A new batch of singletons hoping to find love (and fame) will move into a luxury villa on the Spanish island of Mallorca for ITV2’s Love Island, with the first episode airing Monday.
The reality show, in which newly coupled-up pairs compete to win £50,000, won a Bafta earlier this month, so it’s no surprise there’s so much hype around the new series. The contestants include Danny Dyer’s daughter – who’s also called Dani – a cabin crew member and an A&E doctor.
Wowcher have reported a massive 74% increase in people searching for holidays to Mallorca, since the show’s return was announced. So, rather than spend all summer being jealous of the islanders’ time in paradise – mostly sunbathing, drinking and mugging each other off – why not book a trip there yourself? The Love Island lot hardly ever leave the villa, but occasionally we’ll get a glimpse of the largest island in the Balearics, and there’s much more to Mallorca than sun, sea and singletons.
Here are a few things to do there…
Hike or cycle the rugged mountains
Not that you’d know from all the lounging around the islanders do on TV, but Mallorca is an outdoorsy traveller’s dream. The Serra de Tramuntana is a UNESCO world heritage site and stretches 55 miles from the Andratx in the south west to the Cap de Formentor in the far north. The soaring limestone spires and two lakes, Gorg Blau and Cuber reservoir, make for a scenic, and challenging, hike or bike ride. Along the way you’ll also find ancient dry stone terraces, hilltop monasteries and old olive trees.
Find the hidden coves
Look beyond the beach resorts and parasol-lined sands and you’ll find that Mallorca is home to dozens of small coves with quiet beaches and calm waters. Caló d’es Moro in the south east of the island near Santanyí is flanked by green cliffs and famed for its crystal clear water. Cala Mondrago is even more secluded, tucked away in Mondragó Natural Park, and the beach at Sa Calobra is a small but spectacular spot where the Tramuntana mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea.
Eat your way around La Palma
The island’s main city could be done as a mini break in itself. It’s packed with cute cafes, tapas bars and an increasingly sophisticated restaurant scene. If it’s intimacy you want, Enriclai is inside a 200-year-old building and only has four tables. Casa Goyo is only a simple shack but has become one of the most well-known seafood eateries on the island, serving whatever has been caught that day. Or try Canarian fusion at upscale restaurant La Lonja. Local delicacies include ensaimadas, a fluffy pastry with custard; sobrassada, a cured pork and paprika sausage; tumbet, layered vegetables with lots of garlic and olive oil; and Arròs Brut, a stew of different meats, including offal, mushrooms and other veg.
Step back in time
The island is packed with history – take the Roman city of Pollentia. Dating back to 123BC, it was once the capital of the Balearic islands and today visitors can walk around its ruins, including a Roman theatre and forum. There’s a good museum too. It doesn’t date back quite as far, but the Sóller train has been in operation since 1912, and still has rustic, old world charm. The railway leaves from central Palma and winds through the scenery, over several bridges to the ancient town of Soller, 23km away.
Take a wine tour
Mallorca has 70 bodegas, or wine cellars, and many are open for tours and tastings. The wines aren’t typically exported, so you’ll likely discover a whole host of wines you’ve never tried before. With a varied landscape, the different areas of the island produce very different wines. Local grape varieties include prensal blanc and black grapes like manto negro, fogoneu, and gorgollasa, some wine makers mix these with French varieties like chardonnay or pinot noir. Try the historic Bodega Ribas winery, founded in 1711, or Ànima Negra for a good example of local wine from the Migjorn area.