WALKING / CYCLING
These days people want to actually do things on holiday and not just sit on a beach for two weeks. With 300 days of sunshine, steep mountain climbs and spectacular scenery, Mallorca has found increased popularity recently with cyclists and walkers of all abilities. There are over 400 km of hiking trails and 176 km of signed cycling routes on the island and ‘Team Sky’ now have a permanent cycling base on the island. Look out for Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome as they are regular visitors. When I visited an Iron Man endurance event was taking place through Puerto Pollensa involving a 1.9 km swim / 90.1 km bike / 21.1 km run (apparently that is only half distance!). The local authority put together an excellent booklet with a number of suggested routes for cyclists and walkers, have a look at www.pollensa.com for more information.
Because of the fairly limited quantities of Mallorcan wine produced each year it’s fairly scarce in the UK. That’s a shame as there are some fantastic growers on the island. I visited a small vineyard called Mortix that is run as a co-operative, their vines are grown 400metres above sea level in the heart of the Tramuntana Mountains and they produce a mixture of grapes, including the traditional Malvasia variety in addition to Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Among the highlights of their range is a fruity ‘Rosat’ (the 2008 vintage is the one to look for) and my personal favourite, a sweet dessert type wine called ‘Dolc de Gel’ that was delicious served ice cold under the Mallorcan sun. I’ve heard M&S are beginning to stock some Mallorcan wine so if you can find a bottle give it a try.
A great way to sample some of Mallorca’s delicious Tapas dishes is to try a pub crawl with a difference. Every Thursday from 7-11pm during the peak months sixteen of the local bars in Puerto Pollensa host ‘Ruta Del Tapeo’, offering a glass of Vino or Cerveza with a tapas dish for just €1.50. Each bar has their own specials and showcase the local produce to wonderful effect. My personal tip, anything with anchovies or basil.
SHOPPING / MARKETS
Most of the villages hold weekly markets and there is a popular one every Wednesday from 8am in Sineu right at the center of the island. There are good factory outlets scattered across the countryside and Mallorca is home to some excellent pottery and fabric manufacturers. Many will post larger items back to the UK to save you trying to get them in your hand luggage at customs. A good shop for local produce is Galeries Vicenc (S.A Rotonda Can Berenguer www.galeriesvicens.com) and there is also a chance to see the traditional looms with a tour of the factory behind the store.