Few Mediterranean holiday spots are as often and as unfairly maligned as MALLORCA. The island is commonly perceived as little more than sun, sex, booze and high-rise. It’s an image spawned by the helter-skelter development of the 1960s, yet it takes no account of Mallorca’s beguiling diversity. In fact, the spread of development, even after fifty years, is essentially confined to the Badia de Palma (Bay of Palma), a thirty-kilometre strip flanking the island capital, and a handful of mega-resorts notching the east coast.
Elsewhere, things are very different. Palma itself, the Balearics’ one real city, is a bustling, historic place whose grand mansions and magnificent Gothic cathedral defy the expectations of many visitors. And so does the northwest coast, where visitors delight in the rearing peaks of the rugged Serra de Tramuntana, beautiful cove beaches, monasteries at Valldemossa and Lluc, and a string of delightful old towns and villages – such as Deià, Sóller and Pollença. There’s a startling variety and physical beauty to the land, which has drawn tourists to visit and well-heeled expatriates to settle here since the nineteenth century, including artists and writers of many descriptions, from Robert Graves to Roger McGough.Read More
In 1983, PALMA became the capital of the newly established Balearic Islands autonomous region, since when it has developed into a go-ahead and cosmopolitan commercial hub of almost 400,000 people. The new self-confidence is plain to see in the city centre, a vibrant place – and a world away from the heaving tourist enclaves of the surrounding bay.
Finding your way around Palma is fairly straightforward once you’re in the city centre. The obvious landmark is the Catedral, which dominates the waterfront and backs onto the oldest part of the city, a cluster of alleys and narrow lanes whose northern and eastern limits are marked by the zigzag of avenues built beside – or in place of – the city walls. On the west side of the Catedral, Avgda. d’Antoni Maura/Passeig d’es Born cuts up from the seafront to intersect with Avgda. Jaume III/Unio at Plaça Rei Joan Carles I. These busy thoroughfares form the core of the modern town.
- Northern Mallorca