Travel like a local this summer in Mallorca and enjoy the island like you have never done before
The first step to a more eco-friendly tourism is to put your money where your heart is. Imagine if we all did this all the time? Imagine if we considered every purchase, took interest in where our food, clothes, toiletries and gadgets came from? The wide-ranging effects would be huge and far-reaching.
In Mallorca we are lucky that the things that come from and are made on the island are invariably better quality and more delicious than any mass-produced alternative, so it should be easy to be sustainable. Local wines amass international awards, local olive oil, salt, almonds, herbs, fruit and vegetables are exquisite, bread is baked in wood stoves, the meat, fish and seafood are practically 0km.
You care about the planet. You buy healthy organic food and recycle waste. You feel sad and angry about the state of plastic in our seas and oceans, and you do your bit, supporting different environmental groups. But do you do the same when you go on holiday?
One of the best (and easiest) ways to be sustainable on holiday is to choose where you shop. Do this by buying locally, eating in Mallorca-owned establishments, shopping in small shops (as opposed to the huge international supermarkets) and of course, by staying in small boutique hotels rather than the large all-inclusive hotels.
Travelling over 2000 miles by air to land on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean and then eat the same food you eat at home seems like a monumental waste of a good foodie opportunity and in the case of Mallorca, a culinary crime.
Admittedly the menu provided by most of the seaside eateries and cafs is not exactly traditional and rarely sustainable. More often than not it is completely British and low in quality. But step inland, or even a few roads back from the beach, and you will discover a whole different selection of restaurants, places where the locals go.
The small towns and villages in Mallorca all have small shops and delis where you can pick up cold cuts and island specialities, like olive oil, sea salt, roasted almonds. There are also bakeries with wood burning ovens, butchers and fruit and vegetable shops selling local goods.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not more expensive either. You will need to traipse a bit, to visit all the different places, but you will get to experience life as a local, meet the shop owners, try out your Spanish and possibly discover all kinds of food you had never dreamt of. Besides, why travel at all, if you aren't interested in the customs and cuisine?
Local weekly farmer's markets are another option and fun one too. Pollensa old town's market is on Sunday mornings in the main square, while Puerto Pollensa hosts their weekly market on Wednesday mornings. It's worth getting there early as they can get pretty busy, especially if you are here in July and August.
Mallorca has come a long way since the early 80s when construction was virulent and anything but sustainable and is now beginning to explore new ways of balancing tourism with sustainability.
Eco hotels in Mallorca essentially use methods that respect the environment and local customs and traditions, while providing high quality accommodation to the modern traveller. This is our aim at the Mar Calma Hotel - Eco friendly hotel in Mallorca
1 . Take memories not objects
Try not to litter or damage anything you touch, and that includes monuments, beaches, wildlife, traditions and culture. Treat the island with respect, enjoy it to the full and leave with only photos and memories.
2 . Use reusable plastic bottles
Plastic as we all know is a worrying issue and plastic bottle use is one of those easily remedied and yet often ignored misuses of resources that ends up being a big part of the problem, littering beaches and often ending in the sea.
We know that the summers in Mallorca are hot and you are thirsty, but could you use a reusable bottle and fill it up as you go?
3 . Eat local food at local eateries
Not only is this a way of putting money back into the community (as opposed to financing the large supermarket chains!) but it means you will be eating fresh local seasonal products, grown and produced on the island and infinitely more delicious and better for your health.
4 . Protect wildlife, don't hurt it
The Mediterranean Sea that washes the shores of this island is full of sea life and the huge numbers of beach visitors, boats, ferries and now an increasing number of cruise ships are wasting the seabed and hurting the fish and algae (see Posidonia). Only a few days ago a whale washed up on one of Mallorca's beaches, fatally wounded by boat propeller. We are yet to hear what it had in its belly.
5 . Respect the culture
Though it may come as a surprise, Mallorca is rich in culture and tradition. Its many fiestas mark the seasons, agricultural fairs for seasonal harvests, religious liturgies, pagan celebrations and historical re-enactments all entwine to create a deeply engrained sense of community.
If you want to see or even take part in the festivities, you will always be most welcome. Do not however, try to change it!
Virgen del Carmen Fiesta, Puerto Pollensa - Celebrated on the Bay of Pollensa on the 16th of July