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Leap of faith: take the plunge at Cap de Formentor

Majorca EUROPE

The coasteering is clear

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MAJORCA

Take your pick of top dive spots GETTING GETTING THERE THERE Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Flights from London Stansted to Majorca start at about ÂŁ105 return with Ryanair. (ryanair.com)

Get adventurous on an ATV 70

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Snaking: gruelling twists on the Sa Colobra


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Treasure island Forget pissheads on the pull. Extreme cycling and quad biking are just a few of the adventures to be had in Majorca’s mountains WORDS AISLEEN MARLEY

Sun, sea, sand and sex – that’s what Majorca is all about, right? Wrong. Majorca (or Mallorca) might suffer from a reputation as a cheap-and-cheerful holiday destination for debaucherous tourists to get tanked and head down the beach to frolic with newfound ‘friends’. But venture behind this facade and you’ll soon learn there’s more to this gem of an island than meets the eye.

Extreme cycling on the Sa Colobra Tell me more: For extreme road cyclists with a need for speed, the Puerto Sóller to Sa Colobra route, one of the most jaw-dropping mountain roads on the island, simply can’t be beaten. The gruelling twists and turns of La Sierra de Tramuntana mountain range have long been favoured by the likes of Lance Armstrong and his mates, who can be spotted all year round, training for the Tour de France. But who’s to say that ‘normal’ folk, like us, can’t follow in their tracks? However, a word of advice for those itching to pull on the spandex: no matter how awesome the scenery becomes, just don’t look down. Tell me how: There’s no shortage of rental companies scattered across the island. Try Puerto Pollensa’s Pro Cycle Hire, which will deliver your bike to your hotel for free. (procyclehire.com)

off the beaten track, either on your own or as part of an organised tour. Both have their advantages, but a local guide will be able to point you and your mates in the direction of the island’s little-known nooks and crannies. Tell me how: Xplore Mallorca is one of the most established operators on the island and offers a range of quad-bike tours for between €42-64 (£35-53), depending on the size of your group. Check out xploremallorca.com for more details. Or, if you fancy hiring an ATV and setting off on your own adventure, most scooter and car rental companies in the main resorts also hire them out.

Adventure diving in the deep blue sea Tell me more: The seas surrounding Majorca are renowned for their clarity, making them the ideal location for adventure diving. Take your pick from the Malgrats, an underwater nature reserve off the coast of Santa Ponsa; El Sech, which is home to not one, but two shipwrecks; or, for the more adventurous, head down to the Cave of the

Cliff Jumping at Cap de Formentor Peninsula Tell me more: In the immortal words of one crazy Spaniard we know: “There is no better fun than jumping from a cliff!” Why not take the plunge and see if he’s right? Cala San Vincente, close to Pollensa on the north coast, boasts some magnificent cliffs, where you can leap with the locals into the clear waters of the striking Cap de Formentor Peninsula. But as it’s 350m high, you won’t want to jump from the top. Tell me how: The best things in life are always free and cliff jumping in Majorca is no exception. From Pollensa, head up to Cala San Vincente via the MA-200 highway, taking a left on to MA-2203 towards the coast. The Cap is well signposted once you reach town. Then, just listen out for the screams …

Quad biking mountain trails Tell me more: The Tramuntana’s trails and dirt tracks are an awesome way to explore the island by quad-bike or ATV (All Terrain Vehicles). Discover the ‘real’ Majorca by getting

Magic: Majorca offers beauty with its adventure TNTMAGAZINE.COM

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Madonna – a huge cavern in which a lifesize statue of the Madonna was placed at the request of a local fisherman, as a “thanks” to the ocean for keeping him safe. Tell me how: Try Big Blue Diving in Palma Nova; prices start from about €33 (£27) for one dive. (bigbluediving.net)

