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Describes the Mediterranean islands' culture, history, sights, hotels, restaurants, and attractions
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Phil Lee is an experienced Rough Guides author whose taste for adventure began when he joined the Danish merchant navy. He has written Rough Guides to Amsterdam, Brussels, Mallorca and Menorca, England, the Netherlands, and Canada.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Access to Mallorca and Menorca is easy from Britain and northern Europe, with plenty of charter flights and complete package deals, some of which drop to absurd prices out of season or through last-minute booking. From mainland Spain, both ferries and flights are frequent and comparatively inexpensive. The islands have one airport and one major ferry port apiece, at Palma on Mallorca and Ma on Menorca. From these points of arrival, the rest of each island is within easy striking distance by car, and to a large extent by public transport as well; it only takes an hour or so to drive across Menorca, while from one corner of Mallorca to the other is a three- or four-hour trip.
The main constraint for travellers is accommodation. From mid-June to mid-September rooms are in very short supply on both islands. If you go at this time, you're well advised to make a reservation several months in advance or to book a package. Out of season on Mallorca, things ease up and you can idle round, staying pretty much where you want. Two or three weeks are sufficient to see most of the island; on a shorter visit, head for Palma and the northwest coast. Bear in mind also that six of Mallorca's monasteries rent out renovated cells at exceptionally inexpensive rates - it's well worth sampling at least one. On Menorca, most tourist facilities close down from November to April - the best bases are Ma, Fornells and Ciutadella, each of which has a small cache of all-year hotels and hostals.
There's little significant difference between the climates of Mallorca and Menorca. Spring and autumn are the ideal times for a visit, when the weather is comfortably warm, with none of the oven-like temperatures which bake the islands in July and August. It's well worth considering a winter break too - even in January, temperatures are usually high enough during the day to sit out at a caf in shirtsleeves. Both islands see occasional rain in winter, however, and the Serra de Tramuntana mountains, which protect the rest of Mallorca from inclement weather, are often buffeted by storms, while Menorca, where there's no mountain barrier, can be irritatingly windy.
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