Palma Neighbourhood Guide #
El Arenal… A boozer’s paradise with more to offer
Situated only 10 minutes away from the airport, El Arenal snuggly sits between Palma and Llucmajor, making it a popular tourist destination amongst many vacationers due to its close proximity to the Island's capital, great public transport connection and not to forget the 6km long, sandy beach that is Playa de Palma.
The area - once well-known for its posh hotels catering to individuals pertaining to the “high-life” - is particularly popular with Germans travelling on a budget, but unlike Peguera, it is bustling with night-life and nowadays caters more towards a younger demographic. Many young people from Europe come here once they’re done with their studies in order to take advantage of a well-deserved holiday.
El Arenal is to the Germans what Magaluf is to the British: It is a boozers’ paradise. The area has become synonymous with the rowdy beer gardens of Mega Park and "Ballermann 6", more commonly known as just "Ballermann", the name being a parody of the Spanish "Balneareo" as people refer to the beach bars along Playa de Palma.
To keep things more or less on the safe side and in an effort to maintain a sense of decency amongst the holiday makers, the local government is working to control boozing and are putting in place laws which forbid the young drunk tourists from walking around the resort in beachwear.
Even though El Arenal is predominantly known as a boozing area, as you will see in this article there is a vast selection of activities to engage in that steer away from the drinking activities which are mostly enjoyed at night.
Like the majority of towns on the Island, El Arenal used to be a fishing village. It was also largely inhabited by sandstone workers up until the end of the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the town became popular with wealthy families from Palma who chose it as an ideal summer resort thanks to its proximity to the city. Wives and children came here during the two-months' school holidays enjoying the beach and fascinating views while husbands stayed on to work in the capital, joining their families over the weekends.
Development of touristic facilities as we know them today began in the 1950’s, with its touristic expansion still on-going.
Local Sights #
Iglesia La Porciuncula or Iglesia de Cristal
Mallorca's "glass church" is a beautiful sacral building with glass pane interiors, crowned by a massive glass dome allowing sunlight to come through and illuminate the stunning walls in the interior. If you are interested in religion, this church offers tours and you can read archives that will teach you about the sanctity of the Franciscan order.
Avenida Fra Joan Llabres 1, 07600 El Arenal.
March to November: Monday to Sunday 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
December to February: Monday to Sunday 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Food & Drink #
A grill restaurant that offers a variety of meat and fish, all cooked on a grill. It is a great and affordable place for any visitor looking for a taste of authentic Spanish cuisine that is adamant on getting the best of the best.
Contact: +34 971 26 20 55
Camí de les Meravelles, 25, 07610 Palma
A Japanese restaurant with a remarkable price to quality ratio, especially for this kind of cuisine. With a focus on seafood, the thing to look out for the most with this restaurant is their brunch menu, which combines a fusion of brunch with delectable Japanese dishes.
Contact: +34 971 59 60 18
Av. d'Amèrica, 2, 07600 Palma.
Restaurante La Fortaleza #
This fine dining restaurant not directly located in El Arenal, but in very close proximity, has some of the most amazing views you can enjoy while eating. Being surrounded by a 14th century fortress wall and enjoying the Mediterranean-fusion food served here make for a dining experience that is just fabulous. It might not be not the most affordable place but is definitely worth visiting for special occasions.
Contact: +34 971 74 78 78
Ctra, Carrer d'Enderrocat, s/n, 07609 Palma
Booze Culture in El Arenal #
El Arenal is mostly known for its boozing culture. The resort has three major boozing hotspots which are “Ballermann 6”, “Mega Park”, and “Bierkönig”. All of them are in the style of German beer gardens and are large destinations for party-goers. As they primarily cater to German tourists, they play “Schlager music”, a genre of “party music” that originates from Germany. Along with that music, they also have performances by Go-go dancers and the occasional live performance by German artists.
Drinking is strictly banned on the streets, and the police enforce it adequately. Even though at night it may get rowdy and loud (especially in summer), reports of things getting out of hand or acts of aggression are rare.
During winter the resort tends to fill up with people over 65 and is full of mostly pensioners. For some of them, it’s cheaper to rent a hotel room with fully inclusive amenities at low off-season rates than it is to stay back home in Germany, so they decide to “Überwintern”, which roughly translates to “hibernating”.
The promenade of El Arenal is full of boutiques and supermarkets that make it easy for tourists to get everything they may need for both the beach and their needs at night.
FAN Mallorca is a large shopping complex that is close by (in Coll d’en Rabassa)
Sports & Recreation #
Aqualand is a waterpark aimed towards all ages. It is full of fun slides and water-based attractions that is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Address: Autovía Palma Arenal Km 15, 07600 El Arenal
Top Dive El Arenal is a diving school and scuba gear renting facility in El Arenal that allows you to submerge yourself in the sea and enjoy the beautiful underwater landscape of the Mediterranean Sea.
Contact: +34 639 74 55 55
Calle de Costa i Llobera, 1, 07620 El Arenal.
Palma Aquarium showcases the underwater life from all around the world. From jellyfish to sharks, they have a large variety of underwater species that is sure to amaze any animal lover. However, the entry price that they charge is extortionately high for what they really offer, so it is best avoided if you are on a budget.
Address: Carrer de Manuela de los Herreros, 21, 07610 Palma
Charm factor #
The long beach of Playa de Palma stretches on for six kilometres and is definitely the major attraction of the area. The close-by town of C’an Pastilla still breathes the air of the high life that once existed in the area.
El Arenal is quite a beautiful place to visit as it does have some amazing views of the Mediterranean. It is incredibly busy in summer though and the boozing culture is present everywhere. If you are not into this, it’s best to avoid this area during the summer (especially at night) and go there in winter when most of the raucous tourists are gone.
By Sahil Dadlani
21 November, 2018