The Motorhome Sector is booming and the number of people opting to live in them in Mallorca has doubled in the space of a year.
There are around 20 motorhomes parked in the streets of Ciutat Jardí and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Last year there were 800 caravans in Mallorca and now there are 1,200.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a trend for motorhome travel and sales have gone through the roof.
"We have many requests from people who want to associate with us," says Miquel Toni Vidal, President of the Association of Motorhomes in the Balearics, or Abaces, which has 140 members. "Motorhomes have become fashionable because people have realised that they make it easier to travel."
"There are a lot of caravanners who want to come to Mallorca but we have to tell them that there are no parking areas, the only loading and unloading point on the island is in Punt Verd on the Son Castelló estate," he adds. “There are some loading and unloading points in Ibiza and Minorca and we’ve had meetings with the Balearic Government and the Ministry of Tourism to try to get more access sites and unloading points but they haven’t come up with a solution."
The only other option for parking caravans is to hire a private space, which is too expensive for some people, or to park in a public road, which the traffic regulations allow as long as people leave their belongings inside and don't put up the awning.
“We park where we can and if someone objects I will move the motorhome somewhere else,” says Vidal.
The main parking points are Ciutat Jardí, Nou Llevant, Son Rapinya and near the Son Hugo swimming pools, but motorhomes are not exactly welcomed with open arms in some places and facilities are few and far between.
“Municipalities like Alcúdia don’t want motorhomes and a City Ordinance prevents overnight stays inside a vehicle, but it doesn’t clarify whether there is an exception with motorhomes,” says Vidal. “The fine is 150 euros and if you park a 60,000 euro motorhome in front of somebody’s two-million-euro villa they’ll be upset.
Some residents are furious about motorhomes parking in their neighbourhood.
“They park for days, take up a lot of parking places and block the views”, says Juana Ruiz Navarro, President of the Association of Veins de Ses Cases Noves in Coll d'en Rebassa, who claims that beach bar owners and hoteliers are also upset by the presence of motorhomes.
"They are usually foreigners who come here to play sports and they leave us with no parking spaces," says Ruiz.
"We usually live here and sometimes we go around the island, but this is the area where my family lives,” says Batle. "I used to live in Palma but even with two salaries we couldn’t afford to pay 800 euros rent and save money".
The couple bought a 12 metre square second-hand motorhome for 20,000 euros and that’s where they live now.
“We can't buy a flat, it's impossible for us,” says Batle who owns a 60,000 euro home in Andalucia.
“Although there have been many reservations, the season has been bad because we've had last minute cancellations due to coronavirus containment,” says Gema Calero, Manager of Autocaravana. “People are making reservations for fewer days because they have less money to spare.”
Like it or not, motorhome living is here to stay and a growing number of people are enjoying the charm of life on the open road.