El Arenal Travel Guide
Ibiza Town © Spanish National Tourist Board
Situated on the east coast of the Bay of Palma, on the central south coast of Mallorca, El Arenal (also known as S'Arenal or just Arenal) is a lively and highly developed holiday resort, popular with German travellers (many of whom have stayed) and the 18 to 30 age group. It is an ideal beach resort for singles seeking a beach holiday complemented by a vibrant nightlife. The long, palm-lined beach is exquisite; perfect for stretching out on a sun-lounger and enjoying the calm waters. A stroll along the El Arenal waterfront promenade at sunset, past various shops, bars and restaurants, offers a great way to unwind, and a walkway links El Arenal to neighbouring C'an Pastilla and Playa de Palma. It is now almost impossible to tell where each of these once distinct resorts begins and ends.
Hiring a car is an excellent way to explore the rest of the island and take in the sights while on holiday, but many choose simply to enjoy their hotels and the entertainment they provide. There are regular busses to Palma, with all its urban attractions.
The resort has all the usual tourist trappings, and there are shops enough for visitors to buy anything they might need as well as souvenirs, but those who want quality shopping sprees should take the short journey to Palma (busses depart every 15 minutes or so), where the best shopping on Mallorca can be enjoyed. There are some touts on the beaches of Arenal selling 'genuine' watches and other branded items which are almost certainly fake.
El Arenal is dominated by German tourists and expats and has developed a genuinely German character, with many of the bars and restaurants demonstrating this. There are tapas bars, seafood restaurants, pizzerias and burger joints (including international chains like Burger King), as well as Chinese restaurants. The variety of restaurants ensures that everybody should find what they are looking for, but those expecting numerous authentic Spanish eateries may be disappointed.
El Arenal's social highlight is probably Woody's Bar, but there are a host of lively resort bars and clubs that will keep you dancing until the early hours. There are also a number of British and German-style pubs and the balnearios, 16 small beach huts that run from El Arenal to C'an Pastilla, many of which have been turned into beach bars. El Arenal is a popular party resort, particularly in the summer months, when the festivities tend to continue till dawn.
El Arenal's neighbouring towns of Calvia, San Telmo and the beautiful port of Pollenca are worth visiting and there are plenty of impressive historical sites nearby to enjoy. A frequent bus service links El Arenal to the busy capital of Palma de Mallorca. For the more active, hiring a bicycle is a wonderful way to see the sights and there are also some excellent hikes to enjoy. There is plenty to do in the resorts themselves as well, and many visitors barely leave the beach! Water sports on offer include sailing and scuba diving, and there is also a mini-golf course and an enormous waterpark.
Although the close proximity to Son Sant Joan International Airport is convenient it does mean that visitors sometimes hear aircraft noise. This in combination with the energetic nightlife make the resort ill-suited to those looking for peaceful holidays.