The only place haggling skills may be called for, or appropriate, is at markets. Otherwise it's not done. If you want something, be prepared to pay the asking rate.
Dangers & Annoyances
Mallorca is safe, but the usual precautions are advised. The main thing to be wary of is petty theft: keep an eye on your valuables, and you should be OK.
Report thefts to the national police. It is unlikely that you will recover your goods, but you need to make a formal denuncia for insurance purposes. To save time, you can make the report by phone (in various languages), or on online (search for ‘denuncias’).
Tips to Avoid Theft & Scams
- Theft is mostly a risk in the busier resort areas and Palma. Take care when dragging around luggage to or from your hotel.
- Never leave valuables in rental cars.
- Theft of and from bikes has grown in step with the popularity of cycling on Mallorca. When leaving your bike, especially at night, remove anything portable and lock it up; better still, take your bike to your hotel room.
- Watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers and for an old classic: ladies offering flowers (the so-called claveleras, because they usually offer claveles, ie carnations) for good luck. We don’t know how they do it, but if you get too involved in a friendly chat, your pockets always wind up empty.
- Keep a firm grip on daypacks and bags at all times. Anything left on the beach can disappear in a flash when your back is turned.
Students, seniors (over 65s), families and young people get discounts of 20% to 50% at many sights. Museum entry is often free for under 12s. From October to April, some 4-star hotels and car-hire companies offer discounts for over-55s.
City Cards Some Mallorcan centres offer discount cards entitling holders to entry to multiple attractions, and other perks. The most useful is the Palma Pass.
Senior's Cards Reduced prices at museums and attractions (sometimes restricted to EU citizens only) and occasionally reduced costs on transport.
Student Cards An ISIC (International Student Identity Card; www.isic.org) can save you up to 50% off stays, attractions and more.
Youth Card Travel, sights and youth hostel discounts with the European Youth Card (Carnet Joven in Spain; www.euro26.org).
Emergency & Important Numbers
|International access code||00|
|Spain country code||34|
|International directory inquiries||11825|
Entry & Exit Formalities
Entry and exit procedures in Mallorca are generally smooth and not overly officious.
There are no duty-free allowances for travel between EU countries and no restrictions on the import of duty-paid items into Spain from other EU countries for personal use.
VAT-free articles can be bought at airport shops when travelling between EU countries.
Duty-free allowances for travellers entering Spain from outside the EU include 2L of wine (or 1L of wine and 1L of spirits) and 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
Citizens of most of the 28 European Union member states and Switzerland can travel to Spain with their national identity card. Citizens of countries that don’t issue ID cards, such as the UK, need a full passport. All other nationalities must have a full valid passport, and a few even require visas. Full details can be found at the website of the Spanish Foreign Office (ww.exteriores.gob.es)
If applying for a visa, check that your passport’s expiry date is at least six months away. Non-EU citizens must fill out a landing card.
By law you are technically supposed to carry your passport or ID card with you at all times.
Generally not required for stays of up to 90 days; not required for members of EU or Schengen countries. Some nationalities will need a Schengen visa.
Spain is one of 26 member countries of the Schengen Convention, under which 22 EU countries (all but Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK) plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland have abolished checks at common borders.
To work or study in Spain a special visa may be required – contact a Spanish embassy or consulate before you travel.
EU & Schengen countries
Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, NZ and the USA
Not required for tourist visits of up to 90 days
Check the Foreign Office website (www.exteriores.gob.es).
Extensions & Residence
You can apply for no more than two visas in any 12-month period and they are not renewable once in Spain.
Nationals of EU countries, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland can enter and leave Spain at will and don’t need to apply for a tarjeta de residencia (residence card), although they are supposed to apply for residence papers and must meet certain criteria.
People of other nationalities who want to stay in Spain longer than 90 days require one of two types of residence card – for less than or more than six months. Getting one can be a drawn-out process, starting with an appropriate visa issued by a Spanish consulate in their country of residence. Start the process well in advance.
Mallorcans are generally easygoing, and used to the different mores of foreigners, but will respond well to those who make an effort.
