Mallorca isn’t all drunk Brits staggering down a row of clubs, chugging down Jägerbombs and squatting in the gutter. If sticky floors and thumping bass lines aren’t your thing, get your cultural fix by spending a day exploring Mallorca’s markets.
Consell Flea Market
Sunday may not be an obvious day to get up early and head out, but if you’re a fan of a bargain (and can bring yourself to sacrifice a few hours of sunbathing), Consell is not to be missed.
The market vast and sprawling, with stalls lining both sides of roads which branch off in different directions. And you can find anything there.
No, really, you can.
Clothes, knick knacks, glassware and pottery, antique furniture, rusty tools, broken cameras, DVDs, jewellery, musical instruments, paintings, vintage cars and even retro porn.
I’m terrible at haggling (damn my innate awkward politeness) but my more confident friends managed to get the criminally low prices to drop even further. Even if you’re the world’s worst barterer, you’ll struggle to get ripped off at Consell. I couldn’t believe it when I found a set of beautiful, painted espresso mugs at €3 each. And, apparently, that was relatively pricey.
Santa María Market
The market at Santa María is more of a traditional market than Consell, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.
Stalls groan under the weight of gigantic tomatoes, chorizo, salchichas and jamón, enormous rolls of manchego cheese, platters of olives and fresh bread and pastries.
Then there’s the livestock area, with pens filled with sheep, cows, donkeys, pigs, chickens and rabbits. Tourists stare goggle-eyed at owls and other exotic birds, and ducks huddle together on a plank in the middle of a small pond. If you’re a sensitive animal lover, you may wish to avoid this area – it’s difficult to coo over the fluffy creatures whilst remembering that they’re being sold off as tomorrow’s dinner.
There’s even a cooking section selling sharp knives and large, round paella pans.
Resisting the urge to throw myself face first into the cheese stall, I headed towards the honey section, buying a jar of bee pollen at a bargain price (€7 for a small jar that would sell for double that in Holland and Barrett) and some echinacea honey from some very lovely independent sellers.
Wandering around Santa María on a beautiful, sunny day, surrounded by delicious, fresh produce, you’ll feel like the healthiest version of yourself. Until you start on the pastries, that is.
TIP: If you’re driving, make sure you have change for parking – most places charge a Euro.