Spain – one of my favourite countries…. One destination I have wanted to explore for a long time is the beautiful island of Mallorca. So from May 20 to 31, 2009 I had the opportunity to get to know a good portion of this special Mediterranean island.
Popular as a package tourism destination since the 1960s, I was more interested in Mallorca’s natural and cultural treasures which can be found away from the massive hotel developments that dominate some parts of the coastline. My favourite area of the island became the north: the rugged, relatively untouched Serra de Tramuntana mountain chain that runs along the islands north coast from east to west.
With my little rental car I was able to get into the tiniest villages and I ended up visiting virtually every major settlement on the Costa Nord. My favourite spot become Soller, a popular tourist town in the heart of the Tramuntana region, which has long been famous for its citrus plantations and its position among Mallorca’s highest mountains. The Puig Major reaches an altitude of 1,445 metres (over 4700 feet) and Soller is embedded in a wide valley surrounded by majestic mountains. Soller is also the final terminal of the Palma to Soller vintage electric train. In addition, Soller is connected with a historic streetcar to the harbour town of Port de Soller which lies about 4 km away.
Some of my other favourites included Pollenca and Cap Formentor on the east side of the island; Banyalbufar and Sa Calobra on the steep, picturesque northern coast; Sant Elm, on the extreme western side of the island, a village that offers a great view of Sa Dragonera, the Dragon’s Island; and Valdemossa, a very pretty village just a few kilometres inland from the coast, in the northern mountain area. Other country excursions included Inca, Mallorca’s leather manufacturing town; Alaro, a gorgeous little mountain town; and various towns on the western side of the island, such as Puigpunyent, Galilea, Andratz and Calvia.
I also explored the eastern and southern coastlines of the island, including the historic walled city of Alcudia, the impressive medieval castles of Arta and Capdepera, and the scenic coves of Cala Rajada and Porto Cristo. Of course, a few visits to the capital of Palma de Mallorca were also part of my program. I thoroughly enjoyed the old downtown with its narrow alleyways and cobble-stoned streets. La Seu, the imposing Gothic Cathedral, is simply breathtaking, and I had the good fortune to be inside the church when there was an organ concert.
Palma has so many beautiful sights, which include the Palau de l’Almudaina, the Consolat de Mar, the gorgeous Parc de la Mar on the waterfront, and the round Gothic Castell de Bellver, which dates back to the early 1300s. For me Mallorca turned out to be a dream destination that offers near perfect weather, amazing landscapes, great recreational opportunities on land and at sea, and fabulous history and culture. I am sure I will make it back there again…