Mallorca is the largest and most densely populated of the four Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera) which form the Spanish Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, east of mainland Spain.
The locals refer to the Island as 'Mallorca' from the Catalan language frequently spoken. Lessons in schools are mainly taught in this language and it is also the preferred language of government and public services throughout each of the Municipalities. This is a surprise to many visitors coming to the Island who expect Spanish to be the main language spoken. However, prior to the death of Franco in 1975 the island was known locally as 'Majorca' derived from being the largest, (Major) Island of the Balearics.
Its location means it is no more than a two-hour flight from most European capitals, making it easily accessible for those in search of a little piece of paradise. The easiest and quickest way to get to Mallorca is to fly. Palma de Mallorca airport is located in the south of the island and airlines fly from all over Europe throughout the year. You can also take a ferry (passenger or car ferry) from the Spanish mainland (Barcelona, Valencia) which will take around 7-8 hours.
A rich cultural history has left many remarkable sights to explore, with castles & ruins, cathedrals & monasteries, grand manor houses & gardens, and a host of art galleries and museums.
The windmills, which are most symbolic to Mallorca, are water-extraction mills. There are around two thousand five hundred of these, nearly all of them concentrated around the southern villages of Mallorca, Campos and Ses Salines or towards the middle of the island near Sa Pobla and Muro. They are distinguished by their “arrow” feature and were used to pump water into a “safareig” or water reservoir. The oldest and most common type of water-extraction windmill is the “Ramell”, which had wooden vanes that had to be opened manually, that’s why they had a flat topped tower.
The island measures almost 80 kilometres from one end to the other and is outstanding for its diversity. It has 550 kilometres of coast with some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful coves and beaches: white sand beaches with a full range of services, as well as small coves set between cliffs and pine groves in the north of the island.
The stunning scenery throughout Mallorca is ideal for enjoying outdoor pursuits. Walking & hiking are popular activities with a wide variety of well-maintained paths & clear signage suitable for all abilities. Cycling is also massive in Mallorca, it's a well-established destination for the professional road cycling teams during the off season and there are plenty of routes to choose from. The warm & dry climate is perfect for golfers and there are around 20 golf courses throughout the island.
In 2011, Mallorca’s stunning Serra de Tramuntana mountain range was awarded World Heritage Status by UNESCO for being an area of great Physical and Cultural significance. Its highest peak is the Puig Major (1445 metres & is the highest mountain in the Balearic Islands). It is followed by the Puig de Massanella, which is 1364 metres.
With more than 800 000 inhabitants, nearly half of the its permanent population resides in the island’s capital Palma, making it a vibrant and lively hub.
Palma de Mallorca
Palma de Mallorca was established as a Roman camp upon the remains of a Talaiotic settlement. During the fall of Roman Empire, this unstable city went through several Vandal sackings. After the Roman period, it was first under the rule of the Byzantines and then the Moors. Lastly, the city was conquered by James I of Aragon On December 31, 1229. James I of Aragon renamed the city as Palma de Mallorca. Also, it was the capital of the Kingdom of Mallorca. A municipality was founded which was governed by the University of the City and the Kingdom of Mallorca. Eventually, in 1983 the Balearic Islands became one of Spain's autonomous regions, with Palma de Mallorca its capital.
Perched on the crescent-shaped Bay of Palma only 8 km away from the Palma Airport, the city has a long and interesting history, hints of which can still be seen in the architecture which veers from Moorish and gothic to modern. When walking through the City, particularly in the narrow lanes and back-streets you will find the most fascinating mix of ancient and historical architecture to admire. Many of the old buildings have been restored over the last few years and indeed further work is currently taking place. As each piece of restoration is completed, you can marvel at the design and craftsmanship of the buildings as the amazing architectural beauty is unveiled!
As a result of this re-generation in Palma, many new businesses have opened in the newly restored areas adding to the atmosphere within the city.
Palma is a sophisticated spot with a marina that overflows with yachts come summer and a restaurant scene designed with the discerning in mind.