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Spain was the top country visited by UK airline passengers last year as the total number using British airports rose by 4.4% or 10 million over 2013.


The overall figure of 238 million demonstrated increasing demand for air travel from across the UK, according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

The growth continues a recovery started in 2011 following three years of falling passenger numbers. The figures are now just short of the 241 million peak reached in 2007.

CAA director of regulatory policy, Iain Osborne, said: “Our latest figures show that while passenger demand is increasing across the UK, flight numbers are growing much faster at London airports than elsewhere.

“This situation highlights both the pressures on airspace in the southeast and the need for more runway capacity in London.

“With demand for air travel continuing to grow during 2015 these two issues must be tackled so consumers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of the UK’s strong aviation industry.

“But industry also needs to play its part by addressing environmental impacts, including reducing aircraft noise and carbon emissions.”

Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, accounted for more than 34 million passengers.

The US was the second most popular destination (17 million), followed by Germany (12 million), Italy (11.9 million), France (10.6 million) and Ireland (10.4 million).

The rest of the top 20 was Holland (10.6 million), UAE (6.2 million), Portugal (6.1 million), Switzerland (6 million), Turkey (5.7 million), Greece (5.6 million), Poland (5.2 million), Canada (3.1 million), Denmark (2.9 million), Norway (2.7 million), India (2.7 million), Sweden (2.6 million), Cyprus (2.2 million) and Egypt (1.9 million).

Australia saw the largest decline in passengers, down by a third from 744,000 in 2013 to 488,000 last year.

All London area airports recorded a rise in passengers while Liverpool, Leeds/Bradford, Cardiff and Prestwick all suffered declines.

More than half (57%) or 124 million of scheduled passengers at UK airports travelled on UK airlines, 28% or 61 million flew on other EU airlines, and 15% or 35 million on non-EU airlines.

Scheduled passengers carried by UK airlines to and from the UK grew by 5.1% or 6 million, Other EU airlines carried 6.5% or 3.7 million more scheduled passengers while non-EU airlines’ scheduled passengers increased by 4.2% or 1.4 million.

Once ignored in the frantic dash to the coast, Palma has grown into a destination in its own right in recent years, not least because of its burgeoning food scene. With the Med on its doorstep and consistently excellent local produce, restaurateurs and chefs have woken up to the fact that the Mallorcan capital is a city ripe for the gastro picking.

Elegance reigns at Marc Fosh's Simply Fosh. Image by MollySVH / CC BY 2.0 Elegance reigns at Marc Fosh’s Simply Fosh.

Chefs, for instance, like British expat Marc Fosh (marcfosh.com), who was at the vanguard of the renaissance and whose twinset of restaurants, Simply Fosh and Misa Braseria, pride themselves on simplicity in dishes that show off island flavours as clean and bright as the light that beats down on these streets.

Palma is no one-trick pony when it comes to the serious business of food, and you’ll find everything from intimate tapas bars and Asia-meets-Med restaurants to slick lounge-style places with gourmet credentials snuggled down old-town backstreets – most with remarkably pleasing prices.

Fish at the Mercat de l'Olivar. Image by Immanuel Bloch / CC BY 2.0 Fish at the Mercat de l’Olivar.

Market mornings

Dawn rises on another beautiful day and Palma’s markets are soon busy with Mallorquíns squeezing fruit for ripeness, sizing up the glistening piles of seafood – some so fresh it’s still flapping – and stocking up for the big family lunch.

The real action is at the boisterous Mercat de l’Olivar. There’s none of the usual tourist tat sold at other markets and nearly everything is edible – just-caught fish, fruit and veg from the island, plump olives, jamón serrano sliced wafer thin before your eyes, and chorizo with tang and bite. Oyster and tapas bars give hungry shoppers a reason to linger.

A smaller neighbourhood market with much the same produce is Mercat de Santa Catalina.

A Mallorcan ensaïmades, dusted with icing. Image by Kim / CC BY-SA 2.0 A Mallorcan ensaïmades, dusted with icing.

Sweet treats

Most Mallorquíns like to begin their day sweetly, namely with ensaïmades, light pastry spirals dusted with icing sugar that flake perfectly. Doing a brisk trade since 1910, the Forn del Santo Cristo churns out some of the best, traditionally filled with cabell d’àngel (‘angel’s hair’), a sweet pumpkin paste, though they also do chocolate, apricot, cream and marzipan versions. This is also the go-to patisserie for cocas de patata (sweet potato buns).

