Mallorca Visitors' Guide

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Luxury hotels in Palma

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North eastern Mallorca - Hotels - Cala Rajada, Porto Cisto

Hotels in Northern Mallorca - Pollença and Port de Pollença, Formentor, Alcúdia, Port de Alcúdia and nearby

Hotels in Sóller, Fornalutx

Hotels in Eastern Mallorca: Cala d’Or, Porto Petro, Cala Mondragó, Cala Figuera, and Colonia de Sant Jordi

Hotels in Southern Mallorca:  Binisalem, Binibona, Inca, Sineu and around, Randa, the Serres de Llevant and Artà

Hotels in Western Mallorca:  Illetes, Andratx, Banyalbufar, Valldemossa, Miramar, Deià, Sóller, Fornalutx and other areas -

Mallorca - Hotels West of Palma - Peguera, Bendinat and Portals Nous, and Port d'Andratx

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Welcome to the Mallorca Visitors' Guide!

Majorca (or Mallorca in the Spanish and Catalan  languages) is the largest island of Spain. The name derives from Latin insula maior, "larger island"; later Maiorica. It is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the Balearic Islands, known in Catalan as the Illes Balears and in Spanish as the Islas Baleares. Like the other Balearic Islands of Ibiza, Formentera, and Minorca, the island is a very popular tourist destination, especially for Germans and British visitors. Indeed, since the 1960s, Mallorca has become synonymous with mass tourism. However, there are many very beautiful and unspoilt areas on the island, and with some discernment you will be able to find delightful coastline, superb mountain walks, and quiet, traditional restaurants in delightful mountain villages.

The capital of the island is the attractive city of Palma, which is also the capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands. Since the advent of mass tourism Palma has grown significantly: tourist numbers visiting the island increased from 600,000 to over 21 million between 1960 and 2001, with the majority of those arriving through Palma airport.

Majorca's History

Mallorca has been the object of human habitation since at least the Paleolithic period (6000–4000 BC), as proven by the existence of burial chambers from that period. The Romans occupied Majorca in 120 BC, giving the island a period of prosperity and confidence during which the towns of Pollentia (Alcúdia), and Palmaria (Palma) were came into being. The economy was largely driven by olive growth, viniculture, and salt production.

This period of prosperity came to an end in 426, when the Vandals sacked the island; later, around 530, Majorca was conquered by the Byzantine Empire. This produced a period of peace and prosperity. However, from 700 onwards, raiders from North Africa posed an increasing threat, until in 900 the ruler of Cordoba conquered the island. This brought about another period of prosperity for the island, in which the Moors improved agriculture with new methods of irrigation, and local industries became much more prosperous. After the empire was broken up in 1015, Majorca came under the rule of the Taifa of Denia, and eventually became an independent taifa until a raiding party of Pisans and Catalans conquered the island in 1114, laying siege to the capital Palma for 8 months. A series of invasions and counter-invasions followed until King James I of Aragon conquered the island definitively with 15,000 men and 1,500 horses, annexing the island to his Crown of Aragon after a 3 month campaign. When he died the island was initially inherited by his son James II, who was crowned king of Mallorca. In 1344, his brother Peter IV of Aragon invaded, and took Majorca back into the Crown of Aragon.

From 1480 onwards, the Crown of Aragon was unified with that of Castile. This turbulent history continued when the War of the Spanish Succession led to the unified Spanish monarchy, under which Majorca became part of the Spanish province of Baleares, roughly the same as the current Balearic Islands.

The capital of Majorca, Palma, was originally a Roman camp known as Palmaria. Like the rest of the island and indeed much of the Roman empire, Palma saw several Vandal sackings during the fall of the Roman Empire. Palma was made the capital of the autonomous region of the Balearic Islands in 1983.

Majorca's Geography

Majorca has two mountainous regions, both of which are about 70 km in length. They occupy the north-western part of the island (the Serra de Tramuntana or Tramuntana range) and the eastern third of the island. The highest mountain is Puig Major (1,445 m) in the Serra de Tramuntana, but it is inside a military area and not open to public access. The neighbouring mountain - Puig de Massanella - is the highest accessible peak (1,364 m). The northeastern coast of Majorca has two sweeping bays: the Badia de Pollença and the rather larger Badia d'Alcúdia. The northern coast is generally rugged and has many cliffs. The central zone extending from Palma is generally flat fertile plain known as Es Pla.

