Top 10 Things To Do On Mallorca

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Mallorca! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Mallorca’s most important sights.

Mallorca Marco Polo Guide

1. PLATJAS
Which are the most beautiful beaches on the island? It all depends on personal taste but the beaches in the northeast, in the holiday destinations around Alcúdia Bay and Cala Ratjada
(Cala Rajada), are top candidates.

2. FORMENTOR
Precipitous rocks, cliffs, sandy bays – the Mediterranean vegetation and the lighthouse at the cape make this the perfect spot to watch the sunset.

3. VALLDEMOSSA
A town of picturesque houses and alleyways, and a former Carthusian monastery that adds a cultural highlight.

4. PUERTO DE PALMA
The enormously wide sweeping harbourfront area, with its promenade and quays, is the meeting place of yachtsmen, fishermen, tourists and cruise ship passengers.

5. VALLE DE SÓLLER
A verdant valley, with a sea of citrus groves, surrounded by gigantic mountains – and it’s not far to the harbour of Port de Sóller with its wonderful atmosphere.

6. LA SEU
What a fortress of the faith! Palma Cathedral, which is known as La Seu, rises up majestically and looms large over the houses of the island’s capital of Palma de Mallorca.

7. SINEU
Every Wednesday Sineu pulsates with life – the colourful stalls of the town’s open-air market, has something for everyone. The market has an impressive setting on the church square surrounded by old houses.

8. COVES DEL DRAC
Head down into the mysterious underground world of the Dragon Caves: the intriguing formations and pools of water are dramatically lit and there is a very special show waiting at the end of your tour.

9. LLUC
The journey itself is the reward: take the winding route through the mountains up to the Lluc Monastery, which attracts both the faithful and day-trippers.

10. PUERTO PORTALS
As no other on the island, this luxury marina is a playground for the jet set and all those mere mortals whose curiosity draws them there.

 

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Low Budget Barcelona

Want to visit Barcelona without spending a fortune? Here are Marco Polo’s top Insider Tips:

Barcelona Marco Polo Guide 

 

Low budget dining

Narrow, crammed, noisy, hip – and unbeatable prices: the modern Old Town eatery Can Nabo serves up a daily, filling and tasty all-day menu from €4.50, including a vegetarian option. On the menu are salads, risottos, fresh pasta, homemade pizzas or cakes. Open daily | Nou de Sant Francesc, 25 | Metro: Drassanes (L3)

La Avia: Design boom and nouvelle cuisine have left no trace at this familiar Raval eatery with bohemian style. The menu features traditional Catalan dishes such as bean stew, paella or squid à la marinera with potatoes and peas at dumping prices from €3.60. Tasty homemade giant empanadas cost just €1.20. Open daily | La Cera, 33 | Tel. 9 34 42 00 97 | Metro: Sant Antoni (L2)

La Candela: Market-fresh, imaginative cuisine at reasonable prices on one of the Old Town’s most beautiful terraces, on a charming square with historic ambience. Closed Sun | Plaça de Sant Pere, 12 | Tel. 9 33 10 62 42 | Metro: Arc de Triomf (L1)

Not pretty, but incredibly good value: near the Rambla, Romesco offers hearty fare: chicken with a side (€3.90), hake or cutlets (€4.90) and soups (€2.60). Closed Sun | Sant Pau, 28 | Tel. 9 33 18 93 81 | Metro: Liceu (L3)

 

Shopping on a shoestring

The outlet of the world-famous Catalan fashion chain Mango allows you to put together an entire new outfit for very little money. Carrer Girona, 37 | www.mango shop.com | Metro: Urquinaona (L1, L4)

Muy Mucho offers a large selection of trendy styled presents and decoration items, and no-one would guess how little they actually cost. Small pretty items start at €2–3. Rambla de Catalunya, 35 | Metro: Passeig de Gràcia (L3, L4)

 

Drinking and partying on a budget

Can Paixano: This is how you’d imagine a cosy tavern in the port area – hams hang from the ceiling beams and the walls are decoratively yellowed. Drinks are taken standing up, there are no chairs. House cava at rock-bottom prices of €0.80–1.20 per glass. Open Mon–Sat 9am–10.30pm | Reina Cristina, 7 | www.canpaixano.com | Metro: Barceloneta (L4)

You’ll be glad to hear that there’s a way to party away in the hippest clubs in town, such as the Shoko – for free! All you have to do is get onto the right guest list: one of the most popular is Shaz’s guest list: www.barcelonaparties.com. Watch out though: the invites are only valid for that specific time – latecomers have to pay up to €20. So get in line in good time, as long queues will form.

 

Cheap Accommodation

€19–25 is the price for double rooms (some en-suite) in the Garden House, a stately fin-de-siècle villa in the green residential quarter of Horta, only five minutes from the nearest Metro station. Garden, roof terrace, cosy lobby, guest kitchen. Familiar, easy-going atmosphere. Rooms are light and spacious. Bed linen, towels and WiFi are free, and there are women-only rooms too. 56 beds | Hedilla, 58 | Tel. 9 34 27 24 79 | www.feetuphostels.com | Metro: Valldaura (L3)

Hostal Girona is a friendly family-run guesthouse in a stately Art Nouveau building: original mosaic floors, stucco ceilings and furnishings with the charm of times past. The rooms vary in size (doubles €45–62), are renovated, have modern bathrooms, heating, air-conditioning and plasma screens; some have balconies. Rooms with windows facing onto the patio are quieter. 27 rooms | Girona, 24 | Tel. 9 32 65 02 59 | Metro: Urquinaona (L1, L4)

 

Free art exhibition

Take a look behind the scenes in Antoni Gaudí’s famous residential building, the Casa Milà (also known as La Pedrera). To get to the free changing exhibitions on the first floor, take the unique ‘snail’ staircase – saving the entrance fee. Open March–Oct daily 9am–8pm, Nov–Feb daily 9am–6.30pm | admission €11, changing exhibition on first floor free of charge | Passeig de Gràcia, 92 | www.lapedrera.com/en/home | Metro: Diagonal (L3, L5)

 

Picasso on a Sunday

A number of museums open their doors for free on Sunday afternoons from 3pm; amongst them the Museu Picasso (www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en), the most visited museum in Barcelona and the Museu d’Història. If you choose the first Sunday in the month for your visit, you’ll have all day to explore for free.

 

Music by master-class students

Whether you’re into early music, classical or jazz: listening to the pupils and master-class students of the Catalan conservatory at their rehearsals in the auditorium is usually free. Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya | Padilla, 155 | Tel. 9 33 52 30 11 | www.esmuc.cat/eng | Metro: Glòries (L1)

 

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Barcelona Marco Polo Guide

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Top 10 Things To Do On Lanzarote

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed on Lanzarote! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of the island’s most important sights. 

Lanzarote Marco Polo Guide

1. PARQUE NACIONAL DE TIMANFAYA
Head to the “Fire Mountains” and you’ll feel as if you’ve landed on the moon – the region was shaped by a volcanic eruption in the 1700s.

2. TEGUISE
A jewel from the Colonial Era. The island’s former capital with its well-preserved centre is a wonderful place for a stroll.

3. JAMEOS DEL AGUA
This “eighth wonder of the world”, a complex created by César Manrique in a collapsed volcanic tunnel, is one of the best-visited attractions on the island.

4. LA GERIA
Created by an eruption in the 18th-century, the black lava fields of Lanzarote’s most significant wine-growing region are littered with walls to protect vines from the wind.

5. FUNDACIÓN CÉSAR MANRIQUE
You can see work by César Manrique and his artist friends displayed in his former home. The house itself, now the headquarters of the César Manrique Foundation, is an architectural masterpiece in its own right.

6. PLAYAS DE PAPAGAYO
Named after a parrot, these beaches in the south are the most beautiful on Lanzarote. They boast several swimming bays, light-brown sand and crystal-clear water.

7. ARRECIFE
Head to the island’s capital to experience a taste of urban living. Visit the small museums, enjoy some drinks, go shopping and take a walk through the streets and alleyways.

8. CUEVA DE LOS VERDES
This network of lava tunnels was created by volcanic activity many thousands of years ago – it’s a fantastic subterranean world.

9. PUERTO CALERO
Welcome to this watery wonderland! You can spend time admiring yachts in the marina, take a day trip aboard a catamaran, or dive right down to the bottom of the sea in a submarine.

10. BETANCURIA
The most beautiful town on neighbouring Fuerteventura. Once the island’s capital, it’s home to some handsomely restored colonial houses that hark back to a bygone golden age.

 

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Lanzarote Marco Polo Guide

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Top 10 Nudist Beaches

Ooh er missus! If sunbathing in your birthday suit is right up your street… then we have the perfect list for you! The top 10 best nudist beaches around the world, as chosen by Marco Polo authors…

Cuban dead tree

Photo credit: Tim Kelly

1. Grande Saline, St Barthélemy

St Barth, as the little Caribbean island is called for short, is popular among celebrities. Nudists also feel at home on the velvet sandy beach of Grande Saline in the area reserved for nudists.

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2. Nordstrand, Helgoland, Germany

The island’s secret jewel is not actually on it, but next to it – the 32 acre beach on the north of the dune has very fine sand. You can relax here with or without clothes on – or in a fur coat like the seals. The magical North Sea!

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3. Praia da Ursa, Cabo da Roca, Portugal

Praia da Ursa with its fascinating rocks is hidden between cliffs in the far west of Europe. Thanks to the fact that it cannot be seen from anywhere, the beach is especially popular among nudists. Be sure to take your own food and plenty to drink with you as there’s nowhere to buy anything in this secluded spot.

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4. Kordovon Beach, Jerolim,  Croatia

Anyone taking a boat from Hvar to this tiny island, one of the Paklenis, can shed their clothes and enjoy the untouched wooded scenery. Kordovon Beach is the perfect place for a totally relaxed holiday free from all constraints. As one sign proudly announces, nudists have
been more than ‘Welcome since 1896’.

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5. Platja del Mago, Portals Vells, Mallorca, Spain

The boats anchored in the bay seem to hover above the crystal-clear water. All along the rocky shoreline crooked pine trees have established themselves up the slopes around the cove where there are lovely views over the sea. The Platja del Mago is an official nudist beach.

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6. Cap d’Agde, France

It’s not just the fine sandy beach on the Cap d’Agde that makes this one of the most popular resorts for naturists on the Mediterranean. It is also the fact that this is a large village-like complex where nudism is the norm night and day.

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7. Kókkinos Ammos (Red Beach), Mátala, Crete, Greece

Picturesque Kókkinos Ammos, the ‘Red Beach’, enjoys a peaceful, sun-soaked location that can only be reached after a 20-minute hike. Naturists aim for the northern part of the shimmering red sandbank. Don’t forget to take enough food and drink with you!

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8. Nida, Lithuania

The regulations in the Baltic State of Lithuania are strict – at least as far as nudism on the Curonian Spit goes. There are separate areas for men and women to (sun)bathe in the nude. Make sure you observe the signs whatever you do – vyrų pliažas is the beach for men and moterų pliažas for women.

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9. Saltum Strand, Denmark 

There’s plenty of room for everyone here! The seemingly endless beaches in this kingdom stretch as far as the horizon and are seldom full, especially in the north. Since nude bathing is allowed on every beach in Denmark, as long as you are considerate to others, you don’t need to pack your swimwear for Saltum Strand either.

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10. Neuendorf, Hiddensee, Germany

The dunes where beachgrass grows and the hidden sandy hollows in between, very close to the conservation village itself, provide perfect, secluded spots for bathing in the nude. INSIDER TIP: Afterwards try something completely different – Karl Huck’s puppet theatre in Vitte.

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Do you know any other great nudist beaches you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below, tweet us @MarcoPoloGuides or tell us on Facebook.

Top 10 things to do in Barcelona

Marco Polo’s list of the top 10 things not to be missed in Barcelona! Our best recommendations – from the top down – help you to plan your tour of Barcelona’s most important sights. 

A friendly guard in Parc Guell

Photo credit: Michelle Collier

1. Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) 

The magnificent architecture in the Gothic Quarter is a testimony to Catalonia’s golden age as a Mediterranean power. A maze of dark, twisting medieval streets and sunny squares lined with revered churches and lavish palaces.

2. La Sagrada Família  

This cathedral with its gigantic towers winding their way skywards – which is still under construction today – has become the world famous symbol of Barcelona.

3. Las Ramblas

Like people watching? The famous promenade teems with a mix of tourists, theatergoers and pickpockets, culture vultures and vendors, elegant opera patrons and harried waiters. Las Ramblas is a non-stop human spectacle.

4. Palau de la Música Catalana

A flamboyant art nouveau concert hall – a lavishly decorated monument to Catalan Modernisme. The curved dome of the stained-glass skylight is uniquely beautiful.

5. Park Güell

Serpentine figures, crooked arcades and doric columns: it is no wonder that even Salvador Dalí admired Gaudí’s fairy tale park with a breathtaking view over Barcelona.

6. Casa Milà

Gaudí’s strangest, and most famous, residential building has a remarkable rooftop landscape and a panoramic view.

7. Illa de la Discòrdia 

(Or  Manzana de la Discordia.) Three of the main figures of Modernisme have created monuments next door to each other. The Casa Batlló, designed by Gaudí, is especially striking.

8. Museu Picasso

Housed in five medieval palaces on the elegant Carrer Montcada, Barcelona’s most popular museum provides an unforgettable impression of the artist’s work.

9. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Catalonia’s art under a single roof – from the Romanesque period to the present day. The collection of Romanesque frescoes is unparalleled worldwide.

10. Santa Maria del Mar

Catalan Gothic in its purest form: the unique house of worship became famous all over the world through Ildefonso Falcones’ best-seller “Cathedral of the Sea”.

 

Content taken from the Barcelona Marco Polo Spiral Guide.

Barcelona Spiral Guide

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Top 10 Beaches: “See and be Seen”

Let yourself be inspired by this selection of especially beautiful beaches – and have fun planning the holiday of a lifetime! Marco Polo’s Top 10 Beaches to “See and be Seen”…

Cape Town

1. France, Saint-Tropez, Plage de Pampelonne

Whoever wants to catch a glimpse of famous faces in one of the many beach clubs is perfectly positioned on the Plage de Pampelonne on the French Riviera. Keep a look-out too for wooden Riva motor boats – there are bound to be some stars aboard these.

French Riviera Marco Polo Guide

 

2. South Africa, Cape Town, Camps Bay

In beautiful Camps Bay swimming is not really a top priority as the temperature of the Atlantic is only around 16°C. Instead, just enjoy people watching and being seen.

Cape Town (Wine Lands, Garden Route) Marco Polo Guide

 

3. USA, Miami, South Beach

Skin-tight dresses, ankle-breaking high heels, white sand, colourful buildings. Miami’s South Beach is just one big catwalk. Enjoy people watching with the pretty backdrop of the Art Deco District.

Florida Marco Polo Guide

 

4. Italy, Capri, Faraglioni

When the red sun sinks into the sea off Capri then you can be pretty certain that a famous name is on the island somewhere. The beautiful Gulf of Naples only has small beaches but many luxurious beach clubs, such as the one opposite the Faraglioni.

Italy Marco Polo Guide

 

5. Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana

Miniscule bikinis, long legs and well-toned bodies. Cultivating body culture on the white sands of the Copacabana is just as legendary as the girls from Ipanema Beach next door. Valuables however are best left at home.

Brazil Marco Polo Guide

 

6. Spain, Tenerife, Playa de las Teresitas

There’s always something to see here. You can’t really be sure what is more beautiful about the Playa de las Teresitas – the palms on the powdery-white sandy beach or the beauties in bikinis flaunting their all. Decide for yourself!

Tenerife Marco Polo Guide

 

7. USA, Venice, Muscle Beach

It’s non-stop training on Venice Beach. Those who don’t join in have a camera in their hands. Their toned subjects are happy to show off: sit-ups, crunches, press-ups… Relaxation for (sporty) holiday-makers can be found in the fantastic B&B Venice Beach House.

California Marco Polo Guide

 

8. France, Deauville

Rita Hayworth, Tom Hanks, Ed Harris… The list of names on the pretty beach huts in Deauville is just as long as the row of little huts itself. Star or no star, anyone can promenade up and down ‘les Planches’, the beach boardwalk, whether a famous celebrity or not. Well, you can always pretend.

France Marco Polo Map

 

9. China, Hong Kong, Repulse Bay Beach

The sand looks carefully raked, the little trees prettily lined up and the atmosphere is that of a relaxed resort. In Repulse Bay, right in the middle of this trendy residential area, the chances of seeing a film star are high – Jackie Chan, for example. He lives here. Is that him over there? In the evening take a TurboJET high-speed ferry to Macau, Asia’s Las Vegas with a Portuguese flair.

Hong Kong (Macau) Marco Polo Guide

 

10. Italy, Portofino, Paraggi

“One can quite suddenly come upon a hidden bay… a little village…” Guy de Maupassant was struck by the magical charm of what has since become the most famous ‘fishing village’ in the world back in 1889. A playground for the rich, powerful and beautiful. La dolce vita on little Paraggi Beach.

Italy Marco Polo Guide

 

Content taken from the Marco Polo World Map with 100 Dream Beaches.

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Top 10 Party Beaches!

Let yourself be inspired by Marco Polo’s selection of Top 10 Party Beaches! Have fun planning the holiday of a lifetime where you can party until the sun comes up!

Group of people party on the beach.

1. Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Greece

Paradise Beach is a magnet for the young from all over the world. The sound is turned up in the early evening when DJs take to the turntables. The beach vibrates to the sound and night becomes day.

Greece Marco Polo Guide

 

2. Bloemendaal, The Netherlands

The best beach pavilions are in Bloemendaal where party-lovers congregate in the trendy lounges and chill-out areas on the shore. Sometimes several pavilions join forces and hold parties at the same time, turning Bloemendaal into Holland’s answer to Ibiza.

Netherlands Marco Polo Map

 

3. Daytona Beach, Florida, USA

The throb of V8-engines, the roar of Harleys right on the 37km (22 mile) long sandy beach and the thunder of the Altantic. Daytona Beach on Florida’s east coast is the ultimate meeting place for the young and young at heart. Open the throttle!

Florida Marco Polo Guide

 

4. Santa Cristina Beach, Lloret de Mar, Spain

Life is a beach! Young people from all over Europe descend on the Spanish party mile near Barcelona with its more than 100 bars and clubs, especially at the weekends. During the day, chill out on Santa Cristina Beach – it’s not quite as crowded as Central Beach.

Costa Brava Marco Polo Guide

 

5. Anjuna Beach, Goa, India

Dancing to the beat under decorated palms and coloured lights with lasers shooting into the evening sky, video installations and masses of other party freaks. The trance and techno parties on Anjuna Beach are wild and legendary. The latest trend is silent disco where music is played through headphones.

India South (Goa & Kerala) Marco Polo Guide

 

6. Golden Sands, Varna, Bulgaria

Chart hits, old favourites and lazing around in the sun. In the Golden Sands resort on the Black Sea in Bulgaria partying to live music and international singers turns night into day.

Bulgaria Marco Polo Guide

 

7. Drums’ Beach, Tel Aviv, Israel

Groove to the beat every Friday evening at sunset in the south of Tel Aviv when bongo players and drummers congregate on Drums’ Beach and pound out their rhythm like there’s no tomorrow.

Israel Marco Polo Guide

 

8. Bodrum, Turkey

In Bodrum, the place to be on the Mediterranean, the younger generation and thirty-somethings from nearby cities gather here to party under the stars. Insider tip: Party all night long in Club Halikarnas.

Turkey Marco Polo Guide

 

9. English Harbour, Antigua

This island in the Lesser Antilles has 365 beaches to offer, so deciding where to go is not so easy! Those who love sailing around the Caribbean anchor their yachts in English Harbour. Sundays at Shirley Heights is party time with a glass of rum punch and the sound of steel drum bands.

Caribbean Marco Polo Map

 

10. Nikki Beach, Marbella, Spain

The guests at Nikki Beach Club on the Costa del Sol are sexy, cool, trendy, wealthy and come from all over the world. Relax on one of the upholstered sunbeds under the palm trees or a white sunshade. Don’t miss one of the famous ‘White Parties’!

Costa Del Sol (Granada) Marco Polo Guide

 

Content taken from the Marco Polo World Map with 100 Dream Beaches.

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