Showing posts from January, 2018

Portocristo, Mallorca, Spain

The small fishing town of Portocristo (Port of Christ) was given this name when, at the time of the Christian re-occupation in 1260 a. D., a boat with a crucifix washed-up on the beach. Today it's a family resort with litle to do but swim, sunbathe and go to one of the many restaurants and cafes by the sea shore. Nearby are the Cuevas del Drach (Dragon Caves), a large cave system with Europe's largest underground lake. How to go: From Palma de Mallorca you can take bus 412 to both Portocristo and Cuevas del Drach. Back to Mallorca Cuevas del Drach (from the site

Sierra de Tramuntana, Spain

The Tramuntana mountain, classified in 2011 as World Heritage by UNESCO, ranges from Andratx to Cap Formentor, a distance of about 90km. Its highest peak is Puig Major at 1445 metres. The mountain has several picturesque small villages which are worth a visit for their cultural and historical value.  ( Back to Mallorca ) During my two days on the mountain I was able to visit the following: Valldemossa Valldemossa is a pretty rural town with picturesque streets flanked by shops, galleries, restaurants and cafes. It's dominated by the 14th-century Charterhouse where Chopin and writer George Sand spent the winter of 1838. Cap de Formentor Cap de Formentor is the most northeastern point of the island of Mallorca presenting a dramatic scenery of unusual rock formations emerging from translucid turquoise waters. Sanctuary of Lluc The sanctuary is surrounded by pine trees, in a very peaceful and relaxing surrounding. It was built on the site where a stat

La Granja, Mallorca, Spain

La Granja is mainly an ethnographic museum where it's possible to go back in time and learn about the traditional crafts needed to keep a farm functioning. It also has some historical exhibitions. At the beginning of the visit, there are a few farm animals and the main house is surrounded by gardens, ponds, fountains and waterfalls, with small streams of water and watermills. At the end of the visit, there's a sampling shop where it's possible to taste a selection of traditional products. There's also a cafe and a restaurant that can be accessed without visiting the museum. On Wednesdays and Fridays, it's possible to watch the craftsmen and women live at work and there's a traditional show. The visit will take longer than usual for this type of museum, as there is quite a lot to see, so reserve at least a couple of hours. Opening hours: 10 am to 7 pm (6pm in Winter) Entrance fee: €15 How to go : Take bus 200 from Palma de Mallorca to Esporles Bac

Port d'Andratx, Mallorca, Spain

Port d'Andratx is both a picturesque fishing village and one of the classiest marinas in Mallorca. Around the marina, very popular with the yachting community, there are several restaurants, bars and cafes, the perfect place to relax and enjoy the surrounding scenery. There are also two small beaches with crystal clear waters. Port d' Andratx has a working fishing industry that supplies the local businesses. The presence of fishermen in the evening, from whom you can buy the fish directly, gives this small town its charming character. How to go : Bus 102 from Palma de Mallorca Back to Tramuntana

The Fernandine walls, Oporto, Portugal

The Fernandine wall was built by order of King D. Afonso V in 1336, replacing the old medieval wall which was becoming too small as the city expanded. It was named after D.Fernando, his grandson, as it was concluded during his reign a few decades later. The walls had a perimeter of 2600m and encircled an area of 44.5 hectares. As it lost military importance from the 18th century on the wall was progressively dismantled. However, it was in the 19th century that most of the destruction took place, to give way to new squares, streets and buildings. The entry to the wall is close to Oporto Cathedral, through a door of Santa Clara's church. The wall provides one of the most magnificent views of the city and the river. Opening hours: Mon. to Fri. from 9 am to 5 pm.

Cap de Formentor, Mallorca, Spain

Cap de Formentor is the most northeastern point of the Island of Mallorca, where the Tramuntana Mountain range meets the Mediterranean.  The 13.5 km winding road that connects Port de Pollença to Cap Formentor is scary and can be crowded at times but the dramatic scenery to be found makes it well worth the drive. On the way to Cap Formentor, there are cliffs 400 metres tall, almost inaccessible beaches with turquoise waters, unusual rock formations and pine woods that guide you halfway to the end of the cape where a lighthouse stands. On the way, there are several viewpoints where it's possible to stop a car for a couple of photos or just to enjoy the scenery. The lighthouse was inaugurated in 1863 and at the time it was only accessible by sea or by a mule track. This isolation came to an end in the 1930s when the asphalted road was built and today there's a shop and a restaurant for a well deserved light meal after the thrills and scares of getting there.