- Greetings Shake hands on first meeting and say 'bon dia' (good day) or 'bona tarda' (good evening). In more casual situations, greet with two kisses – offer your right cheek first.
- Socialising Mallorcans, like all Spanish, are a chatty, sociable lot. Don't be shy – try to join in their rapid-fire conversations, and be prepared for people to stand quite close to you when speaking.
- Eating & Drinking If you are invited to a Mallorcan home, take a small gift of wine, flowers or chocolate. Wait for your host to say bon profit! (enjoy your meal) before getting stuck in. Dunking bread in soup is a no-no, but otherwise meals here are fairly relaxed affairs. Join in a toast by raising your glass and saying salut!
Homosexuality is legal in Spain. In 2005 the socialist president of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, gave the conservative Catholic foundations of the country a shake with the legalisation of same-sex marriage. In Mallorca, Palma is the natural epicentre of a proud and prominent gay culture.
Useful resources and organisations:
- Ben Amics The island’s umbrella association for gays, lesbians and transsexuals.
- Gay Mallorca (www.gay-mallorca.blogspot.com) Weekly events listings.
- Guía Gay de España (http://guia.universogay.com/palmademallorca) More useful listings of cafes, saunas, nightclubs and restaurants.
- Mallorca Gay Map (www.mallorcagaymap.com) A handy guide to gay-friendly attractions (restaurants, hotels, clubs etc); a printed version is available from some municipal tourist offices in Palma.
Comprehensive travel-insurance to cover theft, loss, medical problems and cancellations is highly recommended. Read the fine print, as some policies exclude 'high risk' activities such as scuba diving and canyoning.
EU citizens are entitled to health care in public hospitals (present your European Health Insurance Card).
Check that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.
Keep all documents and bills if you have to make a claim.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online any time – even if you’re already on the road.
Checking insurance quotes…
- Numerous cafes and bars have free wi-fi. You may need to ask for the password when ordering.
- Most hotels have wi-fi, but in some cases the signal is weak beyond the lobby.
- Internet cafes are increasingly rare, but tourist offices should be able to point you to the nearest place, where one exists. Typical rates are €2 to €3 per hour.
- By law you are expected to carry some form of photographic identification at all times, such as a passport, national ID card or driving licence.
- The blood alcohol limit for driving in Spain is 0.05%. There are stiff fines (up to €1000) for anyone caught exceeding this limit. Levels of 0.12% and above carry a risk of imprisonment.
- Cannabis is legal but only for personal use and in very small quantities. Public consumption of any drug is illegal.
- If arrested, you will be allotted the free services of a duty solicitor (abogado de oficio), who may speak only Spanish (and Mallorquin). You are entitled to have the nature of the accusation against you explained in a language you understand, and to make a phone call.
- If you end up in court, the authorities are obliged to provide a translator.
Maps of Mallorca
Among the better and clearer island maps:
- Freytag and Berndt’s Mallorca (1:50,000)
- Michelin’s No.579 Balears/Balearics (1:140,000)
- Marco Polo’s Mallorca (1:125,000)
- Bike Mallorca's Mallorca Bicycle Map (1:100,000)
Walking maps must at least 1:25,000 in scale; anything bigger is nearly useless. Purchase your maps at hiking shops, or check out map specialists in other countries, for example Stanfords (www.stanfords.co.uk) in the UK.
- Alpina Editorial produces three maps to the Serra de Tramuntana range (Mallorca Tramuntana Sud, Mallorca Tramuntana Central and Mallorca Tramuntana Nord). These come with detailed walk descriptions in a solid booklet. The third map is in Catalan and German only.
- Discovery Walking Guides publish detailed guides to different regions of the island. Their Walk! Mallorca (North & Mountains), for example, is packed with walks, basic maps and GPS coordinates. You’ll need to buy additional maps though.
- The Kompass Wanderführer 5910 Mallorca (in German), by Wolfgang Heizmann, comes with detailed walking maps.
- Spain’s Centro Nacional de Información Geográfica (www.cnig.es) covers a good part of the island in 1:25,000 scale sheets.
