Mallorca is a magical island paradise at any time of year – whenever you choose to come and visit, there’s always something going on as well as the opportunity to just pay a  visit to a stunning location.

You might think that San Sebastian in Spain is the best place to celebrate the Saint’s day of the same name…but another is Palma de Mallorca, and it all kicks off next month in January – come and give your New Year a good start in Mallorca – sunny side up!

Mallorca

Mallorca and it’s pine clad coves

Where is it?

Mallorca, or Majorca if you like, is the largest of the Balearic Islands and sits in the glistening Mediterranean sea,  off the East coast of mainland Spain.  The other islands in the archipelago are Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza – the clubbing paradise. Each and every one of them are great destinations – but Mallorca is the place to go next month.

Long a draw for British and Irish, Germans and Scandinavians, Mallorca has a wealth of sights  on offer, mountains and coastline, cultural diversity and great gastronomy – more of all that later – and a mild Winter climate, leading to hot, bright Summers.

Mallorca

No crowds in Springtime! Mallorca beach

When is it?

The attraction at this time of year is the Fiesta of San Sebastian, the patron Saint – hereabouts the party is taken very seriously and lasts a full four days!  Starting off on the 19th of January, get ready for a non stop time of music and dancing, fireworks, bonfires and barbecues.

Concerts and exhibitions, street performers and lots of local food – parades and processions will take place until the 22nd.

Fireworks lighting up the sky at fiesta time

What happens?

Here is a summary of the main events, but remember that a lot of other smaller events will happen as well, you can choose which you want to go and see!

January 19th -  The first night of the fiesta.  You have all day to get ready, so sleep! At 7pm the parade starts in Placa Cort, heading up to Placa Major. Giant papier mache characters will parade all the way in a winding procession – at the destination point you can join in with the traditional music and dancing, and watch the first of the bonfires being lit at 8pm.

Street performers and acrobats will entertain you, as you sample the local food and drink and dance the first night away until dawn.

Later will see live rock bands start to play – it’s up to you if you want to dance until dawn!

January 20th - More of much of the same from the first night – you’ll need plenty of energy drinks!

January 21st - One of the main events takes place – a rock and pop festival in the Placa Espana, several big names will perform, another all nighter!

January 22nd – The lighting of the ‘Atiarfoc’ firework, and a crazy and loud firework display to follow, lighting up the Mallorcan skies over the inky night time sea at Sa Feixina. Don’t be worried if you happen to see devils and demons running through the streets carrying fireworks and sparklers, lighting bangers on every corner – it’s all part of the fun, very traditional and very Spanish!

Just join in and go with it!

fireworks Las Fallas Valencia

Fireworks and bonfires

What’s the food like there?

Mallorcan gastronomy is fabulous.  If you are attending the fiesta, then it’s barbecued food all the way, cooked and eaten on the streets.  Not your usual processed burgers here though, the fiesta is a showcase for local specialities such as delicious home made sausages and local pork are roasted to perfection, served in wedges of think local bread. Sobrassada, Botifarrons, bright red from the richly coloured paprika used, or try fried Bunyols, little doughnuts covered in sugar, local olive oil, delicious wine – the Romans brought vines! -  olive oil, golden and freshly pressed, hey, they even have their own salt here!

Self catering in Mallorca is just a breeze, try out some of these tips.

Seafood , of course, freshly landed all along the little coves and docks of the island – simply must be tried, and just a squeeze of fresh local lemon on top. For a chillier evening, then try the local greixonera de peix - a hearty and welcoming fish stew cooked and eaten in a traditional earthenware bowl, the steaming contents brought form the oven straight to your table…

Finish your meal with an ensaimada,that fluffy little cloud of pastry made in Mallorca – makes a great breakfast too, dipped in hot chocolate or your milky coffee.

Seafood Chowder – bursting with flavour…

Where can we stay?

No less than 190 holiday homes are here for you to have a browse through, now your appetite is well and truly whet!  Click here for all of the Mallorcan holiday homes on offer.

In Palma itself, here are 16 swish places to stay - choose from an assortment of villas and apartments from which to enjoy the fiesta and more.  There are smaller partments for cuples – Mallorca is great for romantic breaks – larger apartments on the beach for family fun, villas for the whole gang – how about sharing one the spacious villas for a two family holiday?

What else is there to do?

Fancy booking your break in Mallorca at another time of the year? Come any time in 2013 and you will enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.

Mallorca has a wealth of things to see and things to do.  What do you look for in a holiday abroad?

If you wish list includes all or any of the following, then consider all the boxes ticked!

…Well, just try out the local fiestas!  Start your New Year with a fiesta full of fireworks and food – the Festival of San Sebastian in Mallorca!

Carol Byrne
Posted by Carol Byrne
Originally from Dublin, Carol has also lived in London and Wales before settling in Spain with her husband and family in 2006. She and her family run a rural retreat high in the Alpujarras mountains of Granada, which you can find here as property number 17043. She blogs about traditional village life, sparked by a passion for the culture and history of Spain, and teaches English locally..