Come afternoon, a sugar craving can only be fixed by a trip to Ca’n Joan de S’Aigo, huddled away in the maze of medieval alleys that fan out from the gothic Eglésia de Santa Eulàlia. Join locals in this antique-filled milk bar dating to 1700, where almond ice cream, spot-on ensaïmades and hot chocolate thick enough to stand a spoon up in are served at marble-topped tables.

Tapas trail

Palma is a sociable, laid-back city and as such it loves its tapas scene. So simple yet brilliant when done right, the tapas here can move from a bite-sized pintxos to fully blown meals. But how to choose from the seemingly never-ending array of tapas bars? Well, a good introduction is the bizarrely named La Ruta Martiana (Martians’ Route; rutamartiana.wordpress.com), a bar-cum-tapas crawl every Tuesday and Wednesday evening in the no-go turned boho Sa Gerreria neighbourhood. Around 25 bars have joined forces to serve a pintxo (a tapa skewered on a cocktail stick) with a drink for a bargain €2. The bars are predictably heaving on these nights. Worth seeking out are L’Ambigú and, just around the corner on Carrer de Cordería, Ca La Seu, housed in a 500-year-old former basket-making shop.

For a traditional take on tapas any night of the week, Taberna del Caracol comes up trumps. Atmospherically served below vaults in a gothic basement, the tapas here include the namesake snails.

More imaginative however, are the gutsy tapas served at industro-cool La Taperia (Carrer Montenegro 10, la-taperia.es) in the bar-crammed Santa Catalina neighbourhood. Tapas like Iberian pork in cognac-Dijon sauce have created quite a buzz and the place is packed most nights. You’ll find a similarly arty vibe at central Forn de Sant Joan (Carrer Sant Joan 4, forndesantjoan.com), where chefs put interesting twists on tapas, along the lines of oysters with passion fruit caipirinha and zucchini flowers in tempura stuffed with pumpkin and manchego.

Olive-crusted hake at Simply Fosh in Palma. Image by MollySVH / CC BY 2.0 Olive-crusted hake at Simply Fosh.

New-wave cuisine

The chefs at the helm of Palma’s culinary scene seem to be in agreement – keep it market-fresh, unfussy, relaxed and affordable. If the spices are shipped in from overseas, the primary ingredients are nearly always locally sourced and given the chance to shine in signature plates like tender glazed veal cheeks with watercress, peaches and summer truffle risotto at Simply Fosh. Now slick and monochrome, this born-again 17th-century refectory does a cracking three-course lunch for €23.50.

Marc Fosh’s second baby, Misa Braseria, is just steps from the Mercat de l’Olivar. Modern rustic is the approach and the flavours are robust. The signature plate is free-range chicken roast to perfection, but the suckling pig with rosemary parmentier, dates and caramelised pine nuts is also a winner. The three-course lunch is a snip at €17.50.

Asian restaurants and sushi bars are popping up in Santa Catalina all the time, but a newcomer that really stands out is Appetite (appetite.es) for its winning combination of informal Aussie charm, cocktails and menu stunners like Thai soft shell crab with mango salad.

Opio at the nouveau-glam Puro Hotel has the designer edge, however, with DJ beats and a kitchen that skilfully blends Mediterranean and Asian flavours in palate-awakening dishes like zingy scallop ceviche with lime, mango and papaya, and baked Iberian pork with pickled mussels and shitake.

Traditional tastes

Mallorca’s most memorable traditional dishes whisper of the island’s rural interior. More appetising than it sounds, arròs brut (‘dirty rice’) is a flavour-packed dish of rice, vegetables and meat in a hearty stock. Other classics include tumbet, Mallorca’s answer to ratatouille, frit mallorquí, a garlicky lamb offal and vegetable fry-up, and llom amb co, pork loin with cabbage.

Restaurants serving good old-fashioned Mallorcan home cooking are a dying breed in Palma, but there are a few that have stood the test of time, such as high-ceilinged Restaurant Cellar Sa Premsa, with its huge wine barrels and bull-fighting posters.

Buried deep in Palma’s oldest quarter, Can Cera Gastro Bar puts a lighter, contemporary touch on predominantly traditional flavours– a superb creamy rice with shellfish might be the prelude for tart Sóller mandarin sorbet, for instance. It ups the romance with its setting, too, housed in a stylishly converted 13th-century town palace and with tables gathered in what has to be one of Palma’s loveliest inner courtyards.

Colmado Santo Domingo. Image by Irene Grassi / CC BY-SA 2.0 Buy a tasty souvenir at Colmado Santo Domingo.

