to the end of the traditional wine producing sector. Therefore, it is usual to see almond trees during your hike, as they have been planted almost everywhere on the island. Almonds are rich in vegetable oils, meaning that they provide a great caloric kick to our body. Moreover, they contain proteins, vitamins (B and E groups especially), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc) and fiber. They are a great healthy snack (not salted), helping us to gain some energy to continue doing some body activity. And they are so delicious!!

The natural salty snack

Olives are very appreciated both for macerating and for pressing to get oil

One of the oldest symbols of peace and goodness is the olive tree which grows delicious olives. In Spain it is said that “the one who grows olives lives a long time thanks their nutritional properties”. They are not a great source of calories, though they have high quantities essential oils (omega 3 and omega 6) which are beneficial to our body. Moreover, they are a source of vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron and sodium, and fiber. Olives are easily assimilated by the body, being a perfect and tasty snack. Since they have been previously macerated, they are normally salty which means we should not eat lots of them while we are hiking. You can also bring a jar of the flavourful Majorcan olive pâté to spread on a bread slice or cookie.

Next week we will intrduce you to more elaborated Majorcan food that is also suitable to bring for a walk in the nature.