- Newspapers English- and German-language dailies are widely available in resorts. Major Spanish newspapers include centre-left El País (http://elpais.com) and centre-right El Mundo (www.elmundo.es). For Mallorca news, try Diario de Mallorca (www.diariodemallorca.es), Ultima Hora (http://ultimahora.es) or English-language Majorca Daily Bulletin (http://majorcadailybulletin.com).
- Radio Regional stations include Radio Balear (www.radiobalear.net) and English-speaking Radio One Mallorca (www.radioonemallorca.com).
ATMs are widely available in towns and resorts. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.
- Most debit and credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus, can be used to withdraw cash from cajeros automáticos (ATMs).
- ATMs are ubiquitous in towns and major resorts, and accessible 24/7.
- There is usually a charge (around 1.5% to 2%) on ATM cash withdrawals abroad.
- Cash is king for small purchases in Mallorca, and spare change is handy for coffee pit stops and spontaneous market buys.
- Avoid taking more money to the beach than you need for ice cream, drinks, and sunbed and parasol hire (€10 to €15 per day).
- Most banks exchange major foreign currencies and offer the best rates. Ask about commissions and take your passport.
- Exchange bureaux (look for the sign ‘cambio’) tend to open longer hours but usually charge outrageous commissions.
Credit & Debit Cards
- Credit and debit cards are generally accepted in hotels, with the exception of some rural B&Bs.
- Small, family-run restaurants and cafes might insist on cash – check before ordering to be on the safe side.
- Cards can be used to pay for most other purchases. You’ll sometimes be asked to show your passport or some other form of photo ID.
- Among the most widely accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard, American Express (Amex), Cirrus, Maestro, Plus, Diners Club and JCB.
For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.
- Hotels Discretionary: porters around €1 per bag and cleaners €2 per day.
- Cafes and bars Not expected, but you can reward good service by rounding the bill to the nearest euro or two.
- Restaurants Service charge is included, unless 'servicio no incluido' is specified, but many still leave an extra 5% or so.
- Taxis Not necessary, but feel free to round up or leave a modest tip, especially for longer journeys.
We’ve provided high-season hours; hours will generally decrease in the shoulder and low seasons. Many resort restaurants and hotels close from November to March.
Banks 8.30am–2pm Monday to Friday; some also open 4–7pm Thursday and 9am–1pm Saturday
Post offices 8.30am–9.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.30am–2pm Saturday
Restaurants lunch 1–3.30pm, dinner 7.30–11pm
Shops 10am–2pm & 4.30–7.30pm or 5–8pm Monday to Saturday; big supermarkets and department stores generally 10am–9pm Monday to Saturday
The Spanish postal system, Correos (www.correos.es), is generally reliable, if a little slow at times. Delivery times are erratic but ordinary mail to other Western European countries can take up to a week; to North America up to 10 days; and to Australia or New Zealand between 10 days and three weeks.
Sellos (stamps) are sold at most estancos (tobacconists’ shops with ‘Tabacos’ in yellow letters on a maroon background), as well as post offices. A postcard or letter weighing up to 20g costs €1.15 from Spain to other European countries; rates are higher to other countries. For a full list of prices for certified (certificado) and express post (urgente) mail, check the ‘Fee Calculator’ on the Correos website.
The two main periods when Spaniards (and Mallorcans are no real exception) go on holiday are Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter Sunday) and August, which also happens to be when half of Europe descends on Mallorca. Accommodation can be hard to find and transport is put under strain.
There are 14 official holidays a year, to which most towns add at least one to mark their patron saint’s day. Some places have several traditional feast days, not all of which are official holidays, but which are often a reason for partying.
