There’s hot and there’s hot–hot. Right now, in Mallorca, it’s hot–hot-hot. So much so that many of us get what needs to be done out of the way before 10 am and stay inside until the evening when it’s cooler. We’re the ones who seem to get whiter as the summer progresses. You see us in Sa Font Fresca first thing and in Sa Fonda, where cool in Mallorca has a different meaning.
But that’s not so much fun if you’re here on holiday, especially if you have children. How, then, do you and the family stay cool in Mallorca without living in the pool?
Traditional Mallorcan structures were built with extra-thick walls. This makes them wonderfully cool even on the hottest of days. Fortunately for you if you’re staying in Deià or close by, The Deià Archeological Musuem not far down The Clot is open from 11am to 1pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The museum, housed in an ancient building, is not only the perfect place to keep cool in Mallorca, it’s also full of cool stuff.
If you want to head further afield, now’s the time that the various galleries and museums in Palma come into their own.
A particular favourite of mine is Casa Solleric on the Born. There’s always something interesting to see in this former Palma townhouse. The gallery is never that full so you might be able to find a quiet corner for a siesta.
Casa Solleric is also directly opposite McDonald’s. If you can bear the crowds, this has especially fierce aircon – as does the nearby Cort Ingles – so you could make a happy meal last an especially long time or hide out in the toy department.
The vintage train that runs between Soller and Palma is known as the orange express because, apparently, when the line was opened in 1912, it enabled the people of the orange-growing region of Soller to take their oranges to Palma and exchange them for other goods.
Today, the train which was shipped to Mallorca from the American wild west, runs between Soller and Palma several times a day.
Taking the train is not just one of the best touristic things to do in Mallorca, it’s also nice and cool, especially when you’re rattling through one of the long tunnels underneath the mountain with the windows open.
One thing to bear in mind is that mid-morning and lunchtime trains are usually packed. It’s always best to hop on an earlier train.
The Cuevas del Drach are on the opposite side of the island from Deià so it’ll take you around 90 minutes to get to them. The quickest way is to go via Palma but, if you’re feeling intrepid, leave early and head across the middle of the island and stop at one of the relatively unspoilt towns – Petra, for example.
Look for the most traditional café you can find and see if they do horchata de chufa, a traditional Spanish drink made from tiger nuts. It’s surprisingly refreshing and apparently good for you. Mind you, horchata is also incredibly sweet.
Mallorcan iced coffee is also muy refrescante. It’s just coffee with an ice cube dropped in. Far nicer than all those gloopy, creamy confections the coffee shop chains serve that make you feel like your teeth are about to drop out and give you agonizing brain freeze.
The Cuevas del Drach themselves are absolutely worth visiting at least once. There are lakes inside the cave, including Lake Martel – supposedly one of the largest in the world. Along with the jaw dropping natural splendour of the caves, there’s also something satisfyingly kitsch about the whole experience. At one point, an orchestra appears in a boat and begins to play.
I once knew a woman who played the violin in the orchestra at Cuevas del Drach. She was as white as a sheet.
A guided tour of the caves takes around an hour and the temperature is about 21˚C. Nice and cool.
As I always do when I want to find out about olden days Mallorca, I asked my friend Tomás Graves what people on the island did before aircon and refrigerators.
‘They’d lower a melon into their well and leave it there all day until it got good and cold. After sunset, they’d take their chairs and even their TV out in the street, having splashed some water on the ground first to keep the dust down, and spend the evenings a la fresca, munching iced watermelon.’
I can’t imagine anyone doing that in Deià anymore, which is a shame, but I have seen whole streets a la fresca in the tucked away Mallorcan villages I mentioned previously. It seems a wonderful, sociable thing to do. Only not in Mallorca.
In other parts of Spain, when families spend the hot summer nights a la fresca they face outwards into the street so they can chat away with their neighbours and passersby. But in Mallorca, people face inwards so they don’t have to speak to anyone. That’s how they stay cool in Mallorca.
Made in the shade – positioned with its back to the mountain, super-thick walls and a lovely pool.
Puigserver – lots of land, direct access to the sea and the thickest walls our Maria has ever seen.
In the cool Clot – for sale or rent, in the shadiest, coolest quarter of Deià.
Casa Dolphina – characterful, thick walls, a great swimming pool and refreshing sea breeze.
If you’d like to find out more about the ultra-cool homes Charles Marlow has for sale or rent, email firstname.lastname@example.org.