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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Experience Spanish Island Life in Mallorca 12.24.11

Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!

Spain has long been on my travel wish list, and in recent months I’ve been learning more and more about the island of Mallorca (or Majorca) from some of my favorite blogs, including Glampacker. With winter in full swing, I'm also thinking about warm and inviting destinations where one could get away from the chill. If you plan a visit to Spain, you can easily hop over to this Balearic Island. You have probably only heard of the party island of Ibiza, which seems to be a hang-out for the rich and famous. With amazing oceanic views and beautiful white sandy beaches, Mallorca is a fantastic tropical getaway for everyone, yet also has beautiful mountains and quaint cities and villages, making it a Mediterranean locale not to miss. It makes a convenient vacation destination for Europeans, especially, but it's certainly unique for those that travel from further away.

While over 10 million tourists flock to Mallorca every year, many wanting to soak up some sun while lying on the beach, there are plenty of ways to beat the crowds. Since the British have found how awesome the isle of Mallorca is, high-rise hotels have sprung up all over the island, which is great for those that like to be in the middle of it all, but for those that like a quieter stay, a vacation rental is probably more what you are looking for. I'm always looking for ways to save money and also have a different view of the city I'm staying in. A vacation rental is a good way to do that, since you can make some of your own meals, have your own space and feel like you live at your destination. You can find some affordable rentals through HomeAway and Venere. Choose from villas, vacation homes (for a larger travel group), apartments and country houses. You're sure to find something that suits you and your travel companions or family.

You can also find some wonderful Majorca hotels that are budget-friendly in the old quarter, where it is less crowded and close to great museums and dining. The majority of monuments are located in this medieval part of the city, including the Cathedral La Seu, Almudaina Palace and the Parc de la Mar.

If you don't speak Spanish, don't worry, many tourist areas also speak/understand English, German and French (as well as other European languages), making it an easy vacation destination to travel around in. The bus is affordable and can get you everywhere you're looking to go on the island.

Here are some pretty cool things I found to do on the island that are also budget-friendly:

Travel back in time on the wooden Sóller Train from Palma de Mallorca to Sóller. For less than 20 euro per person, you can take a 2 hour train ride that takes you to Sóller and back, through mountains, orange, lemon and olive groves and other amazing landscapes that will delight you. Sóller offers up unique shopping, museums and open-air markets on Saturdays. The city is walkable and full of beautiful architecture. It makes a wonderful day trip and it is said you should bring an insulated bag to bring back all the delicious food that can be found.

Visit a real castle for less than $5 per person. Bring a picnic lunch and take a bit of a hike to get to Bellver Castle, a 14th century gothic-style castle overlooking the town of Palma and the harbor. For 2.50 €, you can view almost the entire castle and museum. On Sundays and public holidays you can get in for free; however, the exhibition rooms and museum will be unavailable. I think the admission fee is worth seeing more, but that's because I'm pretty sure it has a gift shop in the museum, and I love a gift shop! Not like the museum itself isn't worth the fee, too.

Walk the harbor and admire the fancy yachts. While you probably don't have the money to charter one, you can look at them for free. If you're lucky, you might meet and make friends with a rich owner and get taken out. Brush up on your compliments and dazzle them with your charming wit! I'm not saying it'll work, but it never hurts to try.

See all the wonderful sites of the city on the hop-on hop-off trolley, one of the best deals in sightseeing at under $20 per person. The bus departs from many destinations every 20-25 minutes. There are 16 stops, which include Antonio Maura, Pl Joan Carles I, La Rambla, Pl España, Av. Alexander Rosello, Av. Gabriel Alomar i Villalonga, Passeig Maritim Poble Espanyol, Castell de Bellver, Pl Gomila, Av. Joan Miro (C.C. Porto Pi), Estacio Marítima, Av.Gabriel Roca (Auditórium), Pl. Porta de Santa Catalina (Es Baluard), Av. Jaume III and Moll Comercial. Get on at any of the stops and get off to see more of each stop anywhere along the way. Your ticket is good for 24 hours from your first use.

If the beach isn't your scene and you're willing to splurge (a bit) on a day of fun, Aqualand Water Park might be more your speed. Tickets run 24.00 € per adult (16.00 € for children 3 and up), but that is for an all-day pass and unlimited use of their water slides, beaches, lazy river and mini park for children. If you purchase your tickets online, you can save 10% off. Doesn't that guy on the Anaconda look like he's having a terrific time? You never even have to leave the park, because if you get hungry, you can eat at any of the snack bars or the restaurant on-site. They have a wide variety of food to choose from. Free parking, a photo processing lab and gift shop(!) add to the enticement. Don't forget to bring your sunscreen, so you don't look like a lobster like I did last time I went to a water park.

Find more awesome things to do on the Majorca Travel Guide, look to DoHop to find budget airlines to get to the island and check out the top rated restaurants on Trip Advisor for some delicious eats. Mediterranean fare and seafood can be found everywhere. Since it's local, it can also be super affordable. Tapas anyone? I hear they have them everywhere and are fabulous!

This is a sponsored post, as I was asked to write about Mallorca and all its awesomeness and was compensated for my efforts.

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