Low Carbon Travel Series: 1, Train & Ferry to Mallorca

22nd May 2020

Spain is an extremely popular travel destination for us Brits. Thousands of us choose Mallorca for our summer holidays for a dose of sun and vitamin sea.

On the 21st June 2020, the Spanish government announced that they would be opening their borders to tourists. Including those from the UK.

Living a low carbon lifestyle does not mean giving up your 2 week summer holiday. Some may be wary of travelling abroad whilst we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. However, if you are dreaming about next year’s summer holiday, there is a way to get to the mediterranean for sunshine with a minimum carbon footprint . Today we interview our founding director, Mukti Mitchell, about his trip to Mallorca by train and ferry.

Hi Mukti, please tell us a little bit about your trip?

Last year I was asked to talk at a conference in Mallorca. I haven’t stepped foot on a plane for over a decade so I wanted to see if I could get there without flying. I’ve travelled from London to Barcelona before so was familiar with the international train journey, I then found that I could get the ferry from Barcelona to Palma. As I was going all that way, I decided to extend my work trip and add on a 2 week holiday after the conference.

Can you give us a summary of the journey?

I travelled from my home in Devon to London by train. Then by Eurostar from London to Paris. In Paris I caught the Paris Metro across town to catch another train to Barcelona. From Barcelona I caught the over night ferry to Palma.

  • Time it took to plan the journey/ holiday: 2 hours
  • Total journey time: 25 hours.
  • Travel costs: £430
  • Carbon emissions from return trip Devon – London – Palma : 208 kg
  • Carbon emissions saved by not taking a plane: 603 kg

What were the highlights of your trip?

King’s Cross station is a stunning place to start a journey with all its grandeur and beauty, and the restaurant Le Train Bleu at Gare du Lyon in Paris is in my opinion one of the wonders of the world – seeing is believing! I particularly enjoyed a relaxed Spanish dinner by the harbour in Barcelona that evening and the sea was like a millpond so I slept like a log arriving into the warm air of Palma in time for an early breakfast of Spanish omelette.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 2-week holiday. The highlight of the trip was the return ferry from which I had a sighting of an 8-meter sperm whale – only the second whale I’ve seen in my life in the wild! 20 minutes later I saw a school of leaping tuna and later read that they are predicated upon by sperm whales so couldn’t help wondering if the two events were linked. This was a stunning reward for an already highly recommend journey.

How would you rate your trip out of 10 for enjoyment/ comfort/ value for money?

I would rate all 3 a 10/10.

Would you do the journey again?

Yes, every couple of years if possible!

Do you have any advice for others thinking of planning a similar journey?

If you’re planning European rail travel for the first time then www.seat-61.comgives you instructions to reach every destination by train and ferry. I find www.loco2.com brilliant for booking tickets because it works out the connections for you from Eurostar to the wonderful TGV. I enjoy digging out my French phrase book to help me take the Metro across Paris but if this feels like a stretch then just take a cab it’s only about €10.You can book European trains 90 days in advance which is when the cheapest tickets are available so planning ahead saves money.