May 2021. The Belgian government lifted the ban on leisure travel in April, but strict travel rules limited options. As the Balearic Islands – lles Balears or Islas Baleares – were a yellow zone, we booked flights to and a hotel in Palma de Mallorca.
Finding a suitable and feasible destination for our May 2021 vacation wasn’t easy. In our Grand Scheme of Future Travels, we planned a United Kingdom + Isle of Man train trip. Impossible due to coronavirus countermeasures.
A next idea was a train trip combining France, Italy and Switzerland. Like 2018, but different.
But it became clear that even if we could travel outside Belgium, crossing border would be a hassle due to different coronavirus countermeasures in every country.
For a while we looked at a train trip within Portugal. But that was impossible as tourism related journeys were forbidden.
The Balearic Islands came up, inspired by our Swiss colleague Maxime, who we follow on Instagram. So we set our sights on Mallorca and Palma de Mallorca.
We decided on a midweek. Three full days in and around Palma would be enough. A midweek is cheaper for hotels and it would also be nicer to not leave Danny‘s boyfriend alone at home in rainy Antwerp on his weekend days off.
Timothy was was wary of the destination. Mallorca sounds so touristicated. In Spanish and French there’s a word: balearización (ES) or baléarisation (FR).
Balearisation is a term coined at the end of the 50s, in an article in the French magazine Paris Match, to describe the transformation that the coastline of Mallorca was undergoing as a result of the terrible urban planning caused by the tourist boom that at that time it struck the Balearic Islands .
The phenomenon was recorded mainly by the urban activity carried out in the municipality of Calviá, where it was literally built on the very shore of the sea, giving rise to the creation of tourist complexes such as Magaluf, Palmanova and Santa Ponsa.
In 2007, an ecological campaign carried out by the Ecologistas en Acción and GOB organizations, called Banderas Negras, denounced that the Mediterranean coastline is the most degraded in Spain, more than Cantabria and the Canary Islands, and that the greatest exponent of degradation in the Balearic Islands is supported by the municipality of Calviá, due to the unsustainable exploitation of its natural resources.
Subsequent studies indicate that the balearisation process has spread globally, when the main hotel companies of the Balearic Islands began their expansion towards impoverished countries and less demanding institutional environments, as was the case of the Dominican Republic, as well as other Latin American countries , where many real estate companies from the Balearic Islands also increased their presence.
Likewise, this form of aggressive urbanism typical of the Balearic tourism industry has generated a multitude of conflicts and mobilizations in most of the countries where it has been implemented, either due to the privatization of beaches and accesses or due to the control of natural resources, such as for example water and deforestation in rural areas.
But apart from – closed due to COVID-19 – party bars, we saw none of these things.
We found Mallorca interesting and refreshing.
- With Iberia from Brussels to Madrid in Business Class.
- Iberia Dalí Lounge in Madrid Barajas Terminal 4.
- With Iberia Express from Madrid to Palma de Mallorca in Business Class.
- Castell Bellver overlooking Palma de Mallorca.
- Royal Palace of La Almudaina.
- Trains in Mallorca.
- Mallorca’s Manacor.
- Cathedral-Basilica of Santa Maria of Palma.
- Museum of Mallorca.
- Impressions of Palma de Mallorca.
- Dinner at DINS Santi Taura in Palma de Mallorca.
- AENA Valldemossa VIP Lounge Palma de Mallorca Airport.
- Flying Iberia Express in Business Class from Palma de Mallorca to Madrid during corona.
- Flying Iberia Regional Air Nostrum in Business Class from Madrid to Brussels during corona.
We see ourselves returning for a quick escape to the sun and to do the Sóller heritage railway.
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Never heard of balearisation before now, but it’s not the case in reality is it. Mallorca is so different to its reputation.
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Indeed. And glad it is not the case. We were pleasantly surprised.