I just returned from a unique trip with my summer, travel buddy and long-time friend. Together we have explored many countries and independent of each other we have explored countries on our own. Thus agreeing on a location that is a mutually new experience has become quite a challenge for us. I don’t know how we evolved to and crafted the itinerary we put together, but somehow we got a great idea to see Madrid on a layover, and visit Mallorca, Malta, and The Canary Islands all in one trip. Below is our itinerary. You may need to refer back to it as I describe the trip in detail.
Additional trip costs were:
Upon arriving in Madrid, after clearing immigration and customs we set out to find the airport bus. For 5 euro the bus took us to the subway; stopping at Avenida de America. From there we purchased a 1.50 euro subway ticket to the Puerta del Sol.
From there, we walked to the Plaza Mayor.
From there it was on to the cathedral and the royal palace.
We ended our Madrid tour at the Prado Museum. I was surprised to learn about the “other” Mona Lisa there as well.
From the Prado, we walked to the station and caught the airport bus back to the airport for five euro.
We arrived to Tenerife late at night and took a taxi (21 euro) to our hotel. We stayed at the Vincci Tenerife Golf, San Miguel de Abona. We were very pleased with our room. It had two bedrooms and a balcony with an ocean view. It was beautiful and the price of $94 a night (breakfast included) wasn’t too bad.
The resort area in San Miguel de Abona was beautiful.
Right behind the hotel, across the street, was a large commercial area filled with restaurants and shops. I had some of the best sangria I ever had there as well as a fillet with red wine and chocolate sauce.
Since our next flight was leaving out of Grand Canary Island, we had to take a bus to Santa Cruz de Tenerife to catch a ferry to Grand Canary.
Upon arriving to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, we walked to the ferry port. It was about a thirty minute walk from the bus station. We were able to briefly explore this city on the way.
When we purchased our ferry tickets (45 euro), the agent asked if we wanted the bus for ten additional euro. I didn’t know what she was talking about so I declined. It turned out that the ferry goes to Agaete and NOT Las Palmas. The extra bus fare was the connection to Las Palmas. Oh well, live and learn. To board the ferry, one needs to climb a good number of stairs. Again, I was happy that I just had my little carryon and I wasn’t struggling to get up the steps like other passengers with large amounts of luggage ascending with me.
Missing out on the bus connection proved to be a good thing after all since we were able to explore Agaete. Below are some pictures of this seaside town.
We caught a bus to Las Palmas (4 euro-we saved 6 euro from the cost at the ferry terminal) in front of the hotel Puerto de las Nieves. Below are pictures of the transit journey.
Upon arriving in Las Palmas, we checked into the AC Marriott Gran Canaria where we paid 65 euro a night. Here are some pictures of Las Palmas.
We took a day trip to the Maspalomas Sand Dunes which are about an hour from Las Palmas.
Mallorca was the next stop on the itinerary. Upon arriving in Palma de Mallorca, we checked in to the AC Marriott Hotel Cuitat de Palma for about 80 euro a night. We spent the rest of the day exploring the harbor area. The following day, we caught a local bus to the train station for a day trip to Soller. If you take the excursion, get to the station early since there was a long line to purchase tickets. Additionally, there is a free art exhibit of the works of Miro in the station. You will want to be sure that you have enough time to see this. Upon arrival at Soller, one must wait for the street car to arrive to transport one to the Soller harbor front. Also of note is an exhibit of the works of Picasso and Miro at the Soller station.
Exploring the old city of Palma de Mallorca is a must. The cathedral is impressive and the winding streets of the old town were fun to explore.
The final leg of our trip was Malta. We booked a room at the Water’s Edge Hotel for about $92 a night. On our first day, we took a local bus to the megalithic ruins of Hagar Qim which date to 3200 BC. During the time of our visit many of the sites were closed for improvements, but considering the heat and the distance we walked from Hagar Qim to Mnajdra in the intense heat, we were satisfied with just visiting the one site.
The next day, we moved on to Valletta and made that our base for catching buses. In Malta, one can get anywhere on a bus from Valletta. The cost is great too; just 2 euro for two hours so it will include a transfer. In Valletta, we stayed at the Osborne Hotel which cost about $95 a night. Our next excursion was to the city of Mdina. Mdina is a lovely, old, walled city that is great for strolling. We were able to find the Mdina glass shop which had glasswares as lovely as the famous works of Murano, Italy.
We took a day trip to the island of Gozo. We took the local bus (2 euro) to the end of the island to the ferry port. We boarded the ferry (one pays nothing going to Gozo; payment is on the return leg only; 5 euro) for the quick sailing to the Island of Gozo. When we arrived, we were greeted with a gorgeous view of the harbor.
We hired a taxi for the day for 50 euro. To me it was money well spent. He drove us in air conditioned comfort to the “window,” the citadel, and St. Paul’s church before taking us back to the ferry dock. I think that trying to do all this by public bus would have taken all day leaving us walking great distances in the heat.
Wall of the citadel
The streets and balconies of Valletta were beautiful.
The Co-Cathedral of St. John is one of the most beautiful places of worship I have ever seen. There is detail down to every inch on every wall; just gorgeous.
We spent our last day of the trip in the picturesque, fishing village of Marsaxlokk located at the southern tip of the island.