7 Charming Places To See On Your First Trip To Mallorca, Spain – West Mediterranean Sea
Posted On September 6, 2020
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Port of Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca, Spain
Located in Mallorca Island’s southeastern coast is Port Palma de Mallorca. Aside from commercial and cargo vessels, it is also one of the busiest home ports for cruise ships along the West Mediterranean Sea. Anchorage for large carriers however is further away from the coast. It is to protect the posidonia oceanica seagrass bed found near the harbor. Mooring at the protected zone will cost large ships to a fine of EUR 90,000.00.
Mallorca (Catalan-Spanish) or Majorca (English) is the biggest among Spain’s Balearic Islands on the West Mediterranean Sea. The Balearic is an archipelago near the Iberian Peninsula. The capital is Palma de Mallorca and like the rest of the Balearic group such as Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, Mallorca is a very popular destination of the world’s A-list especially Europeans. The name derives from the Latin “insula maior”, Maoirica meaning the “larger one.” Sometimes it is dubbed as “the star of the Mediterranean.” Credit go to its beaches, cerulean panorama, far-off mountains and soulful villages. Inhabited since the Middle Ages it was first inhabited by the Carthaginians then the Romans in 123 B.C. In 426 A.D. the Roman settlement was destroyed and Mallorca became a part of the Vandal kingdom. The Byzantines conquered in 534 and Christianity grew, Churches were built. The Moors sacked the island in 707 and they ruled until 1114. In 1229 King James of Aragon took possession of Mallorca, defeating the Moors. After his death, his son King James II became king of Majorca in 1276. Later Majorca was incorporated to the Spanish kingdom in 1344 under King Peter IV of Aragon. The island became a member of the Spanish province of Baleares in 1716. In the 1960s, it started to become a tourist destination. Sophisticated tourism became the personality of Majorca with over 13 million jet setters visiting the island every year.
Coming in from Tarragona in 1996 aboard the oil carrier Knock Muir, we moored in Mallorca for a dry dock repair. Then in 1997 while I was under contract with Knock Dun, we came to Mallorca again to discharge oil. Another trip with Knock Muir will bring me to this island for the 3rd time in 1998. Mallorca, aside from having a “sunny” personalityhas a distinct Catalan culture which is so different from mainland Spain. For years, tourism has been present on the island playing host to the glamorous jet set like Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michelle Obama, Brad Pitt among others. Artists and writers (Ken Follet, Richard Graves, Cynthia Lennon-first wife of John Lennon, Sheila Fergusson– Three Degrees with hit song ‘When Will I See You Again) have been attracted to the dramatic west coast of Majorca. Justifiably a very famous island, there is a lot more to it than meets this retired Pinoy seafarer’s eye. I would like to let you in on 7 charming places to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain to help you get to know it a little better. So here you go…
Palma de Mallorca
The capital of the island, Palma and a charming place to seeon your first trip to Mallorca, Spain. It is a very important tourist center in the world and popular for its sausages (sobrassada) and llamas (camel-like animal). Famous also for La Seu, an extensive Gothic cathedral built upon a mosque by James I of Aragon from 1229-1601. Spain’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi restored it in 1901. Marivent Palace, the Spanish royal family’s summer residence is also found in Palma at Avenida de Joan Miro. Following the tradition started by his father, King Juan Carlosde Bourbon, Spain’s current monarch King Felipe VI uses Marivent Palace while taking part in the summer regatta for the King’s Cup competition in Palma. The Waleses (Prince Charles, Princes Diana, and the young Princes Wills and Harry) were guests once at Marivent in August 1987 as well as former US First Lady Michelle Obama with daughter Sasha in the summer of 2010. Bellver Castle, one of Europe’s few circular castles built in the 14th century by James II of Majorca is another attraction in Palma. Bellver, which means “lovely view” in Catalan is very unique among Spanish castles because it is round-shaped. For many years, the widow of James II and her sons were imprisoned at Bellver for their entire lives. These days, you can visit Bellver Castle as it has been converted to a museum which showcases Palma‘s history.
