Easter Holy Week (Semana Santa) is the biggest and most important religious celebration of the year in Mallorca and Spain.
As well as the religious importance of the Easter parades they are also a slice of Mallorcan history: records show the first Easter celebrations were recorded as happening in 464 years ago! They are taken very seriously on the island with processions in most towns and villages with the grandest occurring in Palma, the island’s capital. The parades are made up of “cofradias” (brotherhoods) which also dates back to the middle ages.
The processions are to pay penance and people taking part in the processions traditionally wear the “capirote” which is a tall conical hat and mask. (They bear a striking resemblance to the Klu Klux Klan robes, but they are not connected). The “capirote” was worn by penitents who would walk around the streets atoning for their sins, the idea being that the hat concealed their identity.
Huge crosses and statues of Jesus decorated with flowers and candles are carried through the streets with the accompaniment of music, sometimes mournful flamenco singing, and sometimes in complete silence. The Palma parades are nightly with Good Friday being the final one.
Easter is also a time for getting together with family and baking, but if you don’t have the time then you can go to the bakery and ask for whatever takes your fancy.
• Empanadas – similar to a small pie usually filled with lamb and peas, you can ask for it with peas (con guisante) or without (sin guisante).
• Coccarois – a Cornish pasty shaped pie with onion, garlic, raisin and chard filling.
• Robiols – a half moon shaped pastry filled with marmalade, angel’s hair (pumpkin) or curd cheese.
• Crespells – sweet biscuits made in varied shapes.
You may think that Christmas, and New Year AND the Three Kings are over, and that therefore everything is back to normal in Mallorca, but you would be wrong as we still have two more fiestas to go this month, and we love them!
First up we have St Antoni this coming weekend. You will be able to join in at outdoor barbecues all over the island on Saturday evening. The parties happen all over the island, check out Manacor, Sa Pobla, Felanitx, Muro, Santanyi, Sencelles, Son Servera, Pollensa and Binissalem. The fiesta is split into two halves: you have the barbecue where everyone cooks together and has fun followed by the Corre Foc which involves devil masks, naughtiness, fireworks and the occasional chain saw.
Then on Sunday you should make your way to the church with your pet cat, dog, sheep, goat, or hamster, whatever you have you should take along to be blessed. Look out for blessings in Biniali, Cala D’Or, Santanyi, Soller, Andratx, Alaro, Deya, Maria de la Salut, Muro, Sa Coma, Santa Maria del Cami, Soller, Son Carrio and Sa Pobla
Then all attention is focused on Palma for the big San Sebastian parties. The Fiesta Sant Sebastia is one of the biggest festivals in Mallorca and celebrates the Patron Saint of the capital. The main nights are around the 18th, 19th and 20th (the day of Saint Sebastian), with parties and concerts being held on the 19th. Various squares in Palma become the venues for different types of music, for example Plaza Cort will become the stage for electronic music and Porta Santa Catalina will be the Jazz Stage whilst Placa Rei Joan Carles 1 will be the ska and reggae stage. Other entertainments such as the Castellers de Mallorca and the fire runs (Correfoc – wear long sleeves!) are on the 20th January. There will be exhibitions, music and parades for the duration of the festival and you’ll find all the details in the Official Programme (available about a week before the event).
Just a ten minute drive from our luxury property development close to Golf Son Gual you will find Natura Parc, a privately owned nature park that houses a vast mix of wild animals found both in Mallorca and internationally. With more than 8 acres of land, the park has been created to look like a rainforest with abundant trees and water features offering cool shade for the animals and also visitors.
Open all week, the park’s main aim is to educate visitors on the animals that are rescued and safely boarded following traumatic lives of being abandoned, abused or simply unable to be introduced to the wild. The centre dedicates itself to help raise awareness, educate people and give the animals a second chance at life. There are also breeding plans with certain species that support other countries and their own eco systems that in the future will ensure the safety of specific breeds.
The park also try and involve their visitors with the animals by arranging feeding times for Lemurs and some of the birds. Visitors can enter the specially built habitats at certain times and assist and view the animals at their feeding time. The zoo has an easy to navigate trail that takes you around the entire site, past farm animals with an area to pet them, the lion and tiger enclosure where you can safely observe the big cats and learn about each of their stories and the bird areas where you can actually enter and see them up close and personal.
With ample parking, a barbecue area, bar and picnic area, Natura Parc is great for a fun, family day out. Animal lovers will also have the opportunity to help further by visiting the nearby domestic animal rescue centre where both canines and felines can be adopted and looked after by volunteers.
The highly talked about Son Gual golf club is just a 1 minute drive from our luxury houses, and in turn we’re just 15 minutes from Palma de Mallorca airport. The Casa Corazon houses are ideally situated for any golf fans.
