Christmas activities in Majorca

Christmas has arrived and Majorca has been completely transformed. There’s an air of pure joy in the air, spreading far and wide amongst people. There are colourful lights, trees decorated with exquisite adornments, markets and nativity scenes…

Christmas cheer is all around; the little ones are happy and there are festivities taking place all over the capital and in all the villages. Are you ready to discover the magic of Christmas? We propose a few plans you cannot afford to miss out on whilst on your trip to this incredible Mediterranean island.

A browse through the Christmas markets

Do you have a gift in mind? Discover the Christmas markets in the capital or in Palma’s Old Town. Stroll around the stalls where you will find locally handmade products, food sampling and typical Christmas adornments from Majorca. Do not miss out on the traditional markets in Calvia, Santa Maria and the symbolic villages surrounding the Tramuntana Mountain Range.

Palma’s Nativity scenes

Visit the capital’s town hall and discover the beautiful Nativity scene hidden inside. You will find a number of Nativity scenes in Palma’s Old Town and its surroundings over the course of your holiday.

The Song of the Sibyl

On Christmas Eve, churches in Majorca are buzzing with excitement as they sing the song of the Sibyl at Midnight Mass. This is a moving Gregorian chant originating from the Middle Ages. The most popular places to witness this tradition is at the Lluc Sanctuary, in Escorca and at Palma Cathedral.

The chimes of Cort

Welcome 2018 at Plaza de Cort, in front of the clock of the Town Hall and celebrate the new year with your loved ones. Enjoy an authentic Majorcan celebration and the magical Christmas shows on the eve of the last day of the year.

The procession of the Three Wise Kings

The 6th January is the date that all the little ones wait impatiently for as it is then when Their Majesties arrive. There is an exciting procession of the Three Wise King through all the capital’s main streets.

 

Traditional chocolate

Enjoy a delicious hot chocolate with either an “ensaimada” or “coca de patata” pastry at the famous Can Joan de S’Aigo, one of the oldest cafés in Palma.

Where to stay?

If you have chosen to spend a magical Christmas in Majorca, then choose Sol Hotels. Enjoy one of the most unmissable Christmas parties ever with all the best services and attention Sol Resorts offers in its incredible hotels: Sol Katmandú Park, Sol House and Sol Beach House. Enjoy the Christmas of your dreams in Majorca with your loved ones and fall in love with this Mediterranean island.

 

September brings Mallorca the best in music and culture

Even if any month of the year is the perfect month to visit the island of Mallorca, there’s nothing better than gearing up for a discovery of the largest of the Balearic island during September. As the last month of summer makes its entrance, the island slowly, but steadily recovers the calm it loses during the months of July and August when tourism is very much at its peak.

When that silence and that calm descends over the island territory, that’s when you can really enjoy the many outdoor musical events that take place all over Mallorca. If you’ve chosen this month to enjoy a couple of relaxing days here on the Balearic Islands, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the best music under Mallorca’s starry skies.

These are our recommendations for this month: Take note!

Seu de Mallorca

Piano concert by Alexander Bernstein

Once of the main dishes at the International Music Festival in Deià is the presence of the famous pianist Alexander Bernstein, one of the biggest at the moment and one of the most sought-after and valued in the world.

The concert takes place on the 7th of September at 20:30 in an incomparable setting: the Son Marroig estate, one of those places in Deià with views worthy of a fairytale.

Beauty and the Beast, the musical

Apart from this being the year in which Disney’s film Beauty and the Beast was released, September also becomes a special moment for lovers of the musical genre as it presents the Beauty and the Beast show that so many are talking about. This event, several hours long, takes place on the 30th of September at Palma Auditorium.

Where to stay on Mallorca

One of the hotel chains that’s talked about the most by travellers who chose Mallorca is Gran Isla Hotels, a chain with Mallorcan DNA, expert in offering unique experiences to those travelling with friends, as a couple or as a family.

Even if they have many hotels on their books, this month we will recommend two hotels, ideal because of their location (Alcudia and Santa Ponsa) and because of the excellent value for money they offer. They are Hotel Piscis Alcudia and the popular Pirates Villages Apartments, an ideal place to enjoy a different, amazing family holiday.

A shopping day featuring Dubai’s best boutiques

Every traveller is of course different, but one thing we all have in common is that if you’re treating yourself to a trip to a far-away place you want to do some research and plan what ‘essential visits’ you want to make and what to do every day you spend there (as far as possible, of course). It’s a good idea to set an entire day or morning aside for shopping so you can treat yourself to those whims you’ve seen but not bought yet (whether it’s because you didn’t want to carry them along on the sight-seeing, or because you prefer to leave that kind of expense to the end of your holiday).

