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Quite often we are asked "will I need to be able to speak Spanish?". Well the simple answer is no. All the bar, restaurant and shop owners can speak English and German, however, just notice how the few people who do make an attempt to speak Spanish, no matter how badly, get treated better than the 99% of those who don't. Even the use of common everyday courtesies such as "hello", "how are you", "please" and "thank you" will certainly pay dividends. For those who are serious about learning Spanish either before they travel, or a part of the holiday itself, the Don Quijote language school is widely recognised as being one of the best providers of Spanish language tuition.
Lookie Lookie Men
Many of the popular resorts do have quite a large number of illegal street traders selling "genuine" designer watches and T shirts. Do not start to barter with them unless you have a genuine desire to buy. A firm but polite "no" will not offend.
Regular markets are held throughout the island. Particularly worth a mention are those at Alcudia held every Tuesday and Sunday, Andratx held every Wednesday, and Inca every Thursday. Most markets on Majorca tend to start quite early in the morning at around 8am, and finish just after 1pm before the heat of the day really sets in. As with all markets, use common sense and be prepared to haggle to secure the best bargains, something the British hate to do.
The official currency of Spain is the now the Euro. For more information please see the "Euro" section on the previous page.
The most striking image of Palma is its magnificent Gothic cathedral, overlooking the sea front and harbour area. One word of advice, the numerous flower sellers around the cathedral are probably more interested in your wallet than actually selling you flowers.
Majorca, as in every other holiday resort, does have its fair share of pickpockets. Use common sense in any crowded areas, and hold on to any personal belongings. If you do have something stolen, you must report it to the local Police with 24 hours, if only for insurance purposes.
You will find public toilets in some of the larger shopping centres, other than that, every restaurant and bar will have them for customers use. So it may cost you the price of a Coca Cola to "spend a penny".
The Spanish and most of the other Europeans, do tend to eat very late in the evening compared to the British. As a result, few restaurants will tend to get very busy much before 8pm.
Majorca has excellent shopping with many of the brand names you will recognise from home, although some products may be manufactured locally under license and have a slightly different taste.
Obvious advice, but the sun in Majorca is very hot. Please be careful and ensure that you cover yourself in a high protection sun cream. Remember you will get very badly burnt even on a cloudy day.
Swimming With Dolphins
It has to be everyone's dream to swim with a dolphin whilst on holiday. As far as we are aware the only dolphins on Majorca are the captive ones at Marineland at Portals Nous near to Palma Nova on the south coast. Frequently we are asked by visitors "can we swim with them?". Again as far as we are aware, the answer is sadly no. During their daily shows a number of small children are picked at random to be pulled around their pool in a small inflatable dinghy, but outside of the show times the public are not allowed access to these beautiful creatures.
Taxis are numerous and a cheap way to get around your resort. Your hotel reception will always call a taxi for you (sometimes for a small charge) or alternatively flag one down in the street. Cabs are not always metered, however, a list of common fares is often advertised at the Taxi ranks, and the driver should also always carry a copy. For trips any further a field always agree the price with the driver before getting in.
Public telephones are numerous throughout all of Majorca with instructions in several languages. International calls home are cheaper between 10pm and 8am, and all day on Sunday. To make a call to the UK dial 00 wait, 44 then dial your full STD number without the first 0. The minimum cost of a call is usually around 2 Euro. International calls can be made from your hotel, but may prove to be very expensive.
Using your mobile phone whilst in Majorca may also prove very expensive. Some UK mobile phone operators
charge you to receive calls by as much as £1.80 per minute, and any calls made to the UK at £2.10 per minute for those
customers on PAYG tarriffs. It is however, possible to significantly reduce these costs by fitting a Spanish SIM card
into your phone when you arrive on the island, although you will need to ensure that your mobile handset is unlocked
for it to work. A PAYG Spanish SIM pack complete with 30€ credit that consists of 18€ free calling credit with purchase
and a further 12€ following the completion of a short questionnaire, can be purchased in the UK before you travel
Web site: www.0044.co.uk
Majorca has got to be the Timeshare, or holiday co-ownership as they prefer to call it, capital of the world! Any couple walking together under the age of 60 will be a prime target for the touts. The first question will always be "do you speak English?". After that you may be asked to help them with a holiday questionnaire on behalf of the Spanish tourist board, or the more common scratch card. These scratch cards are all winners. Prizes may be 3 days car hire, water park tickets, duty free packs or the star prize of 2,000 Euro. Unless you want to sacrifice 1/2 day of your holiday to a relentless hard sell, do not go with them to collect your prize! I usually find it fun to play them at their own game and offer to sell them double glazing. Remember, only the foolish or greedy will really believe that they are getting something for nothing.