The Son Gual golf course boasts some of the best greens and fairways in Europe. A privately owned and family run golf club, Son Gual offers members and visitors the highest quality service. A round of golf at this exclusive course should definitely be on your to do list. Not only can you play 9 or 18 holes on one of Mallorca’s finest courses, you can enjoy drinks on the sunshine terrace at the club house or treat yourself to lunch or dinner in the bistro or main restaurant. Local cuisine is on offer and varies throughout the season so you can really get a ‘taste’ of Mallorca life. Breakfast or snacks can be brought to you on the course so one doesn’t have to worry about cutting short the golf round. The club house is open from 9am to 9pm so breakfast through to dinner, the choice is yours!
Players can brush up on their swing by using the two tiered driving range or use the chip and putt green to perfect their game. The golf course and club house are set in over 380 acres of Mallorquin countryside, encompassed by meticulously manicured fairways, olive trees and wild flowers. Breakfast or snacks can be brought to you on the course so one doesn’t have to worry about cutting short the golf round.
Although the course itself is challenging, everything about the Son Gual experience is enjoyable and with welcoming and friendly staff your time at Son Gual is sure to be unforgettable. Reservations need to be made beforehand for both tee times and restaurant tables.
Finca Son Gual –
Ma 15 – Palma – Manacor, Km 11,5
07199 Palma de Mallorca
T: 0034 – 9717858 88 /-96
Surrounded by diverse landscape and fringed by warm turquoise Mediterranean waters lies Mallorca´s second largest city, Manacor.
Well connected, within 15 minutes drive of Palma´s central business district and Son Sant Joan airport, and with excellent transport links providing easy access to the rest of the island, Manacor is probably best known for its furniture manufacturing industry and the Majorica Pearl.
With a buoyant housing market, diverse range of properties and a local and international community, the municipality includes the areas of CalaAnguila-CalaMendia, CalaMurada, Cales de Mallorca, Manacor, Porto Cristo, s’Estany den Mas, S’illot-CalaMorlanda and Son Macià. To date it has a population of approx. 40,000 people.
Manacor boasts a wide range of leisure activities and many of its beaches have been awarded the “Blue Flag” status for safety and facilities: there’s a piece of paradise to be found by everyone around every bend. Sandy coves dot the coast line, along with fishing villages and natural harbours. There is a thriving wine industry with ripe vineyards in the rolling countryside, fun fiestas throughout the year, colourful markets, shopping, theatre and a vast array of cuisine and hospitality available. Options range from the traditional Mallorcan “menu del dia” eateries, both on and off the beaten track, to well known five star luxury hotel & golf resorts and michelin star restaurants.
If you want to you can get out and explore what nature has to offer tour the underground cave system in Porto Cristo “ Coves del Drac” or walk the “Via Verde”, a disused rail line that has been converted to an eco-path which opened in October 2014. It connects Manacor to the little village of Arta in the North East of Mallorca through a changing scenery of flora and fauna. You are bound to come across a native tortoise or two along the way!
Manacor has roots dating back to 2000 BC. History lovers will enjoy discovering the many churches, towers, pre-historic archaeological sites, museums, mosaics, remains and unearthed treasures in the area. In the city, the central Gothic-style church gives way to a labyrinth of narrow walkways and tree lined streets that thread around sheltered squares and beautiful architecture.
Manacor is keeping its traditions and it´s modernising too. Formerly an ancient agricultural town, Manacor is now a rapidly growing centre for construction, commerce, industry, culture, and sports activities. It is also famous for being the birth-place and home to tennis player, Rafael Nadal. ‘The Rafael Nadal International Tennis Centre’ is currently being built to attract talented young tennis players from all over the world and is due to open in 2016.
The name of Manacor means “Hand on Heart” and Manacor certainly encapsulates the essence of a Mallorca that is growing and accepting change yet still values its old traditions and continues to develop its existing industries. A combination of ancient, contemporary, traditional and commercial. With amazing sea views and sunsets, steeped in history and nature with organic living. Hand on heart, what a truly wonderful place to live.
Think of a world-wide destination that “has it all”.
According to The Sunday Times last year, Palma de Mallorca topped a list of 50 other places to become the winner of “Best Place to Live 2015”.
Others feel the same, and some of the reasons why might surprise you:-
1) Language and Integration
Palma is now described as being a vibrant, multi-national city that provides infrastructure to ease the process of assimilation for foreign citizens.
The National Statistics Institute state that, 2 in 10 people are, in fact, foreign (mainly German, British, Scandinavian).
Realistically speaking, it’s better to learn Spanish if you are going to live in Palma but it’s definitely no barrier. English is spoken widely and you can learn Spanish as you go.