One of those destinations where going shopping is a true pleasure is Dubai, a place where you can enjoy the magic of the desert and the essence of a thousand and one nights staying in an exclusive hotel like the Arabian Courtyard Hotel & Spa. It’s a hotel in the centre of Bur Dubai offering the best rooms in Bur Dubai, located just steps from the main independent, most exclusive and original boutiques of the capital city.

Contemporary and innovative fashion

Speaking of Dubai you normally get the impression that everything at the destination is expensive (or very expensive). Yes, this is the first myth we have to dispel. Our route of alternative shops actually proves that you can find everything here in the gem of the United Arab Emirates, and that it doesn’t always have to cost you an arm and a leg. So which are those boutiques that you mustn’t miss? Take note, here are some examples:

Bambah and The Zoo Concept

A shop located in the heart of the capital that welcomes you with a lawn and unique interior design that you won’t find in many boutiques in Dubai: this is what Bambah and The Zoo Concept is all about. The space is run by two Egyptian businessmen and it’s designed to make clients feel that they are in the middle of a true oasis. So what kind of clothes can you find here? Literally anything from modern t-shirts to Haute Couture, and at really competitive prices to boost. Their incredible occasion dresses deserve a special mention.

Das Collection

Even if it’s not your style, or nothing you would wear on a daily basis, you mustn’t miss the opportunity to visit Das Collection. It’s a traditional Emirati fashion shop, but imbued with trends from international fashion in Paris or New York. It’s so popular with European clients that the brand has a shop in the Harrods department store in London.

O-Concept Store

The industrial touch and interior design that might make you feel like you’re in Camden Town make O-Concept Store another essential place to visit when you embark on a shopping trip in Dubai. What will you find inside? Everything from high-class brands to accessories with an Emirati touch, or high-quality sunglasses.

Incredible beaches for those who love beautiful landscapes

There is one thing all of us working with the blog Hotels & Destinations can agree on, and it’s that we’re all devoted to beaches. We love them; they relax us and fills us with life. Could there really be anything better than enjoying a holiday on an infinite beach with fine sand and the sun bronzing our bodies, listening to the sound of the waves – that authentic soundtrack? No: without doubt, there isn’t.

July is traditionally the summer-holiday month number one. All you have to do is to choose a destination and set your sights on that special beach where you can just be, give in to relaxation and disconnect. For those of you who have still not decided where to go this summer of 2017, we can suggest three beaches that will leave you speechless.

Es Trenc, the blue pearl of Mallorca

Those who know Mallorca will give an account of Es Trenc stating that there’s no need to go to the Bahamas. With fine sand, a landscape of dunes you will fall in love with and beautiful, crystal-clear turquoise water, this beach is ideal for those who want to relax in a setting without too much tourism and far from main towns.

The fact that there are hotels like Cala Millor Garden Hotel a mere 20 minutes away by car makes this beach a magnet for those looking for beautiful spots on the Balearic island.

 

Huelva and the pure Atlantic

On our last trip with Garden Playanatural Hotel & Spa as a base we could confirm that among all the beautiful beaches all over this country, the most amazing ones are found in the province of Huelva.

Even if the most well-known ones are those by Punta Umbría and Matalascañas, we mustn’t forget that there are in fact other beaches too in the area that shouldn’t be forgotten, with a more natural beauty, such as Cartaya and El Rompido. Kilometres and kilometres of natural environment for those who love great beaches.

 

The Mediterranean in Almería

Another destination that we love is Almería, one of the most overlooked provinces in Andalusia, but also one of the most natural and authentic ones. Our two favourites? The beach Las Salinas and, of course, the amazing beach Cabo de Gata. A unique place with a unique landscape where you can also find great hotels such as Cabogata Mar Garden Hotel & Spa.

 

The most beautiful areas along Fuerteventura’s beaches

Those looking for contrasts might opt for the island of Lanzarote, and families prefer travelling to Gran Canaria. In the same way it’s common that travellers who look for Atlantic beaches choose to stay on the lovely, tranquil island of Fuerteventura. It’s nearly two thousand square kilometres, not only the second largest of the Canary Islands, but also one of the most exclusive ones when it comes to beautiful beaches.

Having said that, the island hides unique spots along those beaches, beyond the natural magic of the coastline. Places you can only discover if you have a good backpack slung over your shoulder. Unique locations that deserve to be treasured as memories for life. What are the most famous ones? This month we highlight them in this travel diary for Hotels and Destinations.

