Largest of the Balearic Islands, Mallorca (also spelt Majorca) has been attracting artists, writers and musicians for years; and while many visitors may never move off the beach for an entire fortnight, they are missing out on all Mallorca has to offer. Palma, the capital of both Mallorca and the Balearic Islands, is an attractive and fashionable city which lies on the south west coast in the beautiful Bahía de Palma. Palma is not only a thriving port and commercial centre but also a year-round cosmopolitan city offering a wide range of attractions to suit all tastes. With its impressive yacht marina, many trendy bars and stylish restaurants and shops, it's not surprising that Palma has always been the traditional haunt of royalty and celebrities. Today it is also a short-break city destination outside of the main summer season. There are lots of places to visit in Palma most of which can be easily explored on foot. The landmark of the city and dominating the waterfront is the magnificent gothic cathedral, La Seo, second largest cathedral in Spain, which is particularly impressive when illuminated at night. Behind the cathedral lies the old quarter, the heart of Palma, a maze of cobbled streets and narrow alleys where you can find authentic local Mallorquin cafes and tapas bars and interesting little shops. Probably the best way to find out more about the history of Palma is to take one of the many guided walks around the city, usually lasting about 2 hours. The main shopping and business district is concentrated around the Avenida Jaume III, a wide street flanked on either side with department stores, fashionable boutiques and banks. The palm-lined promenade, El Paseo Maritimo, is the main harbour road which leads into the more built-up end of Palma. For a great view of the city, visit the Castell de Bellver, situated on a hill-top about 3 kilometres from the centre; it was built in the 14th Century as both a fortress and summer residence for the Kings of Mallorca and now houses a municipal museum.
Mallorca's other attractions lie not only in its numerous long stretches of sandy beaches and hidden coves, but also in its varied and beautiful landscapes, from the rugged mountains of the Sierra de Tramuntana in the north-west and rolling hills of the Serres de Llevante in the south-east to the flat rural heartland, El Pla, virtually untouched by tourism. Some of our favourite places on the island are on the north coast. Here you will find the lovely villages of Deia (or Deya), retreat of the poet Robert Graves, and where it is possible to bathe from its tiny rocky beach, and Banyalbufar, famous for its unique terraced landscape which leads down to the sea and once a major growing area for the marlvaisa grape used to produce the sweet dessert wine "Malmsey". In this area lies the well-known small town of Valldemossa where Chopin and George Sand spent several winter months in the Carthusian monastery which dominates the town. Also worth visiting is the lovely town of Soller and nearby Port de Soller. On the north eastern side of the island is the historic market town of Pollenca (or Pollensa) where during the summer the famous international music festival takes place with classical concerts taking place over a period of about six weeks. Close by is Port de Pollenca, one of the loveliest resorts in Mallorca, set around a large bay with a small marina, fine sandy beach and attractive palm-lined promenade with little shops and open air cafés and restaurants. From here you can take a boat-trip to Cape Formentor, one of the most beautiful little spots on the island.
On the east coast a visit to the Caves of Drach near to Porto Cristo is a popular attraction, especially for families. Here can be found not just stalactites and stalagmites, but also one of the world's largest underground lakes where every hour musicians on a boat perform a lake concert for visitors. From here travel inland to Manacor, famous for its artificial pearl industry where organised factory tours are available. For those interested in history, the area around here has a wealth of historical remains including important pre-historic sites and a collection of some of the treasures found can be viewed in the Archaeological Museum in the town.
Moving south on the east coast there are a number of inviting stretches of long sandy beaches and small 'calas', just waiting to be discovered. Here you will also find charming fishing villages where the local fishermen bring in their catch and mend their nets and the modern purpose built resort of Cala D'Or with its yacht harbour, shops and waterfront restaurants, a mecca for watersports activities. The south-eastern corner of Mallorca is where some of the best beaches can be found, many backed by nature reserves making them ideal for nature lovers. One of the most stunning is Es Trenc beach, a 3 kilometre stretch of undeveloped virgin sand and crystal clear water where clothing is optional.
Mallorca continues to fascinate and we strongly recommend that you hire a car when visiting Mallorca to discover all it has to offer.