Are we crazy? You would think so. Early June saw many re-openings in Europe, and the best of them all was the ability to travel a little bit more freely. As vaccines became widely available, most places adopted a “travel at your own risk” mentality. Since we hadn’t traveled in almost a year, it seemed like a risk worth taking.
So there we were at our local village restaurant with our friends. Before COVID, we would meet a few times a month for dinner, and we finally were able to resume one of our favorite traditions. We were so stoked about travel, and after a few drinks, we started talking about Mallorca. Right there at dinner, four families booked flights and rooms at the same resort. With still a very fluid COVID situation, you could argue we were a little crazy.
In mid-August, we took that 4-night trip to the amazing Mediterranean island destination. I don’t think a single trip will ever top it for us, and I’m so excited to share about our journey there, all the fun things, and making it back home.
Entry into Spain
We originally booked Mallorca because Spain was not a risk area in late May. We kept a cautious eye on the COVID rates, and like most of the world, Spain saw a resurgence during the summer months. After much toiling and discussing with our friends, we decided to still move forward with our trip. We figured that by following basic COVID protocols and rules, we could keep ourselves and our communities safe.
Since Mallorca was a high-risk area according to the Robert Koch Institute, those of us who were fully vaccinated only were required to present our vaccination certificate upon entry. Those who were not fully vaccinated, including our youngest child, needed to test within 48 hours prior to arrival into Palma de Mallorca. Most in the party got their test done at the German Red Cross in Kaiserslautern. Since it was an Antigen test, we received results within 15 minutes by e-mail.
Also prior to travel, every person was required to register for entry through the Spanish Travel Health Ministry. For ease, we downloaded the app, which provided us a QR code once we completed our registration.
Of course, there were all the Ryanair travel requirements. We flew the low-cost airline and added a few nice-to-haves, paying a total of $800 for three round trip flights. Ryanair has a bad reputation for squeezing cash from travelers at the counter, but we have never had an issue. Just follow the rules in great detail.
We printed our boarding passes as required for non-EU residents. We paid for priority boarding which allowed us to have a personal bag and a 10k carry-on bag. We also paid for one 20k checked bag. We had a running bet for which family would pay most at the Ryanair counter. Fortunately, since we all followed the Ryanair requirements in great detail, no one paid extra at the counter.
Where We Stayed
I have to admit that up until this point, we had never stayed at an all-inclusive resort. To make things easier for our large group, we booked an all-inclusive stay at Mar Hotels Playa Mar and Spa. We figured it was the best way to satisfy the needs of such a large variety of people, and make it easier for us to find a place to relax in the evening with entertainment and drinks.
We ended up paying €1100 for our suite which included a room, a living area, a mini-fridge, and an outdoor patio. The outdoor patio was a nice touch, although we only really used it to dry our clothes. While only three of us stayed in our hotel room, we could have easily fit six. Everyone in our party enjoyed the hotel so much, that we vowed to visit again in the future.
The kids and teens enjoyed the large pool with non-stop entertainment and games. They enjoyed it so much, that most kids grumbled every time we left the resort for another activity. The adults enjoyed the never-ending drinks that came with the all-inclusive package. The best part was the breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet that featured a variety of options for main course and dessert. Simply put, the hotel was absolutely amazing and so worth the price.
We chose Port de Pollenca because it was a good base for most things we wanted to see and do in Mallorca. Unlike most other areas of Mallorca that hosts large German-speaking populations, we particularly liked that Port de Pollenca hosted mostly visitors from the United Kingdom, so English was widely spoken.
For the most part, our families decided we would go our own way during the day, especially since we all had different family sizes and ages. Some families would team-up and hang at the resort, while others would do a boat tour or beach hop. We tried to meet-up during meals as best as possible, but without a doubt all four families would meet in the evenings after dinner. We would relax after dinner to the resort entertainment and endless supply of drinks.
The downside to our hotel is that we needed to find transportation to get there, since it is a 45 minute drive from Palma de Mallorca airport. We booked our rental car through Hertz Car Rental, paying $300 for four days, including full insurance. The process of picking up the rental was quick since it was right in the terminal, and it was great having a rental car to explore the island. We did have a bad experience upon turn-in though. The turn-in lady tried to keep our deposit for a pre-existing damage. After a little haggling, she backed down, mostly because we took pictures of the damage before we left the parking garage.
We had two boating experiences during our stay. The first experience was a four-hour guided boat tour, and the second was a boat rental that we did not need a license for. While the idea of a boat rental was exciting, the boat tour was much more enjoyable than renting a boat.