2) Commuter Belt
A new breed of commuter is emerging. Due to various recent trend spotting reports, pioneering professionals are choosing to work for companies in the UK/Europe, but basing themselves in Palma de Mallorca. Son Sant Joan International Airport is 10 minutes drive from the city centre, and offers regular, low priced, connections to UK airport hubs and European destinations.
By creating a “virtual office” with their laptop and mobile, many are avoiding “rush hour”, pointless meetings, and using their time more effectively.
With Flexible working hours, most are feeling the benefit both on a professional, and personal level.
A report from The Future Forum by travel firm Thomson estimates that this year, there will be a approximately 1.5 million people working in the UK but living overseas.
With around 300 sunshine days a year Palma de Mallorca’s warm mediterranean climate promotes a sense of well being and generally keeps everyone feeling healthy and happy. For most, accustomed to cold long winters, this really is a dream come true. It’s rare for al fresco events to be rained off so you can look forward to having some great times.
The European Union framework positions the Balearic Islands as a perfect location for business development. Those in the field of IT, environment, aerospace, renewable energy, automotive and biotechnology sectors, can take advantage of their geostrategic-position, gaining access to European, Middle Eastern, North African and Latin American markets, as well as the Spanish market with over 46m consumers.
Many global companies such as Microsoft, TUI, and Trivago have their tech centres here and if you have the skills, experience, and even a language in your back pocket, then Palma is a good place to find a tech job.
Palma is where half of Mallorca’s population chooses to live. With a combination of modern, ancient, and high tech top quality architectural design and construction there is a diverse choice of property to rent, buy or invest in.
Mallorca’s popularity and booming real estate market has attracted many wealthy europeans who have bought property and rent it out to take advantage of the high yields in peak season. Or, who have chosen Palma de Mallorca to be their home.
Properties have held their value and prices continue to rise, making Palma a prudent investment choice. Construction limitations have long been in place, limiting the development of certain areas and conserving points of interest in Palma, subsequently securing the value of properties for sale.
6) Health Care
Residents can enjoy the benefits of the high standards of free healthcare and education available, as well as opting for private medical insurance, which is approximately half the price of UK equivalents such as BUPA etc.
Hospitals, PACS and specialised clinics are evenly distributed in and around Palma. There is also a newly built, state-of-the-art hospital on the outskirts of Palma called Son Espases. It was built at a cost of a half-billion euros and is now known to be one of the best in Europe.
Palma boasts a variety of Spanish and International private or public local schools with excellent facilities and reputations.
Expatriate children who integrate soon become bi or tri-lingual in Catalan, Castillano (Spanish) and their native mother tongue.
For further education there are business schools and the University of the Balearic Islands.
8) Sports & Adrenalin
Active visitors come to the island from October through to May because the conditions are ideal.
The island is popular with many sports pro-teams and it’s fast becoming one of the top triathlon training sites in Europe. Palma has become the central hub to connect to many events and competitions held all over the island year-round.
With the breathtaking cycle routes through La Serra de Tramuntana mountain ranges (World Heritage Site since 2012) it’s no wonder Team Sky choose to train on the island.
Whether your passion is yachting, kayaking, tennis, rock climbing, canyoning, cliff jumping, sea caving to name a few, they are all easily accessible. Golf enthusiasts can choose from over twenty immaculate golf courses. Some with Spas.
Palma is a beautiful city steeped in history and traditions. For centuries it has been a place of refuge for musicians, painters, and poets and this is reflected in the ambience of the city.
Rising up behind the city walls and dominating the sea frontage is the Catalan Gothic Cathedral-La Seu. It’s truly magnificent and overlooks the Parc de la Mar which hosts many festivals and concerts.
The Old Town is charming with a maze of narrow streets, Arab design, splintering around romanic and gothic architecture. There is an array of boutiques, tapas bars, museums, theatres etc. Art galleries display the works of Miró, Picasso, Dali, Cézanne and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Palma is dotted with impressive Plaças for al fresco dining and traditional markets. Santa Catalina, famous for its Mercat de Santa Catalina, the oldest food market in Palma, is a culinary meeting place with its shabby chic bohemian bars and cafes.
Most of Palma’s eateries have close proximity to stunning beaches, or beautiful rugged countryside. Places with amazing views and a buzz that’s hard to beat. Many are to be found tucked away in cobbled side streets near Palma’s main shopping district and provide authentic Spanish fare from Navarra, Galicia and the Basque Country.
Claudia Schiffer apparently recommends La Cuchara’s (in this very district) saying it’s her favourite restaurant in the world, but for every celebrity, there is a favourite restaurant, and Palma has it’sfare share of both.
You could choose the Menứ del dia’ or, for something a little more lavish, you could always try one of the seven michelin star restaurants.
There is something for everyone and, when all is said and done, it would be hard to argue that Palma really does seem to “have it all”.