You need never be bored on Mallorca during winter, as there is still plenty to see and do – and with fewer crowds around. Here are abcMallorca’s top 20 activities to enjoy from December until March.
1. Attend a traditional local festival
There are many local festivals on the island in winter time. In January, Sant Antoni (16th & 17th island-wide) and Sant Sebastià (10th-25th in Palma) celebrations follow Christmas and The Three Kings’ festivities. Palma honours its patron saint with a varied programme including concerts and a night of fire. February offers the almond fair ‘Fira de S’Ametler’ in Son Servera. Carnival – ‘Sa Rua’ – in 2015 is the weekend of February 14th & 15th.
2. Follow the Wine Route
With around 70 bodegas on Mallorca, there’s plenty of choice if you want to try some of the excellent local wines. A great way to spend a day is to follow the official Wine Route for the Binissalem DO. A downloadable guide includes more than a dozen wineries to visit and interesting information about the area’s wines, towns, and villages.
3. Take a cookery course
Impress your friends and family with some new culinary skills. The Galley Club Cookery School in Palma offers some 20 different cookery workshops as well as beginners’ evening classes and two-week courses. Learn to make impressive gourmet tapas or traditional Indian dishes with chef Katy Rosales during a three-hour workshop (40 euros), then eat your creations in The Galley Club’s dining room. Click here for more information about The Galley Club.
4. Visit a museum
Become a culture vulture and discover some of Mallorca’s many interesting museums and galleries. A recent favourite is Inca’s smart contemporary museum of shoes and leather, where you’ll be amazed to see how much equipment is involved in making footwear. After a visit to the ‘Museu del Calçat i la Pell’, shopping at one of Inca’s leather outlets should be a must!
5. Pamper yourself in a spa
Resolve to indulge in some pampering beauty or wellbeing treatments to keep yourself feeling and looking well during the cooler months. Luxurious hotel spas open during winter include the Beauty Lounge Son Net, Ca Sa Galesa Wellness Spacio, and the Nixe Herbal Spa. In Palma de Mallorca, Pink Flamingo Urban Spa & Boutique’s treatments include the Australian Lycon Precision Waxing.
6. Go bargain-hunting at the market
Visit Consell on a Sunday morning for the popular weekly flea market in Mallorca, where about 300 stalls are set up from early morning. It’s a magnet for bargain-hunters as, among the huge number of second-hand goods, you can often find something you’ve always wanted, an interesting antique, or the perfect Mallorcan artefact for your home or garden. Arrive early for the best treasure!
7. Take a short break in an island hotel
A short break away on Mallorca (even if you live here) recharges the batteries and offers a change of scene. Several quality hotels around Mallorca stay open in winter and there’s plenty of choice in Palma – a great city break destination. See abcMallorca’s 101 Best Boutique & Finca Hotels and the 101 Top Restaurants Guide 2015 for establishments open during winter.
8. Take tennis or golf lessons
Use the quieter winter months to schedule in some professional golf lessons or tennis lessons to improve your play. Most golf courses on Mallorca have pro instructors and practice facilities, and some courses offer reduced winter green fees. If tennis is your game, head to the Guillermo Vilas Tennis Academy in Palmanova or Tennis Mallorca in Magaluf to polish up your game.
9. Go walking in the Tramuntana mountains
Winter is an ideal time to walk or hike on Mallorca, and several local clubs exist for those who enjoy guided walks. Stride out on Spain’s newest eco-path, the Via Verde, between Manacor and Artà, or take up Nordic Walking – an increasingly popular sport on the island. In fine clear weather, follow the Dry Stone Route (GR221) in the Tramuntana mountains. For more info visit www.infomallorca.net or www.mallorcahiking.com
10. Visit Palma Aquarium
Open every day year-round, Palma Aquarium is a place where you can forget about the weather and enjoy discovering the fascinating creatures that populate our underwater world. Observe the sharks in Europe’s deepest shark tank, The Big Blue. An important conservation centre as well as tourist attraction, Palma Aquarium hosts occasional events during winter. Ask about short-term discount offers for residents/winter visits.