...and Relax

Coasteering Tell me more: Guaranteed to get your pulse racing as you abseil down huge waterfalls, swim through caves and scramble along rocky boulders, coasteering in Majorca is a truly unforgettable experience. Combining adventure swimming with rock climbing, caving and abseiling, it’s not exactly for the faint-hearted, but the varied landscape means you’re sure to find a suitable location. Tell me how: The rugged and wild nature of coasteering means that it’s possible to do it all year round. Operators usually provide all the necessary protective kit, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and transportation, but you’ll need your own sturdy pair of shoes. Prices average about €50-55 (£41-45), depending on the season. Experience Mallorca are old pros at this sort of thing. (visitexperience-mallorca.com)

and RELAX

Plaça de Son Ramis, No 5 07430 Llubí, Mallorca Tel: 608 90 41 62 info@hoteldelavila.com

www. hoteldelavila.com

NEXT WEEK We meet ‘Canyoning Bob’ in Slovenia and go exploring the Julian Alps

MIDRANGE

LUXURY

EAT

Eating on a budget in Majorca can be done anywhere. The trick is to stumble into any local café, restaurant or wooden shack you find while roaming the island. Ask for the Menu del Dia and a cold glass of Mahou (beer) – it’s highly likely you’ll get change from a tenner.

Diablito serves up stylish, funky and contemporary food and music by the marina. There are a few Diablitos on the island, but this one is by far the best. Overlooking hundreds of superyachts glistening under the sun, you can choose from a mixture of Mexican, American and Italian food. Prices average about £8-10 for a main meal. (diablito.es)

‘A city centre oasis in the middle of Palma’ is how Simply Fosh describes itself. Elegant, fashionable and stylish – yet friendly – it boasts some of the most sought-after tables in Palma. For an unbeatable experience, let the waiters choose your wines; they really know their stuff. Main meals range from £15-25. (simplyfosh.com)

DRINK

It would be remiss not to mention Magaluf in relation to cheap drinks. If you’ve had a hard day kayaking and canyoning, relax those muscles at one of the many bars and pubs that line the legendary Magaluf Strip, at Punta Ballena. The Three Lions and The Office are two good choices, with beers and cocktails costing anything between 80p and £3.50.

For a chilled-out taste of home, visit the small-but-hip Escape Bar for reasonably priced drinks. Close to the main marina, you’re likely to bump into yachties hailing from Australia, New Zealand or Scandinavia and can swap your tales of travel while sipping a bevvie or two. (Plaza Drassana 13, Palma Old Town, 07012)

Mood Beach Bar is an incredibly hip cocktail lounge overlooking the clear waters of Costa D’en Blanes in the south-west of the island. Think sun-loungers, celebs and the mellow beats of Mediterranean DJs as the sun goes down. It’s on the pricey side at £12.50+ for a cocktail, but worth it. (moodbeach.com)

SLEEP

Hostal Atlanta is a cheap and cheerful family-run hostel in the heart of El Arenal, a few minutes walk from the huge Playa de Palma beach. Communal dorms and family rooms for three, four or five people from £12.50pppn (low season) to £19pppn (high season). (hostal-atlanta.eu)

Located within the S’Albufera Natural Park, the Hi Panoramic is a spacious, functional hotel and restaurant with the requisite outdoor pool, wifi and bar. Ideally located for outdoor adventures on the north coast of the island, it won’t break the bank at about £37pn in the high season. (hotel-panoramic-mallorca.com)

On Majorca’s unspoiled, rugged north-west coast, La Residencia Hotel & Spa is a paradise hideaway for those seeking a unique, inspiring experience after a hard day’s exploration. Sit overlooking the mountains and the sea, sipping a cocktail or two, but expect to pay about £250-330pn for this ‘heaven on earth’. (hotel-laresidencia.com)

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Photos: WaywardCyclist/ Creative Commons, Thinkstock

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Profile for Aisleen Bird

Majorca - ‘Treasure Island’  

I responded to a pitch request from TNT Magazine, which was looking for a feature article on an ‘alternative’ destination for young adventur...

Majorca - ‘Treasure Island’  

I responded to a pitch request from TNT Magazine, which was looking for a feature article on an ‘alternative’ destination for young adventur...

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