That’s how I usually choose to spend my holidays. So it was with fond memories of a fun-filled fortnight in Magaluf that I returned to the Spanish island of Majorca.
Hitting the beach, it was just as I remembered. The sands were golden, the sun was baking and the waters were clear and still. But, slapping on the suncream, something troubled me.
Where were all the hungover teenagers? Putting my suspicions to one side, it was back to the apartment and a mere four hours later Jayne and I were looking the part for a night on the tiles.
Walking into town, something else troubled me. We were forced to dodge a tide of young families and groups of elderly people surging towards us on their way home.
Home? But it was only 11pm.
Puerto Pollenca may only be an hour’s drive across the island from teen Mecca Magaluf, but after sunset it’s a million miles away. We discovered evenings in the genteel resort, which appeals equally to British and German holidaymakers, are spent strolling around the harbour and along the palm-lined prom.
OK, so no Brit-bulging hotspot is complete without an Only Fools and Horses-themed pub and here there was the Trotters bar, complete with yellow three-wheeler outside.
But the nearest thing we found to a nightclub was Roxy’s Music Bar where waitresses served you cocktails to the sounds of Chris de Burgh.
So, early nights became the holiday rule – and this turned out to be a good thing because when your head is in the clouds, it needs to be clear.
I’m talking about the rugged cliffs that envelop Puerto Pollenca, the most dramatic of which rise razor-like to form Formentor at Majorca’s north-eastern extremity. The 12-mile drive to the lighthouse at its tip is not for the faint-hearted.
Local legend has it that when the parish priest and the local bus driver arrived at the Pearly Gates together, only the driver was allowed into Heaven because he had led more people to pray.
But it’s a case of who dares wins because the scenery is stunning.
The first vantage point was Mirador des Colomer. It’s an almost theatrical location where you can scramble up steps for marvellous views over a rocky islet and along the peninsula.
Still high above us was an old watchtower, Sa Talaia d’Albercutx, at Formentor’s 375m summit – and it was just challenging us to drive up.
Nervously winding higher and higher, we tackled the massive potholes and tried not look down at the wreckage of cars which had tragically slipped off the cliff road.
At the top, our relief was matched only by wonder at the vista – the horseshoe of Pollenca Bay, Formentor’s pine woods and its famous beach, where we stopped on our way back from the lighthouse.
Historic Pollenca town, a few miles inland from its port, has retained a typically Majorcan atmosphere and was the scene of our second motoring adventure. Dominating its many churches and narrow streets is the 333m Puig de Maria. It’s an hour’s walk to the top but the guide book claimed you could take the car. WRONG!
After spending some of the longest minutes of our lives negotiating the hairiest of hairpin bends, we abandoned our car on waste land halfway up and elected to walk.
We were happy we did because well before the summit the road came to an abrupt end, with nowhere to park. The last few hundreds yards is up a quaint 18th century dry stone pathway.
The hill is crowned by a fortified monastery which you can explore but its real lure is the views across to Formentor, Pollenca Bay, Alcudia Bay and back down upon Pollenca town. Simply breathtaking.
The view of Formentor from Puig de Maria
A few miles north of Pollenca brings you to Cala San Vicente, which boasts three sandy coves and afforded us a relaxing end to our occasionally stressful holiday.
Shame our plane home was struck by lightning.
WHERE TO GO
- Calvari Steps: If you climb the 365 tree-lined steps to the Calvari church on a hill overlooking Pollenca all your sins from the past year are forgiven, apparently.
- Alcudia: Roman houses and a small amphitheatre lie just outside the impressive 14th century walls which enclose medieval streets and an interesting museum.
- Formentor beach: This narrow sweep of fine sand at the mouth of Pollenca Bay was once the preserve of the rich and famous seeking a secluded summer hideaway at the Hotel Formentor, opened in 1929.
Calvari Steps, Pollenca, Mallorca
- Adrian stayed at the brand new Ruixa Llenaire apartments operated by Holiday Flight Company, which also has properties in Andalucia and the Algarve.
- The attractive and spacious properties have a separate bedroom and well-equipped kitchen with a balcony overlooking the pool. There are also family apartments.
- They are five minutes from the beach and 15 from the town centre. For a brochure ring 01625 586224 or visit http://www.holidayflight.co.uk. To organise your flights call JMC, which operates regular departures from Birmingham to the island’s capital, Palma.
- Prices range from pounds £139 to £285 depending on date and time of travel.
For more information and a JMC Airfares brochure you can call directly on 0870 607 5085, visit the website on http://www.jmc.com.