11. Visit Mallorca Planetarium
Ever wondered about all those glittering stars that are visible on clear winter nights? A visit to the Mallorca Planetarium – part of the ‘Observatorio Astronómico de Mallorca’ – on the outskirts of the sleepy central village of Costitx, will help you learn more about our wonderful universe. The Planetarium is open for visits on Fridays and Saturdays at 19:00h, and at other times by prior arrangement.
12. Dance the salsa
Discover Mallorca’s exciting salsa scene for authentic Cuban grooves and moves. Across the island many general dance schools offer salsa lessons and, in Palma, 1,2,3 y a Bailar! specializes in this hot Latin party dance. Once you’ve perfected your steps and hip movements you can show them off late into the night at one of the island’s popular salsa clubs.
13. Go skating or rollerblading
Palma de Mallorca’s seafront promenade is perfect for rollerblading. It’s a great way to enjoy the views and fresh sea air, and tone your body. In winter, with fewer people around, it’s easier for wobbly beginners. Or don some gloves and skate on ice at Palma’s seasonal ‘pista de hielo’ (until January 25th) in Parc de Ses Estacions.
14. Drink hot chocolate in a 300 year old cafe
This deliciously thick and comforting drink is a Spanish winter classic and often taken with ‘churros’. Here, we recommend trying it with one of the island’s sweet specialities, in a setting steeped in tradition. Choose a ‘cuarto’ at Palma’s 18th-century Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo and, in Valldemossa, the emblematic ‘coca de patata’ is a must-try at Ca’n Molinas, opened in 1920.
15. Visit La Seu at Christmas
Palma de Mallorca’s magnificent Cathedral La Seu is particularly magical at Christmas. Experience a unique Mallorcan tradition by attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. The service includes the prophetic chant ‘La Sibil.la’ – sung by a child or young person and interspersed by dramatic music played on La Seu’s impressive organ. Even if you don’t understand the language, it’s a moving experience.
16. Wander the oldtown of Palma without tourists
Discover historical buildings, small boutiques and interesting cafes and bars, as you wander the peaceful atmospheric streets of the Palma’s Old Town. Arm yourself with a tourist office map and just wander; join a guided tour group, or hire the services of a professional local tour guide who’ll reveal fascinating facts and stories that the guide books don’t tell you.
17. Walk to Alaró castle, followed by a roast lamb lunch
The ruins of the mountain-top Castell d’Alaró in the center region of the island date back to the 15th century and, on a clear winter’s day, offer breathtaking views across Mallorca. Walk up from either Alaró or Orient or, for a shorter excursion, park near Es Verger. After walking down, treat yourself to the succulent roast lamb at this famous rustic Mallorcan restaurant. Book your table in advance.
18 . Stroll on a sandy beach
Many of Mallorca’s 262 beaches are deserted in winter, and a dose of sea air and a winter picnic make a favourite off-season activity. Bring out your inner Robinson Crusoe and stroll the sands of Es Trenc, or from Son Serra de Marina to Can Picafort, around the Bay of Alcúdia, visiting the public Finca Son Real on the way.
19. Learn Spanish in Palma
With shorter days and more time spent indoors, winter is an ideal time for learning or improving Spanish-speaking skills. Taking a course can be a good discipline for learning. International House Palma is part of a global language-training organization, with a varied programme of courses ranging from beginners to advanced, and from one-to-one teaching to learning in a small group.
20. Shop and dine at a food market
Make an early start to visit Palma’s vibrant indoor food markets, Mercat de l’Olivar or the smaller Santa Catalina, to browse the colourful stalls offering a wide variety of carefully displayed produce. Both markets have food stands where you can feast on anything from traditional Spanish tapas to oysters or sushi, enjoying the sights, sounds, and bustling ambience around you.