Monday, 13 April 2015
Balearic family holidays: Chic Majorca
Spain's Balearic islands welcome young families with open arms - and away from the crowds each oozes individual charm, says Ali Horsfall
With striking beaches, swathes of rugged countryside and switched-on Palma, a city to rival Barcelona and Madrid, Majorca has loads to offer. Ignore the pull of the touristy resorts and say holà to the more chic spots. It's here, far from the madding crowds, that you'll discover the true family-friendly appeal of this beautiful island.
You'll be charmed by old Pollensa and the neighbouring Puerto Pollensa. By day, amble around the shops that dot the cobblestoned old town, and by night eat out in one of the main square's family-friendly restaurants. And be sure to climb the steps from Calvari square up to Calvário Chapel too. With 365 of them, one for each day of the year, you may need to piggyback tiny tots, but the view is magnificent. Sunday's food market in the main square is a big draw – with locals and visitors stocking up on watermelons as big as a bull's head and tiny sweet olives from nearby groves.
The trek to Es Guix, a rustic middle-of-the-mountains restaurant just outside Lluc, is well worth it. Scooped out of the rocks is a lovely springwater pool, so take your cossies for an after-lunch dip.
At the foot of the Tramuntana mountains, on Port Soller's promenade, sits the Esplendido. This Scandi-style hotel greets tiny tots with open arms – there's baby kit and beach toys to borrow and a bistro menu just for them. The retro-cool decor and a gleaming spa will keep you happy too. From about £115 B&B.
The Lluc Sanctuary (lluc.net) in the beautiful Serra de Tramuntana is worlds apart from all the 'pile them in and pack them high' hotspots on the coast. Potter around the botanical gardens with the children and breathe in the calm of Majorca's spiritual heart.
The fabulously Art Nouveau-style Forn des Teatre is Palma's oldest bakery and its Majorcan pastry treats ensaimadas are the very best in town. Splurge on bright buys at childrenswear boutique Bubu (7 Baron de Santa Maria del Sepulchre) and browse the fun toys and games for all ages at Imaginarium (8 Plaza Mercat).
Taste test the tapas in one of Majorca's many gastro cafés. It's the perfect meal for mini people – they can pick and choose from the small sharing plates.
For a low-key beach day, visit Cala Llombards, on the south east of the island. This secluded inlet is a firm favourite with local families thanks to its fine white sands and clear waters that are great for snorkelling.