The climate is Mediterranean, though there is a lot more rain in the Serra de Tramuntana than the plain. Summers are hot; winters mild to cool, and obviously much colder in the Tramuntana range. Indeed, snow is not unusual in the Serra de Tramuntana

Nearby Mallorca there are two uninhabited small islands: Cabrera (southeast of Palma) and Dragonera (west of Palma).

The island is administratively divided into these municipalities: Alaró Alcúdia Algaida  Andratx Ariany Artà Banyalbufar Binissalem Búger Bunyola Calvià Campanet Campos Capdepera Consell Costitx Deià Escorca Esporles Estellencs Felanitx Fornalutx Inca Lloret de Vistalegre Lloseta Llubí Llucmajor Manacor Mancor de la Vall Maria de la Salut Marratxí Montuïri Muro Palma Petra sa Pobla Pollença Porreres Puigpunyent Santa Eugènia Santa Margalida Santa Maria del Camí Santanyí Sant Joan Sant Llorenç des Cardassar Selva Sencelles Ses Salines Sineu Sóller Son Servera Valldemossa Vilafranca de Bonany

A Selection Of People from Mallorca or Associated With Mallorca

Majorcans of note include writer and philosopher Ramon Llull, who founded the mission in Alta California, Junípero Serra. Men of note from the nineteenth century include the military general Joaquin Jovellar y Soler and the Spanish Prime Minister, Antonio Maura Montaner. In our time, there have been sportsmen Rafael Nadal and Carlos Moyà.

The island has played host to many people of note. But some of the most famous are Frédéric Chopin and Georges Sand, who were romantically involved in Valldemossa and lived there for a short time. The book Sands wrote about the experience has proved to be an enduring bestseller, but did not endear her to the locals! Robert Graves moved to Majorca and became the island's most famous adopted son. Joan Miró died in Son Abrines, Palma, on December 25 1983, after living on the island towards the end of his life. In 1992 the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró was established in his memory.

Mallorca is also home to contemporary artists Miquel Barceló, José María Sicilia and Astrid Colomar.

Mallorcan Language and Politics

The official languages of Majorca are Catalan and Spanish. The local dialect of Catalan is Mallorquí, even though the dialects are different in each island and in each village. Typically, young Majorcans are bilingual in Catalan and Spanish, with some knowledge of English or German as a foreign language, especially due to the large number of tourists and foreign residents on the island.

The Balearic Islands, of which Majorca forms part, is one of the Spanish autonomous communities. It has been governed by a coalition of different leftist and nationalist parties including the Partit Socialista (PSOE) under Francesc Antich. There is a specific government for the island which is called Consell Insular de Mallorca (Majorca Insular Council) with competences in culture, roads, railways (see Serveis Ferroviaris de Mallorca) and municipal administration. The island councillors are also elected for the Balearic Parliament representing the island.

 


Serra de Tramuntana – The other side of Mallorca

While most holidaymakers fly to Mallorca to enjoy its beautiful beaches, warm climate and buzzing night-life, the 3640 sq.km island is far from a one-trick pony.

If you can drag yourself away from the jam-packed beaches, neon filled strips and sun-burnt, drunken tourists you will find a side to Mallorca you may not expect to see.

One of the areas perhaps not at the top of many visitor's 'to-do' lists is the area around the Serra de Tramuntana.

Serra de Tramuntana is a mountain range that runs across the north-west of Mallorca and home to some of the island's best kept secrets.

Those who can make it away from the bustling hubs of Cala Ratjada and Palma De Mallorca will find a side of the island not always found in the glossy brochures back home and perhaps a glimpse back to life before the package flights arrived. Though Magaluf is technically part of the region, a short drive into the mountains and you could be a million miles away from the popular – if rather gawdy - resort.

Pollenca is a charming village found at the foot of the mountain range and is a great starting point for a number of walks and hikes up the nearby Puig de Pollença.

Set among lush, green mountains and orange, lemon and olive groves is the town of Sóller, with its traditional Spanish architecture and historic square. The nearby Port de Sóller is popular with tourists but still retains an air of exclusivity compared to the other beach resorts on the island.

The old road to the Sóller Pass is an excellent mountain bike route for those who want to get active. The opening of a new tunnel means the old road is quieter now, meaning it is ideal for bikers. Remember though that many of the surrounding mountains are steep and rocky, so you need to be an experienced cyclist or be with an experienced guide before you set out.

 

 


 

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