Spain has a funny way of calling its recent economic downturn, especially with regards to its near crucifiction of tourism, despite being an industry that’s actually thriving. They call it the ni-ni, Spanish for neither…nor. In the case of travel, the nail in the coffin could be the fact that many of the packaged deals and the weekend getaways seem to disappear during the winter months, despite a fully operational town. There’s definitely a surge in tourists to Seville from March until October, even though the city is visitable year round.
I often get requests for suggesting trip itineraries around Southern Spain. With its beaches, architecture and gastronomic delights, Andalusia is seemingly full of options at any time of year, though resorts and tour operators are making a push already for the impending school holidays. Even more popular are the coasts and islands, particularly in the Costa del Sola and Baleares. Most workers in Spain have the entire month of August off, meaning cities are empty and beaches, filled to the brim (vale, to the orilla). I’ll be here all of August, and while I’ve considered Germany or driving my new car to Jaen for a few days, I can’t help but want to escape to the beach.
My only trip to the Baleares was a wild weekend in Ibiza with some friends while studying abroad. The islands become a mecca for party-goers who beach-hop by day after a night of jaleo and revelry. I’ve often been asked about family friendly destinations around Spain and think that many cities offer up options for the kiddos, including party-hardy Magaluf. This seaside village on Mallorca has a bit of a reputation as a party resort, blighted by excess drinking and bad behavior on the part of some of its visitors and its warnings from the British Tourism Board, though there are plenty of things to do before the parties heat up. What’s more, the city is renovated old spaces and working to attract visitors at more quiet times of the year, so now is the perfect occasion to visit.
A must-do for families in Magaluf is the Western Water Park, a Wild West themed water park, featuring scary steep water rides as well as gentler, shallower rides and wave pools for younger children. Three times a day the park puts on a diving show featuring up to three divers who perform in unison from up to 30 metres high! The water park is immense and it can easily take up a whole day, providing a great alternative to the playita. Buy your tickets online to save money, and be aware that the park is closed during the winter season.
The House of Katmandu is an upside-down Tibetan house that distorts reality for those exploring the interior. With distances improbably lengthened or shortened, unlikely optical illusions and wonderfully creative robotics this is an attraction sure to appeal to everyone. Recently the House of Katmandu has joined forces with a large hotel chain to create Katmandu Park, a combination hotel and theme park where guests can shoot out with desperadoes, play a round of mini golf or relax in their suite. Pedro Vaquer Ramis, 9. 07181 Magaluf. Closed November – February.
Magaluf was designed to cater for the needs and wants of visitors, so there is no shortage of restaurants, activities rentals and excursions. If water activities are overdone or you’re looking to not get burnt like I do, you can go-kart at Karting Magaluf, or enjoy shopping after a day in Magaluf’s sandy beaches or treat the family to a great meal out in the city center. Carretera de la Porrasa, s/n, Magaluf, Calviá, open year-round.There is also The Pirates Adventure, a dinner show that will make you forget about eating as you watch skilled acrobats and performers juggle, dance and perform gymnastic feats with a casual insouciance that belies the danger that comes with somersaulting, twisting and flying through the air meters above the ground! Camí Porrassa, 12 07181 Magaluf. Prices are 40€ for kids, 64€ for their parents.
Nikki Beach is the pinnacle of Magaluf style and sultry glamour, so leave the kiddies with a sitter and spend the day sunbathing alongside bronzed beauties, eating well and enjoying performers and DJs. The place also becomes a beach side club when the sun goes down, and it’s a good place to spot local celebrities and even vacationing stars (the Royal family won’t be there, but they holiday on Mallorca, and Rafa Nadal calls the island home). Avenida Notario Alemany 1,
Calvia, Palma de Mallorca, Baleares. The soft opening is scheduled for April 25th, with weekend openings for dinner and cocktails, whereas the big opening will take place on June 6th.
Magaluf is working on re-branding itself to be more family oriented, so now is a great time to consider a trip while on the island. Flights into and out of Malaga’s Airport are plentiful, especially to destinations in Northern Europe and the Spanish peninsula. Ferries are also available if you’re interested in bringing your car, especially from ports along the Costa Dorada. The town is a mere 18km away from the capital, Las Palmas.
What’s your favorite family destination in Spain?