It's that time of year again. Winter time. Most will return home now, back to school and work. But a lucky few take advantage of the welcome fresh air, empty beaches and cheaper flights to enjoy Mallorca out of season.
And Mallorca is astounding in winter, spring and autumn too.
Staying in a small boutique hotel in Port de Pollensa, way up in the north of the island, gives you the perfect base for exploring the more interesting sides of this gorgeous little mediterranean rock.
There are villages scattered all over, in the hills, foothills and the plains, and visiting them at this time of year is a great way of spending a day out, trying local cuisine, going for a hike, sipping coffee in a forgotten square, taking in the landscape, finding a secluded cove... all things which are far more tricky to attain in the peak months of July and August.
As we hope you will be staying at our hotel, we have a few suggestions nearby, within a 20 minute drive or less, to get you started. Then, if you're keen to find out more and explore further afield, we can add more to the list.
Winter is pretty unusual in Mallorca in that it's when the island celebrates its harvests and all over there are fairs and festivals celebrating crops and local produce. There are olive fairs and livestock fais, artisan fairs and craft beer fairs.
Gone are the heat waves and scorching sun of mid summer, now occasional showers and cooler nights mark the new season and with it harvest time!
But if you cannot make it in autumn, wineries and vineyards in Mallorca's two main wine areas are open to bookings and wine tours throughout the year. Take a walk around the wines and into the vaults, to taste some of the island's most exquisite brews. This is a great activity for wine lovers and foodies.
Inland from Port de Pollensa, set in a deep valley surrounded by hills, there is the delightful medieval town of Pollensa. And around it, some of the best walking paths, cycling routes and natural mountain reserves on the island. With a small monastery atop its nearest hill, steep calvary steps and a Roman bridge, there is much to see on foot within the town too. Or alternatively, lounge in the plaza, its main square and enjoy the laid back pace and great eateries of this once hippy, now trendy, little Mediterranean gem. Every year in April or May Pollensa celebrates its highly popular Wine Fair, and in summer, the classical Music Festival.
Campanet is tiny, a wee hamlet really, on the edge of the valley that flows into Pollensa. Blink and you miss the turning off the Palma-Alcudia road. And yet, it is one of the loveliest villages on the island. Not mountain pretty like Deià or Valldemossa, nor coastal pretty like Santanyi either, but quiet and forgotten, an unusual trait on this highly visited island.
Two nature excursions of note in this area are the staggering Campanet Caves and after the rains, the Fonts Ufanes, an intermittent spring that flows through the forest in the hermitage of Sant Miquel. Beside the entrance to the Caves is the delightful cafe restaurant of the same name with shaded terrace looking over the valley, a worthwhile trip in its own right.
Sa Pobla is not a place you would ordinarily go. It isn't pretty or charming. It doesn't appear in the guide books and blog lists of enticing sightseeing spots to visit in Mallorca. And as you drive past it on the Palma to Alcudia motorway you would be forgiven for ignoring it. It is farming country, where all the popatoes are grown... But Sa Pobla does have charm and has remained fairly off the beaten track. It's central plaza is lined with great little cafes and restaurants with great tapas at rock bottom prices and in summer, the Town Hall lays on concerts and fiestas, the most unexpected of all them, the open air Jazz Festival brings some great acts.
Caimari is a teenie, sandstone village, set inland from Inca in the Tramuntana foothills, a favourite hiking stopoff and a wonderful end of route if you walk from Lluc. The village itself is tranquil, silent and surrounded by mountains. Traditionally, the olive capital, it still has working olive oil presses and produces some of the best olive oils on the island.
The Lluc Monastery has been a place of pilgrimage since the 13th century, offering sanctuary and clean air during the great plague and still today. Nowadays its visitors are less religious and more outdoor sports and nature lovers, but still come in search of the same tranquility and natural beauty as their predesessors; hikers, cyclists, birders, climbers and adventurers know Lluc well. From Pollensa it is a windy uphill drive, or a fabulous walk and cycle, to what is essentially the first Tramuntana stop. Though few people live up here, there are several restaurants and cafes, best of all, the grand monastery hall, which is now a restaurant, Sa Fonda de Lluc, serves traditional heart warming Mallorcan cuisine.