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One way to make your holidays in Mallorca even more interesting is to find out something more about this fascinating island and its attractions.
I truly believe that it is much intriguing to visit a cathedral or spend time at the beach if you know the anecdotes related to those places. For this reason, I collected a small list of interesting things to know about Mallorca.
Mallorca has one of the largest underground lakes in the world
In Mallorca there are plenty of caves. The most famous one is the Cuevas del Drach, the Dragon Cave. It is 1,200 m long, filled with stalactite, stalagmite and other spectacular formations.
Besides being a magic place to visit, the Dragon Cave is home to one of the largest underground lakes in the world. The Martel Lake is about 115 m in length and 30 m in width and can be crossed by a short boat trip.
Another natural attraction of Mallorca related to its cave system is Es Pontàs. Es Pontàs is a rocky arch that rises from the sea by the south-west coast of the island. Probably it is the entrance of an old cave that collapsed.
Bellver Castle is one of the few circular castles in Europe
Bellver Castle is located on top of a hill, a location that ensure great views of the Bay of Palma.
This castle was built in the 15th century by King Jaime II as his royal residence but later it was used as a prison.
The round building and semi-circular towers makes it the only circular castle in Spain and one of the few ones in Europe. The most astonishing feature of Bellver Castle is the gothic arches around the upper floor that are visible from the inner courtyard.
The Bellver Castle is open to people and host a permanent museum dedicated to Mallorca’s history.
The gothic cathedral of La Seu is the symbol of Palma de Mallorca and has much to tell.
First of all, it has one of the largest stained glass windows in the world. The rosette has a diameter of about 13 meters and is made up of more than 1200 pieces of glass.
Then, the building was originally built as mosque and that mean that the altar is actually facing towards Mecca, not Jerusalem.
Finally, the building of La Seu started in 1230 and lasted for the following 4 centuries. However, the cathedral went under additional work even in more recent times. Even the famous famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí worked on the interior restorations.
Mallorca is home to Europe’s first sweet pastry recipe
During a holiday in Mallorca you should taste theensaimada. Emsaimada is a traditional sweet pastry which is said to be the most ancient sweet pastry in Europe. The prove is that Ensaimada are mentioned in some literary compositions that date back to the 17th century, a time in which pastry wasn’t common at all.
An Old lighthouse
Portopí Lighthouse has been working since the 14th century and it is the second oldest functioning lighthouse in Spain and the third in the world. The second oldest lighthouse in the world is the Lantern of Genoa, in Italy, originally built in 1128, while the first one is the Tower of Hercules in Coruña, in Spain, built in the 2nd century.
Mallorca is gorgeous and I really hope this interesting things about some of its main attraction will make you holiday even more pleasant.
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La Lonja and other spots for the best nightlife in Majorca
La Lonja is one of the most popular areas in the Old Town of Palma de Majorca and is the perfect place for your summer evenings. Actually, I find that this neighborhood is beautiful to visit even during the day.
I love Majorca because it combines enchanting nature, culture and nightlife and La Lonja is a good example of what this island has to offer.
Palma old town
The old part of the town of Palma de Majorca is known as ‘El Casco Antiguo’ and is where you can find most of the main tourist attractions, such as the ‘La Seu’ Cathedral, the Royal Palace of Almudaina or Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum.
The Old Town is a maze of narrow streets with picturesque buildings and suggestive places where you can take great photos, but there are also antique shops and luxury boutiques.
I personally suggest you to leave the map at home and just get lost to find by yourself what’s behind every corner.
The thing I like most about this area of Palma de Majorca is the mix of architectural styles that can be observed: from Gothic to Baroque, from Roman and Arabic influences to examples of Catalan Modernism.
La Lonja was the maritime trade exchange, not operating anymore, which gave its name to the surrounding area. It is one of the most appreciated neighborhoods of Palma de Majorca due to the presence of restaurants, bars and clubs.
The building that hosted the maritime trade exchange is a nice attraction too.
It was built between 1426 and 1447, and is now used for exhibitions since the interior space is really large and can easily accommodate works of art, even those of large dimensions.