Take it home

For a lingering taste of Mallorca, shoehorn your way into the miniscule Colmado Santo Domingo, which looks as though it will collapse under the sheer weight of the jamón serranos and chorizos dangling from its ceiling any minute. This is where you’ll also find cheeses from neighbouring Menorca, as well as local honeys, olive oils, fig bread, balsamic vinegar, Es Trenc flor de sal and Sóller marmalade.

Kerry Christiani is the author of the new Mallorca guide. When she’s not hiking in the Tramuntana or tapas bar-hopping in Palma, she is busy writing some of Lonely Planet’s other European titles. Follow her on Twitter @kerrychristiani.

Leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España has enjoyed a bumper start to 2015. Visitors to the company website are up by 16% and sales have increased during Q1 in all three locations in which Taylor Wimpey España operates: Mallorca, the Costa Blanca and the Costa del Sol.


Buyers from around the world have been charmed by Taylor Wimpey España’s luxurious new build properties, all of which come with the company’s signature blend of generously sized terraces, designer fixtures and fittings and communal pools and gardens. The company served buyers from 22 countries during Q1 2015, while those from Russia, Britain, Germany, Scandinavia and Spain made up 61% of the total number of sales.

“Spain offers a unique combination to buyers looking for sun-kissed luxury,” comments Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director. “Its numerous blue flag beaches (Spain has 573 in total – more than any other country) are perfect for families, while those with older children or travelling as a couple delight in its championship quality golf courses. The clement weather means that outdoor activities are rarely ‘rained off’ as they are in colder climes and the combination of sun and water makes for some fantastic memories.”


Buyers looking for a little luxury also delight in Spain’s gastronomic offering. Michelin starred restaurants rub shoulders with rustic tapas bars serving limited but exquisite menus, while excellent quality local wines abound. Spain has hundreds of native grape varieties, which grow well under the intense summer sun, ready for harvesting in autumn when they are plump and full of flavour.

Outdoor activities are a key driver for those with second homes in Spain, as well as in the Balearic Islands, where yachting is a popular pastime for families and friends. Taylor Wimpey España’s gated resort at Camp de Mar Beach in Puerto Andratx, Mallorca is one of the island’s most exclusive new developments. The two and three bedroom townhouses feature air conditioning and under floor heating throughout the properties, fully fitted kitchens with Silestone worktops, suspended washbasins in the bathrooms, double glazing and allocated exterior parking spaces. Prices start at €359,500 for a two bedroom townhouse.

For those looking to stay on the mainland, Los Arqueros Beach next to the wealthy towns of Marbella and Puerto Banus offers seriously luxurious properties from €385,000. Owners can enjoy not just their designer penthouses, but also the site’s two swimming pools, solarium and convenient access to the prestigious Los Arqueros Golf & Country Club, with its challenging par 71 course designed by Severiano Ballestero.

Mark Heaton, who bought a Taylor Wimpey España apartment in Benahavis, Marbella, highlighted the quality of the resort as one of the key factors in his decision-making process. Not only were he and his family delighted with the high specification and quality of their actual apartment, but also with the superbly tended gardens and foliage.

“It’s the details like that which are really important to our buyers,” explains the company’s Marc Pritchard. “There properties are finished to an incredibly high standard, but the work doesn’t stop there – we ensure that the pools, gardens, elevators and so forth are all just as impressive as the homes themselves.”

With such luxurious properties complementing the temptations of Spain’s weather, cuisine, natural beauty and sporting prowess, it is easy to see why so many buyers love to locate their second home there and why Taylor Wimpey España’s homes in particular strike a chord with those who enjoy the finer things in life.

For more information, please contact Taylor Wimpey España today on 08000 121 020 or visit www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

THE Son Sant Joan airport in Palma de Mallorca has seen a 7.2 per cent increase in March if compared with the same month of the previous year.


In total, 951,227 passengers have travelled to or from this airport, according to the data provided by Spanish Airports Company AENA.

In addition, the number of aircrafts using the Son Sant Joan facilities has grown by 8.4 per cent, which translates into 8,107 flights.

Foreign passengers have amounted to 521,222, which also represents a 5.6 per cent increase if compared with March of 2014.

Los Arqueros Beach / Marbella

  • Last 3-bed penthouses close to all amenities and 500 metres from the beach
  • Terrace and solarium
  • Communal pool and gardens
  • Quality finishes, fully furnished kitchen
  • Air conditioning and heating
  • Underground parking and storeroom

Camp de Mar Beach / Andratx, Mallorca

  • New 2 and 3 bed townhouses
  • Next to the beach and Andratx golf
  • Located in the heart of Camp de Mar
  • Communal gardens and a large swimming pool
  • Air conditioning & underfloor heating
  • Exterior parking spaces

From 359.500€