 

Fuerteventura

 

The Dunes of Corralejo

Declared a Natural Park in 1994, the area called the Dunes of Corralejo is one of those places that keep surprising travellers. A place more than two thousand hectares big where you can enjoy the magic of a sea of dunes (identical to the neighbouring parts of Africa). Apart from enjoying incredible moments and panoramas worthy of a postcard, the excursion also provides unique places to go for a swim on beaches with intensely blue water, hardly visited by man. It does sound great, doesn’t it?

Discovering Ajuy

It’s not the most striking beach on Fuerteventura or the most frequented one by tourists who travel here, but those are two facts that make the Ajuy coast a great place to come to if you’re visiting. Apart from the beautiful beach with black sand (a peculiarity of the Canary Islands), this area shelters a natural monument that is over a hundred million years old.

The natural lake of Sotavento beach

Even if its fame is based on its golden sand and crystal-clear, deep-blue waters, very few know that the very action of the sea in this part of the island has created a natural lake where you can enjoy sunbathing and all kinds of water-related sports.

Hotels to stay in when on holiday in Fuerteventura

In addition to unique landscapes and exquisite food, Fuerteventura is a well-renowned when it comes to hotels, and there is a lot on offer. Our recommendation?

IBEROSTAR Fuerteventura Palace, IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas or the beautiful IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas Park.

Sol hotels, the best option for a holiday with friends on Mallorca

May is considered the best time to start organising your holiday plans for the summer; it’s a month that offers plenty of excellent promotions as well as brilliant weather, yes indeed: weather that might even allow you to take one or a couple of dips in the sea. Out of all the destinations you can choose from, Mallorca is one of the most outstanding places on offer for these spring dates.

A place that is ideal for couples or families to visit, but also the perfect destination to enjoy a holiday with friends with two clear-cut missions: rest in a nice hotel and have fun in a unique environment. That latter goal is practically guaranteed for every trip you take to the largest of the Balearic Islands, so let’s focus on the question of accommodation.

Sol Beach House Mallorca

A winning hotel chain, no surprises

Mallorca does have its fair share of really good hotels, available in the north as well as the south, but this month here at Hotels & Destination we will highlight the chain Sol Hotels. This hotel chain is a benchmark brand on Mallorca with hotels located on the beachfront, offering those who love travelling with friends a multitude of extras and amenities.

Located only metres from the beautiful beach in Magaluf, Sol House Hotel is one of the hotels that the chain Sol Hotel has on offer. It’s a hotel surrounded by the popular Sol Katmandu Park Resort where you can enjoy the beach, a varied gastronomic offer and more than 20 different activities.

There is a 4D cinema and various scary activities, and Sol Katmandu Park Resort will also tempt you with the popular K3 Climb. This construction is nearly 20 metres high and involves a total of 57 different problems, sure to take your adrenaline levels through the roof. Not for the faint-hearted.

If you prefer more traditional hotels but in a privileged location, there is no better choice than the Sol Beach House Hotel. This four-star hotel is not only one of the best located ones in the area, it also has a pool area with pool and bar where you can enjoy a day of sun, bath and eternal mojitos.

It’s a hotel located in the heart of Palmanova beach where you can enjoy walks along the sea shore and sporty activities with a fun edge such as parasailing, jet-ski tours and the popular paddle surf. Do you prefer playing volleyball on the beach? If the answer is “yes” then we have great news, since this area is a meeting point for those who love this sport. Just wait for 6 pm to arrive (more or less) to see how the first nets are installed and games start between groups of friends.

A gastronomic route in south-east Mallorca

Even if Palma is the best-known location on Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands is characterised by an infinite number of little villages famous in their own right (nationally and internationally) for their beauty, their history, their atmosphere in summer and – of course – for the gastronomy they offer. Calvià is one of the places that offer the most variety when it comes to restaurants and bars, probably because this is a region that sees a lot of tourism in high season.

Based on this premise, and since we are lovers of international cuisine at Hotels & Destinations, we’ve decided to make a route through the most prominent villages of this famous Majorcan municipality (the largest on the island) so that you’ll get it right first time  if you decide to visit.

Portals Nous

Portals Nous

One of the things that the municipality is famous for – and particularly so here in Portals Nous – is the number of restaurants you find along its main avenues. On Mallorca eating well is almost a religion, so rest assured there won’t be any unpleasant surprises in places like this. We’re talking about Portals Nous village, quite a majestic place.

