Mallorca Visitors' Guide
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
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.