Mallorca Travel Guide
The captivating island of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, lies off the eastern coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. It is an island of beguiling geographical diversity, boasting a succession of sandy beaches, secluded little coves, an impressive mountain range, an area of protected wetlands and one of the largest subterranean lakes in the world... all bathed by the calm, warm waters of the Mediterranean and blessed with an enviable climate. In sum, a perfect holiday getaway.
Mallorca’s fortunes changed in the 1950’s with the advent of tourism. Artists, jet-setters and the Spanish royal family also succumbed to the island’s beauty and diversity, bringing it added fame and transforming it into the cultural and commercial centre of the Balearic Islands.
Resorts developed around the open beaches and sandy, narrow coves that punctuate much of the island’s coastline, with the largest and liveliest situated in the south-west, along the ‘Badia de Palma’, and in the east. The quieter north-western coast, framed by the beautiful Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, contains the popular resort of ‘Port de Sóller’ while the bays of Alcúdia and Pollença are favourite destinations on Mallorca’s north-eastern coast.
Natural wonders include the awe-inspiring caves of ‘Coves del Drac’, with their bizarre stalactite formations and magical underwater lake, and the Serra de Tramuntana. These mountains are a hiker’s paradise, offering a number of trails that afford stunning views of cliffs plunging into the sea, terraces of olive and citrus groves and historical towns and villages nestling in the hills. The village of Fornalutx is said to be the most beautiful in Spain, the quaint seaward-facing village of Deià was the home of the village’s most famous resident, the poet Robert Graves, while the historical town of Valldemossa contains the famous monastery that was once home to Chopin.
Mallorca’s capital, Palma, is a bustling cosmopolitan city with a profusion of bars, restaurants, a casino and plenty of entertainment and shopping opportunities. The narrow, cobbled streets of the old town, dominated by the impressive cathedral, are fabulous for a stroll and a visit to the ‘Banys Àrabs’, the surviving Moorish hammams. You can shop till you drop in Palma, picking up its renowned pearls, its fabulous leather goods, its traditional glassware and hand-embroidered linen. An enormous selection of restaurants cater for all tastes but you would be remiss to visit Palma without savouring the typical ‘pa amb oli’ (bread and oil), ‘porcella rostida’ (roasted suckling pig), ‘sobrassada’ sausages or the sweet ‘ensaïmada’.
Chopin put the delights of the island in a nutshell when he wrote “A sky like turquoise, a sea like lapis lazuli, mountains like emerald, air like heaven.” This is Mallorca.