The main island-wide public holidays:
Cap d’Any (New Year’s Day) 1 January
Epifania del Senyor (Epiphany) 6 January – in Palma, a landing of the Three Wise Men (Reis Mags) is staged in the port, followed by a procession
Dia de les Illes Balears (Balearic Islands Day) 1 March
Dijous Santa (Holy Thursday) March/April
Divendres Sant (Good Friday) March/April
Diumenge de Pasqua (Easter Sunday) March/April
Festa del Treball (Labour Day) 1 May
L’Assumpció (Feast of the Assumption) 15 August
Festa Nacional d’Espanya (Spanish National Day) 12 October
Tots Sants (All Saints) 1 November
Dia de la Constitució (Constitution Day) 6 December
L’Immacula da Concepció (Feast of the Immaculate Conception) 8 December
Nadal (Christmas) 25 December
Segona Festa de Nadal (Boxing Day) 26 December
- Smoking Many Mallorcans smoke, although the ban on smoking in all enclosed public places, once often flouted, is now enforced more rigorously.
Taxes & Refunds
Spain's IVA (VAT) goods-and-services tax of up to 21% is included in stated prices. Refunds are available on goods costing more than €90, if taken out of the EU within three months. Collect a refund form when purchasing and present it (together with the purchases) to the customs IVA refunds booth when leaving the EU. For more information, see www.globalblue.com.
Sustainable Tourism Tax
As of July 2016, the Balearic Isles have introduced a tax on tourist accommodation, collected by providers and ostensibly to fund sustainability initiatives. During high season (May to October), the cost is €2 per day per adult (16+) for 5-star hotels, €1.50 for 3- and 4-star hotels, and €1 per day for 1- to 3-star hotels. All other forms of accommodation (including cruise ships) attract similar charges, and a 50% discount applies in low season, or for each night beyond the first nine nights' stay.
Mallorca's blue payphones are easy to use for international and domestic calls. They accept coins, tarjetas telefónicas (phonecards issued by the national phone company Telefónica) and, in some cases, credit cards. Calling using an internet-based service such as Skype is generally the cheapest option.
Local SIM cards are widely available and can be used in European and Australian mobile phones. Other phones may need to be set to roaming.
Spain uses GSM 900/1800, which is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia but not with the North American GSM 1900 or the totally different system used in Japan. If your phone is tri- or quad-band, you will probably be fine. Shops on every high street sell teléfonos móviles with prepaid cards, from around €80 for the most basic models.
Cut-rate phonecards from private companies can be good value for international calls. They can be bought from estancos, news-stands and locutorios (call centres), especially in Palma and coastal resorts – compare rates if possible.
- All telephone numbers in Mallorca (including mobile numbers) have nine digits.
- Almost all fixed-line telephone numbers in Mallorca begin with 971, although a small number begin with 871.
- Numbers starting with a ‘6’ are for mobile phones.
- Numbers starting with 900 are national toll-free numbers, while those starting 901 to 905 come with varying costs. A common one is 902, which is a national standard rate number, but can only be dialled from within Spain. In a similar category are numbers starting with 800, 803, 806 and 807.
- It is possible to dial an operator in your country of residence at no cost to make a reverse-charge call (una llamada a cobro revertido) – pick up the number before you leave home. You can usually get an English-speaking Spanish international operator on 1008 (for calls within Europe) or 1005 (rest of the world).
Mallorca runs on central European time (GMT/UTC plus one hour). Daylight saving time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.
UK, Ireland, Portugal & Canary Islands One hour behind mainland Spain.
USA Spanish time is USA Eastern Time plus six hours, or USA Pacific Time plus nine hours.
Australia During the Australian winter (Spanish summer), subtract eight hours from Australian Eastern Standard Time to get Spanish time; during the Australian summer, subtract 10 hours.
Toilets are of the sit-down variety, although public toilets are rare to non-existent across the island. If you find yourself in need of the facilities, remember that most bars and restaurants will expect you to purchase something before or after you use the toilet.
- Almost every town and resort in Mallorca has a walk-up tourist office (oficina de turismo or oficina de información turística) for local maps and information.
- Tourist offices in coastal areas usually open from Easter or May until October and keep surprisingly short hours. If you do find them open, they’re usually helpful and overflowing with useful brochures.
- In Palma you’ll find municipal tourist offices focussing on Palma and its immediate surrounds. There’s also the Consell de Mallorca Tourist Office, which covers the whole island.
