An Island of Contrasts
With almost 3,000 hours of sunshine a year and a host of splendid sandy beaches, it is hardly surprising that Majorca has become the favourite holiday destination of millions of tourists from all over the world in search of sun and beaches. But there is another side to Majorca that we recommend tourists to explore. The island is also characterized by its surprisingly contrasting landscapes, its fascinating nature reserves and its unique culture and traditions.
Serra de Tramuntana
Crowned by the ‘Puig Major’ peak (1,432m), the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range runs along the north coast of the island from Port d’Andratx to the Cap de Formentor peninsula and dominates the west coast with its breathtaking views, beautiful coves and quaint villages. Highlights include: Sa Calobra, the Torrent de Pareis, Cala Tuent, Llucalcari, Sa Foradada, the Monastery of Lluc, Cala Deià, Estellencs and Banyalbufar.
Between Sa Pobla and Alcudia is the nature reserve of S’ Albufera. It is the Balearic Islands’ largest wetland area and it is excellent for walking, cycling and bird-watching. Grey kites, bitterns, reed-warblers, moorhens and water rails can be seen all year around in the reeds, rushes and dunes of the park, whereas ospreys and sea hawks appear only during the summer. You can get information and maps of the park at the visitors’ centre.
In 1838 Frederic Chopin and his lover George Sand arrived in Valldemossa to stay in a former monk’s cell in the Cartoixa Reial monastery and continue their affair away from the eyes of Paris. The shocked locals shunned the tubercular Chopin and his lover, and the couple were so unhappy that their relationship never recovered from the wet, windy and miserable winter in Majorca. Today the cells occupied by the lovers are open to visitors. The library and old pharmacy can also be visited and there is a small art museum with works by Picasso, Miró and Juli Ramis.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, and Sundays from 10 am to 1 pm.
The picturesque town of Deià has attracted many artists, writers and musicians over the years, including English poet Robert Graves, who died there in 1985 and is buried in the local cemetery. Visitors can buy locally produced art at the numerous studios and galleries or enjoy the popular and stylish restaurants and bars on the coast in Cala Deià.
The ancient town of Alcudia has a fascinating and turbulent history. It was founded by the Phoenicians and the Greeks and the Romans made it their capital in the 2nd century BC. Destroyed by the Vandals in the 6th century, the city was rebuilt by the Moors before being liberated by King Jaime I of Spain in the early 1200s, who fortified it by building its massive walls. One of the gates that lead into the old town is still today in good condition. Near Alcudia is the town of Polentia, with its well preserved Roman amphitheatre, and one of Majorca’s oldest churches: the Oratori de Santa Anna.
Cap de Formentor
On the northern tip of the island, this rocky headland is a natural paradise. The sandy beaches of Platja de Formentor and Cala Pi are surrounded by shady pine forests. There are nearby golf courses and horse riding facilities.