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El Arenal

El Arenal

El Arenal - party central and beach paradise on the south coast of Mallorca

El Arenal is a party stronghold on the Playa de Palma and a major holiday resort especially popular with young German party animals. Schinkenstraße (Ham Street) as the main party street is affectionately known by its predominantly German clientele with the famous Bierkönig bar and Ballermann 6 club - are three terms that every young German has heard of in El Arenal on the south coast of Mallorca.  The resort is located just five kilometres from Son Sant Joan international airport and is about ten kilometres from the island's capital Palma de Mallorca. The convenient location has contributed significantly to the rise of El Arenal as one of the main party resorts on the island.

El Arenal beach in Mallorca

The History of El Arenal
El Arenal (Catalan S'Arenal) was first mentioned in print in 1887. Barely two dozen fishermen lived in the small village back then. The population started to increase as a result of the construction of the railway line from Palma de Mallorca to Llucmajor in 1914. Due to its location halfway between the two villages, El Arenal became the perfect place for the track laying crews to stay while on the job. Nevertheless, there was no immediate population explosion in the small coastal town. Just 380 inhabitants were counted at the end of the 1930s.

With the emergence of package tourism in the 1950s, the first hotels and guesthouses started to spring up. Almost forty years later, at the beginning of the 1980s, El Arenal became the epitome of mass tourism. Negative headlines about wild and reckless drinking binges on the beach of Playa de Palma were ten a penny. In particular, the Balenario 6 beach bar, better known as "Ballermann 6", attracted tourists who drank sangria with straws out of giant buckets. The Mallorcan regional government put an end to the unrestrained drinking bouts by tightening the rules. It still sounds loud in El Arenal. However the countless pubs, discotheques and party arenas still attract a young audience looking for night-time adventure.

El Arenal is located on the wide sandy beach of Playa de Palma, which is bordered by a kilometre-long beach promenade. Beach chairs and umbrellas are rented out all along the beach. The sea is shallow and safe but families with children may find the large amount of 18-30s having raucous fun and the bowling alleys and other clubs a little off putting. The 15 beach bars on the Playa de Palma, which are referred to as Balenario are a well-known landmark. In the high season, the beach is often crowded, but starts to become a bit quieter by late October.

On the promenade at El Arenal May to September is a hive of activity. The wide promenade runs directly to the island's capital, Palma de Mallorca and is a main thoroughfare for other kind of non-motorised traffic such as skateboards, roller bladers and cyclists wishing t0 ride under the palm trees by the sea. From a long distance away on the promenade you can see the mighty Gothic cathedral, which is considered the landmark of the Mallorcan capital. In the high season, a mini tourist train also serves as a means of transport in El Arenal.

Restaurants and Nightlife
Tourists in El Arenal can choose from a variety of dining options. Cafeteria Europa serves up tasty tapas, while fresh fish is served at Las Sirenas restaurant on the harbour. Lovers of Italian cuisine should plan a visit to "Del Sol" or "Bella Italia". Fine dining is offered at Marea, which is located in the 5-star Iberostar Playa de Palma Hotel outside El Arenal. The menu features Galician beef, home-made prawn croquettes and orange-mint ice cream using oranges from the Valley of Gold at Sóller.

Party animals in El Arenal have the largest selection of dance palaces, dance floors, discos and night bars in the whole of Mallorca. Legendary late night locations include the "Bierkönig" on 'Schinkenstraße', the MEGAPARK, the "Oberbayern" and the "ShowArena". The latter is a 3,500 m² party cellar, where in the high season Ballermann stars such as Jürgen Drews and Mickie Krause perform. Right next to the Hotel Niagara is the "Bamboleo" the oldest beer garden on Schinkenstraße. If you prefer dancing to house and techno instead of pop and party hits, then head to "The Club" at Balenario 6 after dark.

El Arenal Mallorca

Activities in El Arenal
In addition to numerous water sports activities offered at Playa de Palma, cycling is one of the most popular pastimes in El Arenal. Several rental stations on the promenade rent touring bikes, tandems and four-seaters with sunroof. Between El Arenal and Palma de Mallorca the going is flat, which makes a trip by bicycle possible even in the hot summer months. Aqualand El Arenal is the largest water park in Mallorca and is located in the south coast resort and boasts 16 different pools, a wave pool and the longest water slide on the island providing whole day long for fun and entertainment. The "Harakiri" double slide puts on races for those that way inclined and the park restaurant and several ice-cream stands provide much needed refreshment.

Excursions in the vicinity
The resort of El Arenal is located just ten kilometres from the island's capital Palma de Mallorca on the Playa de Palma. If you would rather not pay a visit to the largest city in the Balearic Islands by bike or by rental car, take a bus or a taxi. Buses run during the day at regular 15-minute intervals. Palma de Mallorca not only has first-class shopping but also the La Lonja district is known for its lively nightlife. The most important shopping street in Mallorca is the Paseo del Borne. Numerous fashion boutiques compete with each other in the pedestrian zone lined with old trees. Major attractions in the island's capital include La Seu Cathedral, Castell Bellver and the Es Baluard Museum of Contemporary Art.

A really popular attraction at Playa de Palma is the Palma Aquarium, which can be easily reached by bike. 55 seawater pools make up the habitat for more than 8,000 fish and coral species. The roof garden is designed in the style of a tropical rainforest and in the outdoor area is a Mediterranean garden with ponds, waterways and adventure playgrounds. If you want to swim away from the masses in the crystal clear sea, drive along the rocky coast in the direction of Llucmajor. Small bays such as the Calonet d'es Fornàs and the Caló de Sant Antoni are only moderately visited in the high season. Also in the municipality of Llucmajor is the picturesque bay of Cala Pi. It is surrounded by bright, pine-clad rocks and is reminiscent of a fjord. The turquoise water is crystal clear and the rocks make snorkelling and taking in a variety of underwater flora and fauna a beautiful experience.

El Arenal is a hotspot for wild party people who are mainly in the 18-30 bracket. Numerous budget hotels of the 2- to 4-star category are available as accommodation in the resort.