TRAVEL: Vanglorious Landscape

The Real Majorca

A destination where the natural surroundings provide all the luxury required!

An island invented by the British is well-known for its purpose-built resorts and package holidays. Very popular they are too; and if you want all-night partying and lazy days on the beach, then this is the place to come. Majorca (with a hard “j”) is a place invented by foreigners – the British actually – where the sun always shines, the beer flows, and the nearest you get to local culture is an argument with a taxi driver.

It’s hard to find out where the name “Majorca” originated from. Some people think Majorca is the Catalan version for Mallorca thanks to the historical invasions by the Catalan King Jaume of Aragon in the 13th century. Not true, the Catalan for Mallorca IS Mallorca. The English language is based on several languages, one of which is Latin. Now we’re not Latin scholars, but it seems that English embraced the use of “j” more than the Mediterranean countries. So, “maior” became “major” and hence Majorca. As Mallorca continued to belong to what became Spain in the years subsequent to the Catalan invasion, the Catalan version “Mallorca” remained as the name used by the rest of the world.

The island has actually been welcoming the rich and famous for generations. Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Claudia Schiffer, Jeffrey Archer, Boris Becker, the King of Spain, Raphael Nadal – they all live here or have had homes here. Luxury accommodations abound in Majorca as the choice gets better and better each year.
Hotels are among the most expensive in Spain with budget options few and far between. In fact the Balearic government put a ban on the opening of anything less than a three-star a few years ago, so its touristic model is more upscale.

Majorca’s hotels range from unique historic buildings that have been converted to provide every modern convenience, to beautifully-charming fincas (converted farmhouses) in the countryside. If renting a villa in Majorca is more your thing, then you won’t be disappointed. There are literally thousands of villas in Majorca to choose from.

Majorca has a rich cultural history with many wonderful buildings and sights to explore. Its capital city Palma is the place to marvel at the impressive architecture, from medieval times through to Modernist creations. On the island you will also marvel at castles and ruins, cathedrals and monasteries, grand manor houses and gardens, and a host of art galleries and museums.

The stunning scenery throughout the island is ideal for enjoying outdoor pursuits. You can find protected natural parks in all four corners of Majorca as well as the rugged and beautiful Tramuntana mountains that run down the west coast. Walking and hiking are popular activities with a wide variety of well-maintained paths and clear signage suitable for all abilities. Cycling is massive in Majorca, 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 and dry climate is perfect for golfers and there are around 20 golf courses throughout the island.

Each region in Majorca has its own particular appeal – the northeast for history, the east coast for beaches and caves, the north and west for spectacular mountains and picture-postcard villages. If you want to know about the real Majorca you should drive across Es Pla, the fertile plain at the center of the island, with its almond groves, windmills and old market towns. Choosing where to stay depends on what you want to see and do, from the bustle of Palma, to the coast, to deep inland with many luxury retreats being in places you can get away from it all.

The beaches in Majorca range from long white sandy beaches to isolated rocky coves. Many of them are popular with tourists and locals alike, but it is still possible to find a peaceful spot if you are prepared to get off the beaten track. Some of the nicest beaches tend to have resorts attached to them, so they will be busy; but the upside of this is that they have extensive facilities and are great for families and children.

Majorca’s fabulous coastline offers many opportunities to find a dining spot by the sea. All of the island’s ports have at least one restaurant on the front, or the pier, and most will specialize in fresh fish. Or head to one of the marinas where you can indulge in some of Majorca’s swankier restaurants and some people-watching, and enjoy a different sort of view! It is worth calling the restaurant in advance if there is a group of you. You may well be offered a whole fish for your party that has been freshly caught that morning.

Majorca really does have it all – glorious beaches and majestic mountains, a wealth of historical buildings and cultural experiences, a buzzing and cosmopolitan city, theme parks for all the family, and all the shopping you could care to do while on holiday.

Whether you want to visit one of the beautiful country houses, enter one of the remarkable caves, or chill out in a beach club, Majorca has it all.