- For general information about the Balearic Islands, visit www.illesbalears.es.
Travel with Children
Mallorca could be the poster child for stimulating and stress-free family travel. Undoubtedly an adults' playground, it's just as packed with diversions and distractions for the littl'uns: castles to scale, warm seas and wild water parks to splash in, caves to explore, beaches to burn energy and warm welcomes all round.
Best Regions for Kids
- Northern Mallorca
Alcúdia and Port de Pollença are natural family-pleasers, with giant gentle bays ideal for long, sandy days. Hit Hidropark for whizzy slides and Parc Natural de S'Albufera for gentle bike rides and birdwatching expeditions. Plus, there are loads of activities for teens – from kayaking to spooky caving.
- Eastern Mallorca
Tell tales of troglodytes as you duck through the glittering chambers of vast caves – none more impressive than the Coves del Drac. There are castles for fantasy play, pony rides, boat trips, safari encounters and a cluster of lovely, gently shelving bays in the island's east, too.
- Palma & Badia de Palma
The island's capital is like a history lesson come to life, whether playing spot-the-gargoyle at the cathedral or clambering up to Castell de Bellver. Nearby, find giant water parks and an aquarium with brilliantly scary shark sleepovers.
Mallorca for Kids
Resorts up and down the island cater for families with their well-tended seafront promenades, playgrounds, pools, round-the-clock activities and child-friendly hotels and restaurants. And the Mallorcans simply adore tots, so wherever you go, you can be sure they'll not only be welcome, but actively fussed over.
It's the little things that are likely to spark imaginations: eating snail-shaped ensaïmada pastries for breakfast, building castles in the sand, taking a (whoa!) helter-skelter ride along the coast to Sa Calobra, or a rickety train ride to Sóller.
There's plenty to appease older children, too: mountain biking, scuba diving, spelunking in sea caves or even cliff jumping – sure to gain them kudos in the classroom back home.
Nappies (diapers), baby food and formula milk are widely available in town and resort supermarkets and chemists.
Eating out with children is a breeze in Mallorca, where large family lunches are a way of life and the mood is laid-back in all but the most formal of places. You’ll get lots of smiles if you have kids with you and letting a tot wander around a restaurant – as long as they’re not breaking wine bottles or bothering anyone – is usually OK.
Many resort restaurants offer inexpensive children’s menus – simple grilled meats, French fries, spaghetti, tortillas and the like, followed by ice cream. If not, most places are generally happy to improvise to suit children’s appetites and whip up smaller portions. Kids with more adventurous tastes might like to try pa amb oli (bread rubbed with oil and tomatoes with a variety of toppings) and paella, while Sóller orange ice cream always goes down a treat.
You cannot rely on restaurants having high chairs, although many have a couple – getting there early increases your chances of snaffling one. It's worth bringing your own harness, though, as these are often lacking. Few places have nappy-changing facilities.
Discounts are available for children (usually aged under 12) on public transport, while under-fives ride for free. You can also expect substantial reductions on sights, though ages vary widely, with free entry ranging from 0 to 16 years. As a rule, under-fours are free and under-12s pay half price, as well as concessions for youths. Most tours (for instance boat tours) offer a 50% reduction for children.
- Wet and wild Kids will gleefully exhaust themselves on the slides, rides and tides at Aqualand and Western Water Park, while kid-friendly Hidropark is handy for the northern resorts.
- Back to nature Treat natural parks such as Península de Llevant and Cala Mondragó like vast open-air playgrounds, full of secret coves, ancient stone towers and flocks of beady-eyed goats.
- Pedal pushing Gentle pedals along the coast and in the bird-rich wetlands of Parc Natural de S'Albufera; mountain biking in the Tramuntana for active teens.
- Float their boat Pair up with a nipper in a tandem sea kayak to explore the caves and coves around Port de Sóller.
- Artestruz Ostriches to stroke, feed and admire in full sprint at this one-of-a-kind park near Ses Salines.
