Two families join forces on a villa holiday in Mallorca during the summer break – this is where they stayed, what they did, and their honest opinion of their experience!
We stayed in the north in a small place called Manresa, near the medieval town of Alcudia (not to be confused with the port town which is a little further out) which was a short drive, or a 20 minute walk away.
Manresa itself is right by the sea and nestled between the coastal gems of Mal Pas-Bon Aire and Pollensa Bay.
We chose to book a villa with a pool through James Villas. It was a choice outside of our normal budgets, but we all felt it was justified as the cost was being split between two families. The pool was a must and was even more popular with the kids than we had bargained for.
Was it worth it? Yes!
- The flights – Just under 3 hours from Stanstead with Ryanair.
- The transfers – One family opted for the James Villas private car transfer, the other chose a hire car from the airport. travel time from Palma International Airport to Manresa was 45 minutes. Both options were easy to arrange.
- The accommodation – Spacious, clean and kid-friendly. It had a pool, air con, plenty of kitchen space, ping pong, BBQ area and came very well equipped, even down to buckets and spades for the beach.
- The weather – It was HOT! We went the last week of August and the temperature was 33 degrees and full sun. One day we had a thunder storm but that cleared and before long we were back by the pool and under a parasol!
What did you do on your holiday?
Found the best beaches – the beaches in Mallorca are well known for being incredible, the beaches in the north are quieter and somehow even more incredible, but there was one very small bay that beat the best of the rest by a mile – Platja de Sa Font Sant Joan. A hidden gem that you won’t find on many “must visit” lists, and it was just a five minute walk from our villa!
Visited the Caves of Drach – The Caves of Drach was our choice for a day out in the shade and it didn’t disappoint. It was educational, great fun, and absolutely out-of-this-world impressive. It has one of the biggest underground lakes in the world and the hour long tour through the stalagmites and stalactites culminates in a rather surreal musical performance and a chance to head back to the entrance by boat.
Went to a Hydropark – Hidropark Alcudia is a great way to spend a day, but we only had a few hours before catching a flight home. It was still worth the entrance price, it had something for every age group and even has a golf course! There were plenty of families with picnics, and looked like the sort of place you could rock up with all that you need and make a proper day of it.
Ate the best Tapas in Palma – On the last day we explored the streets of the capital Palma. It is a busy space to be in, narrow streets packed with tourists and locals alike. Shopping is a mix of designer labels, high street names, and boutiques; and then there is the food. We ate Tapas at Bazaar Palma at Placa del Mercat in the city centre. Not the cheapest option around but comes with a big thumbs up from us and in online reviews!
Explored the medieval town of Alcudia – Narrow streets of this stunning town are surrounded by a wall built to keep the pirates at bay back in the day. It is a bustling but authentic place to be, not overrun by shops selling inflatables, or too much touristy “tat”. Plenty of great places to eat, very welcoming and home to a brilliant market twice a week. Walking the wall surrounding the town is a must – if you have a head for heights.
Hired a bike – There are loads of places to hire bikes in Alcudia, and in the port – prices starting for as little as €15 a day for pedal power, €35 for e-bikes. Make sure you take a driving licence to be able to go through with a rental.
What did you love? And what did you not love?
Strangely the things we loved were also part of the things we didn’t love! So, the remote location, peace and quiet, lack of “touristyness”, amazing yet quiet beach so close by were all massive plus points. However, the same remoteness that was so nice made some things more difficult – there was no “small” shop nearby, we weren’t on a bus route, and it would have been nice to have a local bar/restaurant within a shorter walk.
1. Plan to start late and stay up late – even with small children!
We didn’t get the memo on this one until far too late into our holiday. In our excitement we wanted to be up and out and experiencing our destination – but the reality was that it was far too hot to do much before about 4pm. Local families were out and eating dinner at 9.30/10pm when it was a lot more comfortable.
2. Enjoy indoor activities at the hottest time of the day.
Whether that is relaxing in the shade, having a siesta, or going on a day out that doesn’t involve being in the full sun – do anything other than trying to get kids from A to B between 10 and 4.
3. Get a hire car if you’re going with kids.
The heat was pretty relentless for the little ones, so making sure you can get from A to B easily and with air-con is a great idea. Although we were close to the beach and the town, the nearest big food shop (aka Aldi) was too far to walk to and given that you need a huge supply of bottled water for drinking, a car makes getting it a lot easier.
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