The Other Mallorca
I'm back from another trip; the scent of salt, suncream and sweat lingering on my skin, now nicely tanned to remind me of the past five days in paradise.
It's rare that I go away to simply to lie on a sun lounger and swim in the sea. I'm normally rushing around cities to see as much as possible or forcing my boyfriend to hire a car and chasing waterfalls, views or whatever else is calling my name. Sometimes, after a year of hard work and frantic trips, it's time to simply relax.
When we were looking for the perfect place to unwind, I wanted to find somewhere scenic with crystal clear water, bountiful seafood and scorching temperatures. Italy and Greece were obvious choices, but another destination kept popping up on my Instagram feed, tempting me with beautiful blue water that couldn't possibly be #nofilter. I'd always written Mallorca off, thanks to its reputation of Brit's abroad and heaving resorts, but once I'd stumbled upon photos of quiet harbours and rocky beaches, I knew I'd found the perfect destination.
We stayed in Cala Figuera, a small fishing harbour in the south-east of the island, close to the inland town of Santanyi. Located on the edge of Mondrago National Park, the town was all towering cliffs, abandoned bars and traditional fishing huts - not a high-rise hotel or glow stick in sight. Our apartment was tucked away on top of the cliffs, just a five minute stroll from the view point in these photos and a short walk down steep steps to the harbour below.
On our first night, after a day spent swimming in the pool, swimming in the harbour and getting stuck into one of the many books that I'd squeezed into my suitcase, we took a bottle of wine onto the cliffs. Looking out to sea, gazing into the huge expanse of blue that stretches all the way to Africa, we felt so far removed from busy resorts elsewhere in the Med. The only other people on the cliffs were a couple of locals on an evening stroll. There were no other tourists clicking their shutters, and no other Instagram-addicts twirling around attempting to get the perfect photo.
We felt like we'd stumbled upon a secret haven that no other tourists had stumbled upon. Sat, sipping our wine from plastic beakers, perched on the rocks, hair blowing in the light breeze, we drank in the atmosphere. It was as if we had discovered our own private bar with the best views on the island.
When we returned to the cliffs numerous times during the day, locals were basking on the rocks below (accessed via two flights of steep natural stone steps) and leaping into the sea. But with the night drawing in and visibility dropping, we were alone.
This is the other Mallorca, the one that slips though the net unnoticed by the plane-loads of tourists seeking all inclusive holidays or their first holiday without their parents. This is where the locals live, where the fishing industry thrives, where like-minded people retreat to relax. It isn't glamorous; there are no boutique hotels, infinity pools or gourmet restaurants. But you will find uninterrupted views, quaint fisherman's houses, the clearest water I've ever swam in, delectable seafood, and a quiet place to sit at night and watch the waves.