I find it really enchanting.The facades have high walls, battlements, gargoyles, windows with evident Gothic architecture and octagonal towers. It’s worth a visit, especially when there’s no exhibition and you can enjoy the huge interior.
In the neighborhood of La Lonja it’s easy to find the right place for drinking and eating.
The heart of La Lonja’s nightlife is Apuntadores. This main road is full of life, people and bars where you can stop! However, don’t miss the secondary roads: they often host restaurants or shops that are real hidden treasures.
One of La Lonja’s most unmissable bars in is Abaco Cocktail Bar.
This place is famous throughout the world and loved due to its truly bizarre interiors.
Columns and statues, baskets of flowers and fruit, plants, warm colors and candles decorate the patio and the entrance, creating a Mediterranean atmosphere.
In the garden there is a fireplace and a large staircase leads to the upper floor where there are other rooms furnished with copies of old paintings and period furniture. The loud classical music contributes to the atmosphere.
It’s a magical place, even though someone might find it kitchy and a little expensive. In any case, it is one of those places where it is worth spending time, at least to say to friends “I’ve been there during my holiday in Majorca!”
Other spots in Palma
Besides La Lonja there are other places in Palma de Majorca where you can find bars and clubs to spend lovely evenings.
For example, Paseo Maritimo is a wonderful promenade flanked by palm trees that runs parallel to the seafront. It is only open to pedestrians and bicycles, so it is perfect for relaxing, but also for meeting people.
In the evening the music bars and nightclubs brighten up the area, which becomes the ideal place for a cocktail or for dancing. There are also restaurants with beautiful views of the harbor where super yachts are moored.
Another spot is Santa Catalina, an ancient neighborhood that is right next to Paseo Maritimo. It houses a variety of places to eat, drink or dance. Its market, called Mercat de Santa Catalina, is worth a visit during the day. It was built in 1920 and is Palma’s oldest food market.
It’s easy to have fun in La Lonja and Palma de Majorca: there are so many places for enjoying the great island’s nightlife.
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Easter in Majorca: What you can do during your holiday
Easter in Majorca is a moment during which you can discover some interesting traditions on the island.
In particular, during the Semana Santa, the Holy Week, religious processions take place every day on almost every town.
Palma hosts some of the most suggestive ones.
Moreover, the warmer temperatures makes an Easter holiday a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, the hiking paths and the beaches!
Easter Processions and Festivals in Palma de Majorca
Of course, processions are held not only in Palma but in almost everywhere on the island. However, I want to focus on those in this town.
One of the most fascinating procession is the Christ de la Sang.
On the evening of the Holy Thursday huge statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets of the city by hooded men, called Carapuntas.
These men belong to the cofradias, the brotherhoods. In Majorca there are about 50 brotherhoods and each of them has its own colored dress.
On Good Friday on the steps of the Cathedral in Palma is the reenactment of the Passion of Christ, followed by a procession.
After the melancholy processions of the previous days, on Easter Sunday in Palma it is possible to participate in the Procession of the Meeting that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus and his encounter with his mother.
During this procession, some men carry a statue of Jesus towards some women carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary. The groups gently shake the statues up and down as a sign of joy for the meeting.
On Little Easter you can participate in another procession called Domingo de Angel, the Angel Sunday. Actually, it is more like a festival.
Residents and visitors walk from the town hall to the Bellver Castle, followed by music bands and some people dressed up as giants.
Food and secondary events make the Domingo the Angel a great way to spend the Little Easter. People in Palma usually spend this day setting up picnics with friends and families.
Another festival for an unforgettable Easter in Majorca, is La Fira del Ram in Palma. The Ferris wheel, rides for children and adults, more than 100 stands, food, music, attractions and fun are available day and night for a short periodo of time.
Among the other Easter events in Palma are the concerts held in the churches. I think the most exclusive is the one in La Seu Cathedral.
Easter events in other cities
As I have already said, every town in Majorca has its own calendar of events to celebrate Easter, both religious and pagan.
