Mallorca really is the jewel of the Western Mediterranean. It is the summertime playground for the many tourists during the warm and sunny summer months, but the Island may even feel better in the winter.
Sure, strolling along the beautiful beaches, or diving into the azure sea may not be as welcoming as in the summer months, but in Mallorca, winter temperatures feel like spring in Northern and Central Europe and there are so many out of season beautiful sunny days that there should be nothing that holds you back from coming back by the time the summer throngs have long gone home.
Prices are down pretty much in winter, a great benefit for people like my American friend Amanda who comes here whenever she can, though never in summer. Not only doesn’t she like the crowded tourist season, but she also couldn’t afford it probably!
In winter, Northern European skies are all colored like beaten lead, but over Mallorca, the skies are a beautiful indigo blue. By the end of January, all of the island’s 4 million almond trees simultaneously bear their blossom in a beautiful mix of pink and white flowers that may look a bit like snow covering, but only far better.
There is the story that these trees were actually brought to Mallorca by an early Moorish ruler who wished to impress his Northern European sweetheart who was a bit homesick for a snowy winter. Even though this may be no more than a simple fairy tale, you wouldn’t want to miss this beautiful decorum, would you?
Winter is actually the best time to stay in one of Mallorca’s stately mansion homes that once were the farmhouses of those who were growing the olives, oranges, and almonds, the former cornerstones of Mallorca’s agricultural industry. Many of these mansions were turned into pretty luxury design hotels, and each one has its own different character.
Most of these mansions offer high-end luxury lodging with the finest spa facilities and great massage and beauty treatments. They often serve top-notch dining, often their own contemporary interpretation of traditional local food. So you see, January and February may be the best months to get rid of mid-winter blues.
January fiestas of San Sebastian and Sant Antoni
All of Mallorca’s towns, no matter how small, have their own distinctive local traditions and fiestas all year round, just like all across Spain. A few of the nicest fiestas are held each year in January, and unlike those fiestas that are held in summer with lots of tourists, the January fiestas offer a great opportunity to watch the locals at their best.
The patron saint of the farm animals is Sant Antoni, and the fiesta in his honor takes place each year around January 17. All towns come with their own variations on the theme, but generally, it will include a parade of cats, pigs, ducks, hamsters, dogs, you name it, all scrubbed up to look their best to receive the blessings from the local priest.
The parades also include the omnipresent ‘Dimonis’ (devils) in their fancy dress, ready for scaring the kids. Check out Arta, Sa Pobla, or Pollenca in Mallorca’s beautiful northern region if you want to see the best and most impressive Sant Antoni fiestas.
The next weekend, or the next day (that depends on the year), the saint San Sebastian is remembered and celebrated with huge fires. Bonfires can be found out on the squares and streets, and open barbecues (called ‘torradas’) are set up and it gets so busy that you’ll need your elbows to get a chance to put your ‘Butifarron’ (the local sausage) on the grill, while enjoying a glass of local great wine to deal with the January chill.