The Spanish offshore territory of Mallorca (pronounced Majorca) is a Balearic Island situated in the Mediterranean Sea situated of the Spanish city of Valencia. It is famed for its golden beaches, mountain views, and for being home to several pro-peloton cycling teams who train here in the early winter months.
Like its Balearic brother Ibiza, Mallorca is an ever popular tourist destination and attracts families, couples and budget backpackers alike. Here is a fun fact for you, my earliest travel memory is of cutting my foot on a Mallorcan beach – I was 2 years old and needed stitches from a Spanish Doctor!
The island has a culture all of its own and is packed with restaurants, bars, shops, and cathedrals and relics from the past. Let’s take a closer look at Majorca.
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Getting Around Majorca – Car Hire
The easiest and simplest way to get around Majorca is by car. The road network is great and takes you all over the island. This is one of the reasons pro cycling teams train on it. You can simply rent a car at Majorca airport and off you go.
Mallorca truly is one of the worlds great cycling destinations. If you do fancy renting a cycle in Mallorca, then there are a few rental outlets in the capital city of Palma and most of the coastal towns and resorts have at least one store.
Now you have wheels you need somewhere to stay.
There are accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets. The island has plenty of good hotels many within a few minutes walk to the pristine, golden beaches. Alternatively, you may want to stay in a self-catering holiday villa or apartment. These are excellent for budget travellers as they come with a built in kitchen so you can self-cater (Broke Backpacker tip, save more money by bringing dried pasta, noodles, rice and herb jars from home).
Mallorcan accommodation options are absolutely plentiful – whatever kind of accommodation you want you can definitely find it here. As you would expect, the quality varies to suit your budget. If There are also plenty of all-inclusive deals. These can seem costly but of course, you can then make a saving on food and drink if you are happy to dine at your hotel.
History, Heritage, and Culture
It is not just the soft sand and magnificent beaches that draw people to Majorca. The rich heritage and intriguing history is also a massive draw for those seeking a culture and history fix.
Mallorca was first settled thousands of years with evidence showing Greek and Phoenician civilisations establishing a presence around 3000 BC. Once the Roman Empire conquered the island in 123BC, however, the island’s population began to swell. Later, the island was conquered again when Spain was invaded by The Moors in the 7th century and the Islamic influences are still seen in some of the older fortress’ around the coastline.
If you are interested in Moorish Spain, then be sure to check out Seville on the Spanish mainland.
The Moors were eventually to be driven out by King James (pronounced Haymes in Spanish) I. At this point several structures were commissioned by the conquering King which can still be seen today. These are the Bellver Castle, The Royal Palace of La Almudaina, and the Convent of Sant Francesc and should all feature on your Mallorcan sightseeing itinerary.
To get an idea of Mallorca’s heritage it is a good idea to visit the Old Town in Alcudia. The narrow streets and architecture make you feel like you are walking back in time giving you a flavor of what it was like to be alive in the 7th century. You should also stop at once of the pavement cafes for a coffee or pitcher of Sangria served with some delicious, fresh, complimentary Tapas.
The capital city of Palma is also great for a day trip boasting old forts and baroque churches as well as upmarket boutiques.
Today, much of the island is geared towards tourism. Its climate is great all year round and offers both winter escapes and sun-seeking summers. Water sports are easy to find and of course, cycling is a big draw too.
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The Tramuntana Mountain Range
Travel northeast across the mountains and you will find yourself on the Ma-10 road and heading through the Tramuntana Mountain Range. The drive is utterly stunning – a sea of orange and olive trees will greet you as you eventually break through into epics views of the azure, blue sea. The entire mountain range is a UNESCO world heritage site and spans Majorca’s east coast.
When Mallorca was conquered by the Moors, they put in irrigation systems which allowed the lush vegetation to flourish. The ancient system is still visible to this day and, on any visit to Mallorca, it should be on your list of top things to experience.
Along the roads you will signs to the various villages and towns that inhabit it. These are great places to stop for lunch or a coffee and some more Tapas to take it all it in. You will probably encounter quaint markets where you can get unusual goods and local produce. Exploring the towns and villages offers a definitive and quintessential taste of the simple, pure Spanish life which has hardly changed in hundreds of years.
Once back on the road, you can drive to Puig Major the highest reachable point on Majorca. Here, you can park the car and take a few selfies and shots of the spectacular view. It never gets old.
Head north and eventually you will arrive at the Cap Formentor Lighthouse. Keep your nerve during the journey as you may find the sheer drops on either side of the road a tad on the dangerous side.
The lighthouse is the most northern point on Majorca and from here you are afforded a view of two sides of the peninsula. Locals call this part of the island the meeting points of the winds. You may experience this depending on the time of year you go.
Head back the way you came and you can experience the hairpin beds of Sa Calobra. This route takes you to Pollença and a beautiful golden beach. Why not stay a while and take in the sun and sea? This beach is particularly popular.
Once you are ready you can jump in the car and head out on another adventure.
Majorca has everything you could ever want in a holiday or vacation. It is a beautiful island rich in culture, diverse in attractions, and a sense that you are at one with the land. It is also a great place to get a suntan to die for, dine on the best Spanish cuisine and enjoy a hot coffee in an olive tree forest.
Interested in Visiting Spain?!
Interested in visiting Spain? Then check out our epic guide to backpacking Spain!
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