On Good Friday in Pollença takes place one of the most popular celebrations, the Devallament, that is the Descent from the Cross. During this reenactment a figure of Christ is removed from the cross and carried down the impressive stairway of Mount Calvario to the Church of Virgen de los Ángeles by silent hooded members of the local brotherhoods.
The processions is really suggestive thanks to the location. The stairway of Mount El Calvario consist of 365 steps, one for each day of the year, and 14 3-meter-high crosses are placed to recall the Stations of the Cross.
For Little Easter, I found out that some of the most appreciated locations for day trips and picnics are the Alaró Castle, Puig de Santa Magdalena near Inca, the Ermita de Sant Blai in Campos.
And now a last suggestion for a perfect Easter in Majorca: go to a pastry shop and try the Rubiols.
The Rubiols are baked pastries made with flour, lard, olive oil and eggs. They have a semicircular shape and are filled with Ricotta-like cheese, cream or a pumpkin jam called Cabello de Angel, angel’s hair.
Mallorca is a beautiful Mediterranean island that offers great beaches, enchanting sea views and lots of fun. But its capital, Palma de Mallorca, is good also from a cultural and gastronomicpoint of view. This is due to the long history and the different dominations that influenced the island.
Let’s discover what to see, eat and drink in Palma de Mallorca to get the best out of it.
What to see in Palma de Mallorca
There are plenty of monuments, museums and buildings to visit. You can schedule a tour or just wander aimlessly through the streets until you find them.
The first thing you absolutely must see is the Cathedral La Seu.
It’s the most iconic landmark of Palma de Mallorca, with Gothic spires and a warm color that is enhanced by the Spanish sun.
The cathedral construction started in the 13th century and even Gaudì worked on its completion.
This impressive building is even more suggestive at night, when floodlit. Furthermore, La Seu is located in a pleasant part of the city, surrounded by vegetation and overlooking the gulf.
Next to the Cathedral is the Gothic building called L’Almudaina.
Originally it was a Muslim fortress built in the 10th century. It’s really well-kept since it is a royal residence used for official visits.
Its strong points are the vivid colored carpets and tapestries and the chapel decorated with typical Gothic windows.
During your wandering in Palma de Mallorca you should reach Placa del Mercato to see the Casasayas and the Pensión Menorquina buildings.
They are two symmetrical buildings, one in front of the other, which recall the famous Casa Batllo in Barcelona. The Art Nouveau style is the same, with wavy design, geometric decorations and parabolic arches. Really peculiar.
Palma de Mallorca has a castle too.
Castell de Bellver is a well-kept building (not ruins) and has a rare feature: it’s round! Moreover, it is located on a hill and, once on top, you can enjoy a 360° view over the city and the Bay of Palma de Mallorca.
The climb can be hard, but it’s worth the reward.
Bellver Castle houses a civic museum, events and concerts.
What to eat in Palma de Mallorca
As I alway say, if you truly want to understand the city you’re visiting, you should eat the local food.
Pork, fish and vegetables are the basic ingredients of Mallorcan cuisine. They are used in some of the most typical dishes you can taste.
Sobrassada is soft cured sausage made from pork mince, bacon, and spices. It looks a little like chorizo. People in Mallorca usually spread it on rustic bread or eat it with cheese.
Vegetarians will love Tombet, a sort of ratatouille made with aubergines, potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes and garlic. It can be enriched with meat or fish.
During your walk through the city you could get hungry and Coca Mallorquina is the perfect snack. It is a simple but tasty baked flat bread dressed with vegetables. It may look like a pizza, but it’s not.
Of course, during your stay in Maiorca you must try the Tapas. Tapas are Spanish finger foods that people usually eat while drinking some wine or a beer.
They are prepared with a wide variety of ingredients. They can look like slices of bread with something on them, little skewers with olives or anchovies, meatballs, slices of prosciutto and much more.
I think that the most typical tapas in Mallorca are Llom Amb Col, Fritta Mallorqui, Lechona Asada. What are they made of? C’mon, if I tell you everything then you’ll have nothing to discover by yourself!