- Palma Aquarium Some 8000 marine creatures splash around in the tanks here. There are monthly shark sleepovers for little nippers.
- Safari-Zoo In the island's east, this is a rare chance to spot giraffe, emus and lions on a safari train.
- Coves del Drac Wend through watery caverns encrusted with stalactites, millennia in the making.
- Serra de Tramuntana Marvel at faces and weird formations in the bizarrely weathered peaks of this mountain range.
- Sa Calobra Feel your stomach drop on the roller-coaster road down to Sa Calobra, with snapshot views of sheer cliffs and canyons.
- Coves d'Artà A magical cave with a forest of formations, including the 'Queen of Columns' and 'Chamber of Hell'.
- Blue Cave Look in wonder at the surreal blue waters on a boat trip to the Illa de Cabrera, part of Mallorca's only national park.
- Parc Natural de S'Albufera Bring binoculars to spot wading birds, turtles and even water buffalo in this reed-fringed nature park.
- Platja de Muro Fabulous sweep of silky sand and shallow turquoise sea in the north's Badia d'Alcúdia. It backs onto the Parc Natural de S'Albufera.
- Cala Mondragó This southern Blue Flag bay in the Parc Natural de Mondragó is gorgeous, with brilliantly clear water and powder-soft sand. Great for snorkelling.
- Cala Agulla Fringed by pines and dunes, this beautiful arc of a Blue Flag bay sits just north of Capdepera. The water is shallow enough for paddling.
- Platja de Formentor Getting to this north-coast beach by boat or the hair-raising coastal road is part of the fun. Tiptoe away from the crowds on the pine-flanked slither of sand.
- Cala Mesquida An east-coast favourite, this gently shelving bay has dazzling clear water. It's better for older kids due to stiff winds and waves.
Back in Time
- Castell de Bellver The Badia de Palma shrinks to postcard format from this mighty circular castle.
- Ferrocarril de Sóller This rattling vintage train from Palma to Sóller is a real blast from the past – a hit with kids and parents.
- Santuari de Sant Salvador Ramble along the ramparts of this hilltop castle above Artà.
- Medieval Walls Travel back in time with a walk atop the old city walls in Alcúdia.
- Torre des Verger Play pirates at this watchtower precariously perched above the sea near Estellencs.
For general advice on travelling with children, consider the following:
- Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children
When to Go
Bear in mind that many kid-geared sights and activities are open only from April to October. The best season to go depends on what you want to see and do. Spring and autumn are dry, warm and fantastic for hiking, cycling and other active pursuits. Families (including locals) descend en masse on the coast during the summer holidays, so if you are going then, you might want to choose a quieter resort, or base yourself slightly inland at a finca (farm).
Whether you're looking for a self-catering apartment, a coastal resort for families or a rural farm-stay complete with resident goats and donkeys to pet, we recommend dozens of family-friendly accommodation options.
Many hotels in coastal resorts offer apartments big enough for families or one-bedroom suites with a small sitting area and sofa bed. The vast majority of places will squeeze in a baby's cot for free or a child's bed for a small extra charge – mention it when booking.
The all-inclusive resorts that dominate the southern, eastern and (to a lesser extent) northern coastline, do one thing very well: most places employ kids' entertainers to organise children’s activities, from games and discos to craft workshops and outdoor excursions.
Most airlines – including Ryanair and easyJet – will take your pushchair from you as you embark for no extra charge (this needs to be tagged at the check-in or bag-drop desk). For additional items such as booster seats and travel cots, they levy a fee (€10/£10 if booked online, €20/£20 if done at the airport). You can take baby food, milk and sterilised water in your hand baggage.
If you would rather not schlep it all with you, companies such as Multi-Hire (www.multi-hire.com) and Baby Equipment Hire Mallorca (www.babyequipmenthiremajorca.co.uk) rent out the essentials, and it's often a more cost-effective way of doing it than paying through the nose with airlines.
