If your idea of the perfect family holiday involves a pool, a sun lounger, relaxing meals, good beaches and stunning scenery, then you need look no further than the jewel in the Balearic Islands’ crown which is Mallorca. It’s long been the destination of choice for royalty, celebrities, sunseekers, party animals and retirees from the Home Counties, but that doesn’t mean the island is full to bursting point with people, noise and stag parties. Far from it. Head to the north eastern tip of Mallorca and you can find peace, gently sloping beaches, blue waters, stunning scenery and a pace of life that probably won’t suit anyone aged 18-30!
We headed to Travelopo’s Finca Cuxach, just outside the old town of Pollenca, to enjoy some family down time and explore a region that has much to offer all ages.
Down a quiet dusty track, behind a gated driveway, surrounded by farmland and backed by the imposing Tramuntara mountains lies Finca Cuxach, a traditional haven of peace and tranquility, but with all mod cons! This three-bedroomed, two-bathroom house can comfortably sleep six (two doubles, one twin), and is delightfully decorated in authentic Mallorcan style, with wooden furniture, tiled floors and thick stone walls that keep the interior cool (there’s air conditioning as well). The kitchen is perfectly functional, with hob, oven, dishwasher and fridge/freezer, and very well equipped – I don’t think there was anything we couldn’t find – with just the odd ant (OK, lots) joining us for a sugar hit when we accidentally left the lid off something tempting. But they were easily dealt with. Outside in the lovely lush garden is a big pool, plenty of sunloungers, a barbecue, table tennis table, lots of outdoor seating, and access to lovely lemons, limes and pomegranates growing and ripening on the surrounding trees.
Inside the cool interior of Villa Cuxach welcomes you into a lovely hallway, substantial kitchen, dining room and sitting room, plus two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs, with one double room and en suite upstairs. The walls are whitewashed, the floors tiled and wooden beams, windows and doors give everything a traditional and authentic air. There’s also a well equipped laundry room just off the terrace. Towels and bedding are provided and everything was clean, comfortable and welcoming. We woke every morning to the sound of cockerels crowing, farm dogs barking and sheep bleating, which was absolute bliss, and although the main road is not far away at the end of the track, we couldn’t hear a thing. Hiring a car is fairly essential for your trip as the villa is surrounded only by other farms, villas and mountains so you need to drive to local shops, beaches and restaurants. The nearby (5 mins) Lidl was a godsend, and stocked all manner of essentials plus some lovely local delicacies like ham, breads, pastries, olives and cheese. A quick trip every morning saw us never go without.
Our children were very happy to spend their days splashing and swimming in the pool, which was just warm enough to go in in early October, plus they had great fun learning to play table tennis on the outdoor table. There’s plenty of room in the garden for other games on the lush lawn. But be aware that the pool area isn’t gated so if you have very young children an adult will have to supervise them at all times outside. Such was the relaxed atmosphere and great facilities we tended to spend our days relaxing at the villa, and our evenings exploring local towns and restaurants. One reason why we chose Finca Cuxach was its location in the north east of the island, where stunning scenery meets quiet sleepy towns, pretty beaches and great restaurants. The Tramuntara mountains make a very dramatic backdrop to any journey and if your children aren’t prone to travel sickness it’s definitely worth making a couple of trips out to explore what the area has to offer. For a safe beach, shops, a pretty promenade and lots of family-friendly restaurants Puerto de Pollenca is a short 10-minute hop away, with lots of entertainment on during high season, too.
One trip most definitely worth making is to head out of Pollenca and up the winding roads towards Formentor. There are various stopping points on the way up, with spectacular views out over the Mediterranean and Mallorcan coastline. If you need to break the journey up, drop into the exclusive Formentor Hotel for lunch (there’s a car park fee), where you can sit on the beach terrace and enjoy a snack and a drink while the children play. The next bit of the drive is not for the faint-hearted as the road twists and turns and climbs ever higher, but your final destination offers such wonderful views that it’s all worth it. The lighthouse at Formentor Point offers stunning views back over the coastline and across over the Med, plus some wild (but friendly) goats for company. Try not to go in high season when the roads are rammed and car parking spaces are at a premium!
Nearby Pollenca has both an old and new town, offering lots of shops, markets, historic buildings and restaurants. We ventured out to a Trip Advisor-recommended restaurant one evening, working up an appetite by counting and climbing the 365 steps up to the Calvari Church first. The restaurant didn’t quite live up to our expectations, but there were plenty of others to try instead, and all of them welcome children. But a note of caution, the old town is not particularly car-friendly, with lots of one-way streets and restricted parking. Speaking from bitter experience (getting stuck going the wrong way up a one way street!) our advice would be to park in the newer bit and walk in!
We decided to travel back to Palma de Mallorca airport (about an hour away) via the pretty town of Soller on the south west coast, which involved another thrilling drive, but in the other direction. Climbing up and through the Tramuntara mountains was fantastic, if a little hair-raising. The drive is spectacular but not for the faint-hearted or those prone to travel sickness. Port de Soller (much prettier and more cosmopolitan than the town itself) is the perfect place for a stop off. The port and harbour curve around a crescent-shaped promenade lined with shops and restaurants. You can take a boat trip to explore other towns and locations along the coast, or catch the wooden tram to and from Palma. We opted for the tram trip which our children loved. And there’s even more to see and do in Palma!
We couldn’t fault our stay in Finca Cuxach, it was everything we had hoped for and made our holiday relaxing, comfortable and well worth the trip. Mallorca never seems to disappoint if you pick the right island destination.
Villa rentals specialist, Travelopo (www.travelopo.com) can offer a seven night stay in June in Finca Cuxach from £1800. The price is for the villa only and doesn’t include flights, which are available from a number of low-cost airlines. We flew to and from London Luton – Palma de Mallorca with EasyJet.