Mallorca with Kids
This year for Easter we knew we needed to head somewhere sunny. There are so many things to love about our life in the Netherlands but the weather is not one of them. With our sights set on some sun and sand we booked a trip to Mallorca with friends.
Mallorca with Kids
The trip started off a bit rough. To make the most of our time there we booked an evening flight out of a close, regional airport. Unfortunately as the day went on the flight time kept moving back so instead of a 6pm departure we ended up leaving well after 10pm. The only upside to this is that we ended up being delayed long enough to qualify for flight compensation. (Find out if your EU flight delay qualifies here.)
There is really not much to do at the Rotterdam Airport. We took the kids up to the roof to watch airplanes but we were the only flight left. Luckily it was only our flight at the airport so the kids could run around a bit without disturbing too many people.
When we arrived in Mallorca we grabbed a cab to our hotel. At check in it was nearly 2am and my Middle Little was clearly thrilled. We got everyone to bed as soon as we could!
Hotel Pamplona was an Expedia find by my mom. The price was right. Our rate included half board, which can be so nice to have with kids and large groups. The hotel was good but was missing some polish.
The property spreads across two buildings with public space in-between the two buildings. The public spaces exceeded our expectations. The beds and other lounge options were a great place to make a home base for us and the kids. There was an indoor pool, which was perfect since it wasn’t quite warm enough for the outdoor pool. A small steam room and sauna were also available. (One of our annoyances though was that a room had “booked” the steam room and sauna every night for a week preventing other rooms from using it in the evening, yet they were not always in there.)
There was a small kids club room with an indoor play area and a gated outdoor play area. Our kids thought this place was so much fun and it was perfect for eating up some time between other activities.
We had a suite which had a king bed and a sofa bed. This was perfect for our family. The suite also included a selection of juices and waters in the fridge.
We had a few issues in the room though. First, the property had not yet turned on the air conditioning so we had to open the windows and doors to cool down the room. Unfortunately the mosquitos were also unbearable. Each night we couldn’t decide if we wanted to be hot or eaten alive. The hotel did provide us with some bug spray on the second day when we inquired about a fan.
Our shower drain was clogged when we arrived and overflowed every time someone showered. The hotel was unable to address this issue while we were there.
The half board exceeded our expectations. The food was really good for both breakfast and dinner. The meals are served buffet style but breakfast had eggs to order and dinner had a carving station and fish grilled to order.
Day One: Beach
The beach was a two-block walk from the hotel. Easter is still shoulder season in Mallorca so most things are open but not crowded. We were certainly not alone on the beach but we had plenty of personal space.
We took advantage of unattended beach umbrellas. In high season I’m sure you can pay for a chair and umbrella, but in shoulder season some of these stations were unmanned and up for grabs. We set up a little camp under an umbrella for the morning.
The kids dug in the sand for shells. The two Bigs found some great looking shells and had all sorts of plans for them.
We made sure everyone, including the Little Little, dipped their toes into the cold water.
Our sand castle skills were put to shame by the numerous sand castles high up on the beach. The Big Littles had big plans for their castle but never quite got around to building it.
When it came time for lunch we walked down the beach a bit until we spotted Ginger Beach. They had outdoor covered seating which gave us the warmth of the air without the direct sun. I ordered a much needed Mojito and enjoyed the view! The food was so fresh and exactly what we all needed. The seafood we ordered was all amazing. We all shared our delicious bites.
The moms took the Littles back to the hotel for a nap while the dads set out to explore the beach with the Bigs. They rented a surrey bike and let the kids navigate from the front.
I also got this photo of the dads with my Big in the background playing in a fountain! ha! When they got back to the hotel the littles were just waking up so we all got a bit of pool playtime in before it was dinner time.
Day Two: Rental Car
The next morning the dads walked to pick up our rental cars. We had originally rented through the airport, but canceled when our flight was delayed. The dads found a better deal through the hotel and then an even better deal at one of the beach pavilions. We had two little rental cars. We brought our car seats along with us but our friends were able to rent a car seat for their little (4 Euros for the day).
We drove directly to the Drach Caves. We parked in the parking lot and the dads hopped out to grab our tickets. We had booked tickets in advance but due to our flight delay needed to change times. The caves were very accommodating. Instead of hanging around the caves for 45 min for the start of the tour we headed to a tower on the cliffs’ edge 2 min down the road.
The view was amazing and there was some space for the kids to explore. The cliffside is a sheer drop off though so it’s not a good place for unsupervised play.
We arrived back at the caves just in time for our tour. We joined the back of a large line as it was moving into the cave. The entrance to the cave is narrow and everything feels really crowded. Hang in there because it opens up into some larger areas and the group spreads out. The caves are full of stalactites and stalagmites. The boys loved finding castles and other shapes in the formations.