A very charming place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Valldemossa reveals the early culture of Spain. About 15-20 minutes drive from Palma, this town in the Tramuntana mountains seems like a world away from the island’s capital. Found in Valldemossa is the Royal Carthusian Monastery where the Polish composer Frederic Chopin and his French lover Aurore Dupin (a.k.a. George Sand) spent the winter in Nov. 1838-Feb. 1839, staying at rented rooms in the monastery. While in Valldemossa, Chopin completed his 24 Preludes including Prelude in D-flat major, Raindrops. George Sand meanwhile wrote her bestseller novel, “A Winter in Mallorca” while staying in the monastery. You can visit their rooms in the monastery when you are in Valldemossa. This island is also home to Costa Nord, a modern cultural center built by Hollywood actor Michael Douglas. He has a home, S’Estaca which is near Valldemossa.
A charming place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain consisting of honey-colored houses with emerald green-colored doors and windows, this is Deia. It has become a hideaway of the world’s jet set. Just a one and a half hour’s drive from Palma, it would just have been another pretty Mallorcan town had the English poet Robert Graves (1895-1985) not made Deia his permanent home. Upon deciding to stay at Deia, friends came to visit and not long after this idyllic town became a vacation mecca of the well-heeled. This stunning mountain town’s mark in northern Mallorca has never stopped. In fact the Belmond La Residencia a hotel formerly owned by Sir Richard Branson (UK’s Virgin Atlantic Airlines owner) has hosted the likes of Kate Moss, Princess Diana, Robbie Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow and many others. In Deia, where the sea converges with the mountains to make a space of awesome beauty, Robert Graves was laid to rest (1985) at the Church’s cemetery. His former home, Can Alluny is now a museum which you can explore when you are in Deia.
Another charming place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain is Soller. It is about 15 minutes drive from Palma via the Palma-Soller tunnel expressway. This petite village has a unique charm with its grand Plaza Constitucion and quaint narrow streets. The town’s iconic tram links Soller to its plaza which clanks its way through the impressive square. The town of Soller is dominated by Sant Bartomeu Church the facade of which has been featured on the cover of Ken Follet‘s book, “A World Without End.” Soller also takes pride of having the best ensaimada (traditional pastry of Mallorca) in the island, which is topped with toasted cream.
Established by the invading Moors and later developed during the Christian conquest in the 12th century, Esporles is another charming mountain place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain. It has a large Gothic church and a crystal-clear stream runs between houses with various small bridges. The most popular attraction in Esporles which you can visit is La Granja mansion. Dating back to the Roman times when it is greatly valued for its natural spring water, it is now converted to a museum and open to visitors.
An architectural jewel and a charming place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain is Fornalutx. It has been christened as “the most beautiful village in all of Spain.” It sits on the cradle of Puig Major which is the highest peak in Mallorca. The scent of lemon and orange flowers pervade through the streets of Fornalutx where old-stone houses crammed together separated by stone staircases. The center of the town is Plaza Espania where there is a fountain whose water is said to have magical powers. Whoever drinks from it will keep coming back to Fornalutx. One instagramable part of this town is Major Mayol Street. It is actually a long staircase lined with old-stone houses. Fornalutx is a hikers’ and bikers’ paradise with its grassy paths leading into orchards and farms.
The 3rd largest town in Mallorca and located within the center of the island. A charming place to see on your first trip to Mallorca, Spain the town of Inca may not be that much of a touristy area but it is best known for its excellent leather products. The world-famous Camper shoe brand is produced in this town. Home to one of Mallorca’s biggest open-air market, you will find plenty of fine leather goods, jewelry items, carved olive wood as well as fresh farm produce from across the island. Indeed, leather is the prime word in Inca. Camper and Munper (another luxury leather brand) have outlets on the outskirts of the town. For high-end shopping you can find the outlets along Avinguna del Bisbe Llompart which has on both sides the stores of Spanish brands like Mango, Zara, Springfield and other independent stores.
One of the world’s best islands, Mallorca is indeed Spain’s most stylish hot spot. And there are more places to be explored on this magical island. I hope this article is interesting enough to stir your wandering soul for a glorious holiday in Mallorca someday. This sun-kissed island by the West Mediterranean Sea has so much more to offer than sprawling resorts and emerald beaches. Have a fantastic trip, soon. Deu beneeixi el vostre viatge. (God bless your trip in Catalan)