Taking the Historic Tram to Port de Soller and Exploring Palmanova
Through an online booking service we had booked a one-bedroom apartment at the Torrenova Aparthotel complex which would be our home base for the next 5 days. Personally, I am not a big fan of big resort complexes, but our inexpensive apartment would be a convenient way to look after ourselves. The cost was amazingly affordable: for 5 nights the cost was less than $150 which made it an extremely good deal. I had booked this apartment in a complex that was located directly on the waterfront because I just wanted to be right next to the Mediterranean.
Great view of the Mediterranean from our balcony at the Aparthotel Torrenova
The coastline west of downtown Palma de Mallorca is pleasantly hilly, as the mountains of the Serra de Tramuntana peter out in the Bay of Palma. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to get from downtown Palma to Palma Nova, and you can either take the coastal road or the inland highway.
View of the Arab tower and the Bay of Palma from our hotel
The resort areas of Palmanova and Magaluf are among the most popular resort destinations in Mallorca, along with Can Pastilla on the southeastern Bay of Palma. They are among the first purpose-built tourist destinations on the island, and numerous high-rise and low-rise hotel buildings line the coastline. Package tourism really started in Mallorca in the 1970s and with the advent of low cost airlines, Mallorca has become of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Europe. Much of this mass tourism, particularly coming from England, is concentrated on the western bay of Palma.
British pubs abound in Palmanova and Magaluf
We arrived at the Aparthotel Torrenova and were pleasantly surprised at its location on a rocky promontory right next to the Mediterranean. The receptionist said that we were the first Canadian guests that she can remember ever since she started to work there several years ago. The vast majority of vacationers here come from England. The boxy 1970s architecture of the complex was not particularly appealing, but the apartment itself was clean and well organized.
Spartan but functional 1970s decor in our one-bedroom apartment
Our room at the eastern edge of the resort on the highest level had a decent-size one-bedroom layout with a large L-shaped balcony from where we had a great view in a southerly and westerly direction over the sea. A functional mini-kitchen and a simple living room with 2 single beds would make this a comfortable apartment for up to 4 people. Although the furniture and décor was a little dated, I was pleasantly surprised at the location and the amenities of our apartment. And the view from the balcony was absolutely magnificent!
The beachfront promenade in Palmanova
To stock up for some simple meals, we went across the street to a small supermarket which was convenient yet overpriced. All in all though, we realized that vacationing in Mallorca can be extremely affordable in a self-catered location. While restaurant meals can be very expensive, store-bought food overall is very reasonable. Decent accommodation options can also be found in a very low price range, and car rentals are quite affordable when compared to other European destinations. It is no surprise that Mallorca is also a favourite destination for long-term vacationers who stay here during the winter and spring months for three, four or more weeks at a time.
Someone is doing lots of laundry in Palmanova
The clientele in the summer changes when families with young children and a crowd of hard-partying 18 to 30 year olds descend on this island. We were there in late May, before the adventure-hungry and thirsty masses descend on these areas. From the large bargain bins full of hard liquor bottles, the presence of pre-packaged foods in the supermarkets and the scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables in the small supermarkets, we could tell that the crowd that comes here likes to party hard.
Lots of cheap liquor for the tourists…
As the majority of vacationers in this area come from the British islands, the entertainment area of Palma Nova features a large number of British-styled pubs and bars. A large selection of restaurants lines the main streets, and the attractive waterfront promenade in Palma Nova.
Impressive sandcastle on the beach of Palmanova
We went for a stroll in the evening and enjoyed the busy atmosphere as the sun started to set over the Bay of Palma Nova. Expensive sailboats were anchored in the bay, and couples and families were going for a walk. Live music sounded from many of the restaurants and the lively atmosphere carried on into the night. A young gentleman had just finished building a huge sandcastle, and many people stopped to admire it. As we strolled back to our hotel, many of the bars, pubs and discos were full of revelers who were getting ready for a long night of partying.