Once upon a time we holidayed in Mallorca as landlubbers and weren't quite sure what to make of it. But the second time, when we chartered a yacht from Palma de Mallorca and set off towards the east coast of the island, it was a completely different experience, the one we would like to repeat.
The truth is, Mallorca can be loud and better suited for young party goers than families and those wise enough to go bed at reasonable hour, but it is an undisputed paradise for a yachting holiday.
First of all, Mallorca is easily accessible from any part of the world. Secondly, there are hundreds of charter yachts to choose from. Most importantly, you may make plans to see all Balearic Islands in one go, but Mallorca will have you in awe and completely mesmerised with its natural beauty, you will not want to leave.
Another important point we would like to make is that besides a very warm welcome we received everywhere we went, we were very impressed with the overall cleanliness on a very busy and very popular island. We visited with young children and found the locals and businesses such as restaurants to be very child-friendly, which is a huge plus and certainly caught our attention.
If you arrive early and have time to spare, explore as much of Palma de Mallorca as you can. This a beautiful and very vibrant island's capital with rich historical and cultural heritage. Or, even better, include a couple of days in your travel plans to do this. The Old Town and Merkat de Santa Catalina (an open air market) with many stalls offering local cuisine are an absolute must but not the only places worth visiting.
On our first day of sailing we sailed south some 15NM to Cala Pi. Cala Pi is one of the most unspoiled locations which is also a quiet natural harbor. Its main attraction is a beautiful sandwiched wedged between two cliff sides. This is an excellent spot to drop an anchor and spend the day swimming and just chilling out. The village boasts a small number of restaurants which serve fresh, local food.
From Cala Pi we sailed further 25NM to Porto Petro which was our fist stop on the eastern side of the island. Porto Petro is a quiet fishing village with beautiful beaches and a good selection of restaurants and bars. You can spend the night in its natural harbor after you've sampled some local cuisine and wine.
From Porto Petro, we continued on towards Portocolom. This was a very short hop along the coast, which took less than an hour of sailing. This is another traditional fishing village nestled around a large, well sheltered bay. You can tie up along the town quay and set off to to explore this charming place. Restaurants and bars line the quayside and ther is plenty of choice.
Next day's sailing took us to Porto Cristo, some 10NM further up the east coast. This is yet another tranquil fishing village settled in a natural harbor. Nearby Coves del Drach is very popular and offers regular tours which include a live concert set on an underground lake. The many natural cave formations in this area also make it popular with cavers and scuba divers.
Another short hop will brought us to Cala d'Or. Short, well, we got there after lunch, despite leaving straight after breakfast to travel some 7NM. We couldn't resist stopping in Cala Virgili and Cala Bota for swimming and just admiring natural beauty of this beautiful island.
On our previous (land) holiday in Mallorca we have passed through resort towns of Magaluf and Santa Ponsa. They were both packed with young, party goers and revelers which had us slightly apprehensive about this trip but it has to be said, we have found nothing but tranquil and very relaxing villages which were not overrun by tourists.
We couldn't go home without visiting the Mondrago Nature Park on our way back to Palma de Mallorca. White sand and crystal clear waters are the draw of the breathtaking bays within the park. Cala Mondragó, Cala S'Amarador and Caló des Borgit are three beautiful coves captured between striking low cliffs. The Park is a place of great biodiversity where many species of birds as well as Algerian hedgehogs, pine martins and hares.
From Mondrago we had to head back to Palma de Mallorca. THis was the longest sail of the holiday, some 35NM. This has been a truly relaxing sailing holiday on which we avoided the crowds and hustle and bustle of busy resort towns. Mallorca still has a lot to offer and we could probably come back three or more times to sail the rest of its coastline at similar pace. West coast of Mallorca is very dramatic and traditional towns of Port de Pollenca and Port de Soller are well worth a visit, as well as many other places.
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