And what about sweets and desserts? Well, one of the most popular souvenirs among tourists is the Ensaimada, a spiral-shaped pastry made with flour, eggs, sugar, mother dough and pork lard. Natives usually eat it for breakfast or in the afternoon with coffee.
What to drink in Mallorca
Mallorca has its own wine production. Most of it is located around the village of Binissalem and the main grape varieties are Manto Negro and Callet for red wines and Moll for whites.
Another typical alcoholic drink is Hierbas, an herbal liqueur.
It’s made with molasses, wine and herbs like aniseed, lemon, rosemary, thyme, chamomile, fennel and more. People say it aids digestion and usually sip it after dinner.
In Palma de Mallorca you can also taste a very special coffee called Carajillo.
It is an an espresso with some brandy. Sometimes it can be flavoured with cinnamon and/or lemon peel.
As you can see, Mallorca is much more than beach life. Palma de Mallorca is definitively a nice destination for a day trip during your summer holidays or for a weekend during low season.
The Revetlla de Sant Antoni in Majorca and the evocative Balls Dels Dimoni
Between the 16th and 17th of January the Revetlla de Sant Antoni, that is the Saint Anthony Festivities, are held in Majorca and also in other parts of Spain.
In many cities and villages people set up bonfires, parades, bizarre dancing performances and street parties that runs late into the night.
If you are in Majorca during those days, you will experience an original version of this wonderful island. In fact, the Revetlla de Sant Antoni are the perfect opportunity to mix with the residents and appreciate their folklore and traditions. The streets are filled with singing crowds, the sound of traditional tambourines spreads everywhere and here and there strange dancing figures catch the attention of adults and children.
These dancers are performing the Ball dels Dimoni, the dance of the devils, the main attraction of the festivity.
The Ball dels Dimoni is a very simple but evocative dance. The dancers wear bizarre suits and masks that make them look like devils or monsters and they usually hold a stick or pitchfork with which they frighten the children.
The dancers are even more impressive when they perform at night, around the foguerons (bonfires).
THE ORIGINS OF THE BALL DELS DIMONI
These performances resembles one of the most famous episodes of Saint Anthony’s life.
Saint Anthony was an Egyptian hermit who is said to have lived in the desert of Tebaide for a while. During this period the devils tried to tempt him in many different ways: they took the form of a half-naked woman or a threatening dragons, and they beat him. But he always stayed strong. Despite this, the devils continued to persecute him.
During the Middle Ages, a Dominican friar called Jacobus da Varagine wrote about Saint Anthony. One of his legend tells that Sant Antonio lived in the desert with a pig and that at the time fire didn’t exist yet. One day the governors of the Earth asked him to descend into Hell to get the fire to warm up humanity, so Sant Antonio left with the pig and reached the door of Hell. When the devils saw him they didn’t let him in, but didn’t notice the pig that somehow managed to sneak in. The animal began to run everywhere and make a mess and the devils repeatedly failed to capture it. Finally, they asked Saint Anthony to come and get him back. While he was going back home with the pig, Anthony put his stick near the flames of Hell, and that’s how he brought fire to humanity.
ONE LAST THING ABOUT THE REVETLLA DE SANT ANTONI
This story about Saint Anthony and the little pig is probably the reason behind the fact that he is considered as the patron saint of animals.
Well, if you are In Majorca during the Revetlla de Sant Antoni and you are traveling with your pet, I suggest you to ‘do what locals do’ and bring your animal to the church for the mass blessing.
The tradition of blessing animals, especially pigs, was actually born in medieval Germany. At the time it was customary for the villages to breed a pig for the local hospital, usually run by the monks of St. Anthony.
The atmosphere during the Revetlla de Sant Antoni in Majorca is festive and engaging. The interesting thing is that every city has its own peculiarities and its own calendar of related events. The main cities in which to spend the Saint Anthony Festivities are Sa Pobla, Manacor, Pollença, Artà, Andratx, Son Servera, Algaida and Muro.
