Mallorca: Souvenirs and Beaches...Second to NoneSince the 50’s, the arrival of mass tourism has transformed the island significantly, at times even aggressively, but truthfully, Mallorca does not deserve this reputation, as even today and without too much trouble, we can find numerous unspoilt beaches, protected inland or mountain scenery, several nature reserves: l’Albufera, Mondragó, Cabrera, the entire Serra de Tramuntana and many other corners which effortlessly upstage the notorious ghetto-like resorts.
Fortunately, and in spite of certain ill-conceived exceptions, the protection of the coastline has prevailed in the face of rampant speculation. It would perhaps be appropriate to mention and applaud the ongoing struggle to protect the coast by the local ecologist group GOB, as well as by native and non-native residents alike, to ensure that, in the face of negative publicity, this is still a land of unique natural charm and renowned beauty.
It never ceases to amaze me to see how our island is publicised, as reflected by the merchandise on offer in certain types of souvenir shops and other tourist establishments: Mexican sombreros or Australian boomerangs with the name of Mallorca printed on them; advertisements for Mediterranean parties featuring Caribbean-style cocktails; dolls in the shape of flamenco dancers, bulls and bullfighters; Polynesian garlands and necklaces, and other ridiculous keepsakes. Whatever for? Why? … Search me, but if someone really wants to leave the island with something to remember their visit by, they could try buying a typical “siurell” for the kid; a piece of “llengua” fabric from Pollensa for making cushion covers; hand blown glass; ceramic or olivewood kitchen accessories; baskets, hats and other items woven from “pauma” (palm leaves); leather or canvas espadrilles; Mallorcan shirts or Mediterranean-style clothing; dried apricots, fig bread, ensaimadas, sobrassadas, herb or carob liqueur, or maybe a bottle of good local wine. Boomerangs? Really? Not a good idea.
I often hear Mallorcan beaches being compared to those in the Caribbean … no doubt they have their similarities, in spite of certain differences in the salinity and temperature of the water. But what baffles me is the impression that what we have here is second-rate in some way.
No offence to the wonders of the West Indies, but there is no doubt that Mallorca is second to none … whether it be Mexico, Australia, Seville, Polynesia, the Caribbean …
Mallorca is well known for its warm climate and, of course, its marvellous beaches. The island boasts close to 300 of these, and they constitute one of main reasons tourists from all over the world choose it as a holiday destination.
Whether they be of white sand or shingle, clear or turquoise water, secluded or well-known, nudist or not …. There are beaches for every taste and each with their own charm. We are free to choose which type of beach we like best, and there is something for everyone on this enchanting island. You may prefer to seek refuge in one of the wonderful coves with crystal-clear water, or maybe prefer a sandy stretch boasting all the amenities such as sunbeds, parasols and beach bars with music. As for me, like many fellow-inhabitants of Pollensa, I prefer to hide from the sun and heat, but at nightfall, whenever I can, go down to the rocks at Cala Carbó in Cala Sant Vicenç for a refreshing dip –or “fer un cap fico”.
Some beaches are easily accessible and are well signposted, however others can only be reached by sea or after a long hard walk. Do not be surprised if you find misleading, hidden or even missing signs, as it is quite common for local inhabitants to remove the odd signpost and that way ensure that certain hidden locations stay that way (I should admit here that I have been known to do this myself, but with no regrets – I hope you understand).
In spite of being a local inhabitant, I could recommend several of my favourite coves and beaches: Cala en Gossalba, Cala en Cranc, Cala Deià, Cala Tuent, Cala Murta, Coll Baix, Cala Varques, Cala Moltó, the beach at Formentor, Cala Mesquida, Cala des Matzoc and, without doubt, my favourite which is …*.
One of the advantages of Mallorca being an island is that if, say, there is a northerly wind blowing and you are not going to surf or windsurf, simply choose a beach on the opposite coast where it will no doubt be calmer. Remember to use adequate skin protection, drink plenty of water, and comply with the rules regarding waves and currents. Enjoy your day on the beach and respect the environment.
If you promise to obey these simple rules I will let you in on my secret: Platja d’es Caragol … look and you will find it.
by Miguel Angel LLompart
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