You can buy baby formula in powder or liquid form, as well as sterilising solutions such as Milton, at farmacias (pharmacies). Disposable nappies (diapers) are widely available at supermarkets and farmacias. Fresh cow’s milk is sold in cartons and plastic bottles in supermarkets in big cities, but can be hard to find in small towns, where UHT is often the only option.
If you’ve brought baby food with you, just ask for it to be warmed up in the kitchen; most restaurants will have no problem with this.
Some of the better hotels can generally arrange babysitters for an hourly fee. You could also check out the website Canguroencasa (www.canguroencasa.com), where you can search for English-speaking babysitters (canguros); click on ‘Canguros Baleares’. The going rate is between €5 and €10 per hour.
If you want to explore safe in the knowledge that your kids are in good hands, check out Jelly and Ice Cream (www.jellyandice-cream.com), who arrange English-speaking childcare with qualified nannies and babysitting. Little Ducklings (www.littleducklings.es), Little Puffs (www.littlepuffschildcaremallorca.com) and Angels (www.angelsnursingagency.com) also come recommended. Expect to pay around €90 per day, for up to three children.
You can hire car seats for infants and children (usually for a per-day fee) from most car-rental firms, but book them well in advance.
It's worth bearing in mind that most compact cars are short on space, so you may struggle to squeeze in your luggage and pushchair in the boot (trunk). Check the car's dimensions before booking or consider upgrading to a bigger model.
Top Tips for Travelling with Children
- Ask for extra tapas in bars to suit younger taste buds, such as olives or raw carrot sticks.
- Adjust your children to Spanish time (ie late nights) as quickly as you can – otherwise they’ll miss half the fun.
- Unlike in the USA, crayons and paper are rarely given out in restaurants – bring your own.
- Kids who share your bed won’t incur a supplement – extra beds usually cost €20 to €30.
- Ask the local tourist office for the nearest children’s playgrounds.
Mallorca is a long way from being barrier-free, but things are slowly improving. Disabled access to some museums, official buildings and hotels represents something of a sea change in local thinking.
- Be circumspect about hotels advertising themselves as disabled-friendly, as this can mean as little as wide doors to rooms and bathrooms, a ramp into reception or other token efforts.
- Cobbled streets and flights of steps in hill towns can make getting around difficult.
- Palma city buses are equipped for wheelchair access, as are some of those that travel around the island. Some taxi companies run adapted taxis – they must be booked in advance.
- Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
- Accessible Travel & Leisure (www.accessibletravel.co.uk) Claims to be the biggest UK travel agent specialising in travel for people with disabilities and encourages independent travel.
- Discount Mobility Hires out mobility scooters.
- Easy Rider A Port d’Alcúdia–based outfit hiring out mobility scooters.
- Mobility Scooters Delivers mobility scooters for hire to customers around the island.
Most volunteering opportunities in Spain are on the mainland, but it is worth checking Go Abroad (www.goabroad.com) for projects in Mallorca. Fincas (farms) and families offering work and board on a voluntary basis advertise on Work Away (www.workaway.info).
Weights & Measures
- Weights & Measures The metric system is used.
Travelling in Mallorca is largely as easy as travelling anywhere else in the Western world. However, you may still occasionally find yourself the object of staring, catcalls and unnecessary comments. Simply ignoring them is usually sufficient. Eye-to-eye contact and flirting is part of daily Spanish life and need not be offensive.
Spanish women generally have a highly developed sense of style and put considerable effort into looking their best. While topless bathing and skimpy clothes are in fashion on the island’s coastal resorts, people tend to dress more modestly in the towns and inland.
Nationals of EU countries, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland may work freely in Spain, and hence, Mallorca. Virtually everyone else needs to obtain, from a Spanish consulate in their country of residence, a work permit and (for stays of more than 90 days) a residence visa.
Many bars (especially of the UK and Irish persuasion), restaurants and other businesses are run by foreigners and look for temporary staff in summer. Check any local press in foreign languages, which carry ads for waiters, nannies, chefs, babysitters, cleaners and the like.
Translating and interpreting could be an option if you are fluent both in Spanish and a language in demand. You can start a job search on the web, for instance at Think Spain (www.thinkspain.com).