The self exploration ends in an auditorium where everyone has a seat. You want to be seated as far away from where you enter the atrium and as close to the front as you can. They turn off the lights and three lit boats come rowing into the caves. One boat has musicians who play a small concert as they sail. It is magical!
When the concert is over you can choose to walk out of the caves or take a boat. The boats load on the far side of the atrium. Everyone who wants to ride a boat will get to ride a boat. You can avoid the line by sitting in the right place or you can stay seated until the line for the boats shrinks.
The boat ride is short, but how often do you get a chance to ride a boat in a dark cave! Once the boat docks you climb out of the cave and end up back at the ticket station.
The problem with the 11am tour is that when you come out of the cave everyone is hungry. Instead of messing with finding a restaurant and loading everyone up we just made what was available work. In this case it meant everyone got American Hotdogs!
We made the drive back down the island to Mondrago National Park. When we arrived all the kids had fallen asleep. Once everyone was awake we headed down the hiking path toward the beach.
It was an incredible find. We were there on a Saturday so it was quite crowded but still had plenty of room. There were several boats parked in the cove with people diving off the boats and swimming in the water.
The dads decided to go for a run to the second beach and finally up the hill to an overlook. Meanwhile the kids played on the beach in the calm water. There were shells and rocks to be found. They even discovered a jellyfish and unsuccessfully attempted to catch fish.
We could have stayed here all day playing in this clear water. It was seriously paradise.
I even had to get in despite not being a beach person! There was a little cafe on the beach and we all got some ice cream as a much needed treat. We hiked back on the road instead of the path, which is a bit quicker. Then we drove back to the hotel for a bit of pool time before dinner.
I’m literally still dreaming about this lovely beach. It is no wonder Mallorca is a beach favorite in Europe.
Day Three: Soller
The next morning we took cabs to the train station to catch the train that runs from Palma de Mallorca to Soller. The train has been running since 1912 bringing people through the mountains to the other side of the island. Like most other things in Mallorca what is available on the internet about the train is slim.
You’ll want to be in line early as trains fill up and you cannot purchase tickets ahead of time. If you need a group of seats together send someone aboard to save seats and send the rest of your group to the playground a block away. Tickets go on sale more or less an hour before the first departure of the day (~ 10am).
The train seems to make two other stops to allow passengers on and off. This is one of the cute stations. We were unable to find any information about this place though.
The train ride takes an hour but the scenery is lovely. You wind through almond, lemon and orange groves. The train makes a brief stop at a scenic lookout over the town of Soller. You can get out of the train but stay alert. By the time the whistle sounded we were back on our way into the town.
Once our train arrived in Soller the girls (plus our Little Little) caught the tram down to another town called Port Soller. The tram seemed to be running behind schedule and gets quite crowded. It make two stops in Soller about a block apart from each other before going to the Port of Soller.
We met up with our boat captain from Mezzo Magic and he led us to the small sailing ship that would take us out for the afternoon.
Leaving the Port of Soller behind us we headed out around the island to Sa Foradada Restaurant, which can only be reached by boat or hiking. It takes about an hour to sail there. You’re out in the open sea until you round a corner and find yourself in a quiet cove.
On the sail we had amazing views of the island’s cliffs. This hole in the rock is the restaurant’s namesake and where you turn to find the hidden cove.
The restaurant is perched on the cliff side. They have a few generators but they cook almost everything over an open fire grill.
The food was seriously amazing. We ordered several of the Paella varieties and some wine to share. It’s not fancy but it is delicious. Seriously the best Paella I’ve ever eaten.
We spent a few more moments savoring the view before heading back down the cliff to the boat.
Yep, that’s our boat in the cove!
I failed to mention earlier that there is no dock here. There is this rock that you sort of use to get in and out of the dingy. It was really challenging to do with the baby.
Here is our group getting ready to get back on the boat. There are no tides on the island so any time of day your arrival will involve wet rocks.
An hour boat ride back to Port Soller, a little time spend on a bench getting our sea legs back and a little bit of shopping before we hopped the tram back to the train station to catch the 6pm train. We got off the tram at the first stop in Soller which is outside the cathedral. The building itself was locked but we walked around the town a bit admiring the building and quiet town.
We were at the train station at 6pm but the gates were still locked. There is a small art gallery in the station that we ventured into. This free gallery hosts art from both Picasso and Miro. If our train had not been delayed we would have missed it altogether.
Our train finally boarded around 6:30 and put us back into Palma around 7:30. We grabbed a quick dinner at the hotel upon return.
While the ladies were off on this adventure the dads hung around Soller with the other littles and took a train back to Palma for a day of playgrounds and exploration.
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