It is customary to pay tips in Majorca. Normally a tip of around 10% of the total bill is expected.
Again one of the most popular questions at the moment. In May 2002 the Government of the Balearic Islands introduced the much publicised "tourist or green tax", the proceeds of which were to be put towards repairing the damage to the environment the last 40 years of mass tourism has caused. As part of the 2003 elections a pledge was made to abolish this tax, and true to their word from the end of October 2003 this levy was no longer being collected.
There are two railway lines in Majorca, and both have terminals in Palma's Placa d'Espanya. The first is a 27km long narrow gauge track, that runs north through the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains to the town of Soller. This route, along with a short boat trip around the harbour at Soller, is the central part of many of the tour operators "Scenic West" type day trips. The track terminates at a converted 17th Century manor house in the old town of Soller, from where a tram then makes the short trip down to the coast. Both tourists and locals alike have been making this journey now for the past 90 years in the vintage brass and mahogany carriages that are a trademark of this train, whilst admiring the breathtaking scenery enroute. Contact details are:
Tren de Sóller
Plaça d'Espanya, 2
Telephone: +34 971 752 051
Tren de Sóller
Telephone: +34 971 630 301
Web site: www.trendesoller.com
The other route is a little more commercial, and a little less scenic, and is operated by the Transport de les Illes Balears or the T.I.B. This route heads north across the plains to Inca, and then on to its destination at Sa Pobla. For a number of years now, it has been talked about extending this line onto a new terminus somewhere along the north coast of the island, but sadly as yet, these proposals have not been approved by the municipal council for this extension of the service.
Majorca offers plenty of scope for walkers, ranging from steep mountain routes to easier coastal paths, however, it is widely recognised that the best hiking on the island is in the Sierra de Tramuntana mountains along Majorca's north west coast. The tourist information service have also produced a free leaflet entitled "20 Hiking Excursions on the Island of Majorca", which can be picked up from any of their offices throughout the island.
The tap water in Majorca has a high mineral content and perhaps it will be best to buy bottled water from the supermarkets. The cost of a 5 litre bottle is around 1 Euro there are two types available, "agua con gas" is sparkling mineral water and the more common "agua sin gas" still water. Avoid ice cubes unless you are sure it is made from bottled water, this includes ice in drinks.
The biggest waterpark on the island is Aqualand El Arenal which, as its name suggests, is on the outskirts of the resort of El Arenal. In addition to this in the south of the island there's also Aqualand Magaluf and the Western Park both in Magaluf. The only other waterpark on Majorca is then the Hidropark in Alcudia on the north coast. The major tour operators do run days trips to all of these parks, most days, and from most resorts throughout the island, which can be a easy and convenient way of getting there if you don't have access to a hire car.
Working in Majorca
Without a doubt the most popular question we are asked is regarding working here. So, we have created this section which should hopefully answer most of your questions.
Firstly, working in Majorca is not a paid holiday. The bar and restaurant owners work long hours and will not carry passengers. Secondly, work is becoming harder to find for everybody. However, if you are genuinely prepared to work hard, come out to the island early in the season on a cheap flight, pick up a copy of an English language newspaper such as the Majorca Daily Bulletin, and follow every lead. If you strike lucky then good luck to you, if not, well you've had a cheap holiday.
A couple of web sites well worth looking at before you go are the pages of Escape Artists, Wemploy, and Ambient Jobs, who give listings of jobs throughout all of Spain and the Canary Islands, and finally Balearic Jobs for the latest information about jobs on the island.
Majorca has a number of Zoos and animal parks. Those worth a visit are Marineland at Portals Nous near to Palma Nova on the south coast, Exotic Parque near Calas de Majorca, the Aquarium at Porto Cristo, and finally the drive through Safari Zoo near Sa Coma.
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