And if the Revetlla de Sant Antoni is not enough for you, stay a few more days in Majorca! On the 19th of January the bonfires are lit again for the Revetlla de Sant Sebastià, a feast day that is particularly felt in Palma.
As for any other fokloristic celebration, the Revetlla de Sant Antoni is an excellent opportunity for visitors to taste typical dishes. Two products that you absolutely must try are sobrassada and botifarros. Both are sausages made with pork and spices.
Since Majorca is one of My Rental Homes’ new destinations, there are many things about this island that I don’t know yet. However, among all the tourist attractions, one is really unique. It’s Cuevas Drach, the Dragon Caves.
WHAT ARE THE DRAGON CAVES
Have you ever dreamt of living an adventure like those written in the novel ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne’? I mean, going underground and discover a secret world? Well, the Dragon Caves may offer you something like this.
They are 4 interconnected caves created by the water that excavated the rock over the millennia, The entire complex is 1200m long and the deepest point is 25m underground.
The scenery inside these caves is fascinating and leaves speechless. It shows the power of nature and time. I think it’s easy to feel small in such a place, and it’s also surreal, since you’re under the surface of the beautiful island of Majorca!
By the way, my reference to Jules Verne is not accidental. The caves are mentioned in his book “Clovis Dartetor”.
WHAT YOU CAN SEE INSIDE THE CAVES
Of course, there are a huge variety of calcium formations: stalactites, stalagmites, columns and other bizarre structures, such as The Flag that looks like a thin fabric moved by the wind.
The most spectacular thing is the roof. Some parts are completely covered in thousands of different stalagmites. Some are short and some are long. Their length depends on their age, but consider that it takes about 100 year for a stalagmite to grow just 1 cm!
Other formations look like small mountains covered in snow. They are called the Monte Nevado.
All these intricate environment is enhanced by the lighting system. The lights are placed in specific places to make you better discover the complexity of what you see, its vastness, but also colors or unexpected transparencies. Without these perfect lighting you would never really enjoy the experience.
But is a visit to the Dragon Caves just a walk through ancient calcium structures? Well, no.
Water is the main element of the caves. The dripping from the roof and the passage of water from one spot to another are constant. All these flows created some lakes inside the caves!
For example, the so-called Bath of Diana is a pond of unbelievable turquoise color! It’s enchanting.
The main lake is Lago Martel. Lake Martel is considered one of the largest underground lakes in the world. It is 117m long and 30m wide. Its cold clear water is slightly salty, meaning that somehow the lake is connected to the Mediterranean Sea.
Seeing a lake underground is a unique experience.
You have meters of rocks and ground above your head. No colors, no vegetation or sounds around. Just some artificial lighting confirming that you are in a cave, and…wow, in front of you a lake with the clearest water you can ever imagine! It is so clear that you barely can distinguish what really is underwater and what is not! It’s a situation that can make you feel a little dizzy.
The greatest thing of visiting the Dragon Caves in Majorca is that it is possible to take a rowing boat trip on Lake Martel! Can you imagine something more unforgettable than gently slip on an underground lake?
But there’s something more.
Just before the boat trip on Lake Martel, visitors of the Dragon Caves attend to a very special concert.
While they are sitting on some benches just in front of the lake, a couple of rowing boats appears and the musicians on them play live some classical music, then the boats slip away.
The particular conformation of the caves makes the propagation of the sound uniform and for this reason they are home to music concerts, especially during summer.
WHERE ARE THE DRAGON CAVES
The Dragon Caves are located near the village of Porto Cristo, on the south-east coast of Majorca.
From Palma de Majorca it takes about 1 hour by car.
The caves are quite easy to reach also by bus from the nearest towns.
SOME USEFUL INFORMATION
The ground can be slippery and there are many steps, so you need to dress comfortable and have suitable shoes.
Furthermore, the temperature inside the caves is fresh, around 21 ° C.
The visit to the Dragon Caves lasts about 1 hour and there are many entries at fixed times.
Don’t take you camera with you because shooting is not allowed.
The only flaw is that during the summer season it can be crowded and the visit may be less pleasant than one might expect. Just be prepared!