The sunshine is really picking up around here in London, but I can’t help but think about how so many more places in the world are warmer! While I love summer in London, sometimes you just need to get away to some real summer vibes. Last year, as a celebration of completing our first year of law school, some university friends and I headed out to Mallorca. Mallorca is the largest island of the Balearic Islands, which are part of Spain. Perhaps you’ve heard of Ibiza? It is also part of the Balearic Islands. Ibiza attracts a lot of international attention, but Mallorca is by no means a secret. It is a typical British holiday package destination, and my friends and I followed suit. When in Rome!
I have to say, I had never used a package before. I really dislike the idea of package deals because I like building my trips from the ground up. I also think places that offer such packages also offer them to hundreds and hundreds of other people. Meaning, the place is a hotspot for tourists. There is also a bit of a stereotype that packages are for party animals… think spring breakers. Nonetheless, a package made a lot of sense for Mallorca and I’d like to share my experience.
My friends were looking for a cheap, but high quality experience. I honestly had no clue what I was doing, so I left it mostly up to my friends. They came back with quite a few options, most of them through easyJet holidays (I promise this is not a sponsored post). Packages include hotel, flight, and your choice of board. You can add other options like an airport transfer. In terms of location, I was warned heavily not to stay anywhere near Magaluf, the party haven of the island. It has a terrible reputation for unruly tourists who defecate on the streets, have sex in public places, drink way too much, litter heavily, vandalise and tear down trees, and play deafening music. No, thank you! We were looking for a fun girls trip, but with actual fun not outright hedonism.
We ended up staying in the town of Illetes at Hotel Riu Palace Bonanza Playa. Illetes is a small town located on the south coast, 25 mins west of Palma de Mallorca. For me, Illetes is the perfect vacation spot. It is close to Palma, but nowhere near the craziness of the city or Magaluf (a further 15 mins down the coast). The town of Illetes is a somewhat sleepy town, but the advantages are that it is quiet, clean, and still has those beautiful Mallorcan beaches.
One of our favourite pitstops in the town was Corazón Helado. The owners are extremely kind, and they offer delicious, authentic Italian gelato. You may wonder why you would get Italian gelato on an island in Spain, but let me tell you we could not get enough of this place! They also make milkshakes/smoothies out of their gelato, which was my absolute favourite thing. We were also extremely lucky because the place had just opened the month before! I bet it’s now a local favourite, with residents and tourists alike.
I did not have very high expectations for our hotel, but I was pleased to find out that everything was extremely high quality. The hotel offers several types of rooms, but we were given a bungalow! A bungalow is basically a small house within the hotel grounds. We had the most perfect view, and it was great having so much space to ourselves. The giant balcony was the highlight for me.
I am also not a buffet person, but our hotel buffet was amazing. I was so impressed with how many fresh options they had, as well as traditional Spanish and Catalan food. Each evening had a different theme, which we enjoyed thoroughly. A funny note–we seemed to be the only young people in the whole hotel. At first, we had mixed feelings about this. It is a bit odd, but in the end I think we appreciated it. The older guests must have picked this hotel for a reason, and I got the impression many of them frequented Mallorca. Consequently, every guest was respectful and friendly. We did not suffer from crazy party nights where you can’t sleep, or obnoxious drunk people trolling you. It was so, well, peaceful. This is exactly what I wanted after a crazy few months of studying.
So yes, I did not expect such a great town, nor a great hotel, and I cannot recommend them enough. However, what I did expect was a great beach. This is why you come here! We did not have a beachfront hotel, but the nearest beach was just a 10 minute walk away. There is also another beach a further 5 minutes along the road. Both beaches are small, but absolutely gorgeous.
The first beach we explored is simply named Platja d’Illetas, which causes a bit of confusion when searching via Google (just as a warning). Nonetheless, the beach is a 10 minute walk from Hotel Riu.
The second beach we explored, which ended up being my favourite of the two, is Cala Comtessa. It is a bigger, more relaxed beach with less buildings around the sides. One of my favourite memories of Illetes was waking up at the crack of dawn with my friend Shally to go see the sunrise at this beach. While it was so incredibly painful to wake up that early (around 6:30am), Shally reminded me that you never ever regret viewing a sunrise. And boy was she right — it is quite the site to see.
And that wraps up this post on the small, beach town of Illetes. Check back soon for a post on Palma, the gorgeous capital of the Balearic Islands.