So back in May I was lucky enough to be invited out to the Balaric island of Mallorca by the good folk at travelopo.com. They wanted me to get a taste for the north of the island (away from Magaluf) and experience staying in one of their villas. Tough decision right?!
In short my family and I have a great week, and my first ever villa holiday was deemed a success. Two thumbs up from everybody.
If anything and in truth a week on Mallorca wasn’t nearly enough. We certainly fit a lot in, such as taking a ride on the Ferrocarril de Sóller, an old wooden train sporting incredible views as it trundles from Soller down to the capital of Palma. We also drove into Port de Pollenca ate an ice cream of its long stretching sandy beach.
Best of all though were our visits into the sleepy feeling, but ultimately stunning Pollenca old town.
Pollenca’s cobbled streets and intricate alleyways
Simply walking the cobbled streets of Pollenca is a delightful way to spend a day.
The colourful shuttered windows, orange stone walls, the cobbles underfoot, the open squares, cathedrals, viewpoints and friendly locals. It all adds up to a delightful day out, of even just an afternoon if you decide on a lie in :)
Claustro de Santo Domingo
Translating as Convent of Santo Domingo, this collection of buildings are set among peaceful gardens, which in themselves offer great rest-bite from the midday sun.
Erected by the Dominican friars between 1558 and 1616, the structures which make up the convent include a basilica and a ten sided chapel, but its #1 attraction is its cloister, which since 1962 has been the headquarters of the Festival Pollenca Classical Music. Each year the worlds best and brightest orchestral and operatic talents descend upon Pollenca to play at the festival. As you can image, tickets aren’t easy to come by, but at any point in the year the convent is worth a visit.
Placa Major Cathedral
Placa Major is probably best known for hosting the weekly Pollenca market, but somewhat hidden in plain sight at the northern end of the square stands an exquisite cathedral.
Now I’ve never really been a church person, but I am a sucker for a stained glass window, and Mare de Deu dels Angels (patron saint of Pollenca) has a sizeable number.
The cathedral was founded in 1236, but soon found itself in the hands of the Knights Templar, but the building you see today is very different to the one inherited by the Templar way back when. Of course with buildings of such an age, restorations and required and extensions are common when a towns popularity and population increases. Today you can take in the giant bell tower, and bare witness to the prominent altarpiece dedicated to the Mare de Deu dels Angels.
Pop you head in when passing, if only to take in the giant stained glass window, and the tardis like interior.
heaven el Calvario
One of the old town’s most distinctive features, and probably my favourite part, was the 365-step stairway north of Placa Seglars – which itself is a great spot, especially if thirsty for a beer.
The daunting looking stairway leads up to a little chapel on top of the hill known as Calvary, and although the chapel may be small, the views are huge, and justify your efforts in climbing 365 stairs.
The 365 stairs represent each day of the year, and the cypresses and 14 three meter tall crosses flanking the stairway are said to represent the journey Jesus made to his crucifixion.
As with cathedral in Placa Major, the Calvary has ties with the Knights Templar, who in recognition their help in the conquest of Mallorca (2) in 1229, received a large territory in the north of Mallorca.
Food and drink
Owing to our staying in a villa and having our own kitchen, we only dinned in the old town on two occasions throughout the week, but on each occasion the food was a treat!
Our restaurant of choice was easily La Trencadora, who’s food and staff were cut above. Their garden setting was both pretty and tranquil if not a tad chilly (but thats early season whether for you. Judging by my mother and better half the wine was tasty, and I can vouch for their pizza and beer. My brother in law and his sweet tooth would certainly recommend the desserts. Even my super fussy vegan sister was a fan.
La Trencadora is a bit of the beaten bath and worth researching, but we found food and drink in the busier areas of town not to be overpriced or sub standard as you might expect it to be. The afore mentioned Placa Major and Placa Selgars are both superb spots to sit out and enjoy a drink in the sun. Placa Major has more options both with food and drink, but I must admit to favouring the somewhat smaller and quieter Placa Selgars. Each to their own. Each a lovely spot.
Pollenca – Where in the world?