So Many Islands, So Little Time!
The evening air blankets me with its reliable island warmth. I glance over the top of my paperback and gaze at the breathtaking sight that is the sun dipping below the horizon. I reach down and scrape up a handful of the soft, pure white sand, flinging it playfully and watching it dance across my partner’s chest, fully intending to wake him and head out together for a walk along the serene beach, the crystal clear, turquoise blue waters lapping at our feet.
Such is life on the island of Majorca (Mallorca), where we are staying. Vacationing on an island holds the promise of a vacation like no other. Refreshing tranquil waters, bright clear skies, white sandy beaches, balmy temperatures and radiating sunshine provide conditions perfect enough to tempt tourists into basking on a towel the whole day long. But many islands offer so much more than comfy beach chairs, colorful umbrellas and tasty fruit drinks.
Majorca, Balearic Islands
The island of Majorca is located just off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands, an autonomous region of Spain. With its Mediterranean climate and beautiful seaside location, it is a popular destination for vacationers from all over the world and has provided inspiration for creative greats such as Agatha Christie, French writer George Sand, and Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. Tourism is the largest source of revenue for this island. Even the members of the Spanish royal family spend their summer holiday in Majorca, where the Marivent Palace is located.
While the beaches are alluring, as we found out first hand, don’t be afraid to dive right in to this historical city center, first set foot upon farther back than 100 BCE. The architecture is historic, grand, and much of it immaculately preserved, such as Bellver castle, a Gothic-style fortress built in the 14th century for King James II of Majorca and one of the only circular castles in Europe.
Next, head to the capital city of Palma for inviting shopping. While there, pick up a few strands of the popular Majorca pearls. Veer off the main streets and into the tiny alleyways weaving in and out of the city and check out a few of the many boutiques and specialty shops. Before your trip, you’ll want to transfer your dollars to Euros, the currency on this Spanish island.
Though many Majorcans speak Spanish, Majorca’s own language is Catalan. Take note; drinking water is precious and scarce here.
With its white sandy beaches, soft coral reefs and year-round tropical climate, Fiji is a popular destination for both romantic and family vacations. Fiji is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean, made up of a cluster of more than 332 islands.
If you like it hot, avoid Fiji from May through October, as the average temperature during this “cool” season is a lovely 72 degrees. In addition to scuba diving and sunbathing, check out a few of the other tourist attractions such as the Botanical Gardens of Thursten in Suva, Sigatoka Sand Dunes, and Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. You may want to brush up on Fijian, as it is the major language, though many Fijians also speak English. You’ll want to ask your bank about exchanging your American dollars for Fijian dollars.
U.S. Virgin Islands
For an island experience that doesn’t require an unfamiliar currency or language, consider the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the U.S. dollar is the official currency and English is the main language. Located in the Eastern Caribbean, the average temperatures range from 77 degrees in the winter to 83 degrees during summer.
Choose from one of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, depending on what sort of character and activities interest you. In St. Croix, the historic towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted feature quaint shops, charming pastel buildings and refreshing cultural diversity. Horseback riding near 18th-century sugar mills and golf are also popular.
Nature lovers will enjoy St. John, of which two-thirds is a national park. Camping, hiking and breathtaking views are all readily available. It’s also home to the world-renowned beaches Cinnamon Bay, Salt Pond Bay and Trunk Bay.
St. Thomas is the most visited port in the Caribbean, boasting one of the most beautiful harbors in the world. This island is full of energy and offers elegant dining, exciting nightlife, duty-free shopping and submarine rides.
You’re in for an experience if you rent a car in the Virgin Islands, as motor vehicles are driven on the left side of the road.
Whether you travel near or far, a vacation on the islands is bound to be a rejuvenating, relaxing vacation that tickles all of your senses. HLM
Sources: en.wikipedia.org, visitusvi.com and the experience of the author.