Apart from having numerous places where you can enjoy a drink with friends or beers with the football on in the background, this place also features high-level restaurants such as La Ópera (Italian) or Chameli’s Restaurant (famous for its delicious paellas).

Palmanova

Less than five minutes by car from Portals you’ll find Palmanova, a small village located by the beach by the same name, famous for its impressive promenade by the sea full of bars and restaurants.

From beach bars (such as Il Chiringo de Palmanova) to elegant places like Campino Bar or Cappuccino, visitors can also sample delicious pizzas at Il Tano or hamburgers at Abracadabra.

Santa Ponça

One of the most international corners of Calvià Bay is Santa Ponça, a place where outstanding festivals such as the Moors and Christians (typical for the island), the Oktoberfest and St Patrick’s Day take place. This mix of nationalities ensures that the gastronomic offer is very much up to par.

Apart from traditional restaurants like El Balcón de María, this town also offers unique, peace-filled spots like the restaurant at the Yacht Club. A place surrounded by nature with a definite Mediterranean scent.

Hotels in the southeast of Mallorca

As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, together with the city of Palma, the south-east of Mallorca is one of the areas of the island that is most frequented by tourism. This is something that can be seen in the sheer variety of hotels on offer: here you can find all styles and prices (especially now during the quieter months of the high season).

Hotels in locations like Magaluf and Portals may be aimed at individual travellers, couples or groups of friends, but in other areas like Santa Ponça it is family tourism that prevails. Those looking for a family hotel might opt for high-quality establishments such as Pirates Village Hotel  or  Plazamar Serenity Resort, two well-known hotels that belong to the Mallorcan hotel chain Gran Isla Hotels.

Tenerife, home to the most authentic Canarian folklore

When we think about the Canary Islands it’s normal to think about all the things that are known around the world – this is what happens (at least it happens to nearly all of us). We think about the delicious Canarian banana, the accent they speak, all the volcanoes (with the magnificent Teide rising above them all) and the world-known flavours that come from there, such as papas arrugás and the mojo picón.

The Canary Islands are much more than that. We’re talking about an archipelago filled with contrasts and a natural wealth unique to our country, and a culture firmly based on traditions and folklore not everyone is familiar with, and that holds special weight on Tenerife.

Timple canario

Timple canario

To the rhythm of delightful Canarian music

Travelling to Tenerife, soaking up the essence of this wonderful destination, you will discover cultural aspects such as its delightful music. It’s music that invites you to dance and makes you feel right at home. The best known sounds? Without a doubt, the traditional isas and fólias, two melodies that you can listen to at performances played by traditional bands in the halls and theatres of the islands, or in the squares of the more authentic villages.

Dancing, dancing and dancing

The traditional dances are another highlight of the traditional culture on the island of Tenerife. The best known? The so-called Dance of the Magi, a mixed dance featuring dancers dressed up as farm workers, characterised by its joy and its 100% Canarian, authentic touch. One of those experiences that are so often overlooked.

The magic of Canarian instruments

This is what makes music and Canarian dance a world-class cultural event: its traditional musical instruments. Instruments such as the timple or the tambourine, always present in all bands and hand-made by real experts in the field.

Hotels on the island of Tenerife

Tenerife is a fantastic destination filled with energy and as such it has managed to grab one of the top spots in Spain when it comes to high-level accommodation on offer. There are exceptional hotels offering unbeatable value for money. This Canarian island is home to unique establishments filled to the brim with services and tailor-made luxuries for customers who are looking for something more than just rest and disconnection.

Although there are many hotel chains that have opted for this formula, this month we’re focusing on three hotels forming part of the Mallorcan brand IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resort that have turned exquisiteness into a true quality seal. They are the hotels IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel El Mirador, IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Mencey and IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Salomé.

Travelling, the best gift for Father’s Day

It’s so difficult to buy something for dad! Yes, not to worry, it happens to all of us. And even if it seems there are more gifts for men around than ever, when they day approaches we completely run out of ideas: he’s already got everything! Of course, just like everyone else. Every year it’s Father’s Day. Is it going to be a drama this year? Nah, this time it’s going to be really easy. You’re going to say ‘I love you dad’ and you’re going to give him a real surprise. A card where it says he’s going to go on a very special trip: a Madrid getaway, with you. Without mum, just you and him.

Gran Vía

If you’re thinking that this is the worst idea ever because you’re going to start arguing after a couple of minutes, stop reading right now and go and buy him a pen, a tie or some cuff links. For the rest of you, let’s keep plotting and planning, and you’ll understand what a great idea this is.

The first thing we have to discuss is: why Madrid? Well, it’s a city offering a lot of activities and culture, and this is an important thing when travelling with someone who’s not the same age as you. You might know your father well, but if you’re not used to travelling with him you’ll probably have to adapt the travel plans to his tastes and needs. At the end of the day it’s his trip, isn’t it?

Well, in a capital such as Madrid you can offer him plenty of choice and you can easily get to where you’re going by train, bus or metro (no car-related stress please). It’s always a lot better than going to a beach resort where what you have is… well… only that: beach. If your father is still quite young, active or an art or football fan, he’s going to enjoy Madrid.

It’s also a good destination for gourmet fathers. In fact: if he’s on a diet then Madrid isn’t a very good choice. The food on offer in Madrid: the squid sandwiches on Plaza Mayor, the deluxe croquettes at the San Miguel market, the Lucio scrambled eggs, the sausages, the chips and the Mahou beer. Madrid is a sinful capital.

Something you have to arrange as well, apart from all the activities, is where to stay. It’s better to put your money towards a central hotel where you have all the services you need and where you won’t be bothered by the noise that can be a problem in all large cities. Let him have a say without breaking your budget: there are very interesting offers and promotions available for hotels in Madrid if you book a bit in advance.

In the four-star hotel range there is plenty to choose from, some of them with exclusive facilities such as a roof terrace above the Gran Vía, one of the many fashionable locations in Madrid. Almost all hotels in this category have free wifi so you can plan your daily routes as you go along, choosing the activities you fancy the most. Among those that have received the best ratings by online users are those that belong to the Vincci Hotels chain, and the Petit Palace, two companies that offer original, urban hotels with good service at a good price. Some of the more economic ones are the Petit Palace Madrid Aeropuerto and the Petit Palace Arturo Soria. They are located a little bit outside of the centre, but with good metro connections. If you want to be in the very centre of Madrid, check availability at the Petit Palace Clíper Gran Vía.

Plans for 2 in Playa Jandía

We have spoken on many occasions about Playa Jandía as one of the booming destinations for those traveling with family, but we have always overlooked something very representative of this Canary paradise: the southern tip of Fuerteventura is an ideal oasis to forget the routine, to flee from the office, bosses, the work… Goodbye to responsibility. Welcome to the corner of the planet where you will only have to worry about which beach you want to roast in the sun on.

Playa Jandía, integrated in the municipality of Pájara, is one of the most welcoming and quiet tourist areas of Fuerteventura. While it’s true that you breathe in an increasingly familiar atmosphere, you should remember that Playa Jandía, and especially its famous Playa del Matorral, have been for decades romantic refuges for couple’s getaways.

Playa Jandía, Fuerteventura

Morro Jable, which is the town with more local life around it, brings you that livelier side, vibrant and festive, thanks to its taverns, terraces by the sea and places to have a drink in the sun while sharing an unforgettable moment at sunset. In its weekly activities, Morro Jable includes multiple activities where the visitor can join in. A must-see is one of its traditional markets, where you can find all kinds of native products, as well as artisan crafts and accessories for all tastes.

But, if your idea of a romantic getaway is to be both alone on a spectacular beach… don’t miss Cofete. Hidden behind some of the beautiful hills of the Jandía Natural Park, on the other side of the Matorral beach and Morro Jable, is the wonderful Cofete beach. What you should know though is that you should be aware of the tides. The Atlantic is not the Mediterranean and its tides and currents must be understood, and enjoyed with respect: at Cofete there’s a point where the tide goes up high enough to isolate you on one side of the beach, preventing you from being able to go back. So, enjoy your peace and beauty, but don’t get too distracted.

For accommodation, you should consider the possibility of looking at a suite or a slightly special or original room in one of the 3 and 4-star hotels in the area. The 5-stars are terrific, but they run high in price, while the 4-stars are more reasonable. As an example, you’ll see that right next to El Matorral beach you have 3 Iberostar options, a brand known in the sector to always provide guarantees: the IBEROSTAR Fuerteventura Palace, the IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas, and its neighbor the IBEROSTAR Playa Gaviotas Park. The first of the 3 is the one most oriented to couples and romantic getaways specifically.

If you prefer to stay in the area of ​​Esquinzo, you will also find complete hotels, and also hostels and apartments that are quite affordable. In Costa Calma, a little more towards Puerto del Rosario already, there are some key accommodations like the H10 hotels, a chain that has several locations on this Pájara coast and that are well rated for their service, cleaning and attention.