When Autumn embraces Playa de Palma

date_range 11 October, 2017 label , , question_answer Leave your thoughts

“Summer should really never come to an end. And yet, when I think of Mallorca, every year I wish for autumn to finally arrive because that is when the Balearic Island is at its most beautiful. The heat of the summer has passed and the beaches finally offer air to breathe again. Even the renovated RIU hotels in Playa de Palma somehow radiate more peace and confort.

The thermometer marks 25 degrees. That is beach weather! But first of all, after a two-hour flight from Berlin I am drawn to the legendary Riu San Francisco – the RIU family’s first hotel. It was opened directly on Playa de Palma in 1953. In 2014, it was completely refurbished and today boasts a stylish mix of nostalgia and modern design. I take a deep breath, enjoy the hospitality of the house and make plans for the next few days.

“Explore Playa de Palma on a Segway”, a friend recommended. I decide to do just that and get up early for it. It is best to do a tour like that in the morning when holidaymakers are still having breakfast in their hotels and the beach promenades are empty. Two young women and a couple from Hamburg also booked this morning tour of Palma. After an introduction from a specialist and some driving exercises we comfortably ride along Playa de Palma right by the sea, through Can Pastilla Harbour and a small nature reserve in the direction of the Balearic capital. I can take a much better look at Palma in the next few days without a Segway. We then headed back to the hotel, I had some time to relax and then I make my way to the beach. It is just wonderful. I enjoy the sun and sea and continue on my search for the Mallorcan autumn the following day.

My search led me to the West Coast, to the picturesque Sóller – of course very comfortably on the historical and nostalgic train. Since 1912 the Sóller train, also known as the “Red Flash”, has connected the capital Palma to the small towns in the Tramuntana Mountains. In the past, it mainly transported oranges, and now it takes tourists. At a speed of around 25 kilometres per hour, you get to slowly ride 27 kilometres through a wonderful landscape – with beautiful views of orange, lemon, almond and olive groves and the Tramuntana mountainscape. The trip is also not without its adventures as the Red Flash rattles its way through tight curves, 13 tunnels and over several bridges. Time pressures, stress, work, the hustle and bustle of the city – all of that feels like a distant memory in this journey through time.

One hour later, the train has reached its destination and Sóller is begging to be discovered. I’ve heard a lot about this small town in the Valley of Gold, which once brought prosperity to the orange trade. The heart of the town is the Plaza Constitución square. From there I stroll along the narrow streets, look in small shops that with their small offerings have adapted to the wishes of tourists, and finally enjoy a freshly pressed orange juice at the foot of the Sant Bartomeu Church as I watch the colourful goings on. Oh yes, and of course I tried the delicious orange ice-cream made by the ice-cream maker at Placa des Mercat. I can promise you it is addictive! As you can see, everything revolves around oranges in Sóller. Even the tram, which rattles to and fro between Sóller and Port de Sóller, is (akin to the Red Flash) known as the Orange Express. I get on and rumble along the five kilometre ride to the harbour where excursion boats are anchored. And I decide to take a tour of the island’s coast the following day.

Early in the morning the catamaran sets sail from Can Pastilla to Cala Blava. A dreamy bay, surrounded by cliffs and far from the crowds of tourists. I dive in and swim through the turquoise-coloured sea, which is crystal-clear and pleasantly warm. This is just how I imagined autumn in Mallorca would be! But everything has to end at some point and the catamaran headed back to the capital Palma. I cannot take enough photos of the view of the majestic cathedral and I am happy to wander through the old town and, of course, do some shopping. Fully laden with treasures from my shopping spree, I head back to Riu San Francisco and I am exhausted. And I admit I am not drawn to the happening nightlife where even in autumn the atmosphere is still on top form. I much prefer to end the day in the wellness area of the hotel with a soothing massage.

Well rested, I enjoy the last few hours of autumn in Mallorca on the beach right in front of Hotel Riu San Francisco, where peace and tranquillity still reign at this time. I stroll along the streets of Playa de Palma and take a look at Riu Bravo and Riu Festival, which just like Riu San Francisco were recently completely renovated and pamper their guests with modern design and comfort. Whereas the San Francisco hotel, which is steeped in history, accommodates guests over the age of 18, Riu Bravo and Riu Festival are popular above all with groups or families. I will come back to Playa de Palma next autumn with friends and family. Whether it is the Bellver Castle and the Royal Palace in Palma, the salterns in the south, the fishing village Cala Figuera in the south east, or the dragon caves on the east coast – there is still plenty to discover on the Balearic island.”

Bärbel Arlt works as a journalist in Berlin and likes to stroll along tourist routes. She would like her experiences and impressions to encourage her readers to discover the world – true to the quote from Confucius: the journey is the destination!

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