We took our boat tour through Snorkeling Blue Cave and Boat Tour. We took the tour with one other family in our party, and another family from the UK joined our tour. I was a little skeptical that all 11 of us would fit into the small boat, and although we were a little snug, we had enough space to comfortably enjoy the tour. Our tour guide was a local named Miguel, who really tailored his boat tour based off of the mood of the crowd. We really enjoyed Miguel. He was exciting and he definitely knew all spots to visit based off of our mood.
We spent some time admiring the aqua life through snorkeling, as well as plunging into the water through cliff jumping. The best part though was this hidden cave he brought us to with the most amazing and pure blue water. He anchored the boat outside the cave, while we all swam inside and explored around. We had been to the Blue Grotto in Capri before, but this experience was so much better. We had the opportunity to swim around and explore the perfect cave as long as we wanted to. It was an amazing experience!
The second boat activity that we did was through Boleor Boat Charter Rental Can Pastilla. While being on a boat is never a bad idea, I think we enjoyed the idea of this more than actually being on the boat. The best part of using this boat service is that you get to drive a small motor-operated boat that can fit a handful of people.
Since we rented a boat small enough to drive without a license, we paid €180 for three hours. We did this activity with two other families, so we traveled in a boat convoy. While we enjoyed being out on the boat, the boats we rented moved painfully slow. It took us an hour to make it to a place worth anchoring and exploring. We didn’t feel like we were there long before it was time to head on the way back. It was not a bad experience, but given an option, I’d go with the Miguel option.
Of course you want to hear about the beaches and that’s why you’re reading this blog! We dedicated one of our days to exploring some of the best beaches on the island, which is exactly why we had a rental car. Even though we were on a large island, finding direct access to the beach was harder than it seems, especially since cliffs dominate much of Mallorca’s coastline. We wanted to explore the island and see more than the popular tourist beaches of Can Pastilla. We visited a few worth checking out!
Cala Mesquida was the first beach we visited, about an hour drive from our resort. It was a popular beach located in a small tourist town, and we were able to easily find street side parking during the middle of the day. Our first stop was a little market in town where we spent a few Euro on ice, drinks, snacks, and a beach umbrella. The walk to the beach was about 10 minutes downhill (meaning uphill coming back), and we were captivated by the clear blue water. Since it is a long sandy beach, we were able to quickly find somewhere to pitch our umbrella and relax on the beach.
Being from Florida, I never imagined I would enjoy a beach without sand. I also never imagined that my favorite beach ever would be a series of rocks and low cliffs. That’s exactly what we found when we visited Cala S’Almonia, located at the southern tip of the island. The rocky cove is about a 20 minute walk from the parking area, and as you get closer, you take the steep steps down to the beach. There is some sand, but the beach is mostly rocky, and most people were lounging on the rocks and cliffs surrounding the beach. It was everything you could imagine from an adorable tucked-away cove, with people wading in the shallow water leading into caves, surrounded by people jumping off of cliffs.
A 15 minute walk from Cala S’Almonia is its sister beach of Caló del Moro. The walk was through a hilly trail, but unfortunately there was entry control to prevent too many people from gathering at the beach. Viewing the beach from above reminded us of the Calanques in southern France. The beach looked perfect, but we also were tired from the day of exploring beaches, and didn’t want to wait an hour to access it. We just admired the beach from above.
Our youngest required a rapid antigen test before leaving Mallorca and entry into Germany, since she was not yet fully vaccinated. We booked a test through a website recommended by the hotel, paying €30 for the test. We also received the test result within 15 minutes by e-mail. Prior to re-entry into Germany, we had to complete Germany’s Digital Registration online. We were asked to show our digital registration form once we checked-in at the Ryanair desk for our return trip. Once we landed in Germany, those of us unvaccinated were free to roam as we pleased, but our youngest was required to quarantine for five days.
Also, as we should during this day and age, we made sure we kept proof of vaccination on hand. We kept a copy of our CDC vaccine cards on our phone, and we also had the EU Digital COVID Certificate downloaded on our phone. Not once during our trip were we asked to present proof of vaccination, but it is always good to keep handy.
So were we crazy? I guess a little. We traveled to Mallorca with four families with children of various ages, all with a variety of interests. Not to mention, we did it in the midst of a pandemic, with adults and kids with varying vaccination statuses. The point is, that even though there were a few inconveniences we had to work through, we still were able to make our trip work. We don’t have a whole lot of time left in Europe, but I’m sure we’ll make time to visit Mallorca again before we leave!