Can there really be anything left to discover on this popular Balearic Island in the middle of the Med and is there any more to this holiday hub than sun and beer?
It does seem unlikely.
But then again...
While most holidaymakers stick to the beaches and the beaten track there are thrilling adventures to be had if you dare.
In the spirit of adventure and because this place has so many amazing spots that no one ever gets to see, here are a few cool (and chilling) activities you can try while you're here.
There are more relaxing ways to enjoy the local wines, but none so eccentric as wine tasting tours on a bike!
Mallorca wine tours offer all kinds of variations on the wine tasting theme, from train rides at the local wineries to banquets on luxury yachts, but I prefer the mid morning cycle/ wine tasting that takes you around the Binissalem wine area of the island. You will visit the vineyards by bike and then stop off at the old wine estate for a gourmet wine tasting with paella. I think you cycle first and drink after, but as there are two wineries on the route, you may end up weaving dangerously for the later part.
You can design the course, as you like really, cycling anything between 5 and 15 km, and set out at any time of day. Prices start at 75€.
Photo by Cycling Locations
Deep in the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana, where there are few routes to the sea and the terrain is steep and craggy, there is a unique road, a cycling route that has drawn some of the best international cyclists to the island. Built by an Italian/Spanish engineer Antonio Parietti in the 30's (the same one who built the road to Formentor) the route has a spine tingling 26 hairpin bends descending on to the tiny beach of Sa Calobra and the only way back is to cycle up the hill again!
A Cat 1 cycle, 9,4 km long with a gradient of 7%, and total elevation of 670 m, the Sa Calobra cycle is described as an extraordinary ride and one of the main reasons that cyclists come to Mallorca in the first place.
Ok, shark infested water tanks may not be for the faint hearted it's true, and I am not totally convinced I would dare, but you can - and maybe you should!
Visiting Palma Aquarium is a wonderful experience in itself but it's the Big Blue, the largest tank in Europe, that's the most impressive part; 3,5 million litres of salt water housing the Aquarium's 6 2,5 m long tiger sharks (the 4th largest shark on earth!) and 4 sandbar sharks, your swimming companions for the day.
You are expected to have a PADI diving certificate, divers without a license are also welcome following a pre-training session, but will dive to a maximum of 4 metres as opposed to the 8 metre dives experienced divers can make, and you will be accompanied by the Aquarium instructor at all times. Amateurs however, aren't let into the tank, which seems wise.
The dive lasts around an hour and a half and costs 175€.
The Zenair CH701 STOL we flew at Aerodromo Mallorca at the Villafranca airstrip
Flying over an island of size of Mallorca is a fabulous way to see it properly. And depending on what you fancy you can take flying lessons in a helicopter, an ultra light plane, a balloon, etc. or simply get driven and enjoy the rush of flying low over the spectacular terrain.
There are 5 ultralight airstrips in Mallorca: Binissalem, Ses Salines, Llucmajor, Petra and Villafranca de Botany, all of which are run by small ultra light flying clubs which, offer flying lessons and piloted flights.
I flew one for about 5 seconds, the rest of the time it was flown by the pilot, which was just as well. This wasn't a lesson but the feeling of holding the controls was thrilling. The machine had been built by my instructor from a kit he bought in the post and looked like a tin can with bolts and spindly wings. It wasn't particularly fast (200km/h) and we were airborne for an hour and a half.
This is no crazy adrenaline junky sport, I see that now. It isn't for someone chasing a high. It is exhilarating to be in the air and the views are spectacular, but there is a certain attitude to it that I'm not familiar with; it is like going back in time.
Pollensa on the 2nd of August is a battleground, fought on the streets and won on the old football field, and watching it will give you a sense of what a real Mallorcan fiesta is all about. Crushed bodies and masses of booze are the defining factors of the Moors and Christians celebration, with deafening canyon shots echoing off the stone facades and roaring cries, this is the last day of two weeks of festivities which, have included a happy mix of cultural, culinary, sporting and traditional events of all kinds.
Late in the afternoon you will see the grand old Pollensa homes open their doors and spill out a medley of men in fancy dress, the Christians dressed in white after the pyjamas worn at the time of the Moorish attack on the north of Mallorca (circa 1550 AD) and the Moors in multi coloured Turkish trousers, waistcoats and head dresses, tipsy by now and covered in face paint, while the women all wear ancient petticoats handed down from generation to generation. What seems like an anarchical free-for-all to the untrained eye, is in fact a carefully orchestrated dance, with tactical routes and planning, and a huge amount of kudos for those who take part.
Having sent you into waters infested with man-eating creatures, riding across the wine estates and down the most terrifying descent on the island, then flying over it and into the midst of Mallorca's most crazy summer festival, I think it's time you got into the sea.
There are over 200 caves on the island, both underground and underwater, of which, 5 are open to the public, while most of the others remain largely unexplored. Mallorca's porous sandstone and limestone rock has been carved over millennia to create wondrous caverns and galleries with complex tunnel systems, stalactites and underground rivers, said to be the inspiration to Julio Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and the most fascinating caves of all are the subaquatic ones along the coast.
You can join guided trip underwater with the north Mallorca adventure